Fort Cochin or Fort Kochi is one of the major tourist attractions in ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala. It was named as Fort Kochi after the territory was given to the Portuguese in the year 1503 by the Raja of Kochi to build a fort, which would protect their commercial interests.
Fort Kochi is distinctly set apart from the others, thanks to the peculiar architectural style of the buildings and town layout Since Fort Cochin was under the possession of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British at different points of time in history, the region is influenced by European style architecture.
Fort Kochi is one of the three main urban regions that make up the present day Kochi city of Kerala. The other two regions are Mattancherry and Ernakulam. The Portuguese built the world famous, St. Francis Church. It is believed to be the first church built by Europeans in India and it is here that the body of Vasco da Gama was buried initially before his remains were shipped to Portugal.
Backwaters of Kerala
One of the most relaxing activities and a must do if one plans to step foot in Kerala is take a trip in a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala. One can enjoy freshly prepared authentic Indian food on board which enhances the whole experience. The coastal regions of Kerala have a network of waterways, wherein lakes, natural canals, etc. connect coastal towns of Kottayam, Alleppey, Quilon, Kumarakom and Kuttanad. This interlinked body of waterways is known as the backwaters, of which, 900 km is navigable. This attraction is extremely popular among foreign visitors and local visitors alike.
Munnar, a hill station is known for its tea plantations where one can catch nature in its full glory. There's even a tea museum. The highest peak in South India, Anamudi, is ideal for adventure enthusiasts who can go for rock climbing, para gliding, trekking, etc.
Munnar is situated at the locking of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.
1,600 metres above sea level, Munnar was once the summer resort of the British Government in South India. It also boasts of forests full of exotic flora and fauna. Among them, Neelakurinji is a flower worth mentioning because of its unique qualities. It bathes the hills in blue when it blossoms once in every twelve years. It will bloom next in 2018.
Periyar is located in Thekkady, around 4 kilometres from Kumili in the Idukki district of central Kerala. Periyar is on the banks of a huge artificial lake that was created by the construction of a dam on the Periyar River in 1895. Periyar is one of the most popular national parks in southern India. The Elephant is the dominant animal that can be easily caught in herds.
The most popular time to visit is during the October to February period when the months are cooler and drier, though it’s open throughout the year. The best time for viewing elephants is during the hotter months of March and April, when they spend most of their time in the waters.
Varkala is located south of Kollam. The Varkala cliff and beach are located at a 10 minute drive away from Varkala town and railway station, hence it is easily accessible.
Varkala's main beach is called Papanasam Beach – meaning ‘destroyer of sins’ in English. The beach is divided into two parts: the southern area and the northern area. The southern area has the Janardhan Swamy Temple located at the end of it and is considered sacred by the Hindus. People come to perform the last rites. The tourist part of the beach is the northern area.
There's also another small beach with black sand (also known as the Black Beach) nearby.
Varkala is a peaceful place to relax and refresh. It's well known for its breath taking sunsets which makes you feel closer to nature. This beach destination has been ranked as one of the 10 top seasonal beaches in the world by Discovery channel. You'll also find plenty of places which offer specialized services in yoga and Ayurvedic therapies.