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Kerala : A short tourist guide

Trivandrum: A beautiful seaside city

Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, is built on a series of hills that gradually descends to the sea. Trivandrum as a city has much to offer. The Padmanabhaswamy temple; the Napier mueseum with a fine collection of bronzes; the Oriental manuscript Library which preserves ancient palm leaf manuscripts; the Chitralayam Art Mueseum with its Indian and South East Asian collection.

Cochin: The finest natural harbour

This palm-green commercial city of Kerala is one of the finest natural harbours in the world from where ships set sail for foreign ports with different products of Kerala, like pepper, seafood, rubber and coir. Across the bridge into the old city, there are bastions and streets built by the Portuguese over 500 years ago. It was here in St Francis Church that the body of Vasco da Gama was originally buried. The enormous fishing nets on the sea front of Cochin provide a charming view.

Calicut: The historic city

<a href="kozhikode.html>Calicut, the third largest city in Kerala after Trivandrum and Cochin, is a popular destination of historians. The home of the Zamorins, Calicut was a famous port years ago. In 1498 Vasco de Gama landed at Kappad which is around 20 kilometers from the city. Last year Mananchira ,the heart of the city was revamped into a beautiful park.

Alleppey: The coir town of Kerala

Pick up doormats bright enough to be framed. Capture the untouched magic of the narrow, shaded streets. See the wharf markets where boats off load rice, green coconuts, red chillies, and fat rough skinned jack fruit. Cruise on the myriad waterways or on the shallow lake, scene of the great annual boat race. Drive along the canal backwaters across the Vembanad Lake, 777 sq km inextent, after the monsoons.

Alwaye: Lush backwaters

Take a backwater ferry from Cochin. Stay at the high ceilinged tourist bungalow, former palace of a king. Watch the sunset over shallow Periyar river, scene of the great Shivarathri festival in spring.

Cranganore: An ancient port

The ancient Alexandrian port of Muziris, now Cranganore, is where the Romans built a temple to Augustus in the first century. Cruise along the backwaters from Cochin for a pleasant three hours, passing through green and rural Kerala. See the ancient Tiruvanchikulam and Bhagawati temples, the Portugese Fort, and tiled mosque believed to be the first in India and shaped like a Hindu temple. Also domed white, modern Syrian Catholic Church surmounted by a double armed patriarchal cross.

Peermade: Serene hill resort

Hill resort with tea gradens on way to Thekkady. Peaceful, cool and away-from-it-all place. Have a round of golf at Peermade Club, a few kilometers off the main road.

Quilon: Where the backwaters begin

Relax in the tourist bungalow, former palace of the British Resident on the shore of the great Ashtamudi Lake. Extensive grounds, age-darkened regal furniture, an atmosphere of old times. Pick up chinese pottery shards from the beach. Visit a cashew factory. Stand on Neendakara bridge, about 16 km from Quilon with backwaters streching before you. Take a boat trip around the lake or have a picnic to the huge light house at Thanasseri, 3 km away. Step into a scheduled boat and make the 9-hour trip through the most picturesque backwaters in the world to Alleppey.