As one of the trendiest destinations in Asia, Kerala is an exciting blend of art, culture and cuisine. A tropical paradise, it is situated in southern India and borders the state of Karnataka to the north and the state of Tamil Nadu to the east. Kerala tourism has flourished due to its sun bathed beaches, diverse travel options, many eco-tourism initiatives and notable ayurvedic spas. Various social, religious, architectural and cuisine influences here include Arab, Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese and British, among others.
Known as God's Own Country by the local Kerala Tourism department, this title is well earned here. Many include in their Kerala travels, visits to majestic mountains and immaculate rain forests and of course, the sparkling coast of India. One of the most popular attractions is the many sporting options for tourists. With its high standard of living for the locals, Kerala is considered to be one of the safest destinations for tourists in India. So you can relax and enjoy all it has to offer.
As opposed to prepackaged sightseeing options, your activities here can be more experiential with options ranging from rejuvenating Ayurvedic oil massage, lazing on the beach, spending a couple of days on a local houseboat or truly discovering why its named one of the "50 places of a lifetime" by the National Geographic Traveler magazine. Kerala Tour Packages offer the very best of what this jewel is known for.
Scenic attractions for visitors include 41 rivers which traverse the region, and numerous tributaries, lagoons and small islands to explore. Being located near the equator, Kerala boasts a soothing, tropical climate year round. The lush vegetation of the rain forest is host to a plethora of exotic wildlife and plant life for the adventurous to examine.
One of Asia's largest annual festivals is the Annual Kerala State School Art Festival. For 10 days during December or January, Kerala school children showcase their enchanting art forms and cultural talents. Hundreds of events in this festival command over 200 trophies to be awarded. Culture here is deeply valued and broadcast all over the world gaining in popularity each and every year.
There is an unspoiled and charming nature here that can only be experienced in person. With our Kerala Tour Packages the best of this region is offered to travelers seeking culture of a wide and varied nature. Our expert staff helps you along every step of your trip to provide security, comfort and complete satisfaction.
If you’re looking for a place you can relax and not worry about transportation, Cochin has international flight arrivals and is well connected domestically. There are a number of good hotels in the historic area of Fort Kochi that cater well to travelers. This area of the city is relatively car free, making it perfect for a quiet afternoon stroll.
Cochin has an amazing history, having been controlled at various times by the Dutch, Portuguese and British, and influenced by Chinese and Jewish settlers and traders. These influences can still be seen today. For instance, you might stroll down the water one evening and sea the graceful sweep of Chinese fishing nets. There are some interesting examples of architecture from several religions, like the church of St Francis of Assisi, the Paradesi Synagogue and the Dutch-influenced Mattancherry Palace. With the help of a local guide, you can see all these attractions in a single day of sight-seeing.
Board an early morning train heading north and by late morning you would have arrived at Kannur; a place used to be known by the anglicized, if rather poetic, name Cannanore. There is a rather charming semi-private strip of beach by the Arabian Sea where you can engage a room in one of our several guest houses. The guest houses provide scrumptious local home-style meals, which assuredly may be some of the best food ever eaten in India. With no worries on where you’re getting your next Indian food fix, you can have the afternoon free to relax in a hammock, swim, or take a walk around to take in the admittedly gorgeous views of the local region.
The local festivals and rituals are also something to look forward to. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the opportunity to see a ‘Theyyam’ ritual dance. This dance only takes place in the temples around Kannur, so viewing one is a real treat. It involves elaborate makeup and headdresses, a great deal of frenzied movement and lots of loud drumming. The ritual’s origin and meaning is shrouded in mystery, but a few enquiries to the locals can open up a world of myth and beauty that will make your stay in Kannur all the more meaningful. It is a unique experience that is not to be missed. Of course, when in this part of Kerala, do not forget a visit to the local sights, like the fort and the old town.
Just a two-hour drive south of Kannur is Calicut, the City of Spices, famous as the landing place of Vasco de Gama, the first European to visit India. Our small guest house here is run in accordance with the time-honored Indian system of healthcare known as Ayurveda. This is a chance for you to sample an authentic Ayurvedic diet. In the afternoons, you can opt to experience the traditional massage treatments of the Ayurvedic system or you can participate in a cooking class to learn some of the local Indian dishes. If these pursuits are not to your taste, you can always go for a walk to take in the local sights or join a Yoga class.
If you want to see what Calicut can offer, try to visit Kerala’s oldest spice bazaar and hand loom weaving centre. Kerala is popular for its hand loom products. You can also take a walk to ‘sweet meat street’, a market area teeming with small shops selling everything from bangles to brass lamps. If you have a particular interest in what the stars have in store for you, there are local astrologers who would be happy to make your astrological chart (for which you will need to know the exact time, date and place of your birth). Top off the day with a drive to Kappad beach, where Vasco de Gama landed more than 500 years ago. There is no better place to have a swim and watch the sun setting over the Arabian Sea.
From Calicut, it is only a 3 hours drive inland to Palakkad, the rice bowl of Kerala. This is a great part of Kerala and because it is not frequented by many tourists, it is the perfect destination for those who want a peaceful and quiet vacation. You get the chance to stay in what once was an ancestral family home. Now it is a unique guest house that will certainly make your stay all the more interesting.
You won’t be expected to stay cooped up in the house however, no matter how interesting it is. The small village near the guest house is perfect for a morning stroll. Your host will point out the sights and explain the life unfolding in a typical Keralan countryside town. In the afternoon, there is an opportunity to see a traditional but rarely performed ritual called Kalam Ezhuthi Patture. It involves the hand drawing of Goddess Kali using natural pigments. The entire ritual is actually a series of smaller ceremonies that are fascinating in their own right.
In the morning, you start out for Palai, further south in the foothills of the Western Ghat mountain range. The 5 hour drive will be broken with a stop at an elephant training camp, where captive-bred elephants are trained to be working or temple elephants. You’ll most likely arrive at the plantation you are supposed to be staying at in the afternoon, where you’ll have the rest of the day at your leisure.
The fantastic Syrian Catholic cuisine is a highlight of Palai, along with long walks around the rubber plantation and spice gardens which surround the homestead. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the elephants at work, carefully but powerfully dragging logs in between rubber trees. Many past travellers have rated the viewing of working elephants as one of the peaks of their South India trip.
After a good night’s rest, you’ll have an early morning drive to the Kumarakom jetty where houseboats are waiting to take you on a cruise. There is adequate staff onboard each boat to turn fresh local produce into feasts. The cane deck chairs are perfect for reading or simply sitting watching the idyllic life of the backwaters drift by. Make the most of your overnight cruise, because this is a real slice of tropical luxury that has to be experienced to the full.
After crossing Vembanad Lake, the house boat will drop you close to your home for the next two nights, a simple homestay that is thoroughly modern. It is a newly built property in a peaceful location and a great spot to wind up the trip through Kerala. After arriving, you get the rest of the afternoon to yourself.
On your second day, your host will take you for a walk to the small nearby town where your party will most likely bump into several of his relatives. Take this chance to observe the local life in Kerala. You can always drop in on the small orphanage in town. The children are relentlessly eager to try out their (excellent) English on newcomers. There is a Syrian Catholic church here, considering that the majority of the area is Christian, that is worth visiting.
You’ll have the a morning in Alleppey free before the 3 hour drive north to the Cochin airport. Whether you leave Kerala for home or onward to another Indian destination for further travel, we are sure that your time here will have been wisely spent and unforgettable.