Kerala is an ideal green destination for a nature-soaked, scenic vacation. It’s tremendous panoramas will grab your heart and leave you spellbound. Kerala is magical. Every corner of this breathtaking place has a visual wonder tucked away. So pack your bags and get ready; a travel across paradise awaits you
If you thought that India is all about heat and dust, then you’d be quite wrong. A trip to southern India, and particularly the state of Kerala, will give you a pleasant surprise. Kerala, often called the Green Paradise is a place where lush greenery greets you everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the city, suburb or a rural village, the green flora beckons you. With its beautiful state verdant mountains, sandy beaches, spectacular waterfalls, and backwaters that you could sail through forever, Kerala is certainly an ideal destination for nature lovers.
Lofty mountain ranges are stunning locations covered with a blanket of green meadows, offering an amazing surrounding to ease off in the lap of Mother Nature during your voyage. The dense forests are also home to diverse flora and fauna. Lofty slopes are covered with tea, coffee and spice plantations. Explore some incredible destinations of the state that magnetizes tourists from across the globe. It’s sure to fascinate and delight your senses!
COCHIN – A COSMOPOLITAN CAPITAL
Spread over a series of islands and crisscrossed by the sea and backwaters, Cochin speaks volumes of the old world charm and leisure. With its spice markets, Jewish synagogue, European churches, Chinese fishing nets, Portuguese palace and 17th century Dutch homes, Cochin stands testimony to the irresistible cultural blend left by wanderers and traders for over 600 years. Kumarakom, known for houseboat rides on the backwaters and its bird sanctuary and Alappuzha are situated just a few hours to the north of Cochin. It serves as the gateway to the hill stations of Munnar and Vagamon in Idukki and the wildlife hot-spots of Eravikulam National Park and Periyar National Park.
LIFE ON A HOUSEBOAT
As in the UK, Kerala’s canals were historically used to transport goods before other transport methods took over most of those jobs. Many of these cargo boats have been beautifully refitted as holiday cruise boats. They come complete with crew and a chef, so you can experience the distinctive Keralan cuisine, which mostly consists of fresh fish dishes served on banana leaves. Depending on your budget, the options include houseboats with two floors, balconies, living rooms and even four or five bedrooms.
It’s possible to spend an afternoon to a week on a backwater houseboat, though two-day trips are the most popular. This allows travelers to lounge on-deck as they cruise past a patchwork of pastel-colored houses, churches and temples.
MARARI BEACH AND STYLISH RESORTS
Many claim that Marari Beach is the most incredible fishing village in the whole of the Indian subcontinent. The beach has a tropical climate and can easily qualify as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, where you can relax on its endless miles of sun-kissed beaches, shaded by palms.
The rather undeveloped beach enables vacationers to experience the traditional life of Kerala. The weather being warm and humid throughout most of the year, the period between October and May is most suitable for stay. The view of this pristine beach is breathtaking and the sound of splashing waves makes it a great relaxation spot.
There is a small selection of beach resorts, including one with an Ayurvedic health spa, and a couple of boutique hotels. The beach and waters are safe for swimming and it has the distinction of being named one of the world’s top five hammock beaches by National Geographic.
Floating down the backwaters, an imperative aspect of Kerala’s culture flashes before your eyes. You ride in the shade of a canopied boat gliding down the river. The murmur of the waters lulls your senses into peaceful submission. You surrender to the beauty of tranquil nature. This is the backwater experience, a soothing houseboat cruise over 1900 km of palm-fringed canals, rivers and lakes along the Kerala coast.
There are a number of ways to do this backwater cruise, and a choice of venues to start from. The main spots to embark on a backwater adventure are the cities or towns of Alappuzha, Kochi, Kollam and Kumarakom. Cruise lengths vary from 3-4 hours to 2-6 days. Choose between dugout canoes or vellams propelled by bamboo poles, houseboats or kettuvallams powered by outboard motors, ferries and launches. The kettuvallams are traditional rice barges made out of wooden planks, put together without a single nail. The planks are ‘stitched’ together with coconut ropes and painted with cashew oil.
KERALA SPA RESORTS
Kerala has become a very popular destination for both Westerners and Indians wishing to detox, meditate, practice yoga and try traditional Ayurvedic medicine. There is a stunning range of spa resorts to choose from. The majority are on the coast, but if you prefer a resort around one of the region’s beautiful inland lakes, then you’ll find those too.
SPLENDORS OF THE SOUTH
If you have at least two weeks to spare, hop on an adventure trip to southern India, coast to coast. Starting in Cochin, this tour takes you first to scenic Wayanad where you can enjoy views of Kerala’s rain forests and tea, coffee and spice plantations during your train ride. This region’s famous attraction is Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, which is rich in flora and fauna. There’s a good chance of spotting a tiger, or one of its many elephants. Nearby, the Eddakal Caves have Stone Age carvings that are the only known examples in southern India. From there, you can cross over to the other coastal city of Mysore, famous for its sandalwood, and from there to Chennai (Madras) and Mammallapuram, a temple and a UNESCO World heritage Site. Don’t miss the former French colony of Pondicherry before wending your way back to Cochin via Madurai and Thekkady.
If it’s a peaceful, romantic getaway you have in mind, spend some time in these beautiful parts of Kerala. Kerala has been called the “destination of a lifetime” and a place of timeless beauty that will refresh and reconnect you with tranquility. Whatever your reason to visit it, Kerala is undoubtedly a green and pleasant haven for ethical travelers.