20 Must-Visit Attractions in Kerala, India

Fisherman | © Antony Grossy/Flickr
Charishma Thankappan

While the lush green hills of Munnar and the serene beaches of Kovalam paint colourful pictures of the popular image of Kerala, there are several other lesser known attractions that add equal charm to the state. As the conventional destinations clutter up with tourists, become a traveller in the real sense and get an insight into the raw Kerala of yore through these offbeat must-visit attractions.

Cheraman Juma Majid

Built in Kodungallur in Thrissur district, by Malik Bin Deenar, an Arab propagator of Islam, in 629 AD, Cheraman Juma Masjid is the first mosque in India. It is believed that the Chera king, Cheraman Perumal went to Arabia, embraced Islam, and changed his name to Tajuiddin. He died while returning, in Dhufar, Oman. From there he had sent letters with Malik Ibn Dinar to his relatives in Kerala, asking them to be courteous to the latter.

Cheraman Juma Masjid, Padakulam, Kodungallur, +91 480 280 3170

In April 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud


Vagamon is an enchanting hill station situated at 1,100 metres above sea level on the Idukki-Kottayam border. The landscape is mostly bald hills with green meadows, and is dotted with pine forests, tea gardens, and waterfalls with some of the most mesmerising viewpoints in the state. Three hills – Thangal, Murugan, and Kurisumala – represent the major religions, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity respectively and the naming of these hills in this manner is a testament to the cultural and religious harmony prevalent in Vagamon.

Mesmerising view from Karikkadu View point en-route Vagamon

Varkala Beach

Papanasam beach more popularly known as Varkala beach. The unique geological feature of sedimentary cliffs known as Varkala Formation found adjacent to the Arabian Sea in southern Kerala made Varkala Beach a magnet for tourists from all over the world. It is also famous for its 2,000 year old Janardana Swami Temple and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Varanasi of the South).

A breathtaking sunset at Varkala Beach

1. Kuthira Malika Palace Museum


© Kerala Tourism / WikiCommons
Barefoot walks in the palace will transport you into a historical era and captivate your senses | ©Kerala Tourism/Wikimedia Commons

2. Hill Palace Museum

Museum, Park

© Ranjithsiji / WikiCommons
The official residence of the erstwhile rulers of Kochi, built in 1865, is now famous as Kerala’s first ever heritage museum. The Hill Palace Museum complex itself comprises 49 buildings and has an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, a deer park, and a children’s park. The campus is also home for several rare species of medicinal plants.

3. Karumadi Kuttan Shrine

Buddhist Temple

Karumady Kuttan Stupa (left | © Sanandkarun/Wikimedia Commons). Karumady Kuttan shrine (right | © Challiyan/Wikimedia Commons). The left half of the statue is believed to be destroyed by an elephant
© Sanandkarun/Wikimedia Commons). Karumady Kuttan shrine (right | © Challiyan/Wikimedia Commons). The left half of the statue is believed to be destroyed by an elephant
Karumadi Kuttan is the endearing name of the Buddha statue found at Karumady in Alappuzha and literally means boy from Karumady. The three feet tall, black granite statue is believed to be as old as 9th century CE. The statue, now protected by the Kerala government, is placed in a stupa.

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