In the last few years, I have driven through thirteen out of fourteen districts of Kerala, along with three districts of Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore, Theni and Dindigul. The only district in Kerala in which I haven’t driven by myself is Kasargod, where I haven’t tried to travel, and when I had finally had my plan, COVID-19 pandemic came upon us. As the district where I have been living, and where my ancestral home is situated, journeys through Ernakulam have been many. Ernakulam itself is a place with all kinds of tourist destinations, which can be visited again and again. Then, the other districts also follow, and among them, Kottayam and Thrissur have the lead with such drives.
Kottayam: Vagamon’s location in Kottayam itself makes the district a favourite travel destination. Along with the same, I have driven to Ilaveezhapoonchira multiple times, and Illikkal Kallu was also added to the list later. Along with the same, visiting St. Alphonsa Pilgrime Centre and shrine at Bharananganam came naturally to us. Other pilgrim centres like the Kuravilangad Church also comes into the picture, and these have made the district regular driving destinations. Along with the same, there are some relatives’ places out there which made me go through the district early itself. Kottayam should be the most driven through district outside Ernakulam.
Thrissur: It is to be noted that Thrissur is so close to Angamaly that we keep visiting the district’s border areas on regular intervals. There are also some relatives’ places to add to it, and pilgrim centres also exist there, starting from the Koratty Church. Some of the best known tourist destinations, Athirappilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls are there, and it is the district which serves as a border to Tamil Nadu through the Sholayar side, and towards Valparai on the other side. We have also loved traveling to the Shobha City Mall in Thrissur City itself, a mall which is one of the best in Kerala, and having a fine multiplex to go with it. There are some very nice resturants on the way.
Idukki: Having some of the best places of natural beauty, Idukki is a district which provides all the beautiful scenery to the eyes. There is always Munnar and we always have Thekkady out there. Along with the same, when we are crossing the borders, Kumily is always there to have a charming journey through the area. The best of tea is also available there, and just crossing the borders, takes us to those grapes in the vineyards of Cumbum. There are so many places which we have visited in Idukki, and you know Munnar very well in advance. Parunthumpara, Panchalimedu, Kuttikkanam and all have you there, and in the lowlands, there is the town of Thodupuzha which I always come across.
Alappuzha and Kollam: There have been many journeys witnessing the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala, and Alappuzha is indeed close enough – we also have some nice beaches to go with the same. Kollam might not be that close, but it also has the beauty of backwaters and those fine beaches. We remember having visiting a good number of them, and going through some interesting journeys on this path. Both the district capitals got their own fine beaches too. Yet, it has been some time since we went through this path, and there is the feeling of such a requirement.
Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram: The former is known for its beauty of nature, which we have quickly gone through, and the latter, is the charming capital of Kerala. The most recent visit to Thiruvananthapuram was for Varkala Beach, but there have been other journeys to that direction earlier. The capital city does have many interesting places to visit, and we have covered most of the beaches. Yet, Pathanamthitta is a district which we require to explore more. With some presence of the relatives, maybe that could happen later at some point of time.
Malabar (Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Malappuram): We keep on traveling through Palakkad whenever there is the need to cross over the border to Coimbatore, and Palakkad Fort is always a charm. The Kozhikode trip was a nice one with Thusharagiri Waterfalls, multiples beaches and others. We had visited Thunchan Parambu and other beaches in Malappuram, and more beaches like Muzhappilangad, as well as multiple forts in Kannur with a fine dose of history. We also had a taste of the natural beauty of Wayanad even though a more detailed trip is needed there, as well as in most of Malabar.
***The images used in blog post were taken by me during these trips between 2005 and 2019.