Tourism in Kerala
Kerala has the reputation of being the most beautiful state in India and its slogan, “God’s Own Country”, certainly reflects that! It has been named one of the “ten paradises of the world” by the National Geographic Traveler magazine and is one of the most popular tourism destinations in India. From beautiful backwaters to Ayurveda massages and tea plantations to beaches, it is obvious to see that all this popularity is for a very good reason.
Tea Plantations in Munnar
Here are a few places that I think are absolute must-sees in Kerala. First is Munnar, which is a town known for its stunning tea plantations. The rolling green misty hills will leave you amazed. In Munnar there is also a Tea Museum, which cites the evolution of the tea industry since the 1880s.
Kovalam beach is the most popular beach in South India because of its natural beauty and fine sand washed beach. There are many beautiful resorts to stay at. There are also numerous activities to do here including sunbathing, surfing, sunrise and sunset cruises, Ayurvedic massages, yoga centers and theaters, which feature traditional art forms and martial arts.
Another houseboat viewed from the houseboat I was in.
To indulge in the beauties of the famous backwaters of Kerala, I suggest staying in a houseboat. I have personally stayed on a houseboat, so I can tell you that it will be a very memorable event. The houseboat will tour the gentle backwaters and you will be able to witness how lush and beautiful it really is.
Monkeys at Thekkady (2010)
To connect with nature, I would suggest going to Thekkady, which houses India’s largest wildlife sanctuary and features India’s only tiger reserve. Here, small monkeys walk the streets and you may be able to spot elephants, deer and a variety of birds and reptiles.
In all these places, there are many hotel and resorts to stay at and there are also a number of restaurants where you can indulge in Kerala’s delicious cuisine. One hotel that I suggest is The Raviz hotel, located in Kollam, which is about a 1-2 hour drive from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. This hotel is a five star hotel with many different types of rooms with different prices such as the premium lake view rooms priced at 22000 rupees per night (which is about $440).
During Onam, people make "pookalam".
Women at the Attukal Pongala Festival
In Kerala, there are a number of festivals that occur year round like Onam, a ten day harvest festival that, according to legend, celebrates the welcoming of the spirit of King Mahabali, who was king during Kerala’s golden era. The festival features many different things such as the Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race on the river Pampa, dances performed by women such as the Kaikotti kali and the Thumbi Thullal and of course, the most impressive part, the grand feast called Onasadya. Onasadya is a nine course meal and it is eaten traditionally on banana leaves, with the people sitting on mats on the floor. Another popular festival is the Attukal Pongala Festival, a world famous ten day festival. It is unique because it is celebrated only by Hindu women at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This festival, with more than one million participants, has even entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest religious gathering of women in the world. On the ninth day of the festival, the women make offerings for Goddess Attukalamma by cooking Pongala payasam in earthen pots near the temple.
With all this, and so much more to see, smell and taste, it is easy to see that Kerala rightfully deserves the title of “God’s Own Country”!
This blog is part of a high school course. The complete content with pictures can be viewed at http://keralafoodblog-sarah.blogspot.com/