Hailed as ‘One of the 50 destinations of a lifetime’ by National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is definitely a dream destination. Whether on business, leisure or research, Kerala has everything holidayers want - curving waterways, lagoons, verdant paddy fields and mountain ranges. And, of course, God’s Own People!
A chequered history
The land of Kerala is believed to have emerged out of the sea as Parasurama (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) threw his axe into the water. But the name is derived from ‘Keralaputra’, meaning ‘land of the sons of Cheras’. The Cheras were Kerala’s first.
Land of diversity
From beaches to backwaters to the Western Ghats to lowlands, Kerala has a variety of landscapes. Kumarakom in Kottayam district is surrounded by the Vembanad Lake. There’s a bird sanctuary and mangrove swamps in Kumarakom. Tourists can stay in thatched cottages placed on stilts, luxury, but an unforgettable and fun experience. They are accessible by country rowboats.
Cochin is one of the finest natural harbours in the world. It is the oldest European settlement in India, and the Chinese, British, Arabs, Jews, French and the Portuguese have marked their influences in the city. Mararikulam is a coastal fishing village about an hour from Cochin.
Bolghatty is a narrow island accessible from mainland Cochin. The Bolghatty Palace was built by the Dutch in 1744. Now, it has been converted into a hotel by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). There is a golf course as well as a yachting berth.
Veli, near the capital city of Trivandrum has a waterfront park. There are motor boats, power boats, pedal boats and row boats. There are trekking and hiking trails nearby. There is also a large inland lake.
Munnar is one of Kerala’s most known hill stations. They city is located at a height of 1524m. A little away from Munnar is Anaimudi—South India’s highest peak. Eravikulam National Park in the Rajamalai hills is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Devikulam, near Munnar is also a picnic spot. According to legends, Sita Devi, the holy consort of Lord Rama, came down to bathe in the lake and so, sthe place came to be known as ’Devikulam’, meaning lake of the goddess.
Sixteen km from Calicut is the Kappad Beach. It is the beach where Vasco da Gama landed in Kerala in 1498. A monument on the beach commemorates this historic event. There are rock formations that stand out into the sea. There’s a temple on the rock, and it is believed to be over 800 years old.
Nelliampathy in Palakkad is a lesser known hotspot. It has hills, valleys and wildlife sanctuaries in vicinity. A drive up the hilly town itself is exhilarating. Be sure to stay in a tree house resort or homestay so as to enjoy nature at her best.
Ayurveda, an ancient medicine system of India, is much in practice in Kerala. It means ‘the science of life’. A large number of resorts and massage centres offer ayurveda packages throughout the year. Some places like Varkala, Kottayam, Kottakal, Calicut and Cochin have dedicated practitioners whom you can approach for treatments or just a rejuvenation package.
There are umpteen bed-and-breakfast (homestays) options in Kerala. You can choose from resorts, hotels, forest lodges and tree houses.
How to reach
Though situated in the southernmost area of India, this place is well-connected to all major cities and towns in the country via roads, rail and air. Flights and cruises connect Kerala to the rest of the world. Airports are there in Cochin, Trivandrum and Calicut.
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