By Soliya Phadnis
Yes! God’s own country! Could there be a more appropriate synonym for Kerala? Lush green fields, endless tea estates, backwaters, magnificent temples and much more awaits you in this enchanting land. A region rich in cultural heritage, contributing to most of what we see today, Kerala is inviting in every way. A destination that boasts of nature and culture together is that of a lifetime. With a range of trips with customized itineraries and packages to get the most of your trip, you’re spoilt for choice. My trip to Kerala started with Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, I was definitely in luck. The cultural and religious aspect of this place is abundantly evident, the highlight being the “Thrissur Pooram”, a festival celebrated in the month of April-May. Originally known as “Thirusivapperoor”, the city witnesses a huge number of tourists during the festival.
The beauty of the land lies in the majestic hills of Munnar, the palm flanked stunning beaches along the Malabar Coast, tranquil maze of backwaters flowing through rice fields of Kumarakom and Alleppey, and the captivating forests of Thekkady. I’m sure the diversity in the geographical features of this mystical land and the amalgamation of culture, traditions, dances and the local cuisine is sure to appeal to you! Kerala tourism has been recommended by almost every person I have come across, and you need only one visit to understand why it is God’s Own Country.
- Pristine Alleppey– As is famed for its houseboats; it was definitely on the list of places to visit. A stay on the houseboat along the backwaters gives you an opportunity to witness the beauty around in form of paddy fields, tiny chapels amidst the green foliage, fishing nets etc. I remember the local cuisine being served on banana leaves which by itself is a unique experience. If you plan a trip to Alleppey, September through May is the time.
- Munnar– Definitely on everyone’s list, most likely for its rolling hills with tea estates lying amidst misty valleys surrounded by an air of serenity. The winding roads to Munnar may affect a person with the slightest motion sickness however, at the end it’s all worth the effort. The cool climate the relaxed feel was a little respite from the other warm places around. The place still retains the old world charm with its dainty bungalows overlooking waterfalls and the mighty mountains.
- Kozhikode– Also known as Calicut, the place boasts of its historical past and a cultural and educational excellence. Abound by undulating hills; the nature plays its wonder on this place. The one thing you cannot forget of Calicut is the authentic Malabar cuisine. The Kalummakaya and Chatti pathiri are amongst the other lip smacking delicacies. The bustling city is home to some of the finest institutions like the The National Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management.
- Wayanad– In the local language, it translates to ‘the land of paddy fields’! Endowed with scenic beauty, the region is home to around fifty tribes, making it an exotic experience. You may also choose to visit the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Tusharagiri Waterfalls and the Edakkal caves amongst many more sights. The plethora of options shows you the diversity in beauty of this place. A certainly recommended
- Thekkady– Home to the famous Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the scenic splendor and its diverse wildlife lures visitors from across the globe. From elephants and tigers to sambars and gaurs, the sanctuary provides a visual treat within thick forest. Boating is one adventurous option as well that brings you closer with nature. Kerala tourism department has made provisions to take you to the middle of the forest either on elephants or walking, which is an amazing experience.
Kerala tourism, thus boasts of a diverse beauty, a blend of history and culture, traditions and nature, and not forgetting the delicious spread. The gorgeous land with its temples, churches, beaches, hills and forests beckons a visit only to give you an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. My one trip to Kerala didn’t stop there since I wanted so much more of the place that the following year saw me going to a different part again!