Unspoiled and immaculate, words fail to describe the beauty of Kerala. Lying in the south-west, along the Malabar Coast, Kerala often contradicts the typical perception of traditional India, with its bright and verdant region. The beautiful climate of the region produces a mesmerising bounty of scenes.
Nature indeed comes alive during the monsoons (June to September), where there are heavy downpours, which significantly enhances her beauty making it more alluring. Enjoy the verdant greenery and vibrant culture that comes alive with it.
Witness how nature unfolds itself in the very front of your eyes. See pristine backwaters with comfortable houseboats, lush green hill stations, waterfalls and plantations of tea and spices, taste exotic cuisines and replenish body with Ayurvedic massages. The rich mix of Kerala’s colourful trading history; flamboyant festivals; its splendid culture; and its charming undercurrents of mild eccentricity add to its intrinsic appeal.
That’s not all! Sojourn a few days in this underrated quarters to cool down and discover the other side of this amazing place. Here there are quaint villages, art-cultural havens and beautiful national parks where you can hike, view wild elephants and literally get a breath of fresh air.
As monsoon recedes, Kerala celebrates the Onam festival (August-September). It’s the best time of the year to savour the cultural nuances of the state through folk dances like Kathakali and Mohini Attam, the world’s oldest martial arts form – Kalaripayattu, decorated elephants, flowers, traditional games and elaborated feasts.
1. Cruise the backwaters in a Houseboat
Rain and romance is a match made in heaven, and it won’t get more romantic than cruising along the glistening backwaters in a kettuvallam (the traditional rice barge which has been tastefully converted into houseboats) on a rainy day taking all the sights, smells and sounds of this little paradise.
Kerala’s backwaters comprise a dreamy network of myriad canals, lagoons, rivers and lakes a short way inland from the ocean. Wake up on an exotic house boat amidst beautiful backwater with the rejuvenating rains and lush green palm fringed adjoining ambience. Tableaux of rural life drift by and glimpses of homes, farms, churches and temples delight the eye.
Kuttanad is pretty much the face of the Kerala backwaters, honeycombed by numerous canals, lakes, rivers and rivulets. The leisurely cruise along the laidback backwaters gives one a first-hand experience of the village lifestyle in the state and its rustic activities like coir-making and prawn farming. You cannot miss the breathtaking view of the water, land, birds and human habitation on the water side, coexisting peacefully. It’s a very peaceful and relaxing experience – the ideal antidote to otherwise frenetic life styles.
Enjoy the local delicacies with toddy (Kerala’s indigenous alcoholic drink, made from the sap of palm trees). Delectable it would be tasting the special Kerala dishes- Puttu and Kadala Curry , Appam with Stew , Dosa Ghee Roast with Kerala Style Sambar, Nadan Kozhi Varuthathu aka Spicy Chicken Fry and Kerala Style Beef Fry and Malabar Parotta that are available on request in the houseboat.
If the rain stops, witness the sunset and watch nature basking in glory in a magnificent way. For the ultimate experience, don’t miss seeing a sunset from Kakkathuruthu Island on Vembanad Lake.
Where else: Alleppey, Kollam, kumarakom, Kasargod, Cherai Island Backwaters (Cochin)
2. Soak under stunning waterfalls
Nature’s beauty is all around Kerala, but perhaps the best example of nature’s influence adding charm to this state are its waterfalls. They are gorgeous refreshing to look at and wondrous display of Mother Nature. Rolling hills, romantic aroma, picture-perfect landscapes and solitude make waterfalls in Kerala, one of the ideal gateways to solitude.
What better season than the monsoons to see the waterfalls in their full glory. Kerala’s forests are punctuated with small and large streams that merge together to form luscious waterfalls. The swishing and whooshing sound of the flowing stream add to the charm. These coax just about anyone to spend hours gazing at the beauty of the gorgeous waterfalls and soaking in the surrounding beauty.
Be prepared to feel the impact of your breath stolen away as you visit Athirappilly Waterfalls, (located at a distance of about 47 kilometres from Thrissur) hearing the gushing sound of the water plunging down. Amazing it will be to see the majestic falls in their full might-a sight to behold and would evoke a deep sense of wildness. The lush green splendour of thick Sholayar forests acts as the perfect background while the melodies of the falling water add to the dramatic settings. Kerala’s highest fall also enjoys a celebrity status for having featured in numerous Bollywood films like Ravana, Guru and Bahubali.
The idea of spending holidays next to the tranquil landscape of waterfall and indulging in waterborne outdoor activities is enough to captivate the mind and attention of any individual. Nearby activities include rafting, jungle safaris, camping, bird watching, and trekking.
Take a stroll to the verdant hills amidst the mist and transport yourself in a world of fantasy. The mist, the hill station, green plankton all around will definitely make you feel high on life. The rolling pastures of tea that cover this fantastic region give this place its surreal look. The scenes makes it look like a paradise out of a fairy tale and a ideal place for honeymoon couples as well as for those who want to spend some quiet time amidst beautiful nature with incredible views to behold.
Nestled at the concurrence of three rivers, Munnar is one of the beautiful hill stations here in Kerala. Named as the “Natural spa of Kerala”, Munnar is noted for its exceptional shades of green, rotating tea-planted hills, fog and more offer splendid postcard perfect images. What make Munnar all the more special is that June is the month where to see the Neelakurinji bloom, and seeing the blue florets carpet the valleys, mountains, and grasslands can be a sheer delight. (The Kurinji blooms in every 12 years; the last bloom was in 2006). Take a tour around the spice plantations and gardens around Munnar. Indulge in grand boating, natural strolling, trekking, mountaineering, hiking and bird watching.
Popularly known as the “Erumadam” (Traditional Tree Houses) in the local language of Malayalam, are a must experience in Kerala during monsoons. It offers comfortable rooms with attached balconies overlooking lush green plantations, and provides majestic views of the mountains. Marayoor, Mattupetty, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Eravikulam National Park are other attractions near Munnar.
Where else: Wayanad, Vagamon, Idukki, Ponmudi, Vythiri, Lakkidi, Peermedu
4. Best Time For Ayurvedic Treatments
From being the ‘science of life’, Ayurveda has become the ‘slice of life’ for people of Kerala. Sprouted in the pristine land, some 5000 years ago, Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Ayurveda practitioners say the monsoon season, especially during the Malayalam month of Karkkidaka (Cancer – July15-Aug15) is also the best time to perform Ayurvedic treatments, as human body will be more receptive to Ayurvedic medicines than at any other time of the year. The body absorbs anything applied to it, quickly and efficiently during this period.
Kerala Ayurveda is famous for its five prolonged treatment, named as Panchakarma. As part of this treatment medicated oil, herbs, milk, and special diet are used to cure all types of aliments. It is considered a natural way to refresh oneself by eliminating all toxic imbalances from the body and thus regain good health.
Almost all resorts now boast of an Ayurveda spa, meditation and yoga classes. Treatments for skin problems, ailments related to stress and joint pains, or general oil massage is sure to put the spring back in your step. Vaidyarathnam Ayurveda hospital located in Thrissur is one amongst the highly reputed and traditional Ayurveda hospital in Kerala.
Where else: Kottackal Aryavaidya Salai (Malapuram), Dhanwanthari Vaidyasala( Thodupuzha), Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Resort( Mararikulam), Kalari Kovilakom (Palakkad), Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort (Kovalam).
5. Fall in love with the bewitching beaches
Bewitching Kerala Beaches
Gods own Country has the pristine blue water, white sand, vibrant coral reefs, and calmness that fill in the air. Its long coastline, with her history of spice-trade, is inextricably intertwined with her culture, life, and traditions. The coastline is also a hub of fishing activity, so you could see fishers going about their business and using unique contraptions all along the beach. Learn the art of angling and from them or enjoy freshly cooked, spicy sea fish along the beach.
Mararikulam, a village in the Alleppey district, has a beautiful beach that becomes even more attractive during the monsoons. It’s a perfect place to unwind, away from the hustle of the real world! Varkala beach has a spectacular cliff setting. If you’re looking for action, head to Kovalam beach near Trivandrum. Surf in these seductive beaches. Non-surfers can take long strolls on empty beaches, enjoy a massage or sample fresh local seafood.
No doubt its range of water sports and beach related activities like jet skiing, windsurfing, beach volleyball, parasailing, ride on a traditional fishing boat and much more make tourists always busy and commit travellers for an extraordinary seashore journey.