Kerala is a state of Indian union situated in the south west region on the Malabar Coast. Regionally referred as Keralam, it was formed in November 1956 under the States Reorganization Act of India taking together the contiguous Malayam speaking areas. A state with the lowest positive population growth rate and highest literacy percentage in India; it also has a highly rich traditions and cultures that make it one of the popular tourist destinations for both domestic and foreign tourists.
The first state to declare tourism as an industry in the year 1986, its varied as well as rich cultures and traditions along with its varied demographics have made Kerala the most attractive tourist place in India. It is admirably called as ‘one of the ten paradises in the world’ or ‘one of the 50 must see destinations of a lifetime’. In Google search trends related to India in 2012, Kerala dislodged the Taj Mahal of Agra from first position and relegated it to the second place as the most popular tourist destination of India. The beaches, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries of the state form the major attractions for the Indian as well as foreign tourists. Varkala, Kovakalam, Kappad, Bekal and MUzhappilangad are the major beaches of tourists’ attraction. There are certain hill stations namely Wayanand, Munnar, Wagamon, Neliampathi, Peermade and Ponmudi that are most sought after tourists destinations.
Its ecotourism destinations comprise two national parks and twelve h life sanctuaries, and those include Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Chinar Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam national Park to name a few among them. The backwaters are characterized by a great network of 41 westward flowing interlocking rivers, canals and lakes located around Alleppy, Kollam, Kumarakom and Punnamada. The noteworthy heritage sites in the state are Maatancherry Palace and Padmnabhpuram Palace.
The state of Kerala and the various tourist spots are well connected with rail, road and air communication facilities. The three international airports in the state are located at Trivandrum, Cochin and Calicut while two additional airports are in the offing at Kannur and Pathanamthitta. Besides all these there are numerous tour operators operating from almost all major cities of India and offer various packages for touring the state of Kerala and its tourist destinations. The packages may include return airfare, stay, sightseeing and breakfast, dinner as well as lunch. The price quoted may be per couple or per person and the cost varies according to facilities offered.
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By: Nix Polkinghorne