Kerala is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and foreign travellers. Among the tourist attractions are great beaches (Kovalam, Cherai and Varkala), serene hill stations (Ponmudi and Munnar), wildlife sanctuaries (Periyar and Eravikulam) and beautiful Kerala Backwaters (Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada), as also the marvel of kerala building art revealed through Padmanabhapuram Palace, Padmanabhapuram. The tourism department of the state calls the state as God's Own Country. National Geographic Society described Kerala as one of the 50 must-see destinations of a lifetime. Kochi, the commercial capital of the state is known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Alapuzha, the first planned town in Kerala is called the "Venice of the East". Tourism plays an important role in the state's economy.
House Boat on Kerala water-ways
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