The Backwaters of Kerala have been advertised and popularized so extensively that a majority of people feel that there are no other places in Kerala left to see. In reality, Kerala is so much more than just the Backwaters that travelers get to visit a startling assortment of scenic places. Kerala is “God’s own Country” where you can find beaches, lush green forests, museums, theme parks, hill stations and many more.

Here are seven must-see places in Kerala:

Bekal Fort & Beach: Bekal is a small town in the Kasaragod district on the West coast of the state of Kerala, India. Bekal has a beautiful beach surrounding the fort, backwaters and hill destinations and the water sport facilities nearby. Whether you stroll along the coast, swim, unwind on the sand or meditate in the morning; Bekal Beach is just the perfect place to relax.

Varkala Beach: When all and sundry go to Kovalam, which a well-known beach in Kerala, you can have an offbeat experience at Varkala Beach. Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasham beach, is a beach in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, along the Arabian Sea. The word Papanasham means wash away sins. It is believed that a dip in the waters of Papanasham Beach washes away all the sins in one’s life. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs. The beach is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming.

Thusharagiri Falls: Two streams originating from the Western Ghats meet here to form the Chalippuzha River. The river diverges into three waterfalls creating a snowy spray, which gives the name, ‘Thusharagiri’. It is a great spot for adventure seekers. The word Thushargiri means ‘a mountain of mist’. The name rightly gets justified as a cloud of mist gets formed when the enormous water of Chalippuzha River falls from the height of 246 feet in the form of three different falls. Though it is not a place to go with family and kids, those who are seasoned trekkers must not miss it. These falls are 50 kilometers away from Kozhikode and just 28 kilometers away from Calicut.

Lakkidi: As places like Munnar gets the world recognition, they become greatly crowded. If you love serene and tranquil hill stations, then explore Lakkidi in the hilly district of Wayanad in Kerala.  Lakkidi is one of the highest locations in Wayanad. It is situated 700 m above mean sea level, atop Thamarassery ghat pass. There are quite a lot of points in Lakkidi as well that are terrifically quaint and not too crowded. There are plenty of hotels and resorts that you can stay at in Lakkidi. Proximity to Calicut Airport makes it an convenient place for visitors.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple: It is said that the journey to Kerala doesn’t get complete without visiting Sri Padmanabha temple.  Located in the capital city of Trivandrum, it is one of the most sought out temples in India. It is the richest Hindu temple in the world.  In fact, in terms of precious metals and precious stones, it is by far the wealthiest institution and place of worship of any kind in the recorded history of the world. There is a huge idol of Lord Vishnu in the reclining pose.  People come in huge numbers to get a glimpse of Lord Vishnu and get impressed by the beautiful architecture and eye-catching carvings on both sides of the walkway.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary:  Bird watchers and nature lovers get astonished by the vivid variety of birds in the Kumarakom Sanctuary. A huge number of local and migratory birds offer a memorable experience to people. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary) is situated at Kumarakom in Kottayam district of Kerala, on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Set in the Kerala Backwaters the bird sanctuary is a favorite haunt of migratory birds. There are abundant guesthouses and resorts in the scenic backdrop of backwaters that make the stay simply glorious.

Hill Palace Archaeological Museum: Hill Palace is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, at Tripunithura, Kochi, near Karingachira area. It was the administrative office of Kochi Rajas. Built in 1865, the Palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style, spreading across 54 acres. The place offers a good collection of artifacts of archeological importance, prehistoric and historic objects and medicinal plants. The museum displays 14 categories of exhibits including Crown and ornaments of erstwhile Cochin royal family, paintings, sculptures in stone and marble, weapons, inscriptions, coins etc. Those who love museums must surely visit this place.