Kaleidoscopic Ecological Radiant Amiable Luxury Alpine
Shimmering blues and intense greens curl across the artist’s canvas that is Kerala. When you look out to sea at sunset, burning oranges and delicate pinks blend in perfection. The people of Kerala are rightly proud of their beautiful surroundings and coming here is a brilliant reminder of the beauty and variety of the natural world. ‘God’s Own Country’ truly glows with a sense of the divine, no more so then when you’re reclining on a houseboat ploughing a gentle furrow along the backwaters. Keralans are laid-back and welcoming, and what strikes many visitors who have come from North India is that there is substantially less hassle here. All travelers need some pampering once in a while, and in this Mecca of Ayurveda a reviving massage is never too far away. The highlands of the Western Ghats reach up to just below 8850 feet in Kerala, offering wonderful respite from the heat and the humidity of the coast.
Did you know?
“To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
"India in 2017 is no longer a nightmare, it is a real antidote against stress. The famous philosophy of “no problem,” with a smile will serve as proof to the enthusiasm and confidence of the Indian people. India is a source of rejuvenation in all areas. Ask and you will always find answers."
Kerala is a heterogeneous state when it comes to religion: Hindus make up around 55% of the population, Muslims 26.5% and Christians 18.4%. As such, temples, mosques and churches can be found all over. Sadly many of the Hindu temples are closed to non-Hindus. If you are allowed into one, ask for guidance when it comes to appropriate clothing and remove your footwear. Smoking is not permitted in public areas. If you’re eating without cutlery, use only your right hand.
The cuisine of Kerala is a world away from what is dubbed ‘Indian food’ in the West. When you arrive here, you leave yourself open to a diametrically opposed, yet magnificent gastronomic experience. Out go the ghee, cream and yoghurt that are the flourishes to North Indian fare, to be replaced by coconut milk and oil and lighter, but still potent chutneys. No naan or roti here either! Fish is much preferred to meat, although vegetarian dishes, served either on a steel thali encircled by chutneys or, more quintessentially, on a banana leaf, occupy the majority of menu-space. In Kochi, given its maritime location, opportunities for sampling some exquisite seafood are plentiful, whether it be in a mock rice boat or in the more humble but no less atmospheric surroundings of the waterfront fishmongers. Trivandrum is typically associated with temples and little else, but in fact it boasts a terrific culinary scene, with the classy Villa Maya (recently voted India’s second best restaurant) being the tip of the iceberg. Wherever you go, there are great vegetarian options and you will find guesthouses happy to impart their wisdom through cooking classes.
The main language of Kerala is Malayalam, but English is widely used amongst people of all backgrounds, from rickshaw-drivers to hotel managers.
Kochi and Trivandrum have the widest range of shopping experiences in the state, from bustling bazaars to more genteel emporiums and boutiques, which sell gold jewellery, coir products, Kathakali figurines, sandalwood carvings and spices amongst many other handicrafts. Kochi’s best shopping spots are Jew Town and Bazaar Road in the old town, and M.G. Road in the modern city. In Trivandrum, head to Chalai Bazaar. Inland, the spice and tea plantations you can visit will almost certainly sell some of their produce.