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Best Places To Visit Near Kochi - Weekend Getaways
Kochi, Kerala’s pride in terms of beaches, backwaters and culture welcomes tourists almost all year round. This city of God’s own country is one of the most beautiful around, with its own forts and teas and coffee and spice plantations. But obviously, the locals of Kochi will be bored of it all in no time. So where do you go to enjoy some time out?
Here are some ideas for you to take weekend getaway trips from Kochi.
A hill station lying very close to Kochi, Vagamon is a destination best driven to during the winters. Located 102 km from Kochi, it takes you around 3 hours to reach Vagamon, seeing as you might like to enjoy the scenery of blue hills and green meadows ripe with waterfalls on your way. Mountaineering, honeymooning, trekking, tea-estate roaming and paragliding are some coveted activities here. Due to its virgin pine forests and hillocks, British colonial settlements and erstwhile Christian missionaries, this town is usually untouched by the tourism mania.
A small village in the district of Alappuzha, Mararikulam is renowned for its stunning Mararikulam Beach. Green landscape surrounding golden sands, a stretch of the ocean rolling onto the sweet shore, the village inviting you into its simplicity — all pervades your senses like a breath of fresh air. You can enjoy on the beach, take a swim in the sea, go for kayaking or just set out on foot to explore the hamlet. Coir making and fishing are the main professions here so you can buy either. Since Mararikulam is a small place, a short weekend will be enough, and you can reach here in less than an hour from Kochi. It is 42 km away.
Ponanni is perched on the side of the Arabian Sea, with its beaches and fishing colonies. It is 114 km from Kochi. Ponanni is home to rich heritage and mosques, freedom fighters and their struggles. Due to its decided Muslim connect, Ponanni is also known as the Makkah of South India. It is also a significant Islamic educational hub. Visit the Saraswati Temple, Lake Biyyam, Ponnani Lighthouse and the fishing harbour over your weekend stay.
Not too far from Kochi, Alappuzha is 53 km away. Also called Alleppey, this is one of the top tourist destinations in Kerala. All year round you will find Indian as well as foreign tourists milling around; enjoying the backwaters and boats, houseboats and massages, yoga and amazing food. If you are bored of the city kinda life in Kochi and want to escape into the wilderness then hire a houseboat in Alappuzha and go away for a weekend into the backwaters. You will see sunrises and sunsets, be served freshly caught and cooked seafood, and sleep on the boat. There are also many temples and churches for your to visit if you are bored sitting in the backwaters.
A proper hill station, complete with rolls and rolls of fragrant tea estates, Munnar is best for a long weekend away from Kochi. It is 134 km away and also famously coveted for the cardamom plantations it is home to. Located 6000 ft above sea level in the Western Ghats, Munnar should be on your list during summer as well as winter. See waterfalls and valleys, hills and valleys, go trekking and paragliding and tea picking. There is so much to do here.
Pathanamthitta is Kerala’s smallest district. It lies 117 km away from Kochi and is best visited for its culture and pilgrimage. The boat races here are very famous, especially during festivals like Aranmula boat race. This is the oldest boat race in the world and done in around September every year. So this time is good to visit. The temple of Sabarimala is located here, on top of a hill, where Lord Ayyappa resides in his Brahmachari form. Over 100 million devotees visit this temple every year. Other places to visit here are Perunthenaruvi Waterfalls, Malankara Orthodox Church, Kaviyoor Mahadeva Temple and Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple.
A little village in Idduki, Marayur is located on the Western Ghats. Its history dates back to the stone age and hence makes it quite an interesting mix of nature and history. Here sandalwood trees grow in abundance and fill the whole atmosphere with their fragrance. You can take your weekend off from Kochi and drive up 169 km to reach Marayur. Visit the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to see elephants, tigers, gaur and leopards, go explore Muniyaras that date back to Iron Age, see the Thenkasinathan Temple and enjoy an evening by Pambar River.
The best, best, best weekend holiday from Kochi, for those who want to enjoy a hill station filled with wildlife. Thekkady is only 156 km away from Kochi and hence easy to reach. You will need to drive up the slopes of the Western Ghats to reach this fragrant land, alive with smells of cloves and cardamoms, cinnamon and nutmeg, black pepper and teas. Visit the famous Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, take a day to trek, enjoy some down time by the Periyar Lake or Mullaperiyar Dam and pray at the ancient Mangala Devi Temple. Thekkady is also amazing for getting Ayurvedic massages and most resorts and homestays offer them with seasonal therapies.