National Geographic Traveller Magazine named Kerala as one of the ten paradises of the world so little wonder it is an extremely popular tourist destination. Kerala, known as ‘God’s own country’ is a state which stretches along the south west coast of India and is blessed with beautiful backwaters, palm fringed beaches, vast swathes of green fertile land and hill stations growing tea and spices and wonderful villages. Add to that a rich cultural heritage with pilgrim centres and historical monuments and the home of ayurvedic medicine there are many reasons why many people visit again and again.
A popular way of seeing the stunning backwaters, an interlinked body of waterways supporting many unique species of flora and fauna is to hire a traditional kettuvallam or houseboat and cruise the area at your leisure. These houseboats have been transformed into luxury accommodation so you can enjoy the scenery in style. Kerala is the home of ayurveda – a system of medicine which has been practiced since 600BC and is based on balancing the body’s humours. You will find excellent government approved resorts which provide Ayurvedic treatments throughout Kerala. The cool monsoon season (June to July and October to November) is the best time to go for ayurvedic treatment.
One advantage of Kerala is that it is easy to sample many of the diverse experiences on offer in one visit as the distance between popular destinations is very manageable so you can incorporate a beach holiday and experience life on a hill station like Munnar and fit in a visit to a wildlife sanctuary and take in a pilgrimage to Kerala’s numerous places of worship such as the Sabarimala Temple in Pathanamthitta.
Kerala offers plenty in the way of arts and culture. Take in a performance of Kathakali, a 300 year old classical dance embellished by stunning costumes and intricate makeup. A highlight of Kathakali is getting to witness the elaborate process of applying the makeup – an art form in itself. Kalarippayattu is a unique martial art form and is considered to be the mother of all martial art forms in the world. It is unique to Kerala and well worth witnessing while you are visiting. You are also bound to visit an area with an elephant sanctuary while in Kerala; it is the state animal and is treated with respect and love having an important role in the culture of Kerala. They feature in festivals and temples throughout the state. Kodana and Konni are two villages where baby elephants are domesticated.
Kerala is a must see paradise and can be easily accessed by two main airports in Trivandrum and Cochin. If you are travelling in other parts of India it is easy to get connecting flights, for example Delhi flights will act as an important gateway for reaching the gems that is Kerala in the south west.