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Kerala – A Cultural Potpourri of
Global Tourism

Kerala, often referred to as the ‘Land of Spices’, is a thriving tourist destination in South India. The lush greenery, scenic backwaters necklaced with coconut trees, sprawling beaches and the exotic culinary platter bears testimony to the state being hailed as God’s Own Country. Kerala enjoys a unique geographical placement; a stretch of land enclosed between the Arabian Sea to the west and the hilly Western Ghats snaking down to the right, and crisscrossed with numerous rivers and canals. Throw in an equable climate and you have one of the most favoured tourist destinations in Asia.

History The history of Kerala can be traced through its commerce roots. The state enjoyed the status of being the Spice Coast of India, and was the country’s entrance door to travellers and traders from all over the world.Traders from Rome, Greece, the Middle East, Portugal, France, Britain and Nederland used to sail to India via Kerala, and trade in goods, especially spices. All these traders have left behind traces of their essence in the culture of Kerala, which are visible even today.The influence of Greek, Roman, Portuguese, Dutch, French, British and Arab cultures are evident in the architecture, literature, cuisine, art forms etc. In towns like Fort Kochi, the fine line in cultural difference is very much evident, making Kerala a culturally rich state. People & Life Kerala is one of India’s advanced state, in terms of literacy, health care, high quality of living, cleanliness etc. It has one of the highest life expectancy rate, literacy rate and lowest infant mortality rate in the country. The people here are well educated and well informed on national as well as international affairs. Their knowledge and education gives them a greater say in the governance of the state, and also provides them with a greater access to opportunities and services that are not quite easily found in other states.

Places to Visit Kerala, as a tourist destination, offers a wide variety of choices – both in places to visit and things to do. There are pristine beaches, serene backwaters, scenic hill stations and thick forests sheltering diverse wildlife, so you can take your pick. Kovalam Beach in Trivandrum, Varkala Beach, Bekal Beach, Cherai Beach and Kappad beach in Calicut are among the famous beaches in Kerala. Muzhappilangad Beach in Thalassery is Kerala’s only drive-in beach, and a wonderful place to get the wind whip through your hair while rushing besides the waves. Aside from the beaches, Kerala is home to the country’s popular forest reserves like Silent Valley, Thekkady Forest Reserve, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, forests of Waynad etc. Those who yearn for a taste of the wild can get their adrenaline running through treks and camps in the forest. The Thekkady reserve is famous for its majestic pachyderms. The wild Asian elephants moving about in herds, in their natural habitat, are a sight to behold. The mystic hill stations of Waynad and Munnar attract tourists and honeymooners from all over the world. The scenic backdrop of hills hugged by mists, sparkling waterfalls, cool climes and romantic ambience makes them the ideal go to place for a period of rejuvenation. Kochi is another popular destination of Kerala. The metro city offers you a glimpse into the traditional culture that is interspersed with the foreign cultural influence. You can marvel at the Chinese fishing nets, the tranquil synagogue and churches, remnants of the colonial settlements of a bygone era.Then there are the captivating backwaters of Alleppy and houseboat rides in Kumarakom, which are also popular spots for destination weddings.

Climate The tropical land of Kerala is bestowed with a pleasant climate throughout the year. The Arabian coast running down its length in the west allows cool winds to caress the lands and monsoon clouds to wander in, while the hills of the Western Ghats stand guard, protecting Kerala from the dry winds that blow in from the north. The state experiences monsoons in two phases; from June to September and from October to November. The summer stretches from February to May, while the winter months experience only a slight drop in the temperature, bringing down the heat a notch. With a temperate climate all through the year, Kerala is a destination that can be visited at any time of the year. While the summers can be quite humid, and the monsoons might catch you unawares, the winter is usually cool enough to enjoy the outdoors. However, during the monsoons, Kerala is a beautiful sight to behold, especially the backwaters and hill stations.

Things to Do Aside from visiting the popular destinations and indulging in wildlife treks and hikes that leaves your adrenaline pumping, you can take a mellow trip through the cultural heritage of the state. Kerala’s heritage has been enriched with performing arts like Kathakali and mohiniyaatam, martial arts like Kalaripayattu and a range of folklores, folk songs and dances and regional festivals like Onam and Vishu. Kerala’s cuisine, rich in spices and taste, is another aspect that attracts visitors. In places like Cochin and Alleppy, one can experience the exotic varieties of sea food preparation. During festival season, the elaborate sadhya is an experience not forgotten. The sumptuous feast comprises of many different varieties of dishes with rice, sweets and curries. The timeless beauty of Kerala has a lot to offer. The small strip of land holds such diverse geographical features and cultural forms that it takes meticulous planning to experience them all without tiring yourself. Ranked among the ten must see destinations of the world by National Geographic, Kerala is an experience that can overwhelm you with ecstasy.

Kerala Destinations

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