Kerala, otherwise known as “God’s Own Country” and “The Jewel of South India” is located on the South Western Malabar Coast of India. It is India’s largest cultural, economic and educational centre. Kerala is the one of the most viewed Indian city by tourists. The ethnic beauty cannot be expressed in words. Kerala state has been divided into 14 districts.
- A portion of Kerala must have been under the sea in ancient times because large marine fossils have been found in an area near Changanacherry. In Idukki district, Pre-historical archaeological findings include dolmens of the Neolithic era are founded.
- Spices of Kerala attracted ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians to the Malabar coasts in the 2nd and 3rd millennia BC.
- Kerala was ruled by Cheras, and they transformed it into an international trade centre by establishing trade relations across the Arabian Sea with all major Mediterranean and Red seaports.
- In the 15th century, the spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala and that paved the way to European colonisation of India. At the period of the 20th century, there was Indian Independence movement that divided Kerala into two parts Travancore state and the Kingdom of Cochin. The divided two divisions united and formed Thiru-Kochi in 1949.
- In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act merged the Malabar district of Madras state, state of Thiru-Kochi, Shenkottai and The taluk of Kasaragod in south Canara to form the State of Kerala.
- Kerala is named as one of the ten paradises of the world by National Geographic Traveller and it is famous especially for its eco-tourism initiatives and beautiful backwaters.
Kerala, a gem located on the South Western Malabar Coast of India, is a major tourist attraction for domestic and foreign tourists as well. Kerala is one of the major states of South India and its capital is Thiruvananthapuram. It is the largest state of India with an area of 38,863 square Km.
- Kerala is well connected by Airline services to most of the major cities of India. There are four International Airports in Kerala namely Trivandrum International Airport, Cochin International Airport, Calicut International Airport and Kannur International Airport.
- Trivandrum International Airport is the first airport in the state of Kerala established in 1932. Go Air, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines and Indigo are some of the operating Airlines from Kerala to other states and Foreign Countries.
- Tirur Railway Station is the oldest railway station in Kerala and no trains originate their journey but trains halting here connect major cities and states that is the speciality of this railway station. The annual turnover from this station is more than 30 crores.
- There are 5 main Railway stations in the cities of Calicut, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Trivandrum central and Trivandrum Kochuveli and connecting to other states in India.
- The Kochi Metro is the rapid transit system serving the city of Kochi in Kerala, India and it is the fastest completed metro project.
- Well connected with all major states in India via the National highways NH 66, NH 544, NH 966-A etc. Highway roads are in excellent condition and vehicles can go at fairly good speeds.
- Bus services operating to most towns and cities in neighbouring states at fairly regular intervals throughout the day.
- Bus service operated by the state: Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (Maroon and yellow buses).
- In every important part of the city, buses are operating by inter-city bus terminus.
- Private bus companies operating deluxe AC to sleeper coaches along these routes.
When to visit Kerala?
- Kerala is a 365 days destination, yet September to March is the best time to visit Kerala.
- Between August and February, there are events like Christmas celebration, Onam, Diwali, New Year celebration, Carnival etc.
- Moreover, this season (September- March) is also climatically cool and there is less humidity and not it is too hot either. Hence, it is a preferred time to visit Kerala.
The official language of Kerala is Malayalam. Tulu, Konkani, Marathi and Kannada are spoken by a minority of the population.
- Summer Season: March to May
- Average Temperature: 32 to 36 – degree Celsius
- Winter Season: June to September
- Average Temperature: 19 to 30 – degree Celsius
- Monsoon Season: October to February
- Average Temperature: 18 to 29 – degree Celsius
Fairs & Festivals in Kerala
India, the land of cultures, traditions and diversity facet are formed cluster in Kerala, God’s Own Country. Kerala has a wonderful traditional culture marked by the commemoration of several festivals and fairs. The most famous are Onam and Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated by Malayalis and the date is based on the Malayalam calendar which in Gregorian calendar overlaps with August- September. Onam is the “Official State Festival” of Kerala with Public holidays for four days.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Nehru Trophy Boat Race was noted as the largest snake boat race in the world held every year on the second Saturday of August at Punnamada Lake. It is one of the most competitive and famous boat races in God’s Own Country.
Transportation/Stay to prefer
Every year, lakhs of tourists visit Kerala both from India and from other countries. But one can easily find the best place for themselves and their interests in this metropolitan city. Kerala is well known for its beaches, backwaters in Alappuzha and Kollam, Mountain ranges and Wildlife sanctuaries.
But to explore every possible opportunity you need a perfect location to stay so that there would neither be a burden on your budget nor waste of time which is a most precious thing of vacation.
The most popular beaches are Kovalam, Varkala, Kollam and Kappad. Close to the airport, at walking distance from the main road and availability of public transportation adds up to the reason behind their popularity. Hotels and resorts are easily available near the beach for both luxurious and budget tourists. Ashwem (particularly wide and appealing area), Mandrem(comparatively remote but popular for yoga and meditation). These are few more destinations that one can opt as per their choice.
Asia–pacific Heritage Award 2006 by UNESCO was given to restoration of Arikkal kettu, Kannur district. To promote tourism in Kerala, Government initiated Grand Kerala Shopping Festival in 2007. Kovalam beach near Thiruvananthapuram was among the first beaches to attract tourists. Backwaters in Kerala for honeymoon and family holidays are quite popular.
Lighthouses are the main centre of attractions of Kerala beaches and coastline. There are many waterfalls in every district in Kerala. By early 2000s tourism had grown into a full-fledged, multibillion-dollar industry in the world. Medical tourism, promoted by the traditional system of medicines like Ayurveda and Siddha is widely popular in the State.
For local transportation, there is a wide range of choices available for tourists such as-
- Buses: The green and brown coloured bus can be easily seen on the roads of Chennai which offers cheap and affordable services.
- Cycles/Bikes: Tourists who really wish to see the authenticity of Chennai and feel the each and every moment of their stay can choose cycle or bikes available at agencies. Available for few hours, or for full day.
- Taxi: Sharing as well as personal taxies can be hired for visiting the city. Packages of different ranges are available to choose.
Places to visit in Kerala
It is also known as Temple of Sahyadri. Western Ghats are well-known mountain ranges of 1.4 lakhs square km spread across Kerala, Tamil- Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Gujarat. It is one of the most recognized UNESCO heritage destinations in Kerala, offering a superb view from Mountains.
It is located 32 km away from the Trivandrum central railway station and it is also known as Anjengo Fort. It was the first building of the East India Company in Kerala and it is the oldest heritage destination of Kerala.
It is the palace of Maharaja Marthanda Varma. The old fort is an engineering marvel in Kerala, which looks wonderful and strong till date. You can find the Archaeological gallery with the royal residence with many delightful works of art.
It is a seaside town in the south-western part of Main Kochi which is known for its old-world colonial beauty. The place still holds on to every single historical change it has gone through over the centuries. We can see remnants of British rule all over the country.
Bolgatty Palace is located in Bolgatty Island of Kochi and is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces situated outside Holland. It is an exquisite example of the Kochi style of architecture. Built-in 1744 by Dutch traders, it was later extended and gardens were landscaped around it.
It is famous for its exquisite rock and wall carvings, the pre-historic Edakkal Caves are naturally occurring alcoves located in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The caves measure at a massive length and width of 96 and 22 feet respectively and lie 1200 metres above the sea level.
Thalassery Fort is an ancient monument in Thalassery also known as Tellicherry which is a town in the Kannur district of Kerala. It is situated on the Thalassery beach on a rocky cliff. The fort is now supervised by the Archaeological Survey of India and comprises of a large gateway as well as a lighthouse.
It is one of the largest beaches in Kerala and it is made up of three beaches namely the Lighthouse beach, Hawa beach and Samudra beach. Kovalam is extremely popular among westerners due to shallow waters and low tidal waves.
Alappuzha has always had a prominent role in Kerala’s maritime history. Alappuzha is known as East Venice. It is now renowned for the boat races, backwater holidays, beaches, marine products etc. The popular picnic spot is Alappuzha beach. The houseboats in Alappuzha waters are simply a reworking version of the kettuvallams from the past.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
It was noted at the ecotourism sites in Kerala for the ecological importance of the Peppara wildlife refuge. Peppara is blessed with evergreen tropical, semi-green and mixed lagoon forests with moist spread over a 53-acre area. Peppara has 43 mammal species, 233 bird species, 46 reptilian species, 13 amphibian species, and 27 fish species.
Thenmala is known as the “honey hills” and one of Kerala and India’s top planned ecotourism destinations. At an elevation of 1650 meters over the hectares like dense forests lies Thenmala. There is plenty of herbal sweetness on the property.
This grass-covered “Silent Valley” plateau houses many endangered animal species. You have to walk on several tracks from Silent Valley tea estate to enjoy the scenic beauty. The treks include land’s end camp, the Rhodo valley camp, Lake viewing camp.
Guruvayur Krishna Temple
It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus in Kerala. The central icon is a four-armed standing Vishnu carrying the conch Panchanjanya.
It is considered as the mother of all supernatural sites. This Temple was built in 6th century A.D and later renovated by Kings of Travancore after 10 centuries. It is located in the Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. This Place is also known as “The City of Lord Ananta”.
More than 30 million pilgrims visit the temple in Sabarimala annually, making it the largest in India and the second largest in the World, after Hajj Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. People believe that Vishnu’s incarnate Parasurama placed the Ayyappa Idol at the top of the mountain.
St.George’s Forane Syro Malabar Church
St. George’s Syro Malabar Forane Church, locally known as Edapally Church is a Catholic pilgrimage church in Edapally, Kochi, India. Asia’s largest shrine to Saint George, about five million people visit it every year. The church is thought to have been founded in 593 AD.
Cheramaan Juma Mosque
It is located in Methala, Kerala and it is the oldest church built in 629 AD. It was built by Malik Deenar, Persian companion of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed and it was built in Kerala style with hanging lamps.
Cuisines to taste in Kerala
- Kerala, one of the state of Tamil Nadu and an important part of south India is home to vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian cuisines and it is famous for its exclusive south Indian food.
- An actual south Indian person starts the day with a cup of hot filtered coffee and it is signature beverage of the city & for south Indian regions.
- In breakfast, people prefer to have puttu and kadala curry in most of the places of Kerala.
- In lunch they prefer to have sambar, rice, rasam, kootu, buttermilk, chutney and curry. The non-vegetarian meal includes curry or dish made up of chicken, mutton or fish.
- In the evening snacks they love to have chilly or onion pakoda, vada, samosa, nenthiram chips along with filtered coffee.
- In the night they prefer to have Idli, dosa, upma (made of Rava), chapati or paratha.
- In most of the food items fresh or dried curry leaves are added for a special taste and aroma. It is widely used across south India. According to south Indian food always compared with medicine and also have medicinal qualities in the spices and masala added for cooking.
- But what is most surprising to know is that the south India art of culinary is a blend of six different tastes which includes: sweet, salt, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
Popular cuisines of Kerala
Puttu & Kadala Curry
It is prepared from Rice flour by adding water and salt then by adding grated coconut. Then transfer them into container and steam them. Kadala curry is prepared by adding black channa and spices. This two form a very good combination.
It is the common food of south India. It is a delicacy made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice. Sambar is a lentil-based vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind popular in south India. It is also served with coconut chutney.
It is a Dosa-like dish made by cooking ingredients in a batter. Uttapam is traditionally made with toppings such as tomatoes, onion, chillies, capsicum and cabbage mix. It is often eaten with Sambar or chutney and it is popular in south India.
It is a type of pancake made from a fermented batter. It is somewhat similar to a crepe but its main ingredients are rice and black gram. It is a typical part of south Indian diet and popular all over the Indian subcontinents.
A parotta, porotta or barotta, is a layered flat-bread of parts and made up of maida flour. There are different varieties of parotta available like kothu parotta, Mutta parotta, chilli parotta etc.
It is a hugely popular food in Chennai and other parts of south India. It is mixed rice food with vegetables or chicken or mutton (several variants of the biryani available) and popular among Muslims, there is theory Mughals brought it with them. However, this is unclear and there are other theories that suggest that the biryani is an Indian invention.
It is famous snacks that we can taste in Kerala. It was made from nenthiram fruit and boils it in oil by adding ingredients. It is best to eat during evening time.
Things to do in Kerala
Kerala has been blessed with a scenic landscape, mouth-watering cuisine, and an incredibly rich time-honoured history. It would be an important statement to say that Kerala is among the best destinations to explore in India. The largest state of Tamil Nadu, Kerala has many attractions and the first time visitors will get confused that where to begin and what to see first!
The tourists will really enjoy the trip to Kerala as it has all the facilities and many historical, natural places to visit. Everyone who knows about Kerala will say this word It gives life to those whoever coming there. People from all stay will feel comfortable and stay there. It has many industries and IT companies. Every person should visit Kerala at least once in their lifetime.
Activities to do in Kerala
- Watch the Neelakurinji bloom in Munnar
- Stay in a Houseboat – Alappuzha
- Take a jeep trip to periyar wildlife sanctuary
- Stay in a Wayanad – Tree house
- Have a meal in veli tourist village
- Visit Fort Kochi(Marvel at the architecture)
- Go bird watching in kumarakom birds sanctuary
- Swim in the Arabian sea- varakala beach
- Visit Athirapally falls
- Watch the sunset- Kovalam beach
- Bike ride to Idukki
- Take a train journey to Ernakulam
Souvenirs to buy in Kerala
Coir products are made from the fibres extracted from the husk of coconut. Coir making is a laborious process but it’s widely popular for their bio-degradable composition and long life. Coir products, mainly doormats are popular and sold widely.
Coconut Shell Handicrafts
Kerala got its name from the abundant coconut trees all over the landscape. The shell of the coconut is hard and not at all easy to work on. The artisans smoothen and cut or carve to make useful and eye-catching articles. The bowls, cups and ladles can be used for long and thrown away. Coconut shell is bio-degradable, so these products are eco-friendly.
Kasavu Saree (Kerala Saree)
A piece of the Kerala woman’s wardrobe is a Kasavu saree, worn on special occasions. It is woven from fine cotton and edged with gold and copper zari. The saree retains the colour of the yarn which is beige-white. She wears this simple elegant attire even as a bride.
Spices of Kerala
Gift yourself and your friends a small packet of Spices from Kerala. Kerala is famous from the ancient times for spices like black pepper, cardamom, cloves, dried ginger etc. You can buy these spices individually or buy them as a single sachet with assorted spices.
Nilavilakku (Traditional Lamp)
It is lit in the front courtyard to destroy the darkness in our minds, before the lights are switched on. The lit lamp invokes blessings. You can buy such lamps of all sizes. They are cast in bronze or bell metal.
Nettur casket (Nettoor petti)
Nettur casket is a hand-crafted jewellery box of old times. It used to be made of the best wood such as teak and coloured and richly ornamented with brass. Some old families possess original, they were smart enough to keep them safe. These days new cheaper versions are made for sale. They are available in handicraft stores.
So, these are the some of the best souvenirs you can buy from Kerala. Taking them to your home will remember you good times you had on that vacation. These Souvenir defines define cultural and historical pride of Kerala.