My pick of top 15 reasons to go to Kerala and what to see and do (continued)
I was soooooo overdue to write part 2 of my guide to Kerala, top 15 reasons to go and what to see and do there! Well, it is finally here! Hooray!
I have been 4 times to Kerala in the past 8 years! And I would go every year if I could. Why? Well….for at least 15 reasons 😉 , but actually so much more! Kerala is my favourite Indian state and I really feel like home there. So, I can definitely say that I know Kerala pretty well. And that is why I wanted to tell you my top 15 reasons to go, as well as things to see and do in Kerala.
In the first part of article, I was telling you about: Ayurveda (the science of life), backwaters, yoga ashrams, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, local traditions (eg. Kalaripayattu, Kathakali), fishermen and cooking. So let’s continue those reasons and experiences:
9. House Boats
I already mentioned the backwaters in the first part of the article, but there I was focusing more on the small channels. Now I am talking about the larger canals, where it is possible to cruise around in house boats. And they are not just for cruising around, but you can actually sleep there too. House boats are exactly what the name says: boats transformed into floating “houses” (kind of like mini hotels). No, not like the big cruise type boats, but the traditional charming type, made of wood and covered with thatched roofs. They are called kettuvallam and they are specific to the Southern Indian state of Kerala. In Malayalam (the language of Kerala), “ketu” means “to tie” and”vallam” means “boat”, therefore: ketuvallam.
They usuall consist of 2-3 (or more) bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a kitchen and a living space. Some of them are on one level and some on 2 (like the one that I was on).
Allepey (locally Alappuzha), also known as the Venice of the East, is the most famous place for a house boat cruise. However, you can also take a house boat in: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kasaragod.
10. Tea plantations/ Hill stations
As if all those coconut forests were not enough to make Kerala the lushest state of India, the rolling green hills, some of them covered with tea plantations, are doing the rest. The most famous hill station is Munnar, where you can find the largest tea plantations.
The hills seem to be covered by vast green carpets and they are truly mesmerising. A photographer’s dream! There are so many things you can do there though aside from photography: you can take a jeep ride through the plantations, hike your way up, visit tea factory, do a tea tasting and so much more.
11. The sunsets
If you are familiar with my Instagram page, you know that I am obsessed with sunsets. 🙋🏻♀️ Who doesn’t like them, right? Well, I think I go beyond “liking” them: I can spend hours on end watching a sunset!! Yes, they can last that long and Kerala is a place where I have experienced this. Kerala is also the place with some of the most beautiful an special sunsets I have ever seen. I have not seen such a pink sun anywhere else.
See for yourself 😊
12. Festivals and religious ceremonies
It is true that festivals are engrained in the Indian way of living and you can experience them everywhere, but Kerala is actually considered the land of festivals.
Difficult to describe in words, the festivals of Kerala are bursting with colors, scents, sounds and include many secular traditions.
The largest one and specific to only Kerala is Onam. This is a harvest festival which usually takes place in August-September and the celebrations last for days.
Other important religious festivals are : Vishu, Pooram, Theyyam.
Kerala is the Indian state with the most diverse mix of religions. Even though the majority of the population is Hindu, almost a quarter is Christian so Christmas is actually a big thing here.
Boat races are also one of the most important traditions in Kerala and they gather huge crowds.
There is actually a calendar of all festivals taking place thorughout the year so you can check it and organise your trip according to your interest.
Yes fruits! So many types! With its tropical climate, Kerala abunds in exotic and delicious fruit. In fact, Kerala is so big on fruits that it has its own state fruit: the jackfruit. This was declared Kerala’s official state fruit in 2018. I felt like fruits needed their own category and for me it is definitely one of the top 15 reasons to go Kerala!
Some of the most popular and abundant fruits you can find in Kerala include: mango, banana (so many types but the very small one are the most delicious! Oh and red bananas too!), papaya, coconut, custard apple, rose apple, tamarind, guava, amla (Indian goose berry), rambutan, cashews. Are you mouthwatering right now? 😉
These are mainly found in the forests of Western Ghats and they are very popular spots for picnics amongs the locals. With its hilly landscape combined with tropical climate, Kerala is a true oasis. Waterfalls simply complete this paradise.
15. THE PEOPLE
I left this to the end on purpose. Not because it is less important, but on the contrary!
It may sound as a cliché, however, one of the main reasons I fell in love with Kerala and why I kept going back is the people! So I could actually put people in the top 3 not just top 15 reasons to visit Kerala! I always say that I find people in the South of India very special and kind, but Kerala is definitely on top of my choices.
The people from Kerala are called Keralites and they are simple, smart and extremely kind hearted people.
You can observe the simplicity of the people even in the way they dress: their clothes are very simple and unassuming. Even the traditional saris are white in Kerala and not colorful like the in rest of the country. The Keralites are more concerned with education than materialistic pleasures. They already live in God’s own country!
Did you know that Kerala has almost 100% literacy rate?
No wonder that newest tag line for Kerala is #HumanbyNature! And I cannot but fully agree with it!