Welcome to Kerala. A land re-christened as 'God's Own Country', for its verdant landscapes, exotic culture and heritage and of course the hospitality rendered by the locals to make you feel very much at home.

The tranquil backwaters winding down the village alleys, the pearly beaches that let you in on the sun, the sand and the surf, the mist clad hills draped in emerald green plantations - the many streams, the wildest dreams - and everything else seems to lead to this one place that's so hard to resist. Reason perhaps, why Kerala remains one of the top 50 must-see destinations in the world today.

In and around Cochin
Cochin, the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is the perfect blend of the quaint charm of yesteryears and the fast-track lifestyle and amenities of a metropolis. Considered the commercial and industrial capital of the State of Kerala, Cochin has attracted travelers from across the world for centuries, for its endless coastline, unexploited beaches, tranquil backwaters, Chinese fishing nets, heritage sites, antiques etc.

Some of the must-visit places in and around Cochin include:

* Bolgatty Island
* Jewish Synagogue, Mattanchery
* Dutch Palace, Mattanchery
* St. Francis Church, Fort Cochin
* Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Cochin
* Museum of Kerala History, Edappally
* Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
* Cochin Backwaters
* Hill Palace Museum, Tripunithura
* Cherai Beach
* Athirappally Waterfalls
* Munnar Hillstation
* Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady

Travel Destinations
Kerala is considered 'one of the 50 must see destinations of a lifetime' according to the National Geographic Traveler. Celebrated as a ‘Paradise Found’, the exotic land of Kerala has many an attraction for travelers from far and near.

Some of the must-see destinations in Kerala include:
Kovalam Beach
Situated 16 km south of Trivandrum city, Kovalam is one of the best beach destinations in India, with the sun, the sand and the surf setting you on an all high vacation!

Chowra Beach
The soft white sand is what draws visitors to this beach and it is ideal for beach volleyball. The long stretch of beach is dotted by many catamarans; which are country fishing boats made from three logs tied together in the shape of a boat.

Alleppey (Alappuzha)
Famous for its snake boat races, houseboats, backwaters, coir products, fish and lakes, Alleppey remains prominent on the tourist trail of Kerala.

Kumarakom
A small town on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is interspersed with waterways, making it an idyllic backwater destination. The bird sanctuary spread across 14 acres is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and is an ornithologist's paradise.

Thekkady (Periyar)
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake - an artificial lake at Thekkady. Situated on the high ranges of the Western Ghats and clad in dense, evergreen and moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands, the Sanctuary is home to herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri languors.

Cochin (Kochi)
The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European township in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

Wayanad
Wayanad lies at an altitude varying from 700 to 2100 meters above sea level. The district has the highest number of tribal settlements in Kerala. The region is rich in flora and fauna.

Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)
The capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum has a long shoreline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments and a rich cultural heritage make it a much sought after tourist destination.

Cherai Beach
This lovely beach near Cochin (Kochi), bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally spotted here.

Munnar
One of the most popular hill stations in India situated at 1600 m above sea level at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, Munnar was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make
Munnar a unique experience. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India - Anamudi, which is at over 2695 m above sea level.

Travel Guide
Kerala is strategically located in the travel-trade corridor connecting Europe with the Pacific Rim, at the southwest tip of India. Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and verdant Western Ghats area, Kerala is indeed blessed with unique geographical and cultural features.

Area:
38,863 sq km - about 1.27% of India's total land area

Climate:
Weather: Tropical Summer: April-June [24 - 33 degree Celsius] Monsoon: July-September [22 - 27 degree Celsius] Winter: October-March [22 - 32 degree Celsius] Peak Season: December-May

Population:
Approx. 32 million

Capital:
Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)

Language:
Malayalam - however English is widely spoken and understood by the locals

Number of Districts:
14 [A district is equivalent to a county in the US]

Major Cities:
Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), Cochin (Kochi) and Calicut (Kozhikode)

Time:
Kerala is 5 hours 30 minutes ahead of GMT, 4 hours and 30 minutes behind Australian Standard Time and 10 hours 30 minutes ahead of American Standard Time.

Getting Here:
By Air: The International Airports at Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), Cochin (Kochi) and Calicut (Kozhikode) facilitate easy access to the State, by air. Direct flights operate from Singapore, Colombo, Maldives, Kuwait, Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Dhahran , Riyadh, Doha and Bahrain. By Rail and Road- All major tourist destinations and important cities of India are well connected by rail and road to Kerala.

Currency:
In Kerala, as elsewhere in India, the currency is the Indian Rupee (1 Rupee = 100 paise). All major credit cards are accepted.

Food:
Most restaurants, coffee shops, eateries or cafes offer a Cosmopolitan fare, including Chinese, Continental, Indian or American. You could also try some traditional Kerala cuisine at the local joints and get a spice of life.

Clothing:
Ideally light cottons. However the cooler hill stations may warrant woolens.

Travel Formalities:
A Visa is a must to enter India. You can contact the Indian Embassy / High Commission in your country for the same. It is best to carry your passport on you all the time. You may also carry travel insurance.

Communication:
Kerala has a well-integrated communications network. With telephone, fax and Internet centres within easy reach wherever you go, you can get in touch with your family or friends in any part of the world with the least of hassles.

Health Centres:
Hospitals and health centres