Map of Kerala
| Kerala is a narrow fertile state in
the south western region of India. It is known for its
greenery and natural beauty. The western ghats are to
the north and east of Kerala. The state of Tamil Nadu is on
the eastern border and the state of Karnataka is to the north.
The Arabian sea and the Lakshadweep and Maldive islands are
to the west. The coastal region of Kerala is referred to as
the Malabar coast. Thus Kerala is a land of excellent beaches
and waterways commonly referred to as the Backwaters, coconut
trees, spice hills, unique cuisine, wonderful arts( such as
'Kathakali' and 'Kalaripayattu') and very friendly people
throughout. Kerala is marketed by the KTDC (Kerala
Tourism Development Corporation) as 'Gods Own Country'.
It is arguable that this is far fetched, but it is one of
the most beautiful natural scenic spots in Asia (especially
in the Kerala Backwaters and the Spice Hills). There are 2
important points in making a trip: when to go; what to see.
When should I go?
Our advice is to go at anytime that you get the opportunity.
Temperatures in Kerala vary from 25 degrees - 37 degrees.
Generally, they do not reach 40 degrees. Ideal time is September
- May (although May is starting to get hot for some people).
The months of June, July and early August undergo the Indian
monsoon which sweeps through India in a 45 degrees angle from
South East to North West. Still a good time to go but not
as good as other months. There is also a rainy season in the
end of Nov going from South West to South East. These are
not torrential rains like in June, July and early August.
Off peak season is usually April - September. Hotels have
reduced tariff. Peak season is October - March with December
being the most popular time owing to school holidays.
How do I decide where to go and what should I do ?
There is no perfect answer to this question. We have tried
to identify a visit to Kerala into 9 main categories (which
may aid you in a decision making process). They are listed
|| The Kuttanad region (the stretch in
Kerala from Quilon (Kollam being the Keralan name) - Cochin
(Kochi) is the Kerala backwaters region and is one of the
most beautiful regions in the whole of India. Some of the
major points which act as excellent bases for the Kerala Backwaters
are: Allepey (Allapuzha); Kumarakom; Cochin (Kochi); Quilon
(Kollam). There is no better way of seeing the beauty of this
region other than travelling by boats. You can also stay in
traditional Keralan houseboats made out of coir and wood.
You can also stay in traditional Keralan upmarket hotels such
as Coconut Lagoon and see the backwaters by motor boat.
This is an extensive topic.
For further details
on the Kuttanad region, products associated withe the Kerala Backwaters
and the concept of staying in a houseboat and products related to this
region, please click here.
Cardomum Spice Hills.
Many people do not venture this far into the mainland of Kerala. Those
who do are rarely disappointed. It encompasses two major points (i.e.
Periyar wildlife reserve and the beautiful hill station of Munnar).
This region is an extremely peaceful and picturesque region
amidst spice plantations and are excellent for walking and
hill hikers. You do not have to travel to the to the snow clad mountains
of the Himalayas to get beautiful walks.
Periyar Wildlife Reserve: This is arguably the most
important wildlife reserve in South India built around an
artificial lake. The area is surrounded by the spice hills.
Wildlife comprises of sambar, bison, wild boar, langur and
most important of all the 'Indian Elephant'. Apart from the
sitings of elephants on the banks of the lake especially from
the Lake Palace, the major attraction is the setting of the
park. You can wander in this area outside the park into the
spice hills. In some areas, you can pluck cardomums from the
trees. You can also visit a local spice plantation. You may
also wish to stay at the Spice Village where they have a spice
Munnar: This is a highly under-rated hill station in
India at 1520 m. Surrounded by green rolling hills and with
tea growing estates, it is an excellent retreat from the travels.
For details of products
associated with this region please click here.
Kovalam Beach: Viewed from Samudra hotel
| Kerala with such a long coastline is home to some of the
best beaches in India. Some of the popular beaches are: Kovalam,
Varkala and Mararikulam.
Kovalam: This is a long stretch of beach and is further
sub-divided into other names. It is the most popular beach
in Kerala with a wide variety of hotels for all budgets. The
nearest major town is Trivandrum from which many rail and
air connections exist. They are lighthouse beach and Hawah
beach concluding at the Ashok Beach Resort. From there onwards,
you reach Samudra beach which is in a cove (with the Ashok
Beach Resort and the KTDC Samudra hotel). A little further
you arrive at Pozhikkara beach.
Varkala: This is approx. 40 kms north of Kovalam beach.
It is an excellent option to Kovalam especially for viewing
the Arabian sea from the cliff-top.
Mararikulam: This is an exclusive beach resort which
is surrounded by greenery and coconut trees. Reaching it involves
driving through winding roads in a forest. The nearest major
towns are Allepey and Cochin. There is an excellent hotel
here called Marari Beach Resort run by the casino group of
hotels. This is built as individual Keralan style cottages
(referred to as Garden Villas) in a forested environment.
This leads on to the beach which resembles a picture postcard
beach with the sea, sand and coconut trees in the background.
For beach lovers, this is paradise. You may wish to stay there
all the time. However, we have tried to integrate the beaches in
addition to the Kerala backwaters and the Spice hills into our products
so that you can get a little bit of all the Keralan worlds.
For details please
Ayurveda: the science of healing is becoming more popular day
by day throughout the world. Panchakarma, a unique branch of
Ayurveda has attracted the attention of the whole world. In the modern
era, though humans are enjoying the fruits of modernisation without
its knowledge. Hence, they are suffering from incurable diseases such
as Diabetes, Hypertension, early ageing, loss of immunity which in turn
produces more number of diseases like chronic fatigue, fatigue syndrome
etc. Causative factors for all these are : foods containing preservatives,
colouring substances, hybrid foods, refrigerated foods; irregular habits;
stress, strain, tension; polution etc. These in turn are culminating
into waste products in the body. In such conditions Panchakarma is
providing required benefits because it is removing the waste materials
and toxins from the body without hurting the body organs and thus helping
in the cure of the disease. The therapy also helps to rejuvenate
the body cells and organs and for maintenance of health. Kerala is one
of the best exponents of this kind of therapy through a variety of herbal
Ayurvedic Herbal Oil Treatment is a feature, virtually everywhere
in Kerala. This can be added to any product.
Note: Please do check up with your local GP before proceeding with
any of the treatments. To take in the benefits of Ayurveda, it is essential
to have an equivalent amount of relexation (i.e. If you have 3 days of
Ayurvedic treatment you should take 3 days of rest.). Hence, it is better
to stay at a beach resort for 7 nights and then within it have 3 days
of Ayurveda. Specific clinics in Kochi are ideal as are resorts in Kovalam,
Varkala & Mararikulam. Other good points for Ayurveda are: Periyar
or specific clinics and hospitals that specialise in Ayurvedic treatments.
We have a summer
special which involves Ayurveda and a chance to learn Keralite cooking
in Kochi at Eden Garden. For details of products associated with this
region please click here.
There is a multitude of Keralan arts that stun the naked eye of the
visitiors. However, we wish to point you in the direction of 2 forms.
There are many others.
|| Kathakali: This is
a dance drama which attracts many visitors. You do not have
to even be a lover of classical dance to appreciate this.
This has a very involved authentic face decoration prior
to the performance. The performance itself involves eye,
cheek, chin, lip, hand and leg movements. Viewing a performance
is very easy. Many hotels especially in Cochin have a night
performance. Try and get front row seats. Most
products associated with Kerala, involve Cochin (for details
please click here).
Kalaripayattu: This is an ancient Keralan martial
art. Here the art is that of visual athleticism rather
than a means of self defence (like in China). For such
performances please check up the KTDC offices in Trivandrum
for information as to its whereabouts.
Cochin (Kochi): An inter-connection of islands (Bolghatty Island,
Willingdon Island, Vypeen Island just to name a few).It comprises
of low rise, picturesque buildings. It is rich in history and its
sights are that of diverse tradition. Examples of the same are: the
Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry palace (built originally by the Portugese,
then rebuilt by the Dutch occupants. It is built in traditional Keralan
pattern called 'nalukettus'. To the south of the palace is a complex
temple dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.); St Francis Church (the place
where Vascodagama died); Santa Cruz cathedral, Chinese fishing nets
which line the harbour entrances.
Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram): It is a very pleasant capital
city of Kerala. Sights include: Sri Padmanabaswamy temple, typical
dravidian architechture (Note: Normally open to hindus only); Arts
and crafts museum (wooden keralan style architechture housing
collections from Chola, Vijaynagar and Nayaka periods. In addition,
Kathakali costumes are also on display here); natural history museum
(also houses a replica of Nalukettu): Keralan Nayar house and many
other museums. An excellent excursion would be to the beautiful wood
carved Padmanabhapuram Palace, which was once the seat of the
Travancore rulers. This is constructed from teak and granite, with
rosewood ceilings carved in floral patterns, floors finished with
a special compound of crushed shells, coconuts, egg whites and juices
of local plants.
Quilon (Kollam): Southern starting point of the Kuttanad region.
Easy going town that is surrounded by coconut trees and cashew plantations
on the edge of the Ashtamudi lake. Most famous as the starting point
of the day long Kerala Backwaters ferry trip from Quilon to Allepey.
There are many other trips that emanate from Quilon for those who
wish to do shorter trips.
Allepey (Allapuzha): Noted for 3 major points of interest:
one of the main bases for the Kerala Backwaters trips; headquarters
of the coir making industry; important for cashew nut processing.
Many of the cities listed above are very popular with our past customers.
Hence, are featured in many of the Keralan products.
For details, please click to get some
The towns listed below generally tend not to be on most travellers
itinerary, but are well worth a visit. If you like to go away from
the beaten track and yet see some beautiful sights, they are good
destinations. For a visit to these sights and some of the more popular
cities, the best thing is to tailor-make an itinerary for yourself.
us an email of your requirements.
Trichur (Thrissur): Lies at the base of a hillock crowned by
the famous Vadukkumnathan temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva). An excellent
place to visit for the Pooram elephant festival held annually
usually in April or May. An excellent excursion at approx. 32 kms
from Trichur, especially for pilgrims is Guruvayur to visit
a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, known as Guruvayurappa.
Calicut (Kozhikode): An ancient port. North of the city is
Kappad beach, where a small stone monumnet commemorates the landing
of Vascodagama at this, his first stop in 1498.
Cannanore (Kannur): Formerly a major port area, this is now
an industrial city known for its handloom weavers who produce silk
and cotton saris. Sights include: the picturesque Moplah town and
Payyambalam beach kust 2 kms away.
|| Did you know that one of the most popular
Indian restaurants in London (given acclaim by various
Restaurant bodies) is the Rasa Samudra ? This restaurant
cocentrates on hardcore Keralan cuisine and is patronised
by British whites, Indians and tourists (thus the diversity
of interest: Not a taste package for one tongue). Keralan
cuisine is very unique in relation to general Indian cuisine.
Many of the dishes are coconut based. For vegetarians:
thoran (vegetables cooked in a coconut base); aviyal
(similar to Thoran where vegetables are cooked in a sauce);
boiled Keralan rice; rasam (a thin water brown
coloured soup with various spices and herbs); sambar (fluid
dish with veregtables made from tamarin, lentils and spices);
curd. Non vegetarian dishes are plentiful but the speciality
of Keralan cuisine is seafood (variety of fish dishes
cooked in traditional manner using Keralan spices). This
is hardly surprising considering the wonderful Keralan coastline
being in such proximity. The general conclusion to this is
a sweet dish called Paal Payasam (rice pudding). For
food lovers this is a unique opportunity to sample very different
dishes to those North Indian dishes which have been marketed
so well in western countries. For examples: there are banana
pakoras which are starter dishes (very rarely found
in most restaurants or even most homes abroad).
Why not try and learn to cook some of these dishes in addition to seeing
the natural beauty which is in Kerala? One of the best ways to do
so is to learn cooking whilst staying for 2 nights or more in a Keralan
Houseboat. For details
please click here.
The Casino group of hotels with some of the best cooks in the world
have offered to give away their secrets and offer a cookery/Kerala sightseeing
program during some of theoff-peak summer months at a very attractive
details please click here.
Keralan and South Indian Holidays.
Many products in our site which are associated with South India feature
Kerala. Some of them like the Kerala Backwaters + Periyar + Madurai
+ Kanniyakumari mainly concentrate on Kerala and have add ons in the
neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu. Some also feature Kerala, Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Goa. Whilst others feature Kerala as one of many destinations
in addition to other destinations in India like the South India Sampler
or Visit to Goa, Kerala and conclude on a Keralan houseboat. A list
of products featuring Kerala in some form or other are listed below:-
|Product: Skeleton Itinerary
Backwaters + Madurai + Periyar (6 nights).
Trivandrum - Kanniyakumari (1 night) - Madurai
(1 night) - Periyar (2 nights) - Allepey or Kottayam (for Kerala
Backwaters boat trip) - Cochin (2 nights) - Trivandrum.
Backwaters + Madurai + Periyar + week in Kovalam (13 nights).
Trivandrum - Kanniyakumari (1 night) - Madurai
(1 night) - Periyar (2 nights) - Allepey or Kottayam (for Kerala
Backwaters boat trip) - Cochin (2 nights) - Kovalam (7 nights).
- Stay on a Keralan Houseboat in Allepey
to view the Kerala Backwaters region.
at Keralan Beaches for one week.
Periyar, Spice Hills + Munnar.
Cuisine: Starts and concludes in Cochin (7 nights).
Cochin (7 nights)
Kerala Ayurveda by specialist doctors in Kochi and Kerlaa Cuisine in Kochi: Starts and concludes in Cochin (7 nights).
Cochin (7 nights)
Sampler: Cochin, Periyar, Kumarakom and Mararikulam. Starts and
concludes in Cochin (10 nights).
Cochin (2 nights) - Periyar (2 nights) -
Kumarakom (2 nights) - Mararikulam (4 nights).
Coast Sampler + Keralan Houseboat (9 nights).
India Sampler. Starts and concludes in Bombay (14 nights):
Bombay - Goa (3 nights) - Cochin (3 nights)
- Tiruchi (0 nights) - Madurai (1 night) - Ootacamund (1 night)
- Mysore (2 nights) - Bangalore (0 nights) - Bombay.
South India Sampler (16 nights): Start & conclude in Bombay.
Bombay - Hospet for Hampi (2 nights) - Mysore
(2 nights) - Madurai (1 nt) - Tiruchi - Cochin (3 nights) - Goa
(3 nights) - Bombay.
South + Central India Sampler (17 nights): Start in Bombay and
conclude in Madras.
Bombay - Aurangabad (2 nights) - Hyderabad
- Mysore (2 nights) - Cochin (3 nights) - Kovalam (3 nights) -
Madurai (1 nt) - Madras (1 nt).
Coast Supreme (21 nights): Start in Bombay and conclude in Bombay
covers beaches of Palolem and Gokrana and hill station of South
India including Munnar, Ooty and Coorg region plus sights in Kerala
including Backwaters, Cochin and Periyar and Mysore in Karnataka.
Bombay - Canacona (for Palolem)
(3 nights) - Cochin (2 nights).
Start Modified Cochin, Spice Hills
and Munnar programme (Cochin (2 nights) - Allepey for backwaters
boat trip - Periyar wildlife park (2 nights) - Munnar (2 nights))
- Ooty (1 night) - Mysore (2 nights) - Coorg Region (2 nights)
- Mangalore. Mangalore - Gokarna
(4 nights) - Bombay.
|Kerala Backwaters, the hill stations of Munnar
and Ootacamund, Mysore and the Golden Chariot plus Goa (19 nights):
Start Modified Cochin, Spice Hills and
Munnar programme (Cochin (2 nights) - Allepey for for overnight
stay on houseboat - Periyar wildlife park (2 nights) - Munnar
(2 nights)) - Ooty (1 night) - Mysore (2 nights) -
The Golden Chariot: Mysore - Goa covering Belur, Halebid + Sravan
Belgola - Hampi - Badami/ Aihole and Pattadakal - Goa
Then stay in Goa (5 nights).
Hotel Bookings in Kerala. Why not stay in a Keralan heritage hotel
Keralan Heritage Hotels.
Keralan Heritage hotels tend to have a style similar to a 'Nalukettu'
(traditional Keralan wood carved cottage home with a central courtyard).
Two very good examples of this kind of unique architechtural style
are: Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom and the Bolghatty Palace in Cochin
(especially in the corridors leading to the rooms). Details are
If possible try to stay in one of these type of properties which
are styled as 'Nalukettus'. But there are plenty of other heritage
properties. For example staying in a houseboat (made in traditional
manner using coir and wood) or staying at the Brunton Boatyard
in Cochin or Carmelia Haven or Spice Village in Periyar or the
Marari Beach Resort in Mararikulam. For
rates on hotel bookings in Kerala, please send us an email.