In that strip of land that lies between the Western Ghat mountains and the Arabian Sea, you’ll find Kerala, known as “the land of coconuts”. This tropical part of southwest India is a wonderful way to shake off the jetlag after your flight to India.
Take a ferry through the waterways and lagoons in the shade of swaying palm trees. Some of the best resorts – and beaches - in India are to be found on Kerela’s coastline. Cooler weather provides a welcome break from the rest of India’s searing heat as you dine on delicious vegetarian fare.
Explore the temples, churches, natural forests, wildlife reserves and plantations that produce the tea, coffee and spices used back home. With mountains overlooking lush, green valleys and gorgeous sights such as Athirapalli Falls, it won't be long before you’re planning a return trip to Kerala.
Kerala insider information
Drift along the backwaters – the lagoons and canals – behind the coast in a motor boat or a covered country boat to appreciate the beauty of Kerala. If you stay in homesteads along the way as a guest of a local family you experience the authentic hospitality and excellent vegetarian cooking. During Onan, the harvest festival in August and September, there are boat races on the backwaters. At Alappuzha. crews of over 100 men row in unison while the crowds on the banks shout themselves hoarse.
Kerala is known for its coir, part of the coconut, which can be seen being made into matting and other products. Black pepper and cashew nuts are also important produce. The cashew plants grow up trees like ivy.
See Kathkali, the 400-year-old dance-drama about Hindu mythology, which are no longer reserved for Hindu temples only. Ernakulam is a centre for the shows, and can go backstage to watch the dancers put on their makeup, or feel the unexpected weight of the traditional costumes.