KERALA: Paradise of Uninterrupted Solitude
Look no further than Kerala for the experience of a complete holiday. The coastal state of Kerala is India’s cleanest, and it enjoys the coveted distinction of being one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Asia. With something for every kind of traveller, God’s Own Country invites you into its languid backwaters, swathes of lush mountain ranges, vibrant culture and tradition, exotic cuisine and enchanting art forms. Outfitted with stunning tourist attractions, Kerala is a paradise for tourists. Your experience of Kerala in India’s deep south looks something like this:
600 kilometers of the Arabian Sea shoreline dotted with serene Malabar beaches, a night (or two) on an elegant, comfortable houseboat out in the middle of a lake on tranquil stretches of glistening backwaters, unending coconut groves and the spice and tea-covered grasslands of the Western Ghats.
Kerala is enjoyed and remembered for its laidback pace, and the experiences of peace and tranquillity on its rolling expanses of wilderness and paddy fields. Visitors from around the world also go here for Kerala’s vibrant Ayurveda traditions and delicately spiced local Malayali cuisine.
Listed here are 4 incredible destinations in Kerala, that promise to offer you a unique experience of nothing but pure bliss – breathtakingly beautiful backwaters, serene palm-fringed lovely beaches, green-carpeted rolling hills, superb scenic beauty and rich flora and fauna. And they’re only a short distance from each other.
Kerala is the perfect destination for adventure, culture and relaxation!
Here is how you should spend your time in Kerala:
The diversity of Kerala is best experienced at the tropical, cosmopolitan city of Kochi. Start your journey here. Behold a riveting, exquisitely designed synagogue at Jew Town and take in the splendidness of Keralan arts.
Get your fix of history and tradition at a gorgeous heritage accommodation. Snap up some excellent buys at an array of shops that sell antiques, fabrics, handicrafts and jewelry. As the first European colony in colonial India, the charm of the port city of Kochi lies in its eclectic mix of influences: Arab, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese. What this has meant for visitors that flock this heavily touristed destination, is memories of the Chinese fishing nets in the historical town of Fort Kochi, Paradesi (it translates to ‘foreigner’) Synagogue – a 400-year old synagogue characterized by an ornate display of rare antiques, together with the experiences of the cosmopolitanism of mainland Ernakulum.
Kochi is also experienced as a center for traditional Keralan performance arts and the classical dance forms of Kathakali and Kalarippauyattu. Finish the last of your visit by making the most of your stay at a delightful homestay or heritage accommodation. Of all the places to indulgently check out in languid Kerala, Kochi is where people head for a cultural fix.
Enjoy a wonderful drive from Kochi to Munnar while you take photographs of the beautiful waterfalls and spice gardens. Munnar proudly exhibits its impeccably manicured tea plantations and broad expanse of enchanting rolling hills. Its location at the confluence of the three streaming rivers of Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly lends Munnar a distinct hill station charm. Take away with you the experience of a true-to-form green heaven, thick veils of mist carpeting the mountaintops, and the memorable adventures of a number of high energy activities such as rock climbing, rappelling and trekking.
Watch the tea garden around you captured in the calm stillness of the water in front of you when you’re at Mattupetty Dam – commonly visited by tourists. While Kochi represents for most a fulfilling cultural experience, Munnar – in Kerala’s exquisite high ranges – draws people in with its sprawling tea plantations and pristine valleys, and exotic flora and fauna. A haven of peace and tranquility, Munnar is dotted with a number of popular tourist attractions. One of the things that you could do is watch while they pick, process and put together your fresh tea – straight from the gardens. The tea museum here, in fact, houses curios, photographs and machineries, each depicting a turning point that contributed to a flourishing tea industry, as seen today in the region. The hill station of Munnar is blessed with the natural allure of exquisite winding lanes, rolling grasslands and veils of mist clinging to mountaintops. At the start of your day, Echo Point is one of the places that treats you to this. Adventure enthusiasts can choose to trek up to Anamudi, the highest peak in south India. Make sure to also explore Eravikulam National Park and behold a rare species of Nilgiri Tahr, or mountain goat.
The Periyar forests of Thekkady – one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks. Make your way over to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a jungle ride that covers the lovely Idukki town. There are a few watch towers inside Periyar Tiger Reserve which are excellent for viewing wildlife. You’ll be amazed at the varied flora and fauna there is to see: 143 species of orchids, the colorful Malabar gliding frog, barking deer, the odd elephant and maybe even the endangered lion tailed macaque! There’s also the sprawling vineywards of Mullaperiyar Dam. Finally, visit Murikkady for a great view of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Popularly referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’, Alleppey is the hub of Kerala’s slithering backwaters (with more than a thousand houseboats) and home to myriad waterways weaving through flat expanses of rich farmland – most of it below sea level. Alleppey is the perfect place for a relaxed honeymoon. There are houseboats to stay on, homestays or boutique hotels to explore and beaches such as Marari nearby. Enjoy the cool backwater breeze as you tuck into delicious Kerala delicacies. You could be part of a fun village walk and do some fishing before you sit back and enjoy the setting sun over the waters. The snake boat races and the houseboat cruises are a must do activity in Alleppey. Owing to its rich bird and marine life, the backwaters are the best place to try some extravagant seafood.
For a relaxed beach holiday with your partner, head to postcard-perfect Kovalam. Watch the beautiful sunset at the nearby Lighthouse beach, Hawah beach, or the much quieter Samudra beach. Satiate your appetite for a king-size breakfast at German Bakery. From being a surfer’s paradise to a peaceful ayurveda destination, you will be surprised at how much the little fishing village of Kovalam has to offer. Kovalam’s most distinguishing feature is its working candy-striped lighthouse at the southern end of Lighthouse Beach. Climb the spiral staircase – or the brand-new elevator – for stunning views of the coast.
- The thrill of boat races in Alleppey
- Aromatic and deliciously verdant monsoons
- A cozy homestay or heritage home accommodation
- Stretches of serene, coconut palm-lined beaches
- Lush tea gardens and spice plantations
- A trip along the glistening backwaters on a houseboat
- Feast on delicately spiced local Malayali food
- Experience the vibrant cultural expressions – ancient martial arts Kalaripayattu (found in Munnar, Kottayam and elsewhere), and catch one performance of Thayyam- a form of worship through dance.