KERALA - 4 places to visit

Some of the must see places in Kerala

When God created Kerala, He set aside his palette of colours and played around with shades of green… Yes, Kerala, laced with endless romance, a celebration of nature, strums the senses… This green haven, a world unto itself, an ever-changing tapestry of palm groves, wildlife parks, crescent-shaped beaches and the backwaters, a network of inland lagoons and canals -  fringed by lush vegetation.


The story of Kochi (formerly Cochin) is flavored with pirates, conquerors and settlers and is as old as trade itself. Spice traders - Arabs and Jews - came here in the 1st century. Since then, it has attracted the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British and assimilated a little of their ways of life which is still evident in its Chinese fishing nets, a Dutch palace, the oldest Synagogue in the sub continent, a soaring Basilica…. Wedged between the Arabian Sea and the famous backwaters, Kochi is the cultural storehouse of traditional arts like the Kathakali dance and the Kalaripayat martial art forms.


The hill resort town is the gateway to Periyar National Park. The wildlife paradise which is draped across the folds of the Western Ghats, holds the promise of a forest trek, eyeball to eyeball confrontation with Asiatic elephants and perhaps the blood and gore of a wild dog kill.


This resort town is the starting point of a backwater cruise in a kettuvalom, a houseboat grafted on to a former rice boat. Witness the pageant of life along the backwaters fringed by tall palms which toddy tappers scale with ease; an iridescent kingfisher dives and swoops;  children in bright uniforms paddle by in skiffs; church bells peal, a cassocked priest gives a thundering sermon; green paddy fields unfurl like a patchwork quilt…


Here life’s a beach… silken sands lapped by warm tropical waters. There is a timeless quality about Kovalam. In fact,this is  one of India’s oldest beach resorts is enjoying its second wind with the coming of new 5-star hotels bringing with them a slew of indulgences.

Along the waterfront, however, the local flavour is as spicy as ever: beach shacks rich with the aroma of local cuisine, stalls brimming with local handicrafts, women peddling fresh fruits, sunglass vendors, Ayurvedic massage parlors and a scattering of fishing boats like whales washed up on the beach…


Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old Indian health regimen, is enjoying a revival and has moved into plush resorts and hotels all over the country, particularly in Kerala, where this holistic form of healing once flourished.