Kerala – India’s own tropical paradise

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The south Indian state of Kerala inspires a verse too many on its pristine beauty – mere words fail to do justice by the rightly named God’s Own Country. ‘It’s so green!’ is a thought that is echoed during touchdown at any of the three airports of the state. Embraced by the spectacular Western Ghats in the East and the Arabian Sea splashing along the coastlines, Kerala offers tourists the joy of splashing in waves, of siestas on the deck of majestic houseboats and of bonfires and starlight serenading dark and cold nights in the hills.

Strung along with the raw beauty of nature are the vast heritage and culture of the state, the beautiful traditions and festivals, and mouth-watering local cuisines. There is so much to experience, a treat for every sensation – a holiday that will leave you mesmerised and so relaxed that you will definitely come back for more. There’s something for everyone in Kerala – the passionate photographer wishing to immortalise pristine perfection, the foodie seeking a splendorous platter loaded with flavours, the environmentalist looking for reassurance, kids looking for seashells and couples looking for the ultimate authentic massage experience.

After much thought, it seemed best to categorise what is offered by the state in terms of cumulative experience and where exactly to find it. So here goes. For Stargazers, Trekkers, Photographers, Campers, and Wildlife Enthusiasts If it is tranquillity and uninterrupted nature time you seek, you cannot miss out on the serene spots most ideal for camping located throughout the state. The vast and extensive hill ranges of Munnar offer more than spell bounding beauty – it is an amalgam of every element of nature brought together. Wake up in a comfortable tent set up on the Meesapulimala to the chirping of the birds- trek along Anamudi and spot wildlife in their natural habitat. The extensive tea plantations extend for miles along Chinnakanal – walk in and try your hand at tea picking. Unwind with delicious freshly prepared tea available throughout Munnar. Spend the moonlit night under the stars – to wake up to a sunrise right
out of a painting.

Pathanamthitta is another spot ideal for camping out in peace and experiencing the best offered by nature. The wildlife is in plenty here and the dainty town of Gavi offers the complete package of splendid sunsets, seemingly unending greenery and trekking in the wild. Beauty and calm ooze out and BECKON in this little town that’s popular for being thehome of over 250 species of birds. Vast cardamom plantations in the area can be attributed to the constant aroma that teases visitors who cannot resist some of the delicious tea prepared locally, enriched with the spice and the company of the lovely residents of the town.

Similar ambience to the above is brought to you by the Nelliyampathy Jungle Camps, Parambikulam in the district of Palakkad and the Golden Peaks in Trivandrum. For those wishing to experience the traditions and culture of Kerala The state has open arms when it comes to tourists looking to be bombarded with heritage and traditions. Pay a visit to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram to gain an understanding on how ancient architecture and heritage blend perfectly to remain timeless. For other inspirational architecture and glimpses into history, take a trip to the Bolghatty Island located in Kochi – explore the palace and spend the evening in the very
happening resort.

The biennially occurring Arts Festival is another reason to pay a visit to Fort Kochi. Spanned out over three months, the festival exhibits any and every form of artwork- paintings, sculptures, photography and so on featuring and inviting artists from all around the world. The Thrissur Pooram is another world-famous event that attracts thousands to the crowd that assembles annually in May to witness the beautiful fireworks that follow an extensive display of splendour featuring two of the most prominent temples in the district and several majestic elephants. To continue soaking in the cultural experience; head south to Kuttanad, Alappuzha early on during the Onam Season. The boat races held every year are a spectacle worth witnessing,not to mention crashing for a few days in a Boat House – as fancy and romantic as you’d like it.

For the foodies
Indulgence is a gift we deserve to present ourselves with when presented with cuisines so delectable – you just cannot get enough. Start the day with a delicious and sumptuous breakfast of Kerala’s (soon your) favourite breakfast of Puttu with some spicy and aromatic black channa curry or chicken curry, ideally from a local ‘Thattukada’- street food never got better. Don’t forget to consume this with sugar, bananas, pappad and a steaming glass of tea. Throughout the day, munch on sweet and salty banana chips and sip on fresh tenderncoconut water as you continue basking in the amazing experience.
Here is another reason why you should visit Kerala during the Onam Season. The Onam
Sadhya is appreciated around the world for being a delectable and filling meal that’s
overloaded with flavours and ideally served on a big banana leaf. The Palada Pradhaman is an out of the world ‘payasam- kheer’ served during the sadhya along with lime pickle, the famous Avial, Olan, Sambhar, Rasam, Pappad, Upperi, and yummy red rice. If this doesn’t get you drooling, the delicious seafood blended with coconut milk served with rice definitely will. Too stuffed? You could either tuck in with a bowl of Kanji (rice cooked in excess water) served with curd and a few cooked vegetables.
Over the years, this state has become highly accommodating and welcoming of tourists who can now visit the state at quite reasonable prices and enjoy a wholesome and happy experience. Pack and fly out to the land of coconuts – the trees, hills, the people, and the sea
BECKON you!

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

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