Travel Destinations

27 Beautiful but Obscure Kerala Destinations

Obscure Kerala Destinations
Written by Jane Sophia

Of all the states in the plains in India, Kerala is the most beautiful one to tour and explore. In addition, Kerala Destinations have numerous hidden gems of tour-worthy places that located in:

  • Seasides
  • Forests
  • Lakesides
  • Riverfronts and estuaries
  • Hills
  • Rural Kerala
  • Towns and villages on the banks of backwater canals

Stunning natural attractions that are on off beaten paths are breathtakingly beautiful. A natural lover’s ultimate paradises of locales are so much obscure in Kerala that one would gasp even by looking at the images of them. The title image above is one such place that I would describe in a moment.

If you are a travel nomad, you would forget about staying in cozy hotel rooms, watching TV 12 hours a day, and filling up your stomach more than it can take.

You would get on your feet and go deep inside Kerala Destinations like Wayanad and Idukki districts and stumble onto exquisite gems of touristy attractions.

Here are 27 Totally Obscure Kerala Destinations.

Obscure Kerala Destinations: Gavi Village

Please take a moment to scroll up and look at the image of a gorgeous waterfront. For your convenience, I reproduce the image below.

Obscure Kerala Destinations

Can’t take your eyes off it-eh? It is not located in some scenic place in South Africa or New Zealand, buddy, but it is very much in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, where is forest cover than human dwellings.

Trivia:

Do you know Pathanamthitta is the least polluted town in Kerala?

Location of Gavi Lake and accessibility.

Gavi Lake and town is located just 15 km from Vandiperiyar town, an important gateway to the famous Sabari Malai temple and is part of the Ranni reserve forest.

The famous Periyar Tiger Reserve is also in the vicinity of Pathanamthitta.

You can also reach Gavi from Tamilnadu’s Kumily near Thekkady.

The nearest airports to reach Gavi are in Madurai city in Tamilnadu and Trivandrum city in Kerala.

Gavi forest is lush green almost throughout the year. If you have a bit of knowledge in commercial crops, you will identify:

  • Pepper
  • Rubber
  • Cashew
  • Cocoa

If you like to see the countrysides of Kerala Destinations then, you should go on a train from Coimbatore city in Tamilnadu and travel up to Trivandrum.

The Chegannor railway station is where you have to alight to go to Gavi that located about 25 km away.

By road, reach Kollam first and then take a taxi from there to visit Gavi. The distance to be covered is only 60 km.

Throughout your road trip, you will witness long patches of forests. The entire journey up to Gavi is of inexplicable scenic beauty.

For wildlife lovers, Gavi is a mini haven with teaming forest animals and lovely birds that include the cute and brisk Sunbird and the Malabar Grey Hornbill.

Sunbird

Wild animals that you can spot in Gavi are:

  • Gaur
  • Nilgiri Langur
  • Tiger
  • Elephant
  • The elusive Indian Giant Squirrel

So, how do you like this obscure attraction of Kerala Destination?

Obscure Kerala Destinations: Adavi Lake

Adavi Lake, Kerala Destinations

Isn’t that as beautiful as Gavi Lake? Adavi is part of the Konni municipal area of the Pathanamthitta district.

Adavi town itself picturesquely situated on the shores of the Kallar River that is surrounded by thick forest. Since the riverfront of Adavi measures approximately 5 km, the Coracle ride is trendy here.

Not many of us have heard of this obscure attraction in Kerala-right?

Konni, Kerala

Konni is another scenic town full of beautiful forests. It is part of the Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. Konni is an elephant reserve and elephant training center in India. Also, there is also a wildlife museum in Konni town.

So, have you ever heard of these little hidden gems of Kerala Destinations? Now, we take leave of Pathanamthitta district and move on to see other obscure Kerala Destinations.

Obscure Kerala Destination Silent Valley

It is a rather small national park in Kerala comprising just 90 sq.km of the evergreen rainforest, rich with rare flora and avifauna. Silent Valley is part of the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats.

Silent Valley is certainly an obscure Kerala Destinations where tourist inflow is not noticeable. Nevertheless, it is nothing but a paradise for green lovers and ardent botanical students and enthusiasts. Thousands of wildflowers, orchids, ferns, tree-moss, and algae enrich the whole forest. No motorized vehicles allowed inside the silent valley.

Silent Valley, Kerala

Do you know the Silent Valley National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site?

Palakkad town is the gateway to Silent Valley, a less explored tourist destination in Kerala.

Birds of the Silent Valley National Park, Kerala

The dense forest cover and several rivers (Kunthipuzha, Kummaathanthodu, Karingathodu, Valiaparathodu,  Kunthancholapuzha,  Madrimaranthodu) that flow inside national park make an ideal habitat for a range of birds that include:

  • Nilgiri wood-pigeon

Nilgiri wood-pigeon

  • White-bellied Treepie

White-bellied Treepie

  • Nilgiri flycatcher
  • Malabar Parakeet

Malabar Parakeet

  • Broad-tailed Grassbird
  • Ceylon frogmouth

Ceylon frogmouth

  • Black Bulbul

Black Bulbul

Wow! What a range of colorful birds! Surely, you can call the Silent Valley an obscure gem of Kerala-right?

Muzhappilangad Beach, Kerala

Muzhappilangad Beach is in Kannur, Kerala. It was formerly known as ‘Cannanore. This is a unique beach in the sense its surface is ‘driveable.’ Ride on a four-wheeler or two-wheeler on this long stretch of beach, allowing the wind off the Arabian Sea through your mane.

This is the only drive-in beach in India.

These obscure Kerala Destinations close to Kannur railway station that is only 15 minutes’ drive away.

If you want to go to Thalaserry from Kannur, you have to drive through this scenic beach.

Beautiful Kerala Destinations: Ranipuram, Kerala

Haven’t heard of it before-eh? That’s why it is called an ‘obscure’ attraction in Kerala’s Kasargod district, the last one bordering Karnataka.

Ranipuram, Kerala Destinations

This misty place is a hill station in Kerala. Mesmerized by the tranquillity of the Western Ghats, one can trek for long hours without getting tired at all.

One can walk up to the summit situated at the height of 3300 feet in just 3 hours.

  1. Obscure Kerala DestinationsValiyaparamba Backwaters, Kerala

You need not leave Kasargod, mate, to visit this breathtaking backwater Kerala Destination. Generally, tourists head to Alleppey or Kollam to see the backwater canals of Kerala or to stay in a boathouse for a day.

Valiyaparamba backwaters is an obscure attraction of Kerala, and hence, it is less crowded Kerala Destinations.

As many as four rivers drain into this canal.

Here also, houseboats are available for hire. If you are looking for a fast ride in the canal, there are ferries that take you for a ride (literally, I mean).

Ask the ferry pilot to just cruise near the banks of the backwater canals and focus your binoculars on spotting birds of migratory nature.

Banasura Sagar Reservoir, Wayanad, Kerala

Banasura Sagar Reservoir, Kerala Destinations

In this less-travelled beautiful Kerala Destination, River Karamanathodu is arrested and made into a water reservoir. The River Karamanathodu is a branch river of the Kabini River.

Banasura Sagar dam is built high on the Western Ghats at an elevation of over 3000 feet. At such a high elevation, the dam and its surroundings will look picturesque and serene, just like the Pykara Dam in Ooty.

Banasura Sagar reservoir is certainly one of the Obscure Kerala Destinations. Tell me, how many of you have heard of this Obscure Kerala Destination before reading this article?

You can trek up on the adjacent hills and look for beautiful birds of the Western Ghat’s shoals. As you walk on pre-trodden trekking trails, clouds will pass by you and thus making you feel like you are an angel walking on the clouds. What an experience it will be!

Look at this view of the Banasura Sagar reservoir from the nearby hills:

If you have plenty of time to kill at this scenic Obscure Kerala Destination, go on a pedal boat ride. The silence of the hills will be sooth your mood.

However, if you are running out of time, go for a speedboat ride on the Banasura Sagar reservoir.

The famous Kalpeta hill station in Wayanad of Kerala is only 20 km away from Banasura Sagar.

Beautiful Kerala Destinations: Anayirangal Reservoir, Munnar

I bet this is the most Obscure Kerala Destinations and that too in Munnar, the highly visited hill station in Kerala.

The Anayiragal dam reached through a tea plantation. When you have walked for quite a distance, suddenly this lovely water body appears before you.

Anayirangal Reservoir, Kerala Destinations

That’s a typical Western Ghats scene, an artificial lake surrounded evergreen forests teeming with Nilgiri Langurs

Nilgiri Langurs

and Orange Minivet. Oh, what a color combination on this small bird!

Orange Minivet

Here is another view of this lesser-known Obscure Kerala Destination, which shows islands on the lake.

Anayirangal Reservoir, Kerala Destinations

Meenmutty Waterfalls, Kerala

Meenmutty Waterfalls, Kerala

I think you should thank me for letting you know of so many obscure attractions in Kerala, especially in Wayanad and Idukki districts.

These lesser-known tourist attractions are simply breathtaking. You can visit these places by staying either in Kalpetta hill station or Sultan Battery in Wayanad.

Now, getting back to the Meenmutty waterfalls, it is located 30 km from Kalpetta, on the way to Ooty.

Please be aware that you have to walk/climb for more than 25 minutes on the hill through dense jungle to see the Meenmutty waterfalls that fall from a staggering height of 1000 feet!

Since the waterfall is a three-tier one, you won’t feel the full force of it at the bottom of the falls.

The place is too beautiful, and it is a crime not to stay for at least two days. There is a picturesque resort here with great views of the Meenmutty waterfalls, adjoining forests and tea gardens. There is even a treehouse set amidst an absolutely dreamy location.

Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

Kerala’s green environs are a real haven for birds, including migratory birds. The Thattekad bird sanctuary is a little-known bird watching paradise even among passionate birders.

Not only exquisite birds you can watch but also so many other living beings that live in a typical tropical forest.  Spot thus-far-never-seen butterfly species, insects, reptiles, and underwater creatures. The whole area is heavenly for nature lovers who may refuse to budge from this obscure attraction of Kerala.

The Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary also known as Salim Ali bird reserve. Salim Ali is a famous ornithologist of India.

The names of some of the birds that can be spotted in Thattekad are:

  • Malabar Grey Hornbill

Malabar Grey Hornbill

  • Wood Pigeon
  • Ceylon Frogmouth

Ceylon Frogmouth

  • Drongo

Drongo

The Thattekad bird sanctuary located in Thattekad near Aluva railway station, about 45 km away. One can also visit Thattekad bird sanctuary from Cochin by car. It will be about 65 km distance to cover.

See the surroundings of Thattekad:

Thattekad

Pakshi Pathalam bird sanctuary and caves, Kerala

Again, Kalpetta hill station is your base to visit this stunning forest area. From Kalpetta, Pakshi Pathalam located at about 33 km. In order to see the giant boulders and the caves, you need to climb and walk more than 8 km in the thick jungle on the slopes of Brahmagiri hills. Your starting point is called Thirunelli.

When you reach your Obscure Kerala Destination, you would have trekked quite a lot, and the altitude at which you will be standing will be a little more than 5000 feet!

River Papanasini flows through the forest.

What an obscure attraction of Kerala! It’s really spell-binding!

Iruppu Falls, Obscure Kerala Destination

Waterfalls should be hidden; its beauty lies only when it is not seen first but heard-right? The surprise element is discovering the waterfalls from its roaring sound.

Iruppu Falls, Kerala Destinations

Though it located in Karnataka’s Coorg, it is easily accessible from Kerala.

Iruppu Falls

After all, you are touring Kerala’s beautiful and obscure attractions; why not take a slight detour and see these cascading waterfalls?

Fascinating Kerala Destinations: Kundala Waterfalls

If you travel from Aluva to Munnar, Kundala falls is located 20 km before Munnar. These are the other hidden and Obscure Kerala Destinations in the Munnar hills region.

There is also a reservoir, and the water looks absolutely pristine there. You can take a boat ride on the Kunadala Lake.

Situated at an elevation of more than 5000 feet, Kundala’s visit should be timed so that you can see the beautiful cherry blossom that blooms twice in a year.

cherry blossom

Nearby, there is another waterfall called ‘Aruvikkad.’ Don’t miss that too, buddy!

Ponmudi hill station, Obscure Kerala Destinations.

Though this beautiful and moderate hill station is located just 60 km from the state capital Trivandrum, somehow, it has remained obscure from visitors who generally head to Munnar or Kalpetta hill stations in Kerala due to high popularity.

Ponmudi hill station, Kerala Destinations

Ponmudi’s peak stands at 3500 feet!

This beautiful small hill station of Kerala is recommended for honeymooners due to less crowd most of the year except the summer season.

What to see in Ponmudi hill station?

  • Kallar river
  • Wildlife of the Western Ghats in the Peppara wildlife sanctuary
  • Echo Point
  • Deer Park
  • Ponmudi falls
  • Shendurney wildlife park
  • Thenmala
  • Golden Valley
  • Agasthiyar Koodam
  • Tea gardens

Birds you can spot in Ponmudi hill station:

  • Wayanad laughing thrush

Wayanad laughing thrush

  • Painted Quail

Painted Quail

  • Broad-tailed Grassbird

Broad-tailed Grassbird

Chethalayam Falls, Kerala

Chethalayam is a gentle waterfall that is located near Sultan Battery which is 12 km away. The water is cool and clear in this waterfall.

This is again an Obscure Kerala Destinations as you have to trek for nearly 30 minutes inside a forest to discover this romantic place in Wayanad.

The dense foliage, copious rain, and abundant prey make this jungle an ideal habitat for birds.

Offbeat Kerala Destinations: Anamudi Peak

Anamudi peak is situated a whopping 9000 feet in the Western Ghats, making it the highest summit in South India.

Anamudi Peak, Kerala Destinations

It lies between Idukki and Cochin.

The famous Eravikulam National Park and Aazhiyar dam are part of the Anamudi hills region.

Soochipara Falls, Less Explored Kerala Destination

It carries another name, “Sentinal Rock Falls.” It is located at a distance of 25 km from Kalpetta and remained obscure due to lack of modern facilities and amenities.

It is an obscure attraction of Kerala in the Velarimala hills in Wayanad.

The fall of the water is from a good height of 660 feet!

The nearest village is Meppadi, 13 km away. Still, you need to trek 3 km to reach the base of the falls.

Obscure Kerala Destinations: Vagamon Hills

Vagamon Hills, Kerala Destinations

Vagamon Hills is located in the Idukki district of Kerala. I would not say it is a totally obscure attraction of Kerala, but still, it is a less-visited tourist destination even by residents of Ernakulam, which is located at about 90 km. For train travel buffs, Kottayam is the nearest railway station.

Those who have visited this beautiful hill station say the name ‘Scotland of India is justified because of pleasant weather and green meadows.

See the meadows of Vagamon hill station.

Obscure Kerala Destinations: Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam

Kollam in Kerala has several naturally beautiful places but I am afraid some of them have remained as Obscure Kerala Destinations.

Similar to Vembanad Lake in Alleppey, the Ashtamudi Lake is a beautiful backwater lake in Kollam. Boathouses are the big attractions here.

Apart from a short one or two hour trips, you can book a passage up to Alleppey and back.

Kerala Destinations

The round trip lasts 8 hours, and the trip will be the most memorable lake cruise in your life.

If you wish, you can ask your boatman to dock at one of the eight uninhabited islands of the Ashtamudi Lake and foray inside the island.

During your journey, you will come across several small towns and villages that would expose you to the rural life of Kerala.

In addition, you can spot numerous birds and water birds.

Ashtamudi Lake

Ashtamudi Lake is ideally surrounded by wetlands that make an excellent habitat for birds and their prey.

Not many people of Kerala are aware that Ashtamudi Lake ranks second in the list of biggest lakes in Kerala, the first rank goes to the sprawling Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom.

Even a first time visitor to Kollam’s Ashtamudi Lake would say it is an offbeat tourist attraction of Kerala.

You can easily access this lesser-known place in Kerala from Kollam railway station that has great connectivity.

Karapuzha Reservoir, Kerala

Karapuzha Reservoir, Kerala Destinations

We are now again in the scenic Wayanad district of Kerala. It is another dam and another river.

The river Karapuzha and the dam named after the river that is a tributary of the Kabini River.

It seems the Kabini River is everywhere in this part of Kerala. Wherever it flows, it enriches the place with lush green plants and trees.

There is a small aquarium at the site. Watch river fish for the first time in your life.

Try to go to the Karapuzha dam during the monsoon in Kerala when the water level in the reservoir reaches its full height. It attracts numerous water birds that dive inside the water and come up with its prey. It is a lovely and rare sight that is not seen in your daily life.

If birds don’t enthuse you, why not take a boat ride on the artificial lake?  I believe even zip-lining adventure is available in this obscure attraction of Kerala.

Alternatively, you can go on an organized animal safari with other tourists.

Just walk around the large lake for a pleasant time.

Karapauzha Reservoir, an Obscure Kerala Destination is an offbeat place. It can be reached by a car from Kalpetta hill station. The distance is 46 km.

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, Kerala

Situated at an elevation of approximately 8000 feet, it is rated as the highest tea estate in the world! Don’t you want to go there and take a selfie? Kolukkumalai tea plantation is one of the Obscure Kerala Destinations. It may be so for us the non-Keralites but it is a favorite tourist destination for the local Malayalis.

The jeeps you saw in the above video are for hire. You can go on a jeep safari enjoying the mountainous landscape, the tea plantations, occasional waterfalls, and the mist-covered hills in the distant.

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate located 40 km from Munnar town.

Phantom Rock, Kerala

Never heard of this Obscure Kerala Destinations -right? The Phantom Rock is so-called because of its skull shape. It is located in Ambalavayal town, 25 km from Kalpetta, Wayanad.

Phantom Rock, Kerala

While there is nothing fascinating about this rock formation, the surroundings are beautifully green and deserted.

OMG, so many natural attractions are located in Wayanad, thus making it an ultimate paradise for tourists to Kerala!

Thenmala, Kollam, Kerala

Thenmala, Kollam, Kerala Destinations

There is a dam called Thenmala that was built to entrap the Kallada River. Thenmala is close to the hill town Punalur, the gateway to Sabarimalai pilgrim centre.

Surrounded by a thick tropical jungle that is alive with wild animals, birds, and snakes, it is certainly an Obscure Kerala Destinations but is a must-see tourist destination near Kollam’s Ashtamudi Lake-town.

Thenmala is a herbal hub where you can buy pure hill honey, cardamom, and cinnamon.

Palaruvi Falls, Kerala

Kerala Destinations

The fall of water is from a good height of 300 feet. The waterfall is making a tremendous sound when falling straight on the rocks.

Palaruvi Falls is a little-known attraction Kerala’s Kollam district, and one can trek through picturesque environs from Thenmala.

Most Beautiful Kerala Destination Sunrise Valley

Terrific! What a beautiful sight! It reminds me of so many such valley viewpoints on the way to Kodaikanal and Ooty.

The view of the misty hills and the deep gorge from the viewing platform is stunning.

Those who are rushing in their car are likely to miss this Obscure Kerala Destinations. You have to look for hoarding of ‘Sunrise Valley’ in order to stop your vehicle and enjoy the sight.

Sunrise Valley point located 25 km from Kalpetta.

If the valley is clear of mist, you can spot the Attamala waterfall in the distance.

Kanthanpara Falls, Kerala

Before you reach Soochipara (Sentinel) waterfalls, you will stumble onto this mini waterfall, but very fewer people stop at this Obscure Kerala Destinations because their focus will be on the bigger Soocipara waterfalls.

Obscure Kerala Destinations: Karalad Lake

Stay in Wayanad to see this lovely and lonely freshwater lake in Kerala’s Wayanad.

Obscure Kerala Destinations, Karalad Lake

As you can see, the lake’s surroundings look serene and silent. Only such peaceful and unspoiled natural paces would stay in our memory forever.

Kalpetta town located 15 km away.

I have left behind a couple of more places in Wayanad and Palakkad, but they are too Obscure Kerala Destinations.

I certainly envy the people of Wayanad and Idukki districts in Kerala as they live amidst extremely beautiful places where nature is almost untouched.

Kalpetta and Sultan Battery are ideal places as your base to tour deeply and leisurely the offbeat attractions of Wayanad.

About the author

Jane Sophia

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