When you think of Kerala, you can think of beaches, back waters, house boats, coconut trees, ayurvedic treatments and massages, festivals, artforms and exotic hill stations. Do you need any more reasons for visiting this nature made beautiful land? Perhaps not!
Kerala is the land of coconut trees and coconuts called Kera. Fantastic wildlife and the added beauty of green paddy fields are like feast to the eyes. This narrow strip of land which stands as an independent state lies along the South western tip of Indian Peninsula. The land is guarded by Western Ghats towards east and the Arabic sea towards west.
One of the peculiar features of this state is its backwaters which connects canals and lakes paving way for water navigation system. There are 44 rivers in the state and the famous few are Bharathapuzha (209 kms), Periyar (244 kms), Pamba (176 kms), Achancoil (128 kms), Valapattanam river (110 kms), and Kadalundipuzha (130 kms). Kerala is truly the land of waters, don’t you agree?
The must do’s in Kerala other than visiting places and beaches:
• Kerala is the home for traditional Ayurvedaic treatments. The most famous and indigenous treatments are the Shirodhara and mud bath whose authenticity belongs to Kerala! Apart from these you can get the lavish and exquisite ayurvedic spa and massages.
• Every year, Malapurram district of Malabar hosts the bullock race. You can bet and win your bit!
• Anamudi, the South India’s highest peak is beautiful. You can also experience trekking in the Eravikulam National Park.
• Thekkady, the wildlife treasure is something you cannot miss. Herds of Indian elephants is the main attraction. You can also find Tigers, Leopards, Barking deer and many other animals here.
• Try making it to HomeStay in Kerala. Many local people offer home cooked meals and stay at home in Kerala. This would bring in some distinct experience than staying at hotels.
• Must try Kerala delicacies are puttu and appam for breakfast. For lunch payasam and karimeen pollichathu. Other delicacies are neyyappam, pazham pori and vada. Here’s a typical Indian breakfast, lunch and dinner.
• Do not forget to replenish your electrolytes by sipping nature’s nectar i.e. tender coconut water and also try road side special tea known for long stretch of pouring from one glass to another.
• The Kerala festivals and feasts are unique so are the dance and art forms. Do not miss to get a glimpse of Kathakali dance, Mohiniyattam dance, Thiruvathira kali and kalari payattu. Learn more on Hinduism here.
• In the months of August and September, the snake boat race brings the calm backwaters of Kerala to life. The 130 feet long boats known as snake boats are packed with hundred rowers who put in sweat and blood to row the boat in frantic speeds.
• Elephant pageant and para-gliding are the other best options to see and try!
The must visit destinations in Kerala:
• Thiruvananthapuram– It is the capital city of Kerala. The City of Thiruvananthapuram has many interesting places to visit such as the Napier Museum, the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Ponmudi hill station. A State owned handicrafts emporium, is the best place to buy authentic craftsmen’s articles.
• Alappuzha– It is called ‘Venice of the East’. It is known for houseboats which are no less than cruise with luxury comforts.
• Bekal– The fort at Bekal is one of the largest and best preserved forts in Kerala along with a beach known as Bekal Fort Beach.
• Cochin/Kochi– Fort of Kochi, residence of Vascho-Da-Gama and not to forget the beaches. The backwaters and the harbor from Marine Drive is really breathtaking. Cochin is called as the “Queen of Arabian Sea.”
• Kovalam– It has one of the best beaches which attract international tourists. Many people do Sunbathing, swimming, take the herbal body toning massages, go to many of the cultural programmes and catamaran cruising.
• Kumarakom– This is a cluster of islands famous for its bird’s sanctuary. Houseboats and traditional Kettuvalloms (rice barges) are the main attractions.
• Munnar– It is a hill station situated at the juncture of three mountain streams – Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala is a mesmerizing place for a holiday. Tea museum, National Park and many other attractions beckon the visitors.
• Thekkady– Thekkady is famous for elephants, chains of hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests are a well known wildlife reserves in India. Mountain climbing and trekking freaks could enjoy their every bit in this place.
• Wayanad– It is a place in the Western Ghats which has pristine beauty of nature preserved from ages. It is known for its sub-tropical savannahs and picturesque hill stations apart from bearing rich cultural traditions.
Do not forget, Kerala is also a hot favourite destination for love birds and honeymoon couples. Take a houseboat in the serine backwaters along with your partner, the scene is just perfect!