Kerala is a beautiful state located in the southwestern region of India. It is known for its lush green landscapes, beautiful backwaters, palm-lined beaches, and rich cultural heritage. The state has a diverse population, with Malayalam being the primary language spoken. Kerala has a tropical climate with monsoons from June to September and is generally pleasant throughout the year. The state is also known for its delicious cuisine, which includes a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Overall, Kerala is a popular tourist destination and a great place to experience the natural beauty and culture of India.
WHAT MAKES KERALA WORTH VISITING?
Some of the things that make Kerala different are:
- Literacy rate: Kerala has one of the highest literacy rates in India, with almost 96% of its population being literate. This has led to a high standard of living and better health outcomes for its citizens.
- Social indicators: Kerala also has some of the best social indicators in India, including high life expectancy, low infant mortality rates, and low maternal mortality rates. This is due to the state’s focus on public healthcare and education.
- Religious diversity: Kerala is one of the few states in India with a high degree of religious diversity, with Hindus, Muslims, and Christians living together in harmony. This has led to a unique cultural blend in the state.
- Food: Kerala has a unique cuisine that is different from the rest of India. The state is known for its use of coconut oil, spices, and seafood in its dishes.
- Backwaters: Kerala is famous for its network of backwaters, which are a series of interconnected canals, lagoons, and lakes that run parallel to the Arabian Sea coast. The backwaters are a major tourist attraction in the state.
Kerala’s unique blend of high literacy rates, social indicators, religious diversity, food, and backwaters make it different from the rest of India.
MUST-SEE CITIES IN KERALA
Here are some must-see cities in Kerala:
- Kochi (also known as Cochin): Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi is a bustling city that is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Some of the must-visit places in Kochi are the Fort Kochi, Chinese Fishing Nets, St. Francis Church, Mattancherry Palace, and the Kerala Folklore Museum.
- Thiruvananthapuram (also known as Trivandrum): The capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram is famous for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful beaches, and historic landmarks. Some of the must-visit places in Trivandrum are the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kovalam Beach, Napier Museum, and the Kanakakunnu Palace.
- Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey): Known as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha is a popular tourist destination in Kerala, famous for its serene backwaters, houseboat rides, and beautiful beaches. The Alleppey Beach, Alappuzha Lighthouse, and the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary are some of the popular tourist attractions in this city.
- Munnar: Situated in the Western Ghats, Munnar is a picturesque hill station that is known for its tea plantations, rolling hills, and stunning landscapes. Some of the must-visit places in Munnar are the Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi Peak, Mattupetty Dam, and the Tea Museum.
- Wayanad: Located in the northern part of Kerala, Wayanad is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Some of the must-visit places in Wayanad are the Chembra Peak, Edakkal Caves, Banasura Sagar Dam, and the Thirunelli Temple.
BEST 5-STAR HOTELS TO STAY IN
Photo Credit: LEELA KOVALAM
Photo Credit: TAJ KOVALAM
Here are some five-star luxury hotels in Kerala:
- The Leela Kovalam, Kovalam
- Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kumarakom
- Taj Malabar Resort & Spa, Cochin
- Zuri Kumarakom Resort & Spa, Kumarakom
- Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Kovalam
- Kochi Marriott Hotel, Cochin
- CGH Earth Casino Hotel, Cochin
- The Lalit Resort & Spa, Bekal
- Fragrant Nature Backwater Resort & Ayurveda Spa, Kollam
- Raviz Ashtamudi, Kollam
BEST FOOD FOR VEGETARIANS
Kerala is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, and there are many vegetarian options available. Some popular vegetarian dishes in Kerala include:
- Sambar: a vegetable stew made with lentils, tamarind, and spices, served with rice or idli (steamed rice cakes).
- Avial: a mixed vegetable curry made with coconut, yogurt, and spices, typically served with rice.
- Puttu: a steamed rice and coconut cake, often served with bananas or chickpea curry.
- Thoran: a dry vegetable dish made with grated coconut, spices, and vegetables such as cabbage, carrot, or beans.
- Appam: a fluffy rice pancake with a crispy edge, served with coconut milk and vegetable stew.
- Dosa: a crispy, crepe-like pancake made from fermented rice and lentil batter, served with chutney and sambar.
- Idiyappam: steamed rice noodles served with coconut milk and vegetable curry.
Some popular vegetarian restaurants in Kerala include Saravana Bhavan, Arul Jyothi Restaurant, and Anna Lakshmi Vegetarian Restaurant.
AN ITINERARY FOR 8 DAYS IN KERALA
Here’s a sample 8-day itinerary for Kerala:
Day 1: Arrive in Kochi
- Explore the city and its historical landmarks, such as the Fort Kochi area, Mattancherry Palace, and St. Francis Church
- Attend a Kathakali dance performance in the evening
Day 2: Kochi to Munnar
- Drive to the hill station of Munnar and check into a hotel
- Visit the tea plantations and take a nature walk in the afternoon
Day 3: Munnar
- Explore the Eravikulam National Park and see the endangered Nilgiri Tahr
- Visit the Mattupetty Dam and Echo Point
- Enjoy a cup of tea at a local tea shop
Day 4: Munnar to Thekkady
- Drive to Thekkady and check into a hotel
- Take a boat ride on Periyar Lake in the afternoon and spot wildlife in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Day 5: Thekkady to Kumarakom
- Drive to Kumarakom and check into a hotel
- Relax by the backwaters and enjoy the views
- Take a sunset cruise on the Vembanad Lake
Day 6: Kumarakom
- Visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in the morning
- Take a houseboat ride on the backwaters and enjoy the traditional Kerala cuisine for lunch and dinner
Day 7: Kumarakom to Alleppey
- Drive to Alleppey and check into a houseboat
- Enjoy a leisurely cruise through the backwaters and stop at a village for a glimpse into the local life
Day 8: Alleppey to Kochi
- Disembark from the houseboat and drive back to Kochi
- Spend some time shopping for souvenirs and gifts before departing
Note: This itinerary can be customized according to your preferences and travel style.
OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN KERALA FOR THE ADVENTUROUS
Kerala has a lot to offer for adventure lovers who seek offbeat destinations and experiences. Here are some suggestions:
- Agastyarkoodam: Located in the Western Ghats, Agastyarkoodam is the second-highest peak in Kerala and is considered a sacred place by the locals. It requires a challenging trek to reach the top and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
- Silent Valley National Park: This park is located in the Nilgiri Hills and is home to several endangered species of flora and fauna. The park has a unique ecosystem and offers various trekking and camping opportunities.
- Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary is located in the Palakkad district of Kerala and is home to several species of wildlife such as tigers, elephants, and leopards. The sanctuary offers several adventure activities such as trekking, bamboo rafting, and camping.
- Vagamon: Located in the Idukki district, Vagamon is a hill station that offers several adventure activities such as paragliding, rock climbing, and trekking. It is also known for its beautiful meadows and valleys.
- Kovalam Beach: This beach is located in Thiruvananthapuram and is a popular destination for water sports such as surfing, snorkeling, and parasailing.
- Athirappilly Waterfalls: These waterfalls are located in the Thrissur district and are a popular destination for adventure activities such as trekking, rappelling, and rock climbing.
- Wayanad: This district is located in the northern part of Kerala and is known for its wildlife sanctuaries, waterfalls, and trekking trails. It is also home to several tribal communities and offers opportunities to experience their culture and traditions.
- Houseboat stay in the backwaters: The backwaters of Kerala offer a unique experience of staying in a houseboat and exploring the serene waters, paddy fields, and fishing villages. It is an excellent way to connect with nature and experience the local way of life.
That will be all you need to make your Kerala stay incredible!
Lots of Love,