It seems the God’s Own Country has some magical powers in attracting tourists from all over the world. Have you ever wondered why tourists are so much fascinated to visit Kerala? Why Kerala top on their bucket list? A couple of months before, I’ve got an opportunity to have a small chat with a couple from England named Nathan and Andrea with their two adorable kids Amelia and Jamie, who were on an enchanting journey across Kerala.
Here is what they loved about Kerala:
The Beauty of Nature and the People
The first and foremost thing they loved about Kerala is its people – the so-called “Keralites” – the “Malayalees”. They said people of Kerala are beyond friendly and helpful. Of course, they are! Kerala is one of the most highly educated states in India, almost 100% literacy rate, and the people of Kerala can speak and understand basic English, so you’ll have no problem in finding someone who speaks English, making it much easier for International travelers to roam around, communicate and blend in. And the couples were very surprised to know that everybody here knows English. They told me that people who might not speak English fluently had still attempted to communicate with them in English and it surprised them a lot. Those people were patient in trying to understand what they mean, and they also tried to teach the guests some Malayalam words in return. They said the Keralites always have a smile on their face and are amicable to interact with. They are very hospitable as well as respectful people, always willing to help them.
Keralites loved children very much. Amelia and Jamie were showered with the love and affection of Keralites wherever they went, and they had a wonderful time in Kerala. Also, they said Keralites are the most-genuine, simple and down to earth people they have ever seen. The warmth and love of the people make Kerala a God’s Own Country. The next thing that amazed them about Kerala is its beauty, especially its greenery. They were overwhelmed with joy and excitement when they said: “Kerala is green, greener and greenish!“.
The view of the green enveloped land with towering coconut grooves- right from the window of the flight while it was descending has amazed them to the core and thus started their expectation of this beautiful state. They were very delighted and contented to say that Kerala is incredible, and it offered them more than what they have expected.
Natures gift to Kerala in the form of green-carpeted hills, beautiful backwaters, lovely beaches, enchanting waterfalls, sprawling tea plantations, emerald paddy fields, swaying coconut and palm groves, bushy trees, are all amazing and make you fall in love with this charming God’s Own Country, the couples said.
Kerala is totally different from any other states in India! Nathan continued, he wondered whether he was travelling through another country within India.
The place is clean and less polluted, no stinking streets, and is so beautiful. It is green everywhere as you travel through Kerala and is like walking into a green paradise. No wonder why tourists love Kerala.
Its surreal scenic beauty can be enjoyed in every nook and corner. Both of them had the same opinion that Kerala is one of the best tourist destinations they have ever visited. The salubrious climate of Kerala is just perfect to enjoy, making it an all year destination to explore. Be it Monsoons, Winter or Summer, you can head to Kerala in your most-suited season and it offers you the best.
A More Laid Back Indian Experience
“It was a more laid back Indian experience while travelling Kerala”, they said. For the past few months, they have been travelling different states of India and they didn’t experience such a laid-back charm in any other Indian states other than Kerala. Kerala is a real gem, showered upon by nature’s wealth. It is beautiful, serene, and tranquil. One who seeks a hassle-free travel experience away from the hustle and bustle of city life, backpacking Kerala is the best choice. It offers the most peaceful and soothing setting to unwind.
The lush patchwork of paddy fields, the languid network of glistening backwaters, the spice- and tea-covered hills, the most tranquil beaches, isn’t it more than enough for a laid-back holiday? Cruising the backwaters in a houseboat is so relaxing that it fills your vision with the scenic beauty of nature. The kids enjoyed the cruise very much that they were like waving at the kids playing near the villages and they waved them back with beautiful smiles on their face which were so adorable. Sitting in a secluded beach in the evening, watching the sun setting down and the sight of flocks of birds flying back to their nest is a nice experience. Walking along the sprawling tea gardens in the chilling climate is a soul-soothing feeling you will ever experience. The aromatic smell of the spices was so refreshing.
Kerala is a land of Ayurveda and the place is blessed with abundant medicinal plants. There is no better way of rejuvenating your body, mind and soul than getting an Ayurveda massage. So, never miss out the Ayurveda massages once you are in Kerala. Kerala possesses an unceasing tradition of Ayurveda. It is the only state in India which practices this traditional healthcare system with absolute dedication. Thousands of people from all across the globe visit Kerala to experience its healing touch. The cool Monsoon season, natural abundance of forests and the moderate climate of Kerala are well-suited for Ayurveda’s curative and restorative packages. Nathan and Andrea also had undergone Ayurveda massages and they said it was so relaxing that it not only calms their mind but also rejuvenates their body and soul. Absolutely, Ayurveda massage is a great experience that it takes you to a world of divine relaxation.
The Culture and Tradition
It is not only the scenic beauty of the state but also the rich culture and tradition makes Kerala worth to be known as the “God’s Own Country”. Keralites are proud of their culture and are closely attached to their traditions. The rich culture and tradition of Kerala still surprise the travelers from all across the globe. Kerala culture is unique as well as carefully preserved for centuries and is absolutely different from any other Indian culture. Even their dressing style is so unique.
Women of Kerala often wear ‘sarees’. During festivals, they dress up in traditional unique attire called ‘Set Mundu’ or ‘Kasavu Saree’. Men wear ‘mundu’, an integral part of Kerala culture. And the couples had already bought the Kasavu Saree and mundu from a traditional handloom shop to take back home for themselves and also for their loved ones. Next is the authentic Kerala cuisine which they loved the most. The wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian Kerala dishes was a treat for them. And they said they have never tasted such a variety and tasty dishes before. Kerala Sadya which is served in banana leaf in the traditional style that consists of around 24 items were absolutely a grand feast and the typical Kerala dessert called Payasam served at the end of the Sadya was so appetizing. The kids loved the crispy fried banana chips, banana fritters, onion padora, dosa and chutney, etc. Kerala food is a bit spicy with rich flavors, but they liked it very much and were also happy that they could find western foods in Kerala.
The couples were true lovers of art and dance. And they told me that they watched a Kathakali performance. It was so fascinating that they loved it very much. They said the 30-minute pre-show information session was the best part of the show as it explained everything about the ancient art form, Kathakali. The colourful costumes and the elaborate makeup of the performers were astounding. The show was entertaining as well as informative that even their kids enjoyed it.
They were also excited to say that the Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art form, was so stunning. The performers did a great job. Their knowledge and skill over the handling of the swords, spear etc were outstanding. The stunts with the weapons delighted the kids. The climax scene, jumping through the fire was a little bit scary. Nathan was so interested in this martial art form that he learned some of the techniques in Kalaripayattu from the experts. After the show, Amelia and Jamie were happy to pose with the performers.
Another great cultural experience they had was watching the Theyyam performance. It is a sacred ritualistic art form of Kerala which is actually performed in order to worship Goddess Kali. Theyyam is always performed by men and it represents a divine, mythological and heroic character. They said it was a unique as well as a wonderful experience watching Theyyam. It was a great art form and the colourful costumes and elaborate makeup was the most striking feature of it. Though it was not a tourist attraction, it is worth watching. They had an incredible time watching the performance and the local people who were present there had helped them in understanding more about the theyyam ritual. And Nathan had captured some colourful pictures of this ritual art form and he showed me those pictures with much eagerness. The Theyyam dance accompanied with drummers and folk musical instruments performed in divine ambience is absolutely a spiritual extravaganza.
Another thing you cannot miss in this enchanting place Kerala, is its vibrant and colourful festivals, especially the Onam. Nathan and Andrea said that they were so lucky to be in Kerala during the Onam season. The colourful arrangements of flowers on the floor in various patterns were totally a new experience for them. They also got the opportunity to watch the Nehru Trophy Boat Race as well as the ‘Pulikali’, men performing dance adorning the costume of leopard, which adds extra fun and excitement to their trip.
The Trip of a Lifetime
I could see the fulfillment and delight from their faces and they really mean it when they said: “It was a trip of a lifetime”. Kerala offered them everything, even more than what they have expected. From the charming backwaters to the chilling hill stations, tranquil beaches, abundant wildlife, sprawling tea gardens, historical monuments, moreover the heartwarming hospitality of the people, the spirit of Kerala tour will unwind your soul.
Exploring the backwaters was just mesmerizing and the scenery was eye-catching. There is no more spellbinding way of exploring nature than leisurely cruising the backwaters in a houseboat. “It is an absolute must”, said Andrea. The family-friendly beaches made the couples as well as the kids happy. They had a great time watching the mind-blowing sunset and the kids roam around happily and were engaged in beach activities. They also said they had seen the best sunset of their life in Kerala and they never forgot to capture them in their camera lenses. The palm-fringed beaches were perfect to sit back and relax.
The hill station, especially Munnar was spectacularly beautiful. Trekking through the hill stations amidst sprawling tea plantations with spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains was a mind-blowing experience. The couples enjoyed the visit to the Tea Museum in Munnar where various stages of tea processing were illustrated. And they had even got the opportunity to taste many exotic flavors of tea from all across the world at the Tea Museum.
The couples were so much interested in architecture and history. They have visited some of the historically and architecturally important places in Kerala. Nathan remarked that the historical monuments were so marvelously built that words fall short to describe its magnificence.
Kerala is home to abundant wildlife. The animal reserves and the wildlife safari was great, said Nathan. They spotted a herd of elephants, bison, deer, monkeys, and various species of birds and butterflies during their wildlife safari. Amelia and Jamie were in a wonder world, keenly observing the wild animals roaming around their own natural habitat. They have only seen them in pictures and videos. And it was an extra-special moment for the kids, said Andrea, hugging the kids. Jamie and Amelia started explaining to me about their wildlife safari and how much the kids enjoyed spotting the animals was easily visible from their facial expressions and gestures itself. They were so excited that they never forgot to show me the photos of the wild animals that they captured during the safari.
The kids also told me that they enjoyed feeding elephants at the Kodanad Elephant Training Center and they had great fun with the baby elephants. The Elephant Training Center in Kodanad is one of the largest elephant training centres in Kerala where you can feed the elephants and also watch them take bath. It also houses a small wildlife park where you can spot deer and other wild animals. It is a must visit place for family and kids.
The Nature, The People, The Hospitality
Nature’s rich elegance in its utmost charm and glory can be seen and felt in no other place than God’s Own Country. A place that welcomes its guests all the year round, despite being summer, winter or even monsoon. Kerala is flooded with coconut trees, lush greenery and a vast network of waterways that takes half the credit for making this beautiful state so enchanting. And the remaining half goes to its lovely people.
Kerala was full of surprises, said Nathan and Andrea. They were fascinated at the scenic beauty, vibrant culture, rich tradition, humble lifestyle and the friendly people of Kerala. Plenty of tourist attractions are there in Kerala to suit the taste and need of different kinds of people. It has everything to entertain everyone from any walks of life, from small kids to age-old people. For the last time, I asked Nathan and Andrea, what they loved the most about Kerala. Immediately, thinking no further, they answered, the people – of course, “The Keralites”. They said they have never come across such a friendliest people in their life and the Keralites have such a beautiful and widest smile they have ever seen. It was so refreshing that they feel so welcomed every time.
The heartwarming hospitality of the people of Kerala is so inspiring that you feel like home. The people are so humble and are very interested in mingling with the tourists, helping them in understanding the culture and tradition of Kerala and even teach their foreign guests some Malayalam words also. They were so eager to pose for photos, said Nathan.
Another interesting thing they told about the people of Kerala is their charming yet confusing headshake. Andrea was laughing when she said the Keralites shake their head for everything and it can mean yes, no, or maybe. Even though it was quite confusing, it was so cute, she added. They are very hard working people and are always content with what they have. “The Keralites will always have a special place in our hearts”, remarked the couples. And they also said they strongly believe that the rich culture of Kerala is the reason behind the humble behavior of the people and it is truly inspiring.
Kerala is one of the most spectacular as well as an admirable place to visit at least once in a lifetime to feel the heart-melting love and hospitality of the people of Kerala. It is one of the safe and secure places in India to visit with kids.