KERALA- Asgaurd of Indian Gods
Kerala, located in southwestern India, is a tropical paradise renowned for its enchanting landscapes, serene backwaters, vibrant festivals, and rich cultural heritage. Fondly known as "God's Own Country," Kerala offers a unique blend of natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and warm hospitality. From pristine beaches to lush hill stations and tranquil backwaters, Kerala tourism has something to captivate every traveller's heart.
The Backwaters: A Journey of Serenity
One of Kerala's most iconic attractions is its extensive network of backwaters, consisting of interconnected lakes, canals, and lagoons. A houseboat cruise through the backwaters of Alappuzha, Kumarakom, or Kollam offers a serene and picturesque experience, surrounded by lush greenery, coconut groves, and traditional villages. It's a chance to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature and witness the unhurried pace of life along the waterways.
Pristine Beaches: Sun, Sand, and Serenity
Kerala boasts a coastline that stretches for hundreds of kilometres, adorned with pristine sandy beaches. Kovalam, Varkala, and Marari are popular beach destinations where tourists can bask in the warm sun, indulge in water sports, or simply relish a leisurely stroll along the shore. The tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking sunsets make these beaches a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Hill Stations: Misty Retreats
Nestled amidst the Western Ghats, Kerala's hill stations provide a refreshing escape from the heat of the plains. Munnar, Wayanad, and Thekkady are among the most sought-after hill stations, offering mist-covered mountains, sprawling tea plantations, and cascading waterfalls. Nature enthusiasts can embark on treks and wildlife safaris and explore the region's rich biodiversity, including the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Cultural Extravaganza: Festivals and Traditions
Kerala's cultural heritage is celebrated yearly with colourful festivals and traditional art forms. The annual Thrissur Pooram, held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple, is a grand spectacle of processions, music, and fireworks. With its elaborate makeup and expressive movements, the Kathakali dance form is a treat for art enthusiasts. Other art forms like Theyyam, Mohiniyattam, and Kalaripayattu showcase the rich cultural tapestry of the state.
Ayurveda and Wellness: Healing for the Mind and Body
Kerala is renowned for its ancient Ayurvedic traditions, offering a holistic approach to health and well-being. Visitors can indulge in rejuvenating Ayurvedic massages, therapies, and wellness retreats, experiencing the healing powers of natural herbs and oils. Ayurveda centres and resorts across Kerala provide a tranquil ambience to revitalize the mind, body, and soul.
When it comes to experiencing the delectable local cuisine of Kerala, there are numerous places to satisfy your taste buds. Here are some of the best places to eat traditional Kerala food:
Local Restaurants and Eateries:
In cities and towns across Kerala, you'll find many local restaurants and eateries serving authentic Kerala cuisine. These establishments offer a wide range of traditional dishes such as appam (rice pancake), puttu (steamed rice cake), idiyappam (string hoppers), karimeen pollichathu (pearl spot fish), and various seafood delicacies. Some renowned local eateries in Kerala include Paragon Restaurant in Kozhikode, Dhe Puttu in Kochi, and Arippa Restaurant in Thiruvananthapuram.
Toddy is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from the sap of coconut trees. In Kerala, toddy shops are popular for their rustic charm and serve delicious local cuisine along with freshly tapped toddy. These establishments, often found in rural areas and along the backwaters, offer a unique dining experience with dishes like karimeen fry (fried fish), kappa (tapioca), and spicy seafood curries. Some famous toddy shops in Kerala include Mullapanthal Toddy Shop in Kottayam and Kumarakom Toddy Shop in Kumarakom.
When cruising through the backwaters of Kerala, many houseboats offer the option of experiencing traditional Kerala cuisine on board. These houseboats serve freshly prepared meals cooked in classic style, using locally sourced ingredients. You can savour a variety of dishes like fish curry, avail (vegetable stew), thoran (vegetable stir-fry), and payasam (sweet dessert). Enjoying a meal on a houseboat surrounded by picturesque backwaters views is an unforgettable culinary experience.
Malabar Cuisine Restaurants:
Malabar cuisine is a distinct culinary style originating from the Malabar region of Kerala. It is known for its rich flavours, aromatic spices, and unique combinations of ingredients. Several restaurants specializing in Malabar cuisine can be found in cities like Kozhikode and Kannur. These establishments serve mouthwatering dishes like biryani, pathiri (rice pancake), and spicy non-vegetarian delicacies. Some popular Malabar cuisine restaurants include Paragon Restaurant and Zain's Hotel in Kozhikode.
Traditional Kerala Sadya:
A Kerala Sadya is a traditional feast served on a banana leaf and consists of various vegetarian dishes. It is typically done during festivals and special occasions. Many hotels and restaurants in Kerala offer the Kerala Sadya experience, allowing you to relish a sumptuous spread of dishes like avail, olan (pumpkin and cowpea stew), sambar, rasam, and a plethora of delectable side dishes and desserts.
Kerala's allure as a tourism destination lies in its harmonious blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, warm hospitality, and mouthwatering cuisine. Whether cruising through the backwaters, unwinding on pristine beaches, exploring misty hill stations, immersing in vibrant festivals, rejuvenating with Ayurvedic treatments, or savouring the local street food stalls and food markets, Kerala offers an enriching and unforgettable experience. A journey to "God's Own Country" is an invitation to embark on a voyage of discovery, serenity, and rejuvenation amidst nature's abundant blessings. Kerala's culinary scene is a treasure trove for food enthusiasts, and these recommended places are just a starting point to embark on a flavorful journey through the diverse and mouthwatering cuisine of "God's Own Country."