Onam is here and most of the Keralites living in different parts of the world have arrived home to celebrate the annual festival with their dear ones. Why not a trip with family members to an exotic place? After the spell of monsoon rains, it is indeed breathtaking to see lush green hills, gleaming beaches, beautiful valleys, expansive plantations and verdant forests enveloped in mist. If you want to make this year’s Onam memorable, just head to the following mesmerizing destinations.
Onam in Onattukara
What about a trip to Onattukara, the land of Onam? Onattukara is a heritage place replete with myths, and legend has it that Mahabali had feasted at Onattukara, which is at the heart of Mavelikara in the Alappuzha district. As this place is dotted with many temples, you can also pay obeisance at these places of worship. Some of the famous temples in Onattukara are Kandiyoor Mahadeva Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple and Padanilam Parabrahma Temple.
Onattukara was a native state that had been in existence since the 12th century. Mavelikara, which was known as the capital of Onattukara, was also the farming hub of Kerala that provided the agricultural produce for the entire state to have a sumptuous feast. It is said that Mavelikara got its name after the people of the region served ‘onasadya’ to Mahabali also known as Maveli. The festivities conducted in Onattukara on the 28th day after Thiruvonam include an Onam carnival, ‘kalakettu’ (a parade with bull effigies) and ‘velakali’ (a traditional martial dance), among others.
Alappuzha, which has earned the sobriquet of Venice of the East, is a favourite tourist destination for all seasons. The placid lake waters of Alappuzha are famous for the annual snake boat race, which is held in September. After the monsoon rains, the captivating Alappuzha is blanketed in lush green. It is also the best time to meander through the backwaters in the comfort of a houseboat.
If you love the forest and its wilderness, then Thekkady is your ideal vacation spot. An exciting safari through the thick forest and a leisurely boat ride in the lake can provide a great experience. Moreover, resorts with superlative facilities can ensure a pleasant stay for tourists in Thekkady.
Munnar, which is known for its sweeping tea plantations, is the most sought-after hill station in Kerala. The mist in the air, the rolling hills, the charming valleys and the milky waterfalls give a heavenly touch to Munnar. The beauty of Munnar, which is the coldest place in Kerala, touches another notch in September after the monsoon rains. If you want your dose of an adrenaline rush, then elephant safari, rock climbing and rappelling await you in Munnar.
Undoubtedly, Wayanad is a mountainous paradise with verdant forest, frothy waterfalls, scenic valleys, light drizzle, vast tea, coffee and spices plantations and thick mist. The region has an exhaustive flora and fauna with Royal Bengal tigers, spotted deer, grey langur, rabbit, sandalwood and eucalyptus trees.
The famous Athirappilly waterfall that had been featured in many movies, including Bollywood films, is more beautiful after the monsoon showers. The enchanting Athirappilly and Vazhachal waterfalls are in the Thrissur district and the huge cascades are in full glory in the month of September.
Mattupetty is a small hilly town in the Idukki district that is situated close to 1,700m above sea level. This pretty place is known for its impressive dam and alluring lake. One can visit Mattupetty throughout the year as the weather is quite pleasant with intermittent rains and mist hanging in the air.
The Bekal fort is an imposing one in the north Kerala district of Kasaragod. The medieval fort, which is made of laterite, is spread across 35 acres of land on the shores of the Arabian Sea and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala. The age-old structure houses an Anjaneya Temple, and a mosque, built by Tip Sultan, the son of Hyder Ali, could be found outside the fort.
Konni Elephant Reserve and Adavi eco-tourism centre
The high points of Pathanamthitta, which boasts of pristine forest canopy over half of its entire area, are the Konni elephant training hub and the Adavi eco-tourism centre. Adavi, which is part of the Konni reserve forest, has a thick forest cover. The eco-tourism centre on the 5km stretch from Peruvali to Adavi on the shores of the Kallar River provides a unique experience to the visitors. You can usher in Onam by taking a coracle ride in the crystal clear waters of the Kallar River.
Marayoor – the land of sandalwood
Without an iota of doubt, Marayoor is the land of sandalwood forest. As sandalwood, history and natural beauty blend perfectly in Marayoor, it is a sought-after destination for tourists. You can drive through the roads amidst the sandalwood trees and see bison in close quarters. The Marayoor jaggery is very popular and you can get a first-hand experience of how this is made from sugarcane juice. A stay in one of the facilities situated against the backdrop of hills and near the agricultural land can be rejuvenating. A peep into history can also be made by visiting the centuries-old ‘Muniyara’ (burial caves). You can also take a stroll through the winter vegetable farms of Kanthaloor, which is 15km away from Marayoor. The tourist spots such as Chinnar and Munnar are near Marayoor.
As the Kalvari Mount literally stands tall, one can get a bird’s eye view of the catchment areas of the Idukki dam. This mount is a to-die-for destination with its stunning view of the boundless mountain ranges, the blue lake and the extensive tea plantations on the hill slopes. You can stay in a resort and get an enviable view of the Idukki dam that connects the Kuravan and Kurathi hills. A boat ride in the tranquil waters of the dam can also soothe your nerves.