Places to see and things to do in Kerala from chilling out on tropical South Indian beaches, boat trips to Kerala's backwaters and Ayurvedic massages in Kerala's spas.
Bordering on the Arabian sea and on the Western Ghats mountain range, Kerala one of South India tour best holiday destinations. Most visitors come to Kerala between November and March to make the most of its tropical climate.
Kerala used to be a centre for spice trade and it still grows spices from green cardamon to cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. Coconuts grow everywhere in Kerala and are a key ingredient in Keralan food. But Kerala is not just a tropical holiday heaven: it has the highest literacy rate in India (90%) and had the world's first elected Communist government in 1957. Kerala also has a large Muslim population, and only in Kerala it is still possible to see a Communist flag right next to an Islamic mosque.
Chill Out on Kerala Beaches
Kerala's southernmost beach, Kovalam, is where hippies used to hang out, but today the beach is one of India's most developed resorts. Travellers looking for less action prefer Varkala, located further north along the coast and famous for its seafood. In Northern Kerala beaches are much less developed. Whichever beach one chooses, a great seafood dinner is guaranteed.
Escape the Heat to the Western Ghats
The Western Ghats are a forest covered mountain range that separates Kerala from the neighbouring state of Karnataka. On the ghats grow coffee, tea and spices including Kerala's speciality, green cardamon. The ghats are a great place to escape to when Kerala's beaches become too hot as the summer approaches in March. Munnar is a popular hill station in the middle of Kerala's tea estates, and the Periyar Tiger Reserve near the town of Thekkady. South India tour packages offer walks in the forest, a good way to spot wild elephants and maybe even tigers.
Take a Boat Trip to Kerala Backwaters
A classic way to travel in Kerala is a boat trip along its backwaters, a vast network of interconnected canals and rivers. There are private houseboats (kettuvallams or rice barges), day-long tourist cruises and public ferries, but all make their ways slowly along peaceful canals surrounded by coconut groves and rice fields. Many hotels and most travel agents in Kerala can arrange India tour packages and backwater boat trip.
Get a Traditional Ayurvedic Massage in Kerala
Kerala is the birthplace of Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system. While real Ayurveda is serious medical treatment, simple Ayurvedic massages are available everywhere in Kerala from cheap but relaxing oil massages on the beach to 5-star spas dedicated to Ayurvedic treatments in India tours.
See a Kathakali Dance Performance in Kerala
Kathakali is a traditional Keralan dance form best known for its dancers' extraordinary make-up and colourful costumes. Performances are usually based on Hindu mythology. Traditional Kathakali dance dramas can continue all night but shorter versions are provided for tourists in India holidays.