Some time back, I had indicated 12 types of travelers that are generally seen. While that was in a humorous vein, there remains the fact that there is some bit of each that we all exhibit. Every traveler has their own preference of destination that meets their needs. Some like to take it slow, some like a bit of adventure and then there are others who seek a photographer’s paradise or are enraptured by heritage. Thus, the choice of destination becomes a conflict, especially when you are planning to go in a group or as a couple. However, here is a Bet that I have for you! No matter what kind of traveler you are – Versatile Kerala – God’s Own Country is bound to appeal to you!
What makes me so sure that Versatile Kerala is bound to appeal to you? Well, I don’t just have one reason. I have 10 reasons. I bet that by the end of this post, you will message in and confirm that I was right – Kerala is perfect for any traveler!
1) Beaches of Versatile Kerala
If you are looking for a relaxing holiday by a non-crowded beach, then Kerala is the place to be in. The gentle shores of the Kerala beaches are not just a soothing affair but also, a nice cultural one too. My favorite among the few that I have seen is Kovalam beach with its palm-fringed shore that assures that the place is aptly called what it is. (Kovalam means coconut grove). I have fond memories of flying a kite on the beach, indulging in some water fun here, trying out some of the watersports and even opting for a soothing Ayurvedic massage. The mornings here were memorable with lazy walks and seeing the fishermen set out for their day. And to top it all, the gorgeous sunsets that each of my visits treated me to.
Besides Kovalam, the beach enthusiasts can even head to Varkala beach enclosed within high hills that are dotted with colorful shops that appeal to the shopping enthusiasts as well. If there is a bit of history buff within you, then Bekal is another recommendation from my end with the heritage Bekal fort overlooking the lashing waves of the Arabian Sea. There are plenty more names of the Kerala beaches that I can mention but that merits a completely new post. For now, let’s move to reason no. 2 of what makes Kerala Versatile.
2) Placid Backwaters of Kerala
Besides the sobriquet of “God’s own Country”, the other popular phrase associated with Kerala, specifically, Alleppey is “Venice of the east”. The reason for the same are the gorgeous, serene backwaters of Kerala. The 900 km wide stretch of these regions is bound to excite any visitor. An idyllic honeymoon setting for young couples, a photographer’s paradise for the shutterbugs, a kayaking paradise for the adventure lovers, a foodie’s delight with its spread of freshwater cuisine, a birder’s heaven with this colorful winged beauties ….the list goes on. Among the popular destinations for backwaters of Kerala, I have been to only Alleppey and have totally loved it for reasons cited in this post. I sure would love trying out Kumarakom the next time I go there. Or Kochi or even the lesser known Ashtamudi and Kumbalgini.
2) Hills of Kerala
Be it any month of the year, the hills of Kerala greet you with their lush green color, enchanting waterfalls and crystal lakes. These can never be boring, for there is just so much to do. It is not just the nature lovers who will love the hills of Kerala, but also, the adrenaline seekers. From hiking trails to rappelling and rock climbing, each hill town has something unique to offer. Thekkady is one place that will be dear to me – with a winding drive that took me along the stunning views and gorgeous cascades. A weekend in Thekkady is quite a refreshing affair. I loved walking around the tiny town, hopping into its small shops and discovering the joys of staying in the hills.
Wayanad with its never-ending list of places to visit remains my favorite weekend getaway – 3 visits and I am not done. The reason for the same I have included in my earlier post that helps you find the best locations to stay in Wayanad. Munnar is yet another popular destination that I have recommended to my family and friends, especially the newlyweds. Then, there are some which I have yet to visit – Devikulam, Ponmudi and Idukki. Sigh!
4) Diverse Wildlife of Versatile Kerala
Dense tropical Kerala forests with its enchanting flora and fauna are bound to delight the nature enthusiasts. It is quite a jaw-dropping experience if you find large tuskers just along the road, trying to hail you down. I am not exaggerating on this one for it is one of my most memorable moments on the way to Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. The tusker right in the middle of the road stunned me so much that I forgot to even click a picture of it. Talk of a show stopper.
As a naturalist, you would love to spot the tigers of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary or the rare grizzled squirrel in the Chinnar wildlife sanctuary. If you are an ornithologist, you are definitely going to love Pakshipathalam in Wayanad – for its adventurous hiking trail and the stunning views that are home to the most unusual birds. As a family traveler, your kids are likely to love the elephant the boat safaris that are available in the various Kerala wildlife sanctuaries. Are you sold on this reason no.4 to visit Versatile Kerala?
5) Colorful Culture of Kerala
If you are a connoisseur of fine arts, music and dance, then Kerala is going to be a delight for you. On every trip of mine through this versatile land, I was treated to some ancient art forms of Kerala. Witnessing the ancient war form of Kalaripayatu in Thekkady was something that still stays strong in my mind as does Kathakali. I particularly loved the elaborate costumes and the lively expressions of this dance form. Fresh on my mind is the lovely performance of Bharat Natyam that though not originally from Kerala, was an integral part of my Kerala tour through the Golden Chariot.
The colorful culture of Kerala is visible at every destination here and trust me, it is enough to make you fall in love with the place.
6) History & Heritage in Kerala
Rooted deep here are the earliest signs of inhabitation of humans. The Eddakal caves were fascinating for me, owing to this – as you can find signs of the stone-age carvings. A find that is bound to enthrall any history buff. Add to that the numerous temples and palaces in Kerala that tell you the tales of the glorious past of India. I sure want to see the world’s smallest coins in the Koyikkal palace – a place that is eluding me for a long time now. The other place that I highly recommend to history buffs is visiting the Jew Town in Fort Kochi. Trust me, this is bound to be one cultural and foodie experience as well.
7) Food in Kerala
Even for a non-foodie like me, Kerala was a delight to my culinary senses. Be it for a vegetarian or a seafood lover, there is just myriad of options that you can choose from. If you love the tangy and spicy flavors, team their traditional curries like Alleppey Fish Curry or the Ulli Theeyal (Shallot curry) with the boiled rice or brown rice. I love these with Idiyappam (Rice Noodles) However, if that is too strong for you, just go with the traditional vegetable stew and appams. My evergreen choice. Irrespective of where you are in Kerala, you are bound to enjoy it all,
8) Adventure in Versatile Kerala
There is just plenty for those thrill seekers in Kerala. If you are on the beach, the parasailing, water scooter, and banana boat rides are just unavoidable. Try some Kayaking on the backwaters or even the calmer seas. Head out for some mountain biking in the hills. Put on your trekking shoes for those lovely trails that take you to beautiful lakes like the heart-shaped Chembra lake in Wayanad. You can even try, rappelling at the various waterfalls in Kerala. And don’t miss the Speed boating at the Banasura lake.
9) Plantation Paradise in Kerala
Whether you love tea or coffee or even spices, Kerala has some amazing stays within these plantations that give you are perfect flavor of these. Staying in these plantation home-stays or resorts offer you an experience quite unlike a regular hotel. Waking up to the fresh sights and sounds of these natural surroundings is just a treat for any traveler – irrespective of whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday or indulging in your hobby as a photographer, a bonding space with your family or just a different experience for those looking to do offbeat. Try Wayanad for the Coffee estates or Munnar for its lovely tea gardens and Thekkady of course, being my pick for spice gardens.
10) Shopping in Versatile Kerala
I am sure by now you have spotted that this is a shopaholic’s dream. Colorful cotton clothes, traditional metal jewelry, brassware and decor items, spice packets, ayurvedic oils, coir art….Wow! There is just so much to see and buy. The best part is that no matter where you are in Kerala, these things are just so affordable. They make great gifts and memorabilia of your travel to this lovely state – Versatile Kerala.
Do I hear the trumpets blowing? Did I just win the bet that I started off at the beginning of this post? Versatile Kerala does appeal to you, doesn’t it? Here is some inspiration with a few places in Kerala to get you started.