Kerala is a blessed land! Exotic, and tropical, friendly and loving, cultured and historical, Kerala radiates a golden hue from its glittering temples and tropical beaches. It’s easy to see why Kerala has become synonymous with paradise. Just look at these beaches, colourful coral reefs and backwaters beckoning adventurous spirits. The arid land of Kerala beams emerald shades during the monsoon season!
Hues of golden and green best define the colours of Kerala: green for the tropical lushness that bursts from every patch of ground in the state; gold for the prosperity that the state has for many thousands of years. Backwaters, rain forest, beaches, trekking and sailing: Kerala is a dream destination for nature and outdoor lovers.
Kerala is ‘god’s own country.’ The tag associated with the state is quite apt. Its beaches, scenic beauty, and lush green spice gardens spell magic! There is a divinity in the beauty of Kerala’s landscape. There is a silver lining called Western Ghats, which separates Kerala from the rest of the India. With a 5, 000 km long coastline, Kerala is heaven for beach lovers. Its diverse shores dish up everything from lazy days and blazing sunsets, to active adventures such as swimming, kayaking and surfing. One can spend hours stealing moments of relaxation and quietude at an Ayurvedic spa.
Calm, peaceful and spotless, Kerala is one of the cleanest states in India. From exquisite coral reefs to the extensive backwaters, from a mesh of water bodies to the greatest valleys, Kerala has a vivid climatic condition that no other Indian state enjoys. Wild landscapes, villages culture, beaches-Kerala might be a small state, but there’s nothing small about it. The state is a treasure trove for anyone who loves sightseeing and nature walks. There are jungle and coastal walks, boat excursions, and diving to keep tourists buzzing. Kerala has plenty of stuff for all age groups to enjoy.
Kerala was once known as the ‘Spice coast of India.’ The state has attracted many traders from around the world – Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. All the traders that have touched down on the shores of Kerala have left their imprint on this land in some form or the other – architecture, cuisine, literature. Kerala was mainly ruled by three different countries, namely Portuguese, Dutch and British.
As per the mythological facts, the history of Kerala is quite inexplicable. It is believed that the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Parasuram created Kerala. Legend has it that Parasuram stood on top of a mountain and threw his battle-axe into the sea, commanding it to retreat. The land that emerged from the waters became Kerala.
Kerala is probably the best state in India to pick up fragrant spices grown in the region. With its tropical weather and fertile soil, Kerala is famous for its spice trade, including cardamom, turmeric and cloves. From the sassy pepper to elastic rubber, Kerala is the plantation ground of multiple species. All thanks to its diverse climatic conditions, Kerala is home to impressive spice plantation units which can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. Once an important spice trading centre of Vasco de Gama, Kerala is mainly an agrarian economy with tea, coffee, rubber, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg and ginger plantations, constituting the main crops. The aroma of spices oozes from every nook and corner of Kerala.
As one walks through the streets of Kumily in Kerala, the thing that strikes first is the lingering aroma of spice in the air. The geographical and climatic conditions of Kumily, i.e., the cool climate and its high altitude make it ideal place for spice cultivation. The farmers of Kumily also cultivate coconut, rubber, Areca nut and vegetables. In fact, in Kumily, one can have first-hand experience of the process of tea and coffee production. Right from plucking to packaging, each and every stage of crop and tea plantation can be seen here.
Spice Tour Destinations in Kerala: Anakkara, Thekkady, Wayanad and Munnar
With Western Ghats on its side, Kerala is a delightful specimen of rich flora and fauna. Lush green surroundings and climatic conditions make Kerala an ideal habitat for a large number of migratory birds. More than 500 species of migratory birds can be found in Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar, and Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. Around 3500 species of flowering plants have been identified in Kerala, as well as countless numbers of grasses, ferns, and herbs.
Home to many charismatic species, Kerala harbours some of the richest biodiversity in India. Beasts can be the beauty as well, and elephant pageants in Kerala are a perfect example of that. In the area of Thrissur and Palakkad, there are 700 captive elephants. There is the Periyar wildlife reserve, which home to majestic tigers. Take an elephant ride through the forest reserve, which will take tourists to the interiors of the jungles, making it an experience to remember.
For a slightly different adventurous experience, one of the best things to do in Kerala is visit the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park. Various snakes are preserved in the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park, including the mighty King Cobra.
Kerala has a distinctive and diverse cultural landscape. Kerala bristles with a stirring mix of landscapes and cultural traditions. The culture of Kerala is a synthesis of Aryan and Dravidian society. Kerala loves to toss up something unexpected. Kerala’s diverse culture is influenced by three main religions – Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. In Kerala, the ragas and rhythm of Carnatic music dominate Keralite classical music genres.
Mohiniyattam and Kathakali are the two prominent dance forms which can enthral anyone with its postures. These centuries old dance forms depict old stories through artistic expressions and postures. Kathakali on one hand depicts power, anger and lust, while on the other hand Mohiniyattam depicts feminine love. Tourists will be mesmerized by all the facial expressions and the Madras of these dance forms.
Adored around the world, Malayali cuisine expresses fundamental aspects of Kerala cultures: its, warm, delicious and scrumptious. Nothing on this earth can be as refreshing as sipping tender coconut plucked from a coconut tree. Kerala, unlike its neighbor Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, takes pride in its wide variety of non-vegetarian food. The exquisite ‘land of spices’ has too much to offer for its food lovers. Puttu with Kadala Curry, Appam with Stew, Dosa Ghee Roast with Kerala Style Sambar, Idiyappam with Egg Curry, Kerala Prawn Curry and Mussel Stir Fry are some of the prominent cuisines which tourists should try on a trip to Kerala. Rice is an essential ingredient which one will find in every cuisine.
Kalaripayattu is a form of martial arts which originated in Kerala. It is believed to be more than 3000 years old. Shaolin, the Chinese form of martial arts, is believed to have its origins in Kalaripayattu too. In the eighteenth century, Kalaripayattu was banned by the British people, but later on it made a strong come back. One-hour Kalaripayattu demonstrations are held in Kumily, but since the location keeps changing make sure to ask around.
One can see a plethora of colors, expressions and belief in the prolonged fairs and festivals of Kerala. The heavenly abode of God, Kerala celebrates every festival with zeal and vigour like no other state in India. Onam is deemed as the harvest festival during which people lay intricate flower carpets, buy new clothes and dress up, and celebrate with snake boat races, costumed parades, and an elaborate nine-course food banquet, Onam Sadya.
Ever seen an elephant decked-up in gold ornaments? If no, then visit Kerala during any festival. Elephants are revered as a god in Kerala and are a part of every festival. The sound of traditional drums is essential accompaniment to any festival in Kerala. Visitors will see a riot of colors in the Thrissur Pooram festival. The highlight of the festival is some of the best-dressed elephants, and beautiful umbrella showing competition. Other major festivals celebrated in Kerala are Pooram, Adoor Gajamela, Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Thaipooya Mahotsavam, and Vishu.
Kerala is an official retreat center! Every feasible form of Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda is practiced in Kerala. Travelling to Kerala and not experiencing Ayurveda is somewhere like going to Las Vegas and not gambling away some hard-earned cash in one of the famous casinos. Take a break and feel your senses come alive with invigorating yoga and meditation practices followed here.
The verdant 550 km long coastline of Kerala has kept many hidden secrets of Kerala. Overlooking the majestic Arabian Sea, Kerala is home to some of the most famous beaches in Asia. Studded with swaying palm trees, quaint lighthouses, and multi-hued sea shells, Kerala is a true paradise for beach lovers. For those who are looking for a Seychelles-like experience in Kerala, Marari and Varkala beach are the best bets. Go for a stroll on these beaches or enjoy some rejuvenating activity here. The beaches in Kovalam and Varkala are swarming with surfers from across the country. Beaches of Kerala offer a reclusive experience, far away from the chaotic city crowd.
Highly revered as the land of God, Kerala is home to some of the most impressive churches, temples and mosques. St. Francis Church in Kochi is believed to be the oldest European built church in India; it was once created by Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. The famous Vasco da Gama was buried at St. Francis Church for 14 years. Highly acknowledged for its gorgeous scenery and spiritual shrines, Kerala is nothing less than a divine vacation.
Kerala was once home to the Jewish community. In Kochi, there is the famous Paradesi Synagogue of the Jewish community; it is the oldest surviving synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. In the heart of Trivandrum, there is a 360-year-old Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which is claimed to be the richest temple of India. Kerala is a surprisingly relaxed state that offers plenty in terms of spiritual enlightenment.
Kerala is renowned worldwide for its performing art and architectural wonders. The people of Kerala have proudly carried forward its age-old cultural legacy. The museums in Kerala are a timekeeper of the history, as they showcase a large number of artefacts and remains of the times when our predecessors used to rule in this part of the country. One can see a large number of copper and bronze sculptures. In the museums of Kerala one will discover a wide collection of coins and artefacts belonging to ancient times.
In Kerala, tourist can catch sight of the chattering waterfalls, passing from the gigantic rocky cliffs. The swishing and whooshing sound of the water streams add to the charismatic beauty of the state. Athirappilly, Palaruvi, and Thommankuthu are some of the gorgeous waterfalls in Kerala. The waterfalls can be seen in full flow right after the monsoon season. These waterfalls might not be the highest or most voluminous, but they are definitely some of the most beautiful.
Within the rocky cliffs of Kerala, there are some beautiful secrets. Nelliyampathy and Kalamachal are the most scenic hill stations with lush greenery and calm surroundings. If tourists want to relax and rejuvenate, then take a tour to the enchanting hill stations of Kerala. Devikulam, Idukki, and Munnar are some of the most visited hill stations in Kerala. If people think that Kerala is all about tranquillity and calmness, then they are missing many things. Munnar is probably the best region in Kerala where paragliding can be done. Most of these hill stations boast of great scenic beauty, waterfalls, trekking trails, lakes, and dams. Hill stations of Kerala have a very picturesque and eye soothing landscape.
There is no better way to rejuvenate a tired soul than by sailing through the backwaters of Kerala. A national geographic survey, in fact, has put the backwaters of Kerala ahead of the Taj Mahal on its list of places to see before you die. It is emerging as the eco-tourism hot spot of the millennium as it dishes out a unique tourist menu. These backwaters, which stretch from Kochi to Kollam and beyond, have become the face of the state’s famed tourism. Many species of aquatic life, birds and animals live are nurtured by these backwaters. The shrubs and ferns alongside the water body provide a hue of greenery to the surrounding landscapes.
Kerala’s natural diversity is staggering and alluring, from breathtaking backwaters to sandalwood forests to snow-capped mountains to lush green paddy fields. Amidst the lush green jungles of Kerala, there is the famous sandalwood forest called Marayur. Other than the forest, there are rock paintings and caves which date back to pre-historical era. There are caves to be explored and a children’s park as well for some fun and frolic. Marayur claims to be a part of a Stone Age civilization that is as old as 10,000 B.C.
It’s almost impossible to confine the beauty of Kerala’s natural splendour in few words. For those who are looking forward to spending a friendly time with loved ones, Kerala is unsurprisingly a choice for all of them. Kerala is a humble town! Swaying palm trees, mysterious backwater, turquoise blue beaches and religious architectures of different faith, it seems like a part of heaven has fallen here!