Kerala

The southern state of Kerala is a land truly blessed by nature. Kerala has enchanting mountains, pristine rainforests, golden sun-sand beaches and unique backwaters that hold their own even in the face of fast developing towns and cities. The coconut palms (that give the state its name) are everywhere, waving a welcome to the place proudly being hailed as Gods Own Country.
Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital and the home of heritage sites such as the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The port city of Kochi and its twin city Ernakulam pulsate with commercial activity, while Thrisshur wears the cultural crown with the temple festival Trisshur Pooram. The richly decorated elephant, as seen during this festival is globally recognised for its association with Kerala.
Kerala has a good network of roads (though crowded) and the Indian Railways connect major towns and cities. There are international airports in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Malayalam is the local language and Hindi would be understood in major cities.
The state gets a generous share of the eagerly awaited Indian Monsoon and it rains heavily from June to September. Summers are hot and humid while winters are mild. Apart from the monsoon months, Kerala is a paradise for beach holidays. It also provides numerous opportunities for trekking, camping and wildlife sanctuary experiences. Along with these, rejuvenating Ayurvedic spa and Eco tourism vacations make Kerala one of the most popular places on the International Tourism map.

Life in the backwaters of Kerala

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Indeed a lot of people like to call Alleppey (official name Alappuzha) as the Venice of India. I was in Alleppey last month and was fortunate enough to experience the unique life that people in the area lead.  As there is water ways everywhere of all sizes, people have adapted to the same just like fish to water. We took a few houseboats as well as small boat rides in the backwater and the experience was an eye-opener. Nowhere in India are people so much adapted to a life of using canals and boats in their day to day life as in backwaters of Kerala, which is also the home of famous snake boat race.

Just like you and I will have a bike or a car, almost every house hold in the area will have a small canoe or boat that is used for all day to day activities. Our day started on a small boat and we went to some villages situated on both side of the internal canals. It was a very interesting experience to watch the day to day life in the backwaters of Kerala. Most of the internal canals are not very wide and only small boats can go into them, leaving the bigger houseboats only on the main water ways. As it is difficult to reach these small villages quickly by road transport, people use boats to carry their produce to the main canals, from where trucks come and carry the rice to the wholesaler. This is not only cost effective but also quicker.

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Thekkady – Another hope for tiger sighting

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After check-in, we took a walk in the resort, it is a not a very big resort and does not have a very nice view unless you go on the terrace of the reception. It has a nice swimming pool though and not to mention that we spent that evening in the swimming pool as kids does not wanted to do anything else. I inquired about the must see things from hotel staff and they mentioned about Jungle Safari with Jungle Trek, Periyar Tiger Reserve boat ride in a man made lake, Kerala Martial Art, Kathakkali dance show, Elephant ride and Elephant bathing. We decided to first go to the Jungle Safari, we booked the Jeep for 5:30 AM in the morning. In the evening, we went out for dinner as we wanted to try to local food, we found one restaurant, it was newly opened, they were serving Kerala and north Indian food. We tried both and it was ok kind of food. Interestingly, the waiter who was serving us, told me that he lived in Ghaziabad for few years and has recently moved back and his sister still works as a nurse in one of the hospital in Ghaziabad.

This Jungle tour is a Kerala government 8 hour package tour which includes Jeep, Jungle Safari, Jungle Trek with guide, 30 minutes boat ride in a small lake along with breakfast and Lunch. We started at 6:00 AM sharp in the morning, driver was not very happy as we got late. After about 45 minute drive, we reached the main entrance of Periyar Jungle and our safari started from there, it was about 15 KMS we drove watching couple of monkeys and few birds and reached the government rest house where the Jungle Trek starts. Lots of people were already there and waiting for the breakfast, after having breakfast we were introduced to our guide who was suppose to take us to the Jungle Trek. He gave us a cloth to wrap around the legs to avoid the leaches, he asked whether we wanted to do 1/2/3 hour trek, I silently chose the 2 hr trek, my wife wanted to have 3 hour trek, but I somehow managed her.

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Cochin – Sightseeing by cruise and Cherai Beach

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As weather was hot, this ride was giving us good relief from heat. For first 15-20 minutes it was just like a normal cruise experience similar to Mumbai Gateway of India cruise ride or cruise ride at Rameswaram. But we were happy as kids were enjoying this ride with lots of space to sit as well as to run inside the boat and to see sparkling water.On our way we got to see many boats like country type, Russian yacht etc.

Although, it was a pleasant journey but I didn’t find it worth or it’s not value for money. Boat sailor but surely took us at the midst of sea and we saw numbers of Dolphin fish. Watching Kochi Harbour, Bolgatty island resort and Dolphin were good experience. Chinese Fishing net is an icon for Kochi but I didn’t find anything interesting watching that. The total time we spent here was 02 hours and we found it tiring. We came back to Marine Drive. Marine drive is a nice hangout place with many eatery joints.We had some light lunch and icecreams and came back to our friends place at 1730 hrs.

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A DAY AT MUNNAR – CONFLUENCE OF THREE RIVER

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After an hour or so we reached at our Friend Parent’s house at Kothamangalam (Town in the foothills of Western Ghat mountain range) where we were warmly welcomed by her family. We were offered the wonderful , delicious mouth-watering Kerala Breakfast Appam (Pancake made of Rice and Coconut) and Stew ( a dish made with potatoes, onions, vegetables & coconut milk).After finishing our breakfast we had again started our onwards journey towards the Tea plantation estate Munnar.

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The Untouched beauty of Kerala – Athirapally and Vazahal waterfall

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We were enjoying our car ride on this wonderful route. Then after one hour or so our driver took a turn and we reached at one beautiful place. The place has beautiful landscape, water bodies, small reservoir and a small tea shop and Restroom. (What I remember the place name as Nature’s Resort (but unfortunately I am unable to find this place on internet). It’s a picturesque spot and one can actually enjoy by going into water as water level is very low here.

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Southern Sojourn to God’s Own Country

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I wish to take you once more on a virtual trip through the mazes of the exuding beauty of the enchanting Kerala.

The peaceful green city of Trivandrum gradually unfolded itself with its narrow roads and neat colourful private houses half hidden amidst the coconut palms.From the airport, we took a pre-paid taxi to our hotel Uday Samudra (popularly known as UDS) at Kovalam – 16 kms from Trivandrum. We were given a sea-facing spacious room with a pool in front.

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Kerala – A Trip to the God’s Own Country

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This was the best experience of all as we were on the houseboat for the first time. The person driving the boat was amazing. Thought of being on water for 22 hrs was amazing. The boat went through several lakes and canals. We saw several villages where the only means of transportation was boat.

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Kerala’s Green Treasures-Part Three

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Alleppey beach beckoned us and we reached there in the scorching mid-day sun at 1 pm. We didn’t spend much time at the beach because of the extreme heat. We started looking around for a nice restaurant for lunch and the local suggestions led us to Hassan Restaurant, just half a km from the beach, on the way towards the town centre.

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Padmanabhaswamy Temple – the world’s richest one

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There is also a belief that the wealth is protected by Nagaraj as stated by Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, recently, in an interview by the Hindu daily, that, “there are two kinds of snakes. One is naga, and it stays. The other is sarpa, which goes. It is misunderstood as a creature. They are messengers…

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Bamboo Rafting in Tiger Country.

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…Then the trek started in dead earnest, and soon we were walking through some shoulder height elephant grass. The guides showed us some exotic butterflies flitting about in the grass. At one place they pointed out to some Niligiri langurs peering down at us from the high trees. That really made us feel that now we were being stalked and hunted rather than the other way around…

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