Swaying coconut palms, unspoilt nature’s charm,
Golden tranquil beaches, serene creeks and trenches,
Chaste raindrops, breeze untangling hair locks,
Cerulean waters, immaculate azure skies,
Glowing lights, winging through our sights,
Fragrance of the soil, the smell of the folk’s toil,
Low tides, Nights and days,
Away from the rush, life flows like a cascade,
Far far away from those just-too-fast city of dreams,
A dream come true, a living dream,
God’s own country, your road to peace: Kerala.
A magical amalgamation of land and waters, Kerala is an Indian state located on the Malabar Coast, packed in between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. Intricately embroidered with emerald tropical foliage, this southern Indian state is a popular tourist destination. This narrow strip of coastal territory has a wide array of eco-tourism options ranging from pristine rain forests, high altitude blue peaks, an illustrious maze of lakes criss-crossed with canals, pools and rivers, houseboats on waterbeds, palm fringed beaches with gleaming turquoise water and an interesting range of accommodations, some with open-toilets with a thickly-wooded tree by the side of the shower, and some others with the classic wooden cottage look. And its not just about the world-class sports, the world-famous ayurvedic massages and treatments, and the yoga and meditation centres; Kerala’s insanely rich diversity has much more to offer.
While beaches elsewhere are no less than a vast waste dump chock-a-blocked with stinking putrid cyber waste, layered with bits of rubber and plastic bottles, few of which float on the rotting marine life, beaches of Trivandrum, Thrivananthapuram, and Kannur have their exotic beauty intact. You can feel the crisp invigorating air penetrating through your hair, you can see miles of golden sands, be in awe of the panoramic scenery, and experience the implausible sunrise and sunset by the side of the beach. In fact, Kovalam beach which is a world famous beach, near Trivandrum is a sight to behold. Stretching across the centre of the narrow thin belt, Kerala Backwaters, especially of Alappuzha and Kottayam is a must do. Lazy afternoons and twilight dusks, in a house-boat ride (Kottayam) sailing against the zephyr leave you with an unforgettable experience.
The Periyar Tiger Reserve and the elephant forests at Thekkady, tea growing hills and misty mountains at Munna; caves, waterfalls and pristine forests at Mayanand give an unspoilt scenic view of nature that is refreshingly different! With diverse ecology, emerald green carpets, gentle waters and even gentler people, Kerala is truly God’s own country.
Fierce spices, predominant non-vegetarian a la carte, sprawling rice, bowls of flowing Sambhar, Coconut in altered appearances mark the specialty of Kerala. The food is richly influenced by the culture and the geography. Significant presence of the Muslim and the ‘Syrian Christian’ communities has added to the food diversity of Kerala. The Malabar cuisine of Kerala is very famous. You will find a plethora of Rice, Fish and Chicken dishes. There are many options for vegetarians too. But be prepared to give your palate a taste of some very generous use of spice in food!
Richly traditional lifestyle, a well preserved heritage, a myriad of overseas and early influences uniquely crafts the Culture of Kerala. Kerala is a land of exhilarating fairs and colorful festivals, one that celebrates festivals as diverse as the Giant Snake Boat Race, Harmonious Onam, Hindus’ Maha Shivaratri, Muslim’s Eid-ul-ftr, Muharram and Miladi Shariff and Christians’ Christmas and Easter!
Get in by plane, train or car, depending on how distant Kerala is for you. Kerala is extremely well connected by all three means of transport to the rest of the country. There are international airports at Kochi and Trivandrum. But yes, travelling by ferry will undoubtedly jazz up the journey, though it will be a little heavier on the pocket. Excellent Cruises operate between Colombo, Male and Kochi, and regular cruises function from Goa and Mumbai to Kochi. A colossal international cruise terminal is under construction now that promises to add to the Kerala experience.
It’s about time you know why the eternally beautiful Kerala is called God’s own Country. Go; get your share of serenity!