It’s called God’s own Country for the natural beauty of its landscape, its glorious heritage, delectable cuisine and highly literate society. Kerala,in all its emarald splendour,is certainly a glowing gem in india’s cultural crown
Everywhere I turn, I am treated to a kaleidoscope of colour. As powder blue skies deepen into dusk, the twilight bathes miles of paddy fields in its golden glow. White seagulls glide gracefully overhead and the emerald countryside is filled with gently swaying coconut trees that line the blue and green backwaters in neat alluring rows. Indeed, Kerala gets its name from ‘kera’ meaning coconut. It’s not hard to see why the locals revere the coconut tree. Every part of it is put to good use. The palm leaves are woven into sheets to thatch houses, make sturdy baskets and mats, shredded coconut is employed in the kitchens as a wholesome ingredient in curries and gravies, the bark and shell are used as firewood and to make beautiful musical instruments.Viewing this lush landscape from my tastefully furnished villa, the rejuvenating freshness that Kerala promises begins to seep into my soul. An ideal haunt for the discerning traveller, here are six experiences that will help you relax and unwind in blissful harmony.
Explore The Magic Of The Malabar Coast
Kerala is filled with an intricate channel of lagoons and lakes; these are breathtakingly beautiful stretches of emerald green and blue backwaters; this is the famed Malabar Coast that lies parallel to the Arabian Sea.
It’s an enchanting experience to be rocked by the soft waves while cruising along comfortably in a houseboat. You can find lush picnic spots, explore mangrove forests, go boating, fishing and watch the most beautiful sunsets while on a tranquil journey through this exciting ecosystem.
To reach the backwaters, you will need to begin your journey in Kottayam district, where several rivers and canals empty their waters into the glittering expanse of the Vembanad Lake. The Vembanad Lake is linked to Kumarakom, home to many a luxury resort. Kumarakom is a huddle of islands where interestingly enough, farming is done below sea level.
This region is immersed in water throughout the year. In the backwaters of Kochi (90 km from Kumarakom), you’ll be able to spot the quaint yet sturdy fishing nets and observe at close quarters this ingenuous technique to catch as much fish as possible along these shallow waters.
Backwater tourism is a truly exhilarating experience where you can sit in the lap of luxury while embarking on an expedition into the heart of the wild.
Immerse Yourself In The ‘Science Of Life’ Ayurveda
Every luxury resort in God’s own country comes fully equipped with facilities to provide you with holistic massages, herbal health treatment and therapies. The best spas are undoubtedly the Taj Jeeva, located in the Taj luxury hotels.
Vivanta by Taj at Kovalam is particularly noteworthy. The spa offers a full range of services from head and body massages with specific herbal ayurvedic oils, alleviate pain and treat spondylitis stiffness, to treating chronic conditions such as asthma and frequent colds. You will be given an initial consultation by an ayurvedic doctor who will ascertain your body type, its vulnerabilities and the kind of oils that are required to restore vitality and good health.
Kerala is filled with an intricate channel of lagoons and lakes; These are breathtakingly beautiful stretches of emerard green and blue backwaters
Soak In The Culture Of Kathakali At Kochi
Learn about one of India’s most authentic ancient dance forms replete with extravagant expressions, incredible make-up and graceful dance steps. A kathakali performance will whet your appetite for culture. A classical dance drama dating back to the 17th century, kathakali is an exquisite combination of elements of music, art and rhythm. The costumes are elaborate. The headgear is often intricately carved from wood and it may take hours for the artiste to get fully dressed and made-up. The make-up called chutty is painstakingly prepared and requires as much effort to apply as one would take to paint a picture.
You can catch kathakali performances across the state, but the best ones are staged at the Kerala Kathakali Centre in Kochi. Traditionally, there are over 101 classical kathakali stories, but only a third of these are performed today.
If you’re a music lover, you’ll be fascinated by the different kinds of instruments employed during a performance. Watch for the subtle tones of the Chenda (drum played with sticks), maddalam (a drum played with the fingers, Ilathalam (the clash of the cymbals) and the notes of the chengila (gong).
Sample Fragrant Tea And Take In Magnificent Mountain Views At Munnar
Travelling to Munnar will help you appreciate the beauty of nature and discover the magic of terrace tea cultivation on the hilltops. Filled with tea plantations that dot these rolling hills, Munnar is postcard perfect. Be sure to visit the tea museum, the first of its kind in India, located at the Nullatanni estate in Munnar. The tea museum traces the journey of how the fragrant brew travelled from the plantation to your tea cup.
If you have time for a detour, take a shikara boat (that resembles a sturdy row boat equipped with a colourful canopy) and navigate the calm waters of the Kundala Lake 20 kms from the heart of Munnar. Ringed by mountains, Kundala Lake is a serene retreat. If you like activities in the great outdoors, you can go on cycling and roller-skating expeditions through the breathtakingly beautiful Blossom International Park, filled with wild flowers that cover every inch of its 16 acres. The park is situated 3 km from Munnar.
Explore Magnificent Monuments At Thiruvananthapuram
It’s one of Kerala’s most magnifi cent cities. Discover the sculptural beauty and eloquence at the ancient Padmanabhaswamy temple in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram. The Kannakakunnu palace, with its large chandeliers, impressive furniture, interesting architecture and rolling lawns is worth exploring as well.
You will also appreciate the simple elegance and gleaming floors of the historic Padmanabhapuram palace about 50 kms from the city. The palace’s black fl oors were made by mixing sand with egg white, lime juice, burnt coconut, charcoal and jaggery! Thiruvanthapuram is a delight for the traveller who wishes to be immersed in art and architectural splendour.
Holiday On The Golden Sands
Kerala is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Explore the golden coastline at Alappuzha, Kasaragod, Bekal, Cherai, Kozhikode, Kovalam and Kannur. The unspoilt beauty, unsullied sunrises, the melt-in-your-mouth cuisine which includes a variety of seafood and the wealth of marine life will charm you. Beach hopping in Kerala can provide a perfectly tranquil way to end this vacation in God’s own country.
Pomp and Regal Splendour at Thrissur Pooram festival
One of the best times to visit Kerala is during the popular Thrissur Pooram festival, held at the famous Vadakkumnatha temple in the district of Thrissur in April-May. Anyone who has attended the festival will tell you what an unforgettable sight it is. 30 caparisoned elephants, decorated in solid gold stand beside brightly sequinned umbrellas. Music and drum beats fi ll the air as gods and goddesses are brought out for worship. The sheer crowds are daunting as lakhs of people attend the festival.
PLACES TO STAY
Coconut Lagoon Resort ,Kumarakom Lake Resort, Vivanta by Taj Kovalam, Dream Catcher Resort Munnar, Sterling Resorts Munnar