Unveiling the Historic Reminiscences in Fort Kochi

Kerala, the southernmost state in India grabs travelers from various corners of the world. The state is known for its captivating beauty. Outstanding culture and traditions make the state unique and charming. The state comprises historic places like palaces, museums, and galleries. Nature has showered its marvelous blessings by providing the cerulean seas, tranquil rivers, shallow backwaters, traditional houseboats sailing in the undisturbed lakes, stunning species of fauna and flora, bare misty mountains enveloped with lush green plantations of tea and spices and many more. More than the natural resources it is the pleasing climate that pulls the nature enthusiasts from Ahmedabad, Surat, and Mumbai to tour the state. The present world is so busy that people have no time to spend on their personal needs and desires. Most of them are tired and exhausted with their hectic busy schedules. Availing the packages of Ayurveda therapies will help you to rejuvenate and unwind. The state has always been the favorite destination among travel enthusiasts. Kerala is a perfect place to learn about the ancient colonial days, ritual and traditional art forms, palaces and many more. Thousands of travelers flock to the state to learn its spectacular beauty.

Kerala, when we hear the word the first thing which comes into our mind is the tall coconut trees oscillating in the cool breeze. It is the only state in India where coconut trees are seen in abundance and that is the reason why the state got the name (‘Kera’-coconut tree). Not only the scenic surroundings but also the generous mentality of the common people make the state ‘god’s own country’. The secluded hill stations, sun-kissed beaches provide the best moments to enjoy some quality time with dear ones. The national parks and wildlife sanctuaries shelter rare species of animals and trees. To tour the amazing wildlife many globetrotters from Hyderabad flew to Kerala by purchasing packages from eminent travel companies. The state is blessed with 14 astonishing districts. Each district differs from each other in many aspects such as natural resources, technology, and amenities. Irrespective of aspects each district cordially welcomes travelers for discovering the hidden gem. As mentioned each district has own specialties, the Ernakulum district which is an upcoming metropolitan city in Kerala has something to tell the world. By strolling through the following paragraphs you will learn more about the district and its peculiarities.

 Describing one whole district in a document is not possible. Hence this essay is dedicating on the special touches of Fort Kochi. Have you seen the popular Malayalam movie called ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’? people who have seen the movie at least once will never forget the location. Unlike other movies the Fort Kochi the place where it was shot acts as a main role in the movie. Fort Kochi is the place in Ernakulum that still maintains its ancient vibes and tells how it was in the olden days. It is an amalgamation of ancient and present amenities. People of all generations love to flock to the place to celebrate their special days like the New Year celebrations. It is the perfect place for night parties and many more. Before understanding the present conditions let us have a glimpse of its past. Fort Kochi was once ruled by the Chinese traders. It is believed that the word Cochin has been derived from the Chinese people i.e. Co-Chin. The spectacular monuments and building built-in Chines architectural style depict the influence of Chinese in Kerala. Followed to Chinese, Portuguese, and Dutch were the other merchants who visited the place for various s trade purposes. Fort Kochi is a perfect instance of the rise and fall of European administration. The main destinations in Fort Kochi are as follows.

  1. Chinese Fishing Nets

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Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced to Kerala by the famous explorer called Zheng He during 1350 AD and 1450 AD. It would be difficult to believe that these fishing nets are still in use. To use the functioning of the Chinese fishing nets travelers are requested to visit the place either early morning or evening.  It is the time when the fishermen throw the nets into the sea for grabbing their earning. Chinese fishing nets are called as ‘cheennavala’. It is 20 m wide and 10 m long and it is operated with the help of counterweight stones and cantilever.

  1. Fort Kochi Beach

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Strolling through the Fort Kochi Beach, one could witness the golden rays of sunrise and sunsets. Traversing the streets one could capture the stupendous pictures of historical events and monuments. One could see the most ravishing images of Chinese fishing nets. Also, travelers could copy the stunning picture of the first-ever built fort called Emmanuel fort by the Portuguese. Tourists can engage themselves by indulging in various activities like fishing, boating, beach photography and dolphin sighting. While riding in the boat one can come across various small islands.

  1. St. Francis Church

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It is one of the oldest churches built by the Portuguese. It was initially made from mud and water. The church was later conquered by the Dutch and followed to its Anglican Church. It is situated on the premises of the famous Emmanuel Fort. Till now the church has undergone several modifications but still, it maintains the ancient vibes and beauty. The church shelters the cenotaph of great martyrs of Kochi and the burial ground of well-renowned Vasco Da Gama before taking to Portuguese.

  1. Kashi Art Café

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It is the perfect place to hang out with friends and families. Foreigners on their Kochi expedition flock to the Kashi Café to savor mouthwatering delicacies like the chicken burger, mushroom burger and so on. It is an exquisite place for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. While relishing the dishes travelers can also enjoy the various arts exhibited over there.

  1. Pepper House Café

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People who have seen the famous Malayalam movie called ‘Premam’ will not forget the popular cake shop run by the hero. The cake shop in the movie is actually the well-renowned Pepper house café. The place gained much fame through the movie. Along with the restaurants the place also hosts jewelry, clothes, and stationery shops for travelers to buy souvenirs for their dear ones.

The other notable attractions in Fort Kochi are Kerala Kathakali center, Pierce Leslie Bungalow, Princess Street Kochi, Vasco Da Gama Square and many more. To make your travel more comfortable avail of packages from the Lelagoon holidays. They formulate by giving keen importance to customer’s desires and needs.

Celebrating Honeymoon in Mananthavady – The Iconic Place in the History of Kerala

Is there anyone who does not like to unveil the elegance of emerald nature? How would it be if one starts his or her day with innocent chirps of adorable birds? Isn’t it would be pleasing? Many times I have thought who assigned them the duty of wakening up all the animals, trees and humans. Do they get the wages for doing so? Or is it a kind of thanksgiving to the almighty for giving one more day on the planet. Whenever I see the thickly populated trees in the forests I always think who waters them and who look after them. It is not possible for a few people to look after the trees regularly. Still, it survives on the earth for a half a century. The wild animals in the forest never have experienced starvation for more than a couple of days. Somehow they will get their food. There are many more examples in nature that teaches some bitter and important lessons of life that no textbooks could teach. The wonders and various activities of nature will teach how to lead a life peacefully with limited resources.

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Most of the people in the world believe that spending a day in the lap of Mother Nature could gift wondrous experiences that no magnificent cities could present. That may be the main reason why people after their wedding decide to enjoy their honeymoon by exploring the beauty of nature. When considering our country India there are many places that truly display the immense scenic beauty of lush green surroundings. And the most luring place in the nation is the most popular Kerala. Year by year thousands of travellers visits the stupendous state to uncover the amazing beauty. Compared to the past now many travel operators have come forward with exciting packages to discover the captivating charm. More than the technological advancements it is the amusing charm. Couples travel to the state to enjoy the fabulous destinations in Kerala. They consider the state as an exquisite place to renew their marriage vows and to understand each other’s feelings in the soothing climate.

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There are many reasons for tourists to select Kerala for their short and long vacation trips. The cerulean seas, tranquil rivers, undisturbed backwaters, traditional houseboats, and excellent collection of various types of fauna and flora make Kerala a typical destination for travellers to rejuvenate. Not like the past, the travel cost to the state has now become cheap and best. Kerala comprises of 14 districts and each district has its own peculiarities. To enjoy the real charm of nature one should definitely avail of tour packages to the most famous district called Wayanad. It is the land of spice plantations. The bare mountains and bowl-shaped valleys are blanketed with emerald leaves of spices. Also one could find tribal settlements in abundance in the district. Wayanad is a haven for nature enthusiasts. The mesmerizing historical streets and caves, bio-reserves, and luxurious resorts make the district unique from others. Mananthavady is a well-known municipality taluk of the district.  By narrowing down the following paragraphs one could clearly understand the inner beauty of Mananthavady.

Mananthavady is one of the largest taluks in Wayanad district. The taluk resides on the banks of the river ‘Pusha’ or more commonly known as ‘Mananthavady River’. Nook and corner of the district have something reveals some pages of the history. In the past, the district was not accessible as it is now. The district was ruled by tribal communities called ‘Adivasi’. The town was formed in the 19th century. Ambukuthy is a place in Mananthavady, where a deer was pierced with an arrow and hence the taluk, got the name ‘Mananthavady’ (‘mane eytha vadi’). One could read the heroism of a famous freedom fighter called Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja or known as ‘Kerala’s lion or Kerala’s Simham’. The important places that could be visited while touring the taluk are as follows.

Pazahassi Raja’s Tomb

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The famous freedom warrior of Kerala called Pazahssi Raja’s tomb is situated in Mananthavady taluk. The tomb is located on the banks of River Kabani. The museum comprises of main galleries called the numismatic gallery, Tribal Gallery, Heritage gallery, and Pazahassi gallery. Also, it has an excellent collection of weapons, utensils, and statues.

Boys Town

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Boys town, when you hear this name suddenly a picture of boys hostel will come into your mind. But actually the place has no connection with the boys. The place is a mind-blowing sanctuary. The park is situated at a distance of 13 km from Boys town. It is a perfect place to witness the gorgeous beauty of tea and spice plantations. The gene park at Boys town was built as a part of the Indo-Danish project. The place is worth to see.

Post office Road

Post office road will take to the land of temples and mosques.

Valliyoorkkavu Bhagavathi Temple

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Valliyoorkkavu Bahagavathy temple is one of the ancient temples in Kerala with goddess Durga as the presiding deity. It is believed that the idol of the goddess was self-built. Every year in the month of March a 14-day festival will be held. The temple is considered as the biggest festival in Wayanad.

Pakshipathalam

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Pakshipathalam is a paradise for bird lovers. It provides shelters to rare species of birds like the gold fronted chloropsis, Asian fairy bluebird, giant Malabar squirrels, gaurs, the paradise flycatcher, and the emerald dove. Pakshipatahalm is located at a distance of 36 km from Mananthavady. Travellers will have to seek prior permission from the forest department to visit the sanctuary. In the past, the eagle King called Garuda rested on a rock and hence the rock got the name ‘Garudakunnu’.

Kuruwadweep

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Kurwadweep is one of the famous islands in Kerala. The island is uninhabited. Migratory birds and animals are ruling these 950 acres of land. Visitors will have to get prior permission from the forest department for visiting the island. The island is famous for bamboo rafting, swimming, and also trekking.

Trekking and bird spotting are the major activities practised by travellers and locals. Travellers usually visit the iconic destination by availing of packages from the travel operator called Dream Holidays. If you have any concerns regarding the package you can directly contact the customer support team.

A Few Salient Features of Agasthyarkoodam – The Breathtaking Peak in Kerala

Kerala is a gift of the Arabian Sea. The state is abundantly blessed with natural resources. It is also called as ‘God’s own country’ and no wonder why the state has been bejewelled with the title. The marvellous beauty of the state lures travellers from various parts of the world. Words are insufficient to express the beauty of the state. The meandering rivers bubbling over rocks, sparkling waterfalls flowing through the thickly populated woodlands, undisturbed backwaters, avalanching movement of sand in pristine beaches, emerald forest ornamented with wilderness and tweaks of birds, magnificent bowl-shaped valleys and awe-inspiring mountains blanketed with the lush green carpets of tea and coffee plantations and many more. One whole essay would not be enough to beautify the charm of the state. The state is adorned with many historic monuments and herbal rejuvenation centers. Most of the foreigner avails of tour packages for participating in various kinds of Ayurveda treatments. The climate of Kerala is favourable not only to Indians but also to people from other nations. It is being a decade that the state started to give prominence to the tourism sector. And as part of enhancing tourism sectors, many disquieting hill stations and historic streets were being unveiled. Thousands of travellers visit the state by purchasing the packages for a cheap price to explore the magnificent gem hidden in unexplored parts of Kerala. Kerala is a haven for adventure lovers. The breathtaking hill stations and offers immense chances to improve their skills in trekking and rock climbing. It is not possible to describe each and every sparkling destination of the state with its peculiarities. I would like to dedicate this essay to explain the salient features of the famous hill called Agasthyarkoodam.

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Agastyarkoodam hill is the second tallest peaks in Kerala. It is situated in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. It is one of the utterly bare and precipitous hill stations in Kerala. It is situated in the premises of Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary with a height of 1868 m. The hill is known as Pothigai Malai hill in Tamil Nadu. The slopes of the hills are blanketed with purple orchids. The hill shelters to various types of birds. Famously the hill is known for trekking but most of the Hindu believers consider the hill as a pilgrimage. On the top of the hill one could find a statue of Agasthya sage withholding a stone crusher on one hand and a bowl of medicines on other hands.  Worshipers climb to the top and offer prayers to him. He belongs to one of the seven sages (Saptarishis) of Hindu ideology. He is considered the father of Indian traditional medicines and Tamil literature. The surroundings of the hill are occupied with a tribal community called ‘Kanis’. They are engaged in various activities conducted by the forest department.

The Story Behind the Agasthyarkoodam Hill

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For long years women were not allowed to climb to the top of the hill as the Agasthya muni was celibate i.e. Bhramachary and intervention of women will affect the purity of the mountain. But 2 years ago the ban on women climbing the hill was removed and in January 2019 the first lady to conquer the mountain was Dhanya Sanal. Followed to her 100 women registered their names for trekking to the Agasthyarkoodam hill. There is also a story revolving around the hill is when all the sages (munis or maharishis) went to Himalaya for attending the wedding of Lord Shiva and Lord Parvathi the tilt to one side. Then Lord Shiva insisted Agasthya Muni to go the southern portion and balance the earth. He obeyed the commands. Gradually he liked the place and decided to reside there.

Trekking to Agasthyarkoodam Hills

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Unlike other hills in Kerala, you can plan out trekking to Agasthyarkoodam hill when you wished to do. As aforementioned the hill is dedicated to Agasthya sage and hence trekking on it is possible only in the month of January i.e. the trekking routes will be opened on Makaravilaku till Shivarathri. Actually there are two routes that lead to the hill. First is through the Neyyar wildlife sanctuary and that is closed and the second route is Bonacaud village. The village is situated 69 km from the Trivandrum International Airport. So travellers coming from Delhi, Punjab, and Bangalore can either travel in local transport or can purchase the tour packages from Dream Holidays and the tour guides will guide you to the village. Trekking the hill will require three days. Before reaching the Bonacaud village trekkers have to avail of an entry pass of INR 500. Per day 100 pass will be issued. The issuing of passes will be started a couple of days before the Makaravilaku. Trekkers can purchase online also.

Itinerary for Trekking

  • 1st-day Bonacaud – Athiramula Base Camp

Travellers will have to reach the Bonacaud base by 7 am. It will take around for registration and verification. Do not forget to carry the necessary identity cards. Collect the food coupons and purchase the water bottles. You can start your trekking by 8 am. It will take 6 hrs to reach the Athiramula base camp. Over there you can rest and encash your coupon and satiate your hunger. After refreshing, you can stroll through the jungle. Do not make a loud noise as it will disturb the animals. You can build a camp and can spend your night in it. The canteen in the base camp works from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm, therefore, collect the food coupons for the next day before you sleep.

  • 2nd-day Athiramula Base Camp- Agasthayrkoodam Hill

After having light breakfast you can continue your trekking to the hill. It will take approximately 5 hrs to reach the top of the hill. On reaching the top of the hill you can capture the pictures of serene nature and soak yourself in nature’s bliss. Don’t forget to pack your lunch. Spend a few hours on the hill and return your journey before the sunsets. You can rest in the tent in the Athriamulla base camp.

  • 3rd-day Athiramulla Base Camp – Bonacaud

Followed to the breakfast travellers can descend to the village. It will take 6 hrs to reach the slope. From there you can return to your hometown. If you are new to Thiruvananthapuram you can visit the historic places of the district before concluding the trip.

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Dream Holidays are one such travel operator in Kerala that curates special packages for adventure enthusiasts. If you have any concerns regarding the same without any hesitation you can contact their customer representatives.

Tour to the Less-Touristy Travel Locations of Kochi in Kerala

The largest city of Kerala is a lot more than its backwaters and beaches. Actually, Kochi had been chosen by the erstwhile colonial masters for its most favourable geographical patterns. With evidence for that, they had built many colonial historical structures that are still operating as either some sort of government buildings or heritage hotels. Even otherwise, the district is home to earlier royal dynasties and so they too had left behind their footmarks in this land. Henceforth, Kochi has got to offer more surprises in the kitty to its international and domestic travellers. Discussed below are the less-touristy travel locations of Kochi.

Paniyeli Poru

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No one would expect the existence for such a glorious confluence of three small rivers at this spot located near Kurupampady in Perumbavoor in the outskirts of Kochi. A single day tour to this splendid location will be offering you a different face of Kochi, as here you will behold the rare sight of the dark-hued river waters flowing across numerous slippery boulders. Such a sight would be a rare one as they are located at this region of Kerala instead of any hill stations. Since they are only gradually emerging as a tourist destination quite recently, you will not be availing the tour packages that would include Paniyeli Poru from all the travel firms.

Kodanad Elephant Training Camp

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If you are willing to travel some distance from the main Kochi city to the north-eastern region in Kodanad, you could drop in at one of the largest elephant training centres of the state. Here, a small tributary of River Periyar is flowing on one side the camp, so you could watch the numerous elephant dwelling in the centre taking bath in their own world. Besides that, you may take leisure strolls alongside the stone-paved pathways built very aesthetically. Most of these elephants were captured from the forest of Malayattor in the earlier days and trained here in the camp. But now they are functioning as rescue centres.

Njarakkal Aqua Tourism Centre 

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Set in a picturesque location in the Vypeen Island, precisely in Njarakkal, the Aqua Tourism Center could be one of the best examples of how a normal geographical condition existed in a place was effectively converted to a hot tourist spot. The fish farm maintained by Fisheries Department of the State is like any backwater space of Kochi, but except for the fact that these water bodies are more serene and is rich in a considerably larger aquatic life. Visitors coming here could also avail the boating facilities in either peddle boats or Dhow boats along with savouring the traditional spicy recipes cooked from the fish caught from the farm.

Paliam Palace

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The palace used to be a hideout place for the King of Cochin during the 16th century away from their original citadel space in the wake of any crisis or for recreational purposes in Chenamangalamn near North Paravoor. As they were recently, renovated under the Muziris Heritage Project you could easily tour them and experience the royal way of living life. Although they were mostly concerned when the Portuguese Army tried to invade them, the bastion was built without comprising on any luxuries enjoyed by those erstwhile royals. The typical architectural style of Kerala with remarkable sculpting can be gazed here.

Malayattoor hill of St Thomas

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When you climb up these hills in amid the wild green covers, you could feel more sanctified rather than visiting a mere pilgrimage centre. Most of the sights that you get to watch and know are concerned with the beliefs of Saint Thomas to have visited the place. Quite strangely, the religious centre is also situated adjacent to the River Periyar. Some startling relics do still exist here such as the Golden Cross, his footprints, Marthoma Mandapam and the chapel. You could even get to witness a continuously flowing water spring that is believed to acquire some healing powers. Moreover, the mandapam constructed here follows a combination of Indian and Greek architectural styles.

Pallipuram Fort

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It would be surprising to realize the fact that the first-ever European monument of the country is situated here in this part of Kerala. They are the Pallipuram Fort of Vypeen Island towards its northernmost region. In its structures, you should not expect anything like the Bhadra Fort of Ahmedabad, as they were constructed by the Portuguese in the early 16th with only the sole purpose of observing any potential enemies who could encroach by sea rather than by air. These large hexagonal ancient structures can be easily missed from your typical tour packages as they are not much popular unlike the other historical monuments based in Kochi. Yet you may plan for a single day tour to the spot concerning their historical significance.

Apart from the off-beat travel locations disclosed here, there are various other destinations in Kochi that can be explored if you are a true wanderlust. However, you will be in need of an efficient tour company to help you. Gogeo Holidays based in Kochi in Kerala is one such travel firm that had acquired absolute customer satisfaction for its exceptional services. The polite tour guides of the firm will accompany you from the moment you arrive at either your bus station or airport. Moreover, they had set the most diverse tour packages targeting each sort of travellers such as honeymooners, family tour groups and for even solo travellers. You just need to pick up your most suitable package, which could fulfil your travel preferences. Furthermore, the most striking feature of the company is that these travel deals could be acquired at most affordable prices.

Unveiling the Hidden Gem of Kottayam- Mango Meadows with My Better Half

I don’t know how to start writing. I rethink it is the 5th time I am trying to pen down my romantic days in limited words. Don’t think that I wrote one or two words in my last 4 attempts and then deleted it. More than a paragraph I wrote and then I thought the words are inappropriate or the introduction is not good without rethinking I just pressed the backspace key. After refreshing for a while I reattempted the task. I hope this time it may work. It is a normal custom that newly married couples plan an exotic honeymoon trip soon after their wedding. But for us, we planned our honeymoon after a year! Isn’t it strange? Whenever we share our honeymoon stories with our friends they used to wonder and ask what were you guys doing till then. And I hope after reading this you may also have asked the same question in your mind. To quench your anxiety I will explain the reason.

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The main obstacle for our honeymoon was our ‘job’. We both were working in a reputed multinational company. Soon after marriage like an ordinary couple, we weaved many destinations for our romantic trip but fate betrayed us. Suddenly my husband was assigned to do a project in the United States of America. With a broken heart, we accepted our destiny. The project was only for 6 months. After 184 days my hubby returned and we again started planning our pending romantic trip. But again destiny started testing our patience this time I got an assignment in the United Arab Emirates for half a year. For securing my job I was forced to accept the order. It was very hard for us to live without each other. I moved to the UAE. I started to countdown each day. Finally, I returned back. Each time when we successfully pass the tests given by destiny, destiny itself will reward us with precious gifts in return and it was true in our case.

As I am friendly in nature I never felt any kind of difficulty interacting with people whom I have never met before. When I was in the United Arab Emirates one of my colleagues who hailed from Kerala, a state in south India (NB: The majority of the population of the UAE is Malayalee), was very friendly to me. We shared all our personal stories. One day accidentally I got a chance to view her honeymoon pictures. To be very frank the pictures were really awesome. For a moment I thought the place will be somewhere outside India. I inquired her about her honeymoon destination. She with little shy told me that it was none other than Kerala. According to me, Kerala was a state comprised of only tranquil backwaters and breathtaking hill stations. It was hard for me to believe they celebrated their first love in a park. They mainly concentrated the Mango Meadows of Kottayam district of Kerala for sowing their first seeds of romance. I also asked her does she had any relatives or friends over there. They don’t have anyone in Kerala it was through the travel agency called Dream Holidays that helped them to make their honeymoon trip fabulous. They availed of their tour packages online. On returning to Delhi I discussed the same to my husband. He was very happy and agreed to purchase the packages.

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The best time to visit the Mango Meadows is from September to March. By mid of January, we purchased the package. On reaching Cochin International Airport from Delhi Airport our tour representative greeted us with a garland made of lotus and also they applied a paste made out of sandalwood on our forehead. For a moment we thought after a year of marriage we again became bride and groom. From the airport, it took more than an hour to reach Kottayam district. On reaching Mango Meadows our tour representative guided us to lake resort. As we were very hungry we had lunch first and then we moved to our room. Words are insufficient to describe the relishing taste of food. Till then I had only seen varieties of cuisines in luxurious hotels but it was for the first time I am seeing this in the resort. By the evening we started our excursion. We first selected the shikari boating. We had already booked for the same while purchasing the packages, therefore, we didn’t have to waste our time getting the passes. Boating through the mangrove forests gave us a scintillating experience which we never had experienced before. Apart from boating, there were many couples who were engaged in various activities like shooting, cycling, badminton and archery and so on.

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There are many interesting things to enjoy and see. Our tour guide told us that the Biodiversity Park sprawls in an area of 30 acres with more than 4,800 varieties of flowering plants, 780 types of trees, and 174 species of fruits. The man-made park was constructed under the leadership of Mr. M Kurian. He is a true nature lover and took 14 years to build this park. In the park, we could not only see honeymoon couples but also many families and youngsters who come there to explore the serenity of the park. Most of the family bring their kids to the park for a picnic. It is the only place in Kerala where parents and children could enjoy their time in their own way.  As the parks consist of amusement parks for children and secluded areas for adults both can discover the gem hidden in nature in their way. As we wanted to spend a night in treehouse we asked our tour guide to make slight changes in the packages. And he agreed for it. Words are insufficient to express the feeling of spending a night in the midst of forests. we began our next day by hearing the meticulous chirp from birds.

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We also rowed in ‘Kotta vanchi’ (basket boat). We were afraid of whether it will break. But it was strong as a pillar. We also did fishing and fed food to the fishes while we were in the lake resort. It is the belief of Hindus that feeding fishes are like feeding to Lord Vishnu. We then moved to ‘Sarppa Kavu’. It is a place where serpents rest. It regarded as a sacred place by Hindus. People from various places come here to worship the serpents. It is believed that serpents have the magical power to cure wounds and illnesses of all kinds. There are many more places in the park. The park is actually divided into various sections such as Bird sanctuary. Over here we captured the beautiful images of varieties of birds in our camera the authorities have allocated special benches to sit and mesmerize the beauty of birds. Animal husbandry and Plant nursery is another place that helps to study more about nature. Nakashtraval is the place where people can find trees related to their Malayalam Zodiac sign. Bible Statute is another eye-catching place. The Bible is placed on a long wooden structure with its centre page opened.

After spending two days in Mango Meadows we moved to other places to explore the beauty of Kottayam. Places like Bay Island Drift Museum, St. Mary’s Orthodox Church (it is built-in Hindu architectural style), Poonjar Palace, and many more. After 4 days we departed to Delhi by carrying sweet memories and sweet gifts for our relatives and friends.

 

The Best Ever Houseboat Cruise across Ashtamudi Lake in Kerala: A Soothing Travelogue from Delhi

It was the first time ever that both me and my younger brother watching such a vast experience of water in such a serene environment. And we were in happiness that knew no bounds watching such a sight. When mom said that Kerala was the God’s Own Country, all of us thought that she has got biased opinions for her native place. But once we had reached that beautiful destination, we realized that what she was saying was indeed true. Although she is a Bhojpuri, she was born and brought up in Kochi, as our Naana used to work there during those years. She has always got boundless words when appreciating about the aesthetic beauty of Kerala.

So when we thought of a perfect place for our tour in puja holidays, it was she who suggested KeralaMoreover, my younger brother Chotu was having asthma issues so we could not choose any cold hill stations. Once the main location was confirmed, both I and dad were busy searching about the possible tourist sites in the place, where we could visit on our vacation. We got to know about the tour packages offered by a popular travel firm of Kerala called Dream Holidays as they had good ratings and attention-grabbing ads on the web. They had one of the best ratings among all other companies. Moreover, they had the packages to varied locations such as those based in hill stations, backwaters, beaches and whatnot. Quite surprisingly, most of them were at the cheapest rates.

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So on the very next day after Chootu’s school exams, we were at the airport in Delhi. I was also having semester break at my college and I never had to worry about the number of days that would take for our trip. Dad had also taken his weeklong leave from the office. From the Indira Gandhi International Airport on the scheduled date and time, all of us boarded a flight and reached the Trivandrum International Airport within a flying time of 3 hours and 20 minutes.  Since we had boarded an early morning flight, we were not feeling much hungry but were thirsty. The moment when we were moving out of the main building, we saw somebody standing with a placard showing ‘Gupta and family.’ Dad went up to him and confirmed that it was our tour guide. His name was Somadev.

As per the instructions given by him, we had to travel for around 2 and a half-hour of the journey. After moving some distance, we saw a roadside vendor selling tender coconuts. We pulled over the car and all of us sipped the natural drink. It was truly refreshing. Later in the journey when we had covered the urban spaces of Kollam city, we crossed over numerous bridges and sights on both sides were indeed scenic. I didn’t know whether that was a lake or river, anyways there were just too many water bodies whichever directions we turned our heads at. The next striking factor that I noted was that the greenery here can be seen nowhere else in the country! Chootu missed all of this, as he had slept after sipping that natural drink. Finally, we arrived at our resort where we to stay for our holiday in Kerala.

There were many smiling faces around us. All of them seemed friendly right from the very first moment. The staffs there welcomed all four of us with a flower garland and adorned with a pinch of Kumkum on our foreheads. Quite strangely, Chootu was getting intimidated at this friendly gesture for which all of us burst out laughing. As the resort was on the banks of the lakeside, it already had natural landscaping. Chootu was with dad when they went for checking-in, meanwhile, both I and mom took many selfies. Our guide was back to us when we were settling in. Later he informed was what we were badly waiting for. The houseboat ride across the Ashtamudi Lake!

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The boat that we were to cruise was already moored at their private jetty. It looked classy and elegant. They were owned and maintained by the same resort that we had relied on our tour. We quickly rushed into the massive houseboat. Just then I got realized that we were provided with a boat with all the facilities that a suite room of a hotel is comprised. It had a living area, two bedrooms, one kitchen and a balcony. Everything was set beautifully and was spacious. The materials from which they were made were even more exciting. Out of curiosity, I enquired this to the guide. He said that they were made in traditional Kerala architecture with natural materials such as coir, bamboo and woods of coconut and areca nut trees.

Our houseboat started moving slowly. The sun was scorching then, but we were not at all feeling warm, as a cool breeze was hitting us from the lake waters. Coconut palms were lined all across the banks of the lake as most of them were seen slanting towards the water. A staff was there to help us with the cooking in the kitchen. After moving some distance it was halted and to our surprise, we saw him fishing with a traditional net. And for the first time ever, both I and my brother saw live fishes. Our guide later announced that those were pearl spots and large lake shrimps. Meanwhile, we saw various country boats and most of them were paddled manually. I thought for a moment that, the oarsmen would be healthy and the process would be fruitful during fuel price up.

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According to our packages, the caught fishes will be cooked live and served to us. Those tempting aromas from the Kitchen made us hungrier. Within no time, the delicacies were at the table. They were ‘Karimeen Pollichathu’ and ’Konju Roast,’ which had to be savoured along with rice. They were supposed to be eaten with bare hands. Expect mother, all of us had a tough time in the venture. However, the distinctive taste of the spicy recipes made us forget all such difficulties. Once satisfying our tummies, we dozed off for some time. Our tour guide already informed us, the sunset viewed from these parts of the lake will be beautiful. He was right, they were indeed enticing. Witnessing the beauty of the lake, my mom revealed that it was her long lost wish to arrange my destination wedding on the beaches of Kerala! I was dumbstruck for her words. Anyways thank you Dream Holidays for making this trip beautiful and memorable and at the end of the confusing!

My First Kerala Trip with my Family and Relatives

Kerala is prominently known as ‘god’s own country’ and it is famous not only for Indians but also for travelers across the world. The first thing that comes into our mind when we hear about Kerala is the tall coconut trees oscillating in the breeze. And the second image will be of houseboats and canoes. Many of the famous writers in Malayalam have penned down the mesmerizing beauty of the nature of Kerala. Along with the coconut trees, the state is also blessed with sun-kissed beaches, tranquil backwaters, turquoise rivers, cascading waterfalls and eye-catching varieties of flora and fauna and many more. Hundreds of thousands of travelers visit the splendid state to be part of the eccentric nature by availing tour packages to the state from the leading travel agencies.

It was my childhood dream to explore the state. When I was in the 8th standard, my parents fulfilled my dream. From Ahmedabad, we availed of tour packages to Kerala at cheap prices from Gogeo Holidays travel partners. I was really thrilled. It was for the first time we were going for a long journey. With all my cousins I really had a fun time. On reaching Trivandrum International Airport from Ahmedabad we were welcomed by a garland made out of jasmine flowers and they applied a paste made from sandalwood on our foreheads. For a moment we felt like we are chief guests.  The tour coordinators took us one of the best hotels in Thiruvananthapuram. We were amazed by seeing the secretariat, national parks and many more. Before reaching the hotel we visited the famous Priyadarshini Planetarium. On reaching the hotel we refreshed ourselves and by evening we went out for strolling through the historic streets. We did a small sort of shopping.  The next day after relishing mouthwatering breakfast we started our sightseeing. The first place which we visited was the Napier Museum. Our tour guide told us that the museum was constructed some 150 years ago and it hosts several mural paintings, musical instruments, sculptures and many more. Adjacent to it lays the famous Kanakakunu Palace. The palace was built by the King of Travancore. From there we moved to the famous Poovar Island. Over there we indulged in small kinds of beach activities. We also availed of the boat ride and it cost above INR 1000 (I exactly don’t remember the amount). By evening we returned to our hotel. After having delicious dinner we unwind ourselves.

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The next day we continued our exploration. After having ‘appam and vegetable stew’ we visited the famous Padmanabhaswamy temple. Our tour guide told that it is considered one of the wealthiest temples in the world. There are yet many more chambers to be opened and no one knows what is hidden in it. It took more than an hour to completely explore the palace. After exploring the palace we moved to the nearby beach called Kovalam. The beach is famous for its exceptional beauty. More than the locals it is the foreigners that are seen in large numbers. While playing on sand (we were making sandcastle) our tour guide shared many interesting facts about the state. I asked him how the state got the name. He told us that there are many stories behind the name. Some say the state got the name Kerala due to the presence of coconut trees in abundance and while some others tell it is because of the mythological characters. According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Kerala is considered one of the cleanest states in the country. The presence of hospitals and banks in every village indicates the development of the state. By the time an ice-cream seller passed us. All of us bought ice-creams.

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After a short break, he continued. More than the exploration, travelers from various parts of the country visit the state to be part of Ayurveda treatments. The state is famous for herbal therapies. Kerala is known to have the highest sex ratio. It also stands in the top position when it comes to the matter of literacy. He asked one question of why the brides of Kerala wear heavy gold ornaments. We kids replied it maybe because gold is available at cheap rates. He smiled and said that it is not because of that it is due to the country’s 1/5 th of gold is present in Kerala. He again asked another question whether we knew the state animal of Kerala. My brother replied it is the elephant and he appreciated his correct answer. Elephants play a vital role in each and every Malayalee’s life and they are used for processions in temple festivals. The next day we trek to Agasthyakoodam Mountains. The mountain shelters rare species of plants and herbs. It is a haven for bird lovers. Karamana River provides water to the whole district, origin from the Agasthyakoodam hills. It is also called as the second-highest hill station in Kerala. It was for the first time I did trekking and it gifted me a wonderful experience. We clicked on many photographs.

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On reaching our hotel I and my cousins were very busy uploading all the images into social media. Many gave us good comments. The hotel was furnished with all modern facilities such as 24 hrs we got hot and cold water, and laundry facility was also there. In fact, there was a special play station for children below 15 years. Soon after sightseeing, we used to spend long hours here. The next morning we bided goodbye to Thiruvananthapuram. I was happy and at the same time, I was sad too. Because it was for the first time in my life I am visiting a place which is far away from my home town. The trip really gifted me with lots of sweet memories that to be cherished in my early thirties. After getting the boarding pass I entered the flight and I pleaded the air hostess to change my seat as it is was far away from my parents’ seat. She accepted my request. I grabbed that seat and hugged them firmly and thanked them for gifting me such a wonderful journey.

An Unexpected Office Tour to Wayanad

From morning till noon we all were behind our hectic assignments and busy with several files and documents. Everyone was feeling so hungry that each one was praying to lord to make the 10’o clock into 1’o clock. However, by 11’o clock we were able to quench our thirst by sipping hot tea (some had hot coffee). After working for 2 hours we were really tired as soon as the long hand of the clock reached 12 and the small one on 1 we ran to our refreshment room. We were in a hurry. Each one of us started unboxing their lunch boxes. The aromatic scent of delicious homemade foods took us to another world. While savouring the scrumptious delicacies suddenly we heard a beep sound. It was nothing but a notification of a message from my phone. I just got up from my place to take the phone which I had kept on the juice table. By scrolling on the phone I occupied my place. Seeing the smile on my face my friends inquired the matter. They wanted to know the reason behind my smile. I showed them the images of my friends’ honeymoon. The pictures were really amusing and lovely commented by my friends. Seeing the picture one of my friends had a doubt whether the place is Wayanad in Kerala. I messaged her whether his assumption is correct or wrong. Within seconds she replied yes. The picture which they clicked in front of the heart-shaped lake more popularly known as Cupid Lake was really amazing. Seeing her romantic photos inspired us to plan a trip to the same place in Kerala. But we all had a doubt whether the place is exclusively made for honeymooners. Our dear friend Rakesh told the district is considered one of the best tourist places in Kerala. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the state by availing of tour packages from eminent travel operators. As it is being a long time we had gone for a trip why don’t we select Wayanad as a travel destination of our office tour was suggested by Aamir? We all rethink on his suggestion and found his words as valuable. Therefore we presented the matter to our HR manager and he agreed for the same.

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As our company was a start-up. We hardly were 50 members. Therefore we decided to reach Wayanad on a mini travel bus. And also travelling in a minibus is the best and cheap way to save expenses. We started the journey in the early morning. It took nearly 4-5 hours to reach the charming district. During our travel, we had to cross several hairpins. Crossing each hairpin gave us wonderful experiences. Usually while travelling through the hairpins, one will have the tendency to vomit or feel some kind of discomfort. Even though some of us had such feeling the aromatic scent from tea and coffee plantations made them feel better. From the beginning of the journey, we were very energetic and thrilled. We engaged ourselves in playing antakshri. As we had availed the tour package from the famous Gogeo Holidays their tour guide was there to accompany us. The tour guide was really very friendly. He shared much valuable information about Wayanad. He said that in olden days Wayanad was completely enveloped by tall trees and many wild animals. It was very hard for externals to reach the spot. It was during the colonial period that small sorts of transformations took place. Many eminent writers have penned down the amusing charm in their novels, stories, poems, and articles. More than the civilized people it is uncivilized people more commonly known as Adivasis rule this place. They are one such community in Kerala who show reluctance to adapt to modern changes. They are called a protector of the forest. While talking about the Adivasis, Rakesh asked about the story behind the Chain tree. Chain tree? We were surprised. How a tree could be named as a chain tree. We asked our tour guide to share the myth behind the strange name. He asked Rakesh does he know anything about the Chain Tree. He said that he does not know much. He got the name while surfing the internet as part of the tour the previous day.

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 Our tour guide told there is no myth related to the Chain Tree but a true story. The incident happened during the British administration. As he had aforementioned the district was fully forested to know the shortest route to reach the district once a British General seek help from a local Adivasi boy named Karinthandan. He showed the easiest way to reach the place. After understanding the route he killed the poor innocent boy so that he could acquire the credit. Years later Karinthandan’s ghost started haunting the villagers and visitors. Frightened people approached a priest and asked him to do something to get rid of the ghost. The spirit chanted prayers and sealed the ghost inside a tree using a chain. Over the years the chain started growing along with the chain. Till now nobody knows the science behind it. In the memory of Karinthandan every year local people conduct a rally by honouring him as the first martyr of Wayanad.

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After hearing the story we were really interested to visit the place. The tree is seen on the Lakkidi highway. After visiting the chain tree we moved to Kalpetta over there we witnessed the spectacular beauty of cascading waterfalls at Soochipar (Sentinel falls), Kanthapara falls and Meenmutty falls. Followed to it we spend quality time at Chembara peak. It is the perfect destination for trekking. By availing the entry pass we started trekking. On reaching the top we enchanted the beauty of the amazing heart-shaped lake or Cupid Lake. The top view of the lake is something beyond our expectations. Over there we enjoyed the panoramic view of the Kodaikanal and Wayanad. As overnight camping is not allowed soon after the sunset we left the place. Before leaving the beautiful district we also visited the famous Sultan Bathery and Edakkal Caves. The cave comprises the inscriptions of Neolithic age. We clicked photographs at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.  After 2 days of the trip, we returned back to our hometown. The stunning beauty of Wayanad is beyond the words. If I get a chance I will definitely visit the place again.

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The Dazzling Munnar After Devastating Floods

Kerala the ‘god’s own country’ has always been on the top list of most sought tourist destinations. The pristine beaches, tranquilizing backwaters, amazing biodiversity, historical monuments and many more lure the hearts of travelers across the globe. Each season has something new to gift its visitors. Many eminent writers have penned down the stupendous beauty of the state through poems, essays, novels, and articles. It always was being my dream to visit the tourists’ spots of the state. Many of my friends had visited the hotspots like Munnar, Thekkady, and Kollam and used to showcase the photographs clicked over there. Seeing those lovely pictures I used to feel very sad about not being part of it. Each time we plan a trip to Munnar some unexpected emergencies would hinder it.

But this time we decided to spend a few days in the misty mountains of Munnar. For that, we searched for the best travel operators that curate exceptionally good tour packages to Kerala. We were in search of such a tour operator who would be ready to take care of us and make our trip memorable. It was our friend who suggested the name of Gogeo Holidays. They are the only travel operators in my knowledge who inculcate the price of air tickets with the package and this specialty is what we liked very much. And also Gogeo Holidays are one of the best travel partners in Kerala. As we were basically hailing from Hyderabad we were really unfamiliar with the language and lifestyle of the Kerala people, availing their services will definitely help us and the same was reported by our friends. Many of us asked to drop the plan as the previous year, 2018 the state had faced one of the disastrous rainfalls which took the lives of many living beings. Most of the routes to the tourist spots were completely damaged and the state had to face a big financial loss. With a few months of rigorous hard works the state started to recover but again in 2019 the state faced the same kind of rainfall but not with that intensity as the previous year. Even we thought of dropping the plan but the tour coordinators of the Gogeo Holidays assured us there would be no issues and our traveling would be safe.

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After the 2019 flood, we availed of the package to Kerala during the puja holidays. We boarded a flight from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad to Cochin International Airport in Kerala. As informed, the tour coordinators were there to receive us with a warm welcome. From there we proceeded to Munnar in a private cab. The road to Munnar was good in condition except with a few potholes here and there. Our journey comprised of many hairpins also. While covering the hairpins we saw many people coming back after visiting the famous hill station, Munnar and with a smile on their faces. As we reached Kerala in the early morning we didn’t have to face much traffic and could reach the spot with 3 hours. The Munnar hill station is situated in the Idukki district. The moment we reached the resort the people over there received us with warm greetings and handed over the keys of our rooms. After relaxing for an hour we got ready for sightseeing. The place which we were taken first according to the tour package was to the thick green plantations of tea. The spectacular arrangement of tea leaves touched our hearts deeply. The aromatic scent of the tea leaves took us to another world. Over there we saw many foreigners who came there to celebrate their romantic days. Apart from western people we also interacted with people hailing from different states of India. I and my sister indulged in plucking tea leaves with female workers by carrying a long basket.

From there we moved to Mattupetty dam. Over there we were engaged in boating. For the first time, we were seeing people boating in a dam!!! Travelers who visit this iconic destination would definitely avail of the boating service. One could also capture the splendid view of nature while boating inside the dam.  Followed to it we savored mouth-watering dishes prepared in traditional Kerala style. By the evening we reached the Eravikulam National Park to observe the various rare species of animals and birds. Also, it is home to Strobilanthes flower (known as NeelaKurinji flower in the Malayalam language). It is a lavender-blue colored flower which blooms once in 12 years. It last bloomed in September 2018 but due to hazardous flood, the number of tourists declined rapidly. Most of the animals were unknown to us and our tour guide who accompanied us explained all the important information about the species including their lifestyles.

We trek to the Nilgiri hills and clicked the beautiful picture of Nilgiri tahr. We really had wonderful family time on the hill. As it was getting darker we were asked to return back to the resort. On reaching the resort we filled our tummies with delicious Kerala foods served in hot.

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The next day also we continued our sightseeing in Munnar. I and my sister had a great time at the Echo point. Not only we but many newly married couples and lovers were calling out each other’s names. In between sightseeing, we also did the shopping. Our mother was busy collecting homemade tea powders in various flavors and also chocolates, spices, and many more things. I and my sister were busy collecting ornaments made out of shells and various showcase items. How could we end our shopping without buying a gorgeous hat? Our dad was engaged in a deep conversation with the local farmers for understanding the various methods of farming.

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After spending one more day in Munnar we packed our bags to our home town. After visiting the place we understood most of the news which we heard about the Munnar were only exaggerated form. Such news badly affected the tourism of Kerala and also the income of the common vendors. However, the trip to Kerala really gifted loads of memories to be cherished in our free time. Once again I would like to thank our travel partner Gogeo Holidays for making our trip an outstanding and marvelous.

List of 6 Most Photogenic Forts of Kerala that would be Perfect for Honeymooners_ with Rankings

As in any other place of the world, Kerala too has got its own share of magnificent forts that are just perfect for your memorable honeymoon photo-shoot. So you don’t have to head up to the north, for clicking your pictures at the Amber Fort of Rajasthan or Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh. Most of these ancient structures erected here in Kerala are blissed to be sighted straight to the sea that would create a unique and beautiful backdrop. Yet another could be an architectural wonder or be striking for its vastness. So you just need to equip yourself with the required camera and its supporting instruments or hire any efficient group of photographers to click beautiful and everlasting pictures for you here in this land of Kerala.

Below listed are the most beautiful forts of Kerala that in every aspect are perfect to click your exclusive honeymoon pictures.

Bekal Fort in Kasargod

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Being known as the largest and most famous fort of Kerala, the Bekal Fort in Kerala deserves to be on the top of this list of the most photogenic location of Kerala. With the lush green grasslands found all around this ancient structure can make a stunning backdrop for your epic honeymoon picture. If you are planning to visit on a cloudy without much sunlight, you may capture the most romantic set ever gifted by nature on your camera. This location was so deemed as a favorite spot for even the filmmakers to shoot their romantic songs at this captivating fort. Among which the most popular would be the visual treat of the evergreen song, ‘Uyire Uyire’ from the 1995 film ‘Bombay.’

St Angelo Fort in Kannur

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Located in the North Malabar region of Kerala in the Kannur district, the St. Angelo Fort would not be necessarily known to every traveler on their usual tour. Yet they have got their prominence both in its exterior beauty and historical significance. This colossal structure most perfectly comes in the second position of photogenic locations of Kerala. Honeymooners if they are to visit the Portuguese built fort with helicams, could find the triangular structure of St Angelos. Besides that, the newlyweds may click their post-wedding photographs with the mesmerizing Arabian Sea in the background. Never skip that precious frame that could be formed just beside the oil lamp lighthouse. There could be a few tour packages that could take you to the fort under the control of Archeological Survey of India.

 Chandragiri Fort in Kasargod

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Yet another majestic fort of Kasargod district, the one at Chandragiri could be listed third in the ranking. You don’t have to travel much from Bekal Fort to reach this enticing fort that is the confluence of the Payaswini River with the Arabian Sea. Sunsets that can be witnessed from this particular point could be very refreshing to the couples and you may take your best honeymoon snap. The square-shaped fort constructed by Sivappa Naik is perched on a cliff adjacent to these water bodies. Furthermore, the large expanse of land surrounding them could a place to click your most precious pictures together. Also, the tourists visiting these locations are comparatively low, so you may click as many photographs that you wish for.

Arikady Fort in Kasargod

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Although you have missed out on Arikady Fort your honeymoon destinations, you will truly regret that the fort was excluded from your packages once you drop in there for your photo-shoot. The small size of Arikady Fort will not let them out of this list of photogenic locations of the state. You may note that the entire structure resembles the Kaligam Fort of Ahmedabad, but is different from the fact that the Arikady is covered in lush green grasslands. Clicking your honeymoon picture from here will say much about the richness and tradition of Kerala. When walking through the lanes of Arikady Fort, you would indeed feel that you have returned to the centuries when the Nayyikkars ruled in these South Canara regions.

Thalassery Fort in Kannur

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Comparatively, newly built Fort by the colonizers of our country, Thalassery Fort located in the Kannur district comes fifth in the rankings of the most beautiful stone structures of Kerala. Apart from the major fort, you could find various other ancient buildings such as Brennen Cemetery, Collector Bungalow, and St.Rosary Church. So you have more options here to click your best photographs that you can cherish forever. Some of your frames may include the gigantic doors that are primitively inscribed, yet they could provide the very exotic feel that can rarely be found in all other forts in the list. Creative photographers may capture varied pictures with the couples and provide you with the most unique snap with the inclusion of its bastions and tall round holed walls.

Tipu’s Fort in Palakkad

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The fort that comes sixth in this list of most photogenic forts of Kerala is that of Tipu’s Fort, which is otherwise called Palakkad Fort. The well planned ancient structure is located almost in the heart of the Palakkad city itself. Here also, the honeymooners would get to see the green man-made lake all across the fort. The entire area circumventing the forts is well maintained. Henceforth, you don’t have to take much preparation in finding the best spots to capture your finest picture. Anywhere that you tilt your camera, you will be blessed with charming and everlasting frames. Moreover, the best pictures can be captured from the beautiful and green lawns grown on the premises of Tipu’s Fort.

 On your honeymoon, you may visit as many tourist destinations as you and your partner wish for. And if those locations are picturesque and serene, you may arrange your post-wedding photoshoots there itself. However, the forts listed are situated in longer distances. Therefore, you will be relied on to avail of the services provided by Gogeo Holiday, which is an efficient tour company based in Kochi, Kerala. They would provide you with the best honeymoon tour packages at the most affordable rates. Additionally, the packages comprise of tours to varied destinations that can be chosen online or via phone according to your travel preferences.