Kerala, a state in South India on the Malabar Coast – indeed God’s own country it is. Formed on the first of November, 1956 with the States Reorganizing Act that combined Malayam- speaking regions together, Kerala has seen untold progress since then, recording the best literacy rates in the entire country and earning the title of being one of the most beautiful states in India. Kerala Tourism has taken a shape of its own and done much to make the countrymen aware about the beauty and appeal of the state.
Things to do in Kerala:
Kerala is a state proving diverse Kerala family tour options and provides a lot to satisfy our senses.
Beach in Kerala: One will have to visit the beaches in Kerala which are one of the very best in the country. Tourists visiting the state are often overwhelmed by the beauty of the beaches and they provide the very best of tropical flora and fauna. Some of the most well known beaches are Bekal beach in Kerala, Beypore and Kappad in Kozhikode, Chavvakad in Thrissur, Cherai in Kochi, Chowara in Kovalam, Kanwatheertha and Kappil in Kasaragod, Kizhunna in Kannur, Muzhappilangad beach in kerala and Kolavi Palam in Payyoli along with the extensive Kollam Beach and Varkala Beach which is characterized by red laterite cliffs. Most of these beaches have their own retreats with various resorts and guest houses dotting the line where the tourists can enjoy exclusive services.
Backwater in Kerala: The Kerala backwaters are highlighted extensively in the Kerala Tourism Advertisements, and are perhaps the biggest draws for the tourists coming to this state. Resorts and ayurvedic retreats, along with yoga centers and holistic living facilities have grown around these backwaters and they now have a global recognition. Kerala promotes ecotourism, and the backwaters provide ample opportunities to enjoy complete relaxation in the beauty of nature. Alappuzha is a prominent choice and one can choose from the Alappuzha Canal Cruise and the Alappuzha Kochi Cruise. Then there is Alamkadavu in Kollam, Kavvayi in Payyanur and the backwater stretches of Ashtamundi. The Chandragiri Fort and River is a perfect mix of history and visual delight. One can also take a day trip to Chithari, a small tropical island nestled in the backwaters or take a boating trip from Kadambrayar Boating Center. Kumarakom is especially popular among the foreign tourists because of the exclusive facilities and one can also visit Kumbalangi and avail backwater tours around Kuttanad.
House Boating in Kerala: While some have heard about the houseboats in Kashmir, the houseboating in Kerala provide a whole new experience and one that makes tourists come back again and again for the experience. The history of the houseboats are themselves fascinating enough as who would have thought that this currently popular mode of stay and transport was near extinction at one point of time? The luxury houseboats in Kerala today are in fact reworked versions of Kettuvalam, large boats that were used to transport rice and spices throughout the state. A standard kettuvalam could hold up to 30 tons of rice and tow it from Kuttanad to the Kochi Port. However, as time evolved and roadways became smoother and transportation faster, the boats lost their commercial appeal. These boats were otherwise very strong, and more than a hundred years old in some cases and some found new ways of keeping them, by adding additional rooms and using them for accommodating travelers instead, trading through the backwaters. Finally, the idea caught on and today Alappuzha alone has more than 500 house boats treading the backwaters here with hundreds of others around the state.
Wildlife in Kerala: About 24% of Kerala is forested and it is home to some of the biggest wildlife reserves in the state. There are quite a few wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala and some of the most prominent ones are Begur Wildlife Sanctuary in Wayanad, Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Choolannur Pea Fowl Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary and a lot many others. Between them, the flora and fauna of Kerala is preserved in all its glory and the state is one of the biggest repositories of medicinal plants. Wildlife national park in Kerala consists of Bengal tigers, leopards, grizzled giant squirrels, Nilgiri tahr, mugger crocodile, viper, python, king cobra and more, along with a varied number of birds. Kerala also has the largest number of domesticated elephants which are used as a part of festivities and processions round the year and also used as a part of safaris.
Ayurveda in Kerala: Kerala is perhaps the only place in the world where Ayurveda is a part of everyday life. The mode of therapy had developed in India some 5000 years ago and ayurveda in Kerala has managed to hold its own against the onslaught of allopathic medicine as the system of healing depends on the diagnosis and perfect balance of the body’s humours- vata, pitta and kapha. For as long as anyone can remember, Kerala has been served by the families of the eight great Vaidyas or the Ashta Vaidyas and their teachings have been handed down from generations. Kerala has colleges dedicated solely to the study of importance of ayurveda in Kerala and it is way of life here where ancient knowledge has now merged with modern thinking and research.
Waterfalls in Kerala: Kerala is home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the country. They are one of the major tourist attractions and not just the falls but the surrounding landscape too provides breathtaking features. Some of the most notable ones are Adayanpara in Mallapuram, Arippara in Kozhikode, Aruvikkuzhi in Kottayam, Attukad in Munnar, Kanthanpara in Wayanad and many more which dot the states at various points. These waterfalls in Kerala have been instrumental in shaping the terrain of the state over the past thousands of years and still today, they do not fail to mesmerize with their beauty and great strength.
Festivals in Kerala: The culture of Kerala is a mix of Aryan and Dravidian cultures and the various festivals reflect the spirit of both the ancestries. The Malayalam Calendar is the basis on which the festivities and rituals are planned and if the minor and local celebrations are taken into account, more than 10,000 celebrations are held in the state each year. The most important of them is of course, Onam festival in Kerala, the harvest festival and it is also the state festival of Kerala with there being at least 4 days of holiday. The other celebrations are mostly temple festivities, often known as Poorams and it usually involves taking the deity of the temple out for a procession around the city on the back of a richly decorated elephant and the procession is a no- holds bar show of lavishness in praise of the gods. After the deity is brought back to the home temple the devotees usually offer flowers, coconuts and rice as a part of the rituals before the idol is immersed in the holy water. Many such Poorams are held frequently at various times of the year like the Vishnu festival in Kerala.
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