Why Kerala is Really Gods Own Country?

tea garden, kerala, greenery

The easiest way of identifying the magical state of Kerala is to hear the words ‘God’s own country’. You’d think that there were some substantial reasons Kerala got such a divine reputation, and none would surprise you. The celestial land of Kerala is a land of untold stories and unexplored creations that look like they couldn’t be created by the mundane brain of humans. Thus, even the tourism industry of Kerala uses that phrase to describe the state. But there’s more than just its fantastic appealing factors that make Kerala such a heavenly wonder. What makes Kerala such a magnetic force to be reckoned with, you ask. Let’s find that out.

  • The cuisine is especially authentic

south indian, cuisine, food, kerala

Image via Flickr by Bill Scott

Kerala’s cuisine is unique and you’d find something new in possibly every place you visit in the state. The authenticity of the south Indian delicacies in Kerala have a charm of their own that makes it feel like it’s an unmissable location of India. Calicut’s seafood and Munnar’s diverse cuisine brings tourist from all over the world to this southern heaven. Food can’t simply be described to a lover of delicacies, and you’d have to try and see how truly magnificent the cuisine of Kerala is. Rooftop restaurants, quiet beach-side cafes, the tea stalls of the villages, you name it and Kerala will have it. If you visit the home of a local to dine, there’s much more you’d get to discover apart from their friendly nature and polite hospitality.

  • The heavenly, unbelievable monsoons

kerala, backwaters, monsoon, greenery

Image via Flickr by Sarath Kuchi

Kerala is greeted by majestic monsoons during its time in the south. The rivers feel like they’re descending from paradise, the mountains are covered in a blanket of thickets and trees, the forests are dense and worth getting lost in, and the pleasantness of the swaying palm trees gives Kerala an edge like no other. If you’re feeling adventurous, the bamboo rafting through the valleys of Munnar is an experience one should never miss. Stay in one of those quaint resorts of Periyar and watch the rain take your very breath away with its unmistakable allure. Then there is Alleppey, the “Venice of the East”, grows more beautiful when it rains.

  • The sleepiness of hill stations

kerala hill stations, munnar, thekaddy

Image via Flickr by himanisdas

Kerala’s hill stations have unmatched beauty in them. Thekaddy, Vagamon, Munnar, Ponmudi and others are some of the most attractive hill stations of Kerala. The hill stations are quiet and relaxing, giving you a well-deserved weekend retreat. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, the quaint hill stations perched upon the prettiest of hills in Kerala have stunning factors that would appeal to any traveller. Tourists flock up to Ponmudi and Thekaddy for some calming time out of their busy lives, and the locals scattered around the state also enjoy their very own hideous amidst lush forests and valleys full of explorations.

  • The spice and tea

tea garden, kerala, tea estate, greenery

Image via Flickr by Rajib Ghosh

Kerala is especially famous for its tea and spice plantations. It isn’t called the spice capital of the country for no reason. The aromatic plantations of spices in Kerala have been a constant allure for people throughout the years now. With the delicious fragrances of the spices merging into those of the tea plantations have made a rather substantial impact on Kerala’s tourism, and it has only seen good days so far. You’d find that there is no better tea to sip anywhere other than in Kerala once you’ve had a taste, and your nose will possibly disregard every other perfume the moment it breathes in the spicy scent of Kerala’s plantations.

  • The people

elephant, kerala, culture, elephant ride

Image via Flickr by spisharam

Kerala’s locals are the best. If you’re at your best behaviour the people of Kerala will go to any length in making sure that a guest in their home has a good time. The nature of the people in Kerala is especially friendly and hospitable, and if you become good friends with some of them, expect to be invited to their homes at least once. Keralites follow many age-old customs and traditions which make them all the more interesting to hang out with. You get to learn something new from almost every person you meet. They’ll probably recommend the best places to visit, and you can tour Kerala like a local rather than a usual tourist. It’s a really appealing factor of being in Kerala that the people offer their utmost hospitality to nearly every visitor.

You’ve got to visit Kerala once to know how seriously brilliant it is in reality. Perhaps the spirituality of this calming destination will help you see how Kerala truly is the destination handcrafted by God.


Author Bio:

Rohit is a passionate traveller and writer who shares his experiences on TransIndiaTravels.com from his many travelling excursions and expeditions of around the world.

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Go Goa in December: Yes or No?

To be or not to be in Goa in December?

I was wondering there must have been uncountable debates and discussions on this topic. Well, everyone has his/her own reasons to justify why and why not to visit Goa in December, the peak season when tourists from all across the globe flock to the place.

goa, beach in goa, colva beach

For me, Goa in December means the best opportunity to get into the vibe of the place and experience the true spirit of Goa. While others can say that Goa is overcrowded in December and hotel prices are steep during this season, the reasons to visit Goa in December completely outweigh the cons.

Sunny beaches enlivened with soulful music, late-night parties, abundant seafood, cheap liquors and buzzing casinos, that’s Goa in high seasons.

Electrifying Music Festivals

If you love electronic music you should visit Goa in December. The Sunburn Festival, Asia’s largest EDM (electronic dance music) festival, is hosted in December every year. The newest addition to Goa’s crown is the Supersonic Festival. Organized at Candolim Beach in North Goa, this festival attracts and promotes young talents across the globe. Shake a leg at the music by international DJs and rock bands and have fun on the beach.

supersonic festival. goa music festival, EDM festival

Grand Christmas Celebration

Goa has a majority of the Christian population. The place is dotted with old churches that epitomize the rich tradition of Christianity. Naturally, Christmas in Goa is a grand affair, celebrated with great zeal and fervor, which touches every heart.  Beautifully adorned churches, shops selling homemade cakes and chocolates, and people in happy countenance  everywhere  – all add to the charm of Goa in December.  You can witness Christmas celebration in some of Goa’s historical churches such as Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, and Se Cathedral.

New Year Parties

Goa turns out to be a paradise for party animals during December. With New Year round the corner, the towns and beaches come alive with lights, music, food stalls, and fireworks. With no cops to stop you, go partying on the beach through the night and watch fireworks.

Discovery of Goa’s Heritage

Goa is much more than its beaches and parties. Discover the rich heritage of Goa in its museums, churches, and historic edifices. In December, the weather becomes milder. You can take walking tours and explore the churches and museums without getting tired.  Some of the must-sees are the Naval Aviation Museum, Goa State Museum in Panaji, Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Christian Art in Old Goa.

panaji church, goa,

Flickr Image: selmerv

Watersports and Cruises

Watersports are an eternal attraction of Goa. The sun is softer in December and you can enjoy a lot of beachfront activities in Goa. Banana boat rides, boating, and snorkeling trips are something you can’t miss in Goa. Adventure lovers can go for para-sailing, jet-skiing, surfing, and white-water rafting for more adrenaline rush. Families can enjoy cruising in Mandavi River and go dolphin-spotting in the sea.

Shopping at Arpora

Shopping can be fun in Goa, especially in December. The Saturday Night Market at Arpora can sweep you off your feet with exclusive collections of clothes, accessories, and antique items from across the globe. Shop, eat, drink and listen to live concerts at this seasonal market that offers a carnival-like atmosphere.

Anjuna Beach flea market is another shoppers’ paradise in North Goa. From funky jewelry to local handicrafts, the market offers eye-catching items at cheaper rates.

colva beach villa, goa, villa, goa in december

Offbeat stay experience in Colva villas

There are numerous beach villas in Goa that are ideal for family vacationers.  If you are a solitude seeker like me, you may choose to stay at a Colva beach villa that promises luxurious accommodation along with a range of modern amenities and services to make you feel at home. Colva villa ensures quick access to some of South Goa’s secluded beaches so that you can enjoy your vacation in a peaceful, relaxing manner without missing the beachfront activities and fun in Goa.

Rewind Time at Yercaud

coffee estate, yercaud, tamilnadu

Imagine a place in the hills, where the wind sometimes wafts, sometimes freewheels. The mercury is too cautious to cross the 30th degree mark, and the homes are the old world. Where a thousand greens tinge the same hill. The forests become lakes and lakes become forests in a wink. And a dozen peaks take your eye to the furthest horizons. More than 173 years ago, Sir Thomas Monroe, the governor of erstwhile Madras Presidency, found such a place. Not enough has changed in Yercaud. Like many of its sisters, it has avoided the ravaging beast of urbanity. The whirls of smoke don’t choke its forest air, and time is sedentary. Yercaud resorts take pride in showcasing the antiquity of the place, giving you much to marvel at.

Yercaud Forest walk, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by Joseph Jayanth

Shevaroys for the Quaint Nature Lover

Nestled in the Shevaroys Range in Eastern Ghats, Yercaud is some 5,000 feet above sea level, and, luckily for the reserved, sparsely populated. The jewel of South India, it heavily contrasts the bustle and chaos of regional metropolises. Like many hill stations, it still retains its colonial buildings and institutions like the prestigious Montfort School, Fairholme Bungalow and Grange summer resort. Central to its charm is the Yercaud Lake, a silvery body of water lined by hills, dense parks, and natural shoals. When you’re not boating, the lake-side parks, which include The Botanical Garden and The National Orchidarium, offer irenic strolls.

yercaud lake, botanical garden yercaud, tamilnadu

Botanical Garden, Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by solarisgirl

The undulating landscape attracts trekkers from around the country to see the enchanting Kiliyur Falls empty into the valley below as it swells with the waters of Yercaud’s lakes. On the way to the highest point of Shevaroys Hills, where its famous temple stands, is the hill station’s oldest cottage, Norton’s Bungalow. Situated nearby, the Bear Cave is a short potholer’s journey of a few hundred metres.

High Points and Horticulture Delights

Yercaud hill station, yercaud, tamilnadu

Hill station in Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by Joseph Jayanth

When the British developed this hill station, they introduced fruits to sustain its economy, a trade that still continues. Visitors to Yercaud can stroll through its citrus fruit groves, banana plantations and coffee estates, where the coffee bloom dots the forests with white flowers in fairy-tale effect. The plantations transport you to old-time India, where regional cultures blended seamlessly with borrowed British idiosyncrasies.

Coffee estate in Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by V.v

During the time of the British, trekking to Yercaud Hills’ vantage points wasn’t uncommon for both men and women. The topography is home to old and new temples and fascinating places to visit in Yercaud that you may stumble into. East of the hills lies the popular Pagoda Point, where the sun drowns in into the vast, dense jungles of Yercaud edging towards the brightly-lit Salem city – a breathtaking sight for an evening picnic with friends and family, where you can indulge in archery after your picnic, depending on the Yercaud hotels you may be staying. Like Pagoda Point, these hills are home to many other vantage points: Tipperary Viewpoint, Karediyur viewpoint, Arthur’s Seat and Lady’s Seat, which aristocratic British women had been known to visit. A short distance from Lady’s Seat is Yercaud’s renowned Silk Farm and Rose Garden, both popular attractions that immerse you in the artistry of nature and man.

yercaud hill station, tamilnadu

Hill station in Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by Joseph Jayanth

Because that is really what a holiday in Yercaud is all about: witnessing the endearing relationship between its few residents and its overwhelming nature. Whether you’re starting from Chennai, Hyderabad or Bangalore to Yercaud, your travel will be comfortable thanks to the fine roads.

 

This is a guest post by Nanditha, who is a travel writer by profession and works with HolidayIQ. She is a lover of world cultures, languages, and food, and guides travelers to make travel adventurous with her experience.
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Alleppey Grows More Beautiful When it Rains

Backwaters, Alleppey, Kelara

Rabindranath Tagore regarded monsoon as the ‘queen’ of all seasons. If you visit Alleppey in the monsoon you’ll no way but agree with the great poet. The wild beauty of Mother Nature bathed in monsoon rain is simply a treat to the eyes that you’ll cherish forever.

Alleppey or Alappuzha in Kerala is located 70 km south of Cochin, the major port city in Western India. The place is famous for its lush greenery and tranquil backwaters. Due to its numerous lakes and canals creating a network of waterways Alleppey is popularly called the “Venice of the East”.

Backwaters, Alleppey, Kelara, Monsoon Travel
Alleppey backwaters – Image: kvtholidays.com

How to Reach

The district of Alappuzha or Alleppey is well-connected to most of the important southern cities via railway networks. There are direct trains from Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.

The NH47 connects Alleppey with other cities including Cochin, Bangalore and Chennai. You’ll find direct bus services operating from Cochin to Alleppey regularly. There are overnight luxury buses to Alleppey from Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore.

The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport. After you land in Cochin take a train or bus to Alleppey.

Things to do

Though there are ferry services available, for a perfect leisure trip cruising in the backwaters on a houseboat is a must do. It is, perhaps, the best way to observe and enjoy the divine beauty of Alleppey. In addition to its scenic landscapes Alleppey’s rich cultural heritage is a major tourist attraction.

St Mary’s Church in Champakulam and Sreekrishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha are famous for their religious sanctity as well as architectural grandeur.

Watching the traditional snake boat race held in August and September every year is a bonus for travelling Alleppey in the monsoon. If you want a closer look to the boat race rent a boat instead of standing in the crowd on the banks.

Nehru Trophy, Snake Boat Race, Alleppey, Kerala, Monsoon Travel
Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race – Image: mavaraholidays.com

When you feel tired after a daylong sightseeing trip, pay a visit to Krishnendu Ayurveda Wellness Center near Alleppey for a rejuvenating herbal spa treatment.

Alappuzha Beach is a perfect place for a quiet hangout in the light of setting sun. Take a stroll along the promenade and have a cup of coffee with your companion at the Indian Coffee House while watching countless waves breaking on the shore.

Where to Stay

Alleppey thrives on eco-tourism. It houses a number of nature resorts and hotels. Located in secluded beaches these resorts are surrounded by tropical plants and coconut trees. The green rice fields nearby create a vista that soothes the tired eyes of urban travelers. Keeping in harmony with their environment the cottages are built in traditional Kerala fisherman’s hut style featuring thatched roofs and open courtyards. You can also stay in the beautifully adorned houseboats where you get to savor some delicious Malayalam dishes during your stay.

House boat in Alleppey, Boat house, Alleppey, Kerala, Backwaters, Monsoon
House boat in Alleppey – Image: alleppeybackwaters.com

Responsible travel

As part of your nature travel in Alleppey you should maintain the following etiquette as a responsible traveler. Respect the sanctity and cleanliness of the place.

  • Don’t throw away plastic bottles, wrappers and other non-biodegradable materials into the water or in the fields. Rather you should keep all your disposables in a plastic carry bag and drop it only in the garbage.
  • Don’t drop anything, not even food items, into the water during your cruise in the backwaters. You may get fined for this.
  • Don’t lean too much to touch the water. It may unbalance the boat and cause accident.

Monsoon, lasting from June to September, is typically a season in which most tourists avoid Alleppey because of heavy rainfall and water logging in the streets.  Those who have the courage to face these odds are sure to have a rewarding experience. Another advantage of visiting Alleppey in the monsoon is that you may get discounts on booking hotels.