The Best of Kerala
Often referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, the Southern state of Kerala is known for being one of the safest, healthiest and eco-friendly in the Republic of India. It has been named as one of the top ten paradises of the world by National Geographic Traveler and is home to a diverse range of unique cultural traditions including Ayurveda, snake boat racing and Kalaripayattu martial arts. These are our recommendations for you to explore…
Ayurveda in Kerala
We highly recommend you try an Ayurvedic massage when visiting Kerala – they are one of the most nourishing massages you’ll ever try. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medicine systems and is gaining in popularity for its preventative approach to health and longevity. What’s unique about an Ayurvedic Massage is that the massage is custom-designed for your body type. It is usually delivered with a personalized massage oil and is performed by two therapists – often with an additional cleansing steam bath.
Spices Found in Keralas
Often called the ‘Land of Spices’, Kerala is home to the most diverse and bountiful range of spices in the world. These are exported for food, medicine and supplements. Some of the popular native spices include Turmeric, Tamarind, Cardamon, Cinnamon and Ginger – many of which are regarded as superfoods and used in modern and alternative medicines, skincare and fragrances. Kerala is also famed for the export of its pepper that is known as the ‘king of spices’!
Taste the Cuisine of Keralas
You can connect to the spirit of a place and its people through the local food. One of the delights of dining at a café or restaurant in Kerala is the food is often presented on fresh banana leaves. Many of the common Kerala dishes consist of rice, fish and coconut enhanced with delicious (and often hot) sauces and accompaniments. Compared to North Indian where the cuisine is mostly vegetarian, Kerala offers many eateries serving meat and poultry.
Experience the Waterfalls and Wildlife of Keralas
Kerala is also popular for hundreds of majestic waterfalls that make for exhilarating excursions. Wildlife in Kerala is equally thriving and there are many sanctuaries across the state where you can observe rare species of flora and fauna. Traveling with the kids? Take them to a national park where they can see endangered and protected animals including the Indian Sloth-Bear, Lion-Tailed Macaque and Bengal Tiger.
Don’t Miss the Famous Snake Boat Races in Keralas
Make sure you don’t miss out on one of the famous ‘Snake Boat Races’ held usually during the monsoon season. Thousands of people attend these lively races. Typically, each village (with a team of 110) races their own glorious long wooden traditional ‘war boats’ that are between 100-140 feet long. Snake Boat Racing is one of the oldest, thriving and fun traditions of Kerala and a must-do!
Another intoxicating offering is this traditional martial art regarded as one of the oldest styles in the world. The Kalaripayattu training begins with a full body oil massage until one’s body feels agile, supple and able. Movements include chattom (jumping), ottam (running) and marichil (somersault) combined with training in weapons like swords, daggers, spears, maces, and bows and arrows – it’s truly dynamic!
Learn Some Keralas Colonial History at the Hill Stations
Another must-do is a journey up through the beautiful countryside to one of Kerala’s hill stations that offer a widow into its colonial history. Usually situated in the misty mountains over 1,000m above sea level, these tea and coffee plantations offer a welcomed respite for locals and visitors during the summertime.
Keralas Village Life
When all is said and done, we recommend you immerse yourself into the daily lives of the local people by exploring a village or two. Browse through the markets and stores, treat yourself to some local treasures, get to know the stall owners and really ‘live like a local’ for an hour or two – the memory of meeting and mingling with the people will stay forever in your heart. Enjoy!