Enchanting Kerala

Last year in September 2012, we had travelled to Kerala for a week long family trip. That trip to God’s own country is still very fresh in my mind & I feel as if it had happened yesterday.

It started from Munnar, followed by Kumarakom and Kovalam beach being the final destination.  In one trip, we were able to experience the calmness of living in a hill-station (Munnar), serenity of palm-fringed backwaters (Kumarakom) and the beauty of virgin beaches (Kovalam). We also covered the southern most tip of India, Kanyakumari and the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram before boarding our flight back to Delhi.

The view outside the domestic terminal of Cochin International Airport - The busiest airport in the state of Kerala.

The view outside the domestic terminal of Cochin International Airport – The busiest airport in the state of Kerala. Did you know Kerala is the only state in India with 3 international airports? Calicut, Cochin and Trivandrum are the three international airports in the city.

We had picked Kumarakom for our backwaters trip, took a day cruise in the Vembanad Lake and discovered the rural country side of Kerala. Vembanad lake is one of the longest lakes in India and the largest lake in the state of Kerala. While we opted for Kumarakom, you could also pick Alleppey which is equally popular for its backwaters and if you do a bit of googling you’d find people even rating it as better.

People in Kerala are warm & hospitable and will always greet you with a smile. There are various food choices for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Being on the coastal side of the country, Kerala is famous for its fish curry and a bunch of other non-vegetarian dishes.

So here is what we covered during our trip.

What we did in Munnar

We checked into the hotel during evening and straight-away headed to the traditionally styled Punjarjani village which was at a walking distance from our hotel. The Punarjani village gave us a glimpse of the rich culture and diversity of the state of Kerala. The village has two different theaters for Kalarippayattu (the mother of all martial arts) and Kathakali (the mother of all performing arts).

When in Munnar, don't miss out on the Kathakali show, the king of all performing arts. Daily shows of Kathakali and Kalarippayattu are organized in Punarjani village in Munnar

When in Munnar, don’t miss out on the Kathakali show, the king of all performing arts. Daily shows of Kathakali and Kalarippayattu are organized at the Punarjani village in Munnar.

These artists undergo several years of hard core training to perform the classical Kathakali dance drama.

These artists undergo several years of hard core training to perform the classical Kathakali dance drama.

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The elaborate facial makeup on these artists is called as Chutti. Their makeup and costumes gives an idea of their mental quality.

Kathakali at Punarjani Village

Kathakali is a skilful combination of literature, music, charming costumes, facial makeup (Chutti) and acting & dancing.

Up next was the show of Kalarippayattu, also popularly called as the mother of all martial arts.

Kalarippayattu is an ancient form of martial arts in the state of Kerala and is also called as the mother of all martial arts.

Kalarippayattu is an ancient form of martial arts and is also called as the mother of all martial arts.

Kalarippayattu

Artists performing Kalarippayattu display exemplary courage and fitness of mind & body. They were well versed in English.

The next-morning we went to the Eravikulam National park. Once you reach the park entrance, a mini-bus takes you on a 30 min. ride up the hills along a scenic view.  From there you can go up on a scenic trek where you can observe the hills and the endangered mountain goat species – The Nilgiri Thar.

Map of Ervavikulam National Park, Munnar

Map of Ervavikulam National Park, Munnar

The view of Anamudi from from Eravikulam National Park. Anamudi is the highest peak in the western ghats and South India.

The view of Anamudi from from Eravikulam National Park. Anamudi is the highest peak in the western ghats and South India.

They say that after Munnar, the endangered mountain goat nilgiri tahr is only found in Australia.

They say that after Munnar, the endangered mountain goat nilgiri tahr is only found in Australia.

Next-up we went to the Eravikulam National Park at Munnar

A chameleon at the base point of Eravikulam National Park at Munnar.

Endangered mountain goat nilgiri tahr

Endangered mountain goat Nilgiri Tahr

Unfortunately I don't know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don’t know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don't know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don’t know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don't know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don’t know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don't know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

Unfortunately I don’t know the names of any of these flowers. This flower garden in Munnar was beautiful.

The picturesque view outside the flower garden in Munnar

The picturesque view outside the flower garden in Munnar with village overlooking the mountains and cloudy sky.

Backwaters of Kumarakom

Kumarakom is a perfect destination for those who just want to relax, laze around, get lost into the nature and do nothing!

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The reflection of coconut trees at backwaters of Kerala.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary is situated at Kumarakom. It is a paradise for bird lovers!

A traditional houseboat at the Kerala Backwaters.

A traditional houseboat at the Kerala Backwaters.

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You won’t mind waking up to this dream view with lake and lush green trees in the backwaters 🙂

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The greenery, the ripples, the birds all add to the beauty of backwaters in Kerala.

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Wind off your stress and get lost in these views

The beach town of Kovalam

Kovalam is very close to the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram and is famous for its beaches. Our resort was at a walking distance from the lighthouse beach while the other popular beach is Hawwah beach, also called as the Eves beach.

Arabian Sea View

The view of the Arabian sea and pine trees from the balcony of the hotel.

Young boys playing wooden whistles and swirling yo yos at the Kovala beach.

Young boys playing wooden whistles and swirling yo yos at the Kovala beach.

Evening time view of the lighthouse beach

Evening time view of the lighthouse beach

Sunset at the lighthouse beach.

Sunset at the lighthouse beach.

The next morning we drove to the historic town of Kanyakumari. It is about 80km from Kovalam and is the southern most tip of India.

Vivekananda memorial in Kanyakumari.

Vivekananda memorial in Kanyakumari.

Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India.

Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India.

The Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari

The Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari

The Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari

The Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari

On the last morning, we headed to Thiruvananthapuram for our flight to Delhi. We had some spare time and visited the Padmanabhaswamy temple, which is amongst the richest temple in india. We also visited the veli tourist village in thiruvananthapuram which is an ideal picnic spot with boating facilities.

Bonus Tip: Visit the Veli Tourist Village in Thiruvananthapuram

With Veli Lake meeting the Arabian Sea, the Veli tourist village offers boating facilities.

With Veli Lake meeting the Arabian Sea, the Veli tourist village offers boating facilities.

With Veli Lake meeting the Arabian Sea, the Veli tourist village offers boating facilities.

With Veli Lake meeting the Arabian Sea, the Veli tourist village offers boating facilities.

Kerala has a lot to offer with its scenic beaches, mountains, greenery and the backwaters. With about 6 days at our disposal, these were some of the key places we covered during our trip. Hope this will help you to plan your visit to Kerala 🙂

Well that's me during one of the walks with backwaters of Kumarakom in the backdrop :)

and that’s me during one of the walks in Kumarakom 🙂