Live in Communion with Nature on Kerala Travel

Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

Today, my post is dedicated to Kerala, the green paradise on earth. I recently had an exciting trip to Kerala with my husband, Nelson. There was no special plan of tour but I just wanted to break the monotony of the hectic city life. For past few months, I was feeling agitated with the humdrum of life and wished to relax in greenery. Nelson came up with the idea of Kerala trip that completely enthralled me and I jumped at it.

After contacting a renowned tour operator in Delhi, we left all the worries and set out our travel to Kerala. This long awaited journey multiplied my happiness when Nelson told me that we would be enjoying a sojourn in a houseboat. What else I could ask for?

We arrived in Cochin by air, the town steeped in history and headed on a visit to Fort Cochin, a popular attraction in Kerala. After enjoying the sunset cruise around, we took shelter of our sojourn at Kerala houseboat. Our houseboat cruise started and we cruised out of Alleppey and moved along the backwaters. It seemed like watching the green paradise very closely.The sound of water is a soothing experience itself.

Kerala Ayurveda Massage
Kerala Ayurveda Massage

After tickling our taste buds with scrumptious Kerala food including Dosa, Uttapam with Sambhar and Pal Payasam, we moved on to explore the vast stretch of water called Vembanad lake. My husband unfolded another surprise for me, which was a short sojourn at Coconut Lagoon Resort in Kumarakom. We had a wonderful yoga session, followed by rejuvenating Ayurveda massage at Ayurveda centre of the resort.

Moved on to Periyar, our next destination, we were quite excited about it. It was a wildlife reserve in Kerala where we could spot a number of animals including elephants, monkeys, wild boar and even tigers. How could we miss out the exciting boat trip around Periyar Lake? The site also offers opportunities for a trekking excursion.

From there a four hour drive took us to the Marari beach in Kerala. The beach of soft white sand cast a spell on the visitors. We could cover just a small part of the state on our Kerala travel and left with the wish to come again to explore other fascinating attractions of the state.

Posted on February 7th, 2013 by Uma  |  Comments Off

A Religious trip to Cultural Capital Thrissur in Kerala

I always wanted to go on a religious tour. So, I chose Thrissur in Kerala and went out for a spiritual voyage. I took a flight from Delhi International Airport and boarded off at Cochin International airport. From there on, I hit on a road trip to reach Thrissur, that lies just 55 km from the airport. I freshened up myself in a comfortable hotel in Thrissur.

Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur
Vadakkunnathan Temple Thrissur

From my online research, I came to know that Thrissur is known as Kerala’s cultural capital. Spread over an area of 102 sq. km, it is famous for its renowned temples. Thrissur is named after the three temples of Lord Shiva in the region – Punkunnam Siva temple, Kottapuram Siva temple and Vadakkunnathan temple. Thrissur literally means ‘Town with the name of Lord Shiva’.

The hotel in which I stayed was fully furnished and equipped with modern amenities. After a couple of hours rest, I started off my tour with Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur. Devoted to Lord Shiva, the temple sets an outstanding example of a simple yet magnificent Kerala architecture. Inside, there are shrines of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathy, Lord Rama, Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna. This temple serves as the venue of all big festivals and pujas.

As destiny would have it, the famous Thrissur Pooram festival was going on when I landed Thrissur. Touted as one of the most popular temple festivals of Kerala, I joined in the revelry of thousands of devotees and tourists who were attending Thrissur Pooram festival. Decorated with flowers, fireworks, colourful dresses and caparisoned elephants, the place was a wonderful sight to capture.

Another important tourist spot, which fascinated me was Shakthan Thampuran Palace. Constructed with Kerala-Dutch style, the palace preserves the tradition of the ancient Hindu rulers of Kerala.

I was so tired that I didn’t realise when I had fallen asleep after coming back to hotel. On my second day of Thrissur tour, I visited Guruvayoor Kshethram, the only Hindu Sreekrishna Temple at Guruvayoor. It is about 33 km north of Thrissur. The 40-plus elephants dotting the temple make it even more amazing. Heading towards the Triprayar river, about 23 km from Guruvayoor, I came across Triprayar Temple, dedicated to Lord Rama. It has architecture similar to that of the Vadakkumnathan Temple.

The next destination was Koodalmanikyam Temple. A devotee told me that the temple is dedicated to Bharata, the loyalist brother of Rama. People suffering from severe illness visit this temple and get cured.

Koodalmanikyam Temple Thrissur
Koodalmanikyam Temple Thrissur

My religious trip to Thrissur also took me to Kerala Kalamandalam, about 32km north-east of Trissur at Cheruthuruthy. It is an esteemed university that imparts training in classical dance. There were several students learning Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, Thullal, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Kathak.

I kept the last day of my Thrissur trip for shopping. After wolfing down my breakfast at the hotel, I went out for shopping. I picked up arts, crafts, unique silk sarees, gold jewellery, coir products, coconut shell crafts, horn carvings, woodcarvings and brass works. I also bought some hand-woven carpets.

I returned home from my Thrissur Kerala tour, feeling rejuvenated and mentally peaceful.

Posted on January 8th, 2013 by Caper Travel  |  Comments Off

Kerala Handicrafts Bringing the Talent Ahead

Kerala, the land which has already established itself as Greenland, offers tourists much more than this. With its lush greenery, skilful locals and available resources, Kerala serves as the hub of traditional handicrafts. Tourists have a great choice to select from a variety of handicrafts in Kerala.

Handicrafts of Kerala

Handicrafts of Kerala
Handicrafts of Kerala

The amazing Handicrafts of Kerala are the true showcase of cultural heritage of the state. The traditional Kerala handicrafts encompass religious manifestations where statues of different Gods and Goddesses are exquisitely carved in rosewood or sandalwood. The art forms of Kerala like masks of Kathakali are also portrayed in the traditional handicrafts of Kerala. Models of the popular snake-boats are very popular among tourists.

The handicrafts of Kerala include popular items like:

Coir and Cane Products

Kerala abounds in coir and cane products and therefore, it produces Eco friendly items like coir mattresses, mats and floor furnishings. Coir products manufacturing is an important cottage industry in Kerala, especially in districts of Kollam and Calicut.

Brass and Bell Metal Works

Kerala boasts of its bell metal art. Bell metal is basically an alloy of tin, brass and copper, which can be utilized to cast different mythological occasions like the well-known “Tandava Dance”. In intricate art forms, it has been termed as the ‘Gaja Tandava’ or ‘Gajasamhara’. These articles can be also used for crafting lamps and other household items.

Lacquer Ware

These are made of woodcraft and metal. Wood carvings are famous as these enabled skilled persons to show their talents in artistic works. The trees of sandalwood and rose wood are mainly used for carvings. Myriad shapes are exquisitely carved in these woods after that a lacquer finish is given to the ready products. The finished product is then adorned with several precious metals. Ernakulam district is famous for Lacquer ware work.

Sandalwood Carving

Many gorgeous product are carved from the fragrant Sandalwood. The product array carved in this manner includes boxes, ashtrays, candle stands, tiny models of animals and Kathakali dance postures. Cochin, Ernakulam, Trichur and Thiruvananthapuram are the place where Sandalwood Carving can be found.

Ivory Works

Ivory Works
Ivory Works

Ivory carving is also counted among other popular traditional handicrafts of Kerala. Different items beautifully carved in ivory encompass mythological characters. These are available in form of showpieces. Buffalo horns are the main articles used for ivory carving.

Textiles & Wooden Toys

Kerala offers a distinct collection of textiles that has gained popularity among tourists. These include Kancheepuram silks and others.

Another popular item includes wooden toys. The wooden carving is done to make various toys, which fascinate tourists on their trip to Kerala.

Posted on October 30th, 2012 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Be One with Nature on Kumarakom Tour

Staying in a bustling city with routine hectic schedule has always intensified my wish to take a break in a serene location. Kerala in India is on the top of my list. When I planned India tour, my husband was also ready to accompany me. After a rigorous internet research, at last we came across a tour operator in Delhi with whom we planned our Kumarakom tour.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

I insisted tour operator to include a rural destination as the atmosphere of a village has always been capturing my attention. And there we were in Kumarakom that lies 16 km away from the Kottayam town. It is among the most famous Kerala travel destinations.

After stepping in Kerala, what I liked the most about the state is the tranquil atmosphere, not much crowded and a perfect holiday destination. We took rest in the already booked Kumarakom backwater resort. It was not very expensive yet offered a good accommodation. Next morning, we were ready to hit the town and headed for Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, the famous attraction in Kerala. Nestled in the backwaters, this wildlife sanctuary is sprawled over 14 acres.

Situated along the banks of Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom, the bird sanctuary is truly a paradise for bird lovers. We came across interesting creatures like cuckoo, darter, heron, owl and egret. We could also view some Mammals and Amphibians there. We clicked a few shots and came back.

After this wonderful experience, we moved towards Kumarakom village to explore its rural charm. It was a cluster of islands and farms, distinguished by a maze of lagoons and streams.

How could we skip the most interesting section of our Kumarakom trip? Yes..I am talking about my houseboat trip in Kerala. As we initiated sailing towards Alleppey, we could come cross beautiful vistas of Kumarakom backwaters. The inclined coconut trees were seem like interrupting the landscapes, flanked by lush greenery.

Served as the popular attractions in Kumarakom,the houseboat we boarded had a sun deck, a sit out cum dining area, single bedrooms (it can be upto six bedrooms), kitchen, bath and wash basin. To occupy you when the boat is not moving, the facilities like TV and video player have also been installed.

Kumarakom Houseboats
Kumarakom Houseboats

Made on bamboo, Kumarakom houseboats served us the most delicious Kerala food including coconut water, Idli with coconut chutney and Masala dosa with sambhar.

At last I insisted Hubby to go for rejuvenation therapies as I had heard a lot about Kumarakom Ayurveda. The rejuvenation therapy that I availed detoxified and revitalized the body system to enable general fitness. Ayurvedic treatments in Kumarakom not only cure you from inside but these also have the magical healing to relax your mind.

We had awesome experience on our Kumarakom tour and gained truly unforgettable memories.

Posted on October 16th, 2012 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Culture of Kerala is an Important Page to Indian History

Every traveller in the world has different intention from the destination that he or she travels to. If it comes around a terminus like Kerala, then you need to open your hand to collect its mesmerising beauty such as culture of Kerala. No wonder to thunder yourself that Kerala is blessed with great natural beauty and diverse ecology. Kerala presents itself one of the ‘Ten Paradises of the world’ and ’50 places of a lifetime’ by the National Geographic Traveller Magazine.

Kottayam Backwaters
Kottayam Backwaters

On the last Saturday, I decided to take my friend on a trip to know people and culture of Kerala by Airline from Delhi to Kerala. In Kerala, we stayed to rest in a hotel near to Kottayam. On the next day, we enjoyed a lot the fresh air, greenery and the most relaxed travel experience through the pristine backwater of Kottayam, for almost the whole day.

On the next day, we moved to Alappuzha backwater from Kottayam through boat to enjoy the still waters and the sight of farmlands situated below water levels. Hereby we did not stop ourselves to click the beauty of lush Kerala.

Also, I would draw you all my readers towards why this state adds its presence important in Indian traditions. Kerala travels were fruitful of art forms such as traditional dance of Kerala as we experienced so. For the dance lovers in India, I have to come a step ahead to say that this earthly paradise can be called none other than a heaven to continue classical customs as Katakali Dance Kerala. Truly dance and music are intricately woven into the culture of Kerala.

People of Kerala had warm & friendly nature to us, while interacting with them. Truly Keralites stood with their strong culture and brought proud to their state. In addition to know you more before you step in, I got this state to have been perpetuating its matchless some other art forms as Martial arts, and Kerala handicrafts.

Dance of Kerala
Dance of Kerala

Yes, the caption-”God’s own country” affixed with Kerala is as an extension to reminisce us that exists of its natural beauty and worldwide amiable hospitality that made me to come again. Here I penned down about Kerala people culture that intends you to have a Kerala trip once in your lifetime. It will really bring close to the handicrafts of God e.g., backwaters, hill stations, forests and lakes in Kerala.

Altogether, our country stands concrete to have one of the richest and olden cultures in all over the world. The historical buildings and monuments like palaces, temples and forts are as the prologue of Indian society. The exclusive number of temples has taken to Kerala a must-visit to travellers to glean the unknown fables of the country.

Posted on August 7th, 2012 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Sojourn over the Vast Backwaters with Traditional Kerala Houseboats

It evokes memories and feelings of nostalgia for me while sharing my experience to stay in a Kerala houseboat. Well, this delightful event happened to me on my 2nd wedding anniversary when Andrew, my husband revealed the surprise. That was the first time when we visited Kerala and specially booked a Kerala houseboat tour to celebrate the occasion.

Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

We started off at Cochin. The tranquility and serenity of place charmed us. A Kerala houseboat is locally called as ‘Kettuvallam’. These are of different types, out of which, we booked a fully furnished single bedroom luxury houseboat.  On being reached at our houseboat, we were served with a welcome drink. It was coconut juice after drinking which, we felt refreshed.

We explored the houseboat to find out the other sections of this ‘Floating Palace’. Then, we got to know that it was the suitable one for us to enjoy the special occasion. It was provided with sun deck, private balcony and all other modern facilities. The houseboats in Kerala had a separate dining area with comfortable chairs and a well-maintained toilet.

Kerala, the land of lagoons, rivers, lakes, beaches and backwaters is my dream destination and on visiting it, I felt contended. It was unbelievable to see that serving as the popular attractions in Kerala, these houseboats were made by joining Anjili wood panes along with coir ropes and still, these houseboats do not lack anywhere in durability. Use of Eco-friendly material like bamboo poles, bamboo mats, coconut fibre ropes and coir carpets gives these Kerala houseboats a traditional look.

Well, enjoying the luxury in Kerala houseboats, we reached Alappuzha Backwaters. The backwaters mainly covers the four districts of Kerala that include Kollam, Alleppey or Alappuzha, Kottayam and Kochi. Sitting back while the boat cruises through the compressed serene backwater canals, is a different fun, which gives a new height to your Kerala houseboat tour.

We enjoyed our lunch, which was more than enough for two people. It included local dishes like rice, fish fry, sambar, papad, thoran, pickle and vegetable salad. The food was too good that its delectable taste made us relaxing for some time.

In evening, we went on the sundeck, which is an ideal way to revive yourself amidst a tranquil ambiance. We preferred coffee with snacks including Banana Fry, which had a traditional Kerala flavour. After dinner, we went on bed. I was so excited to know the next day travel plan that included a visit to Kumarakom. Kerala houseboat vacation is simply a great experience for every couple.

Kerala Houseboat Cuisine
Kerala Houseboat Cuisine

Next morning, after treating our taste buds with scrumptious Appam with Egg Curry, we started off cruising to Kumarakom backwaters, through the most popular Vembanad Lake. Innumerable lagoons, canals, lakes, estuaries and lakes form the 900 km backwater network of Kerala. That was most probably the best way to experience the magical charm of Kerala backwaters. We had a romantic time overnight in houseboat.

The next morning was our departure. Though we had to spend some extra bucks for a luxury houseboat but the experience was worthy. The moments, we captured in our camera shed off my sadness to depart from such a beautiful land.

 

Posted on June 26th, 2012 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Recounting the Enchanting Attractions of Munnar – 2nd part

Next morning, we were supposed to go for sightseeing. The driver picked us up from the hotel and we were out for another beautiful experience to visit Neelakurinji. Though it was March, yet the temperature fluctuated dramatically. As we were loaded up on bottled waters, we could easily deal with the hot weather. Finally we reached Neelakurinji, which was a sight to behold.

Munnar Trip
Munnar Trip

Neelakurinji is a flower, which is found high on the mountains. Based on our guide’s knowledge, we came to know that the flower blooms once in every 12 years.

Having a wish to see the blooming flower, we left for Anamudi Peak. Known as the highest peak in South India, it captured us for a long time. I and Sherry just could not take off our eyes from the gorgeous sights. A drive in the hill station is totally a refreshing experience as you come across many beautiful sights that lift up your mood.

Mattupetti Dam was the next part of our exploration. Just 10 km from Munnar, it is a splendid dam with boating arrangements in its reservoir area. We saw many people with their family. With its fascinating atmosphere, it becomes a great place for picnic.

After that, comes the Echo Point. As the name suggests, the place ‘Eco Point’ allowed us to hear the reverberations of our voice. Our next halt was at Kundala, another pristine location. It has an angelic dam site. We drove back to the hotel and treated our taste buds with the delicious food.

Sherry told that next day we would be visiting Devikulam. As we started, I was unable to hold back my excitement. This small yet sensuous little town just mesmerized us with its lovely lawns and beautiful plantations. The mist-coated hills and fresh mountain air multiplied our joy of our trip to Munnar.

We also visited Sita Devi Lake. It is famous for trout fishing. While passing through the roads, we could see the locals, enjoying working in tea gardens with their families. The sight forced us to think that how these people could enjoy working outside with such enthusiasm whereas we even get tired while sitting in our cabins with all the modern facilities! May be this is the charm and aura of hill station that keep your refreshed with its cool air and natural surroundings.

Sita Devi Lake
Sita Devi Lake

At the end of our tour, I insisted Sherry to buy some tea packets from shopping outlets in Munnar as I wanted to take home the magical aroma, I smelled there. We bought few packets and came back to our hotel. Next day, we were back to New Delhi for further journey.

All I could say after that trip is, we were even more happy, contended and refreshed with our Kerala visit!!

Posted on May 8th, 2012 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Munnar –The Quaint Hill Station with Beauty and Harmony

I was not aware that my wish to visit India would be coming true too soon. It was a surprise planned by Sherry, my husband. Traveling India second time with my husband was really unforgettable. Well,  we were on a weeklong trip to Kerala.I would like to share my experience of Munnar Trip that still makes me delighted.

Munnar Trip
Munnar Trip

From New Delhi, we took a flight to reach Kerala. We landed at Cochin International Airport where we were received by our tour assistance. He drove us to the hotel in Munnar, which took around 4 and half hours.

Though we were exhausted, yet the eagerness to see ‘Munnar’ overcame the fatigue of journey. Sherry just made me delighted with another surprise, which was the hotel room. The room was facing a beautiful view of the lush greenery and the fragrance of the air kept our mood delighted. After taking rest, we were ready to catch the best glimpses of this beautiful hill station.

I found Munnar the most beautiful hill station that I had ever visited. Snuggled in the lap of an appealing terrain, Munnar is a must visit place.

We discussed our guide about the tour itinerary and we left for our first attraction-Eravikulam National Park. This sanctuary was set up for the protection of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Fortunately, we could spot them. Seeing animals in their natural habitat makes you feel as if you are their guests. You would be a bit hesitating but they will not. Followed by our guide, we could also spot the Elephants, Gaurs, Langurs, Tigers, Leopards and atlas moth.

Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park

For me, watching tigers was a scary experience due to its wild and threatened look but I saw Sherry was enjoying it rather. We also heard about Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary but at that moment, we could not visit it and left.

The day ended and we were back to hotel. While relishing traditional Kerala food, we were exchanging thoughts about that day’s visit. Soon, we left for the room and fell asleep.

                                                                                                          To Be Continued…

Posted on May 1st, 2012 by Uma  |  Comments Off

View the Historic Attractions with Kasargod Tour

On our India tour, we got an opportunity to visit Kerala, the God’s own country. I and Denis decided to go to Kasargod. To reach there, we landed at Manglore airport, situated 50 km from the state. The trip was supposed to be interesting as we were visiting Kerala for the first time.

On being reached there, we stayed in a good hotel and has a quick routine round up to freshen up ourselves. Enjoying the facilities and beautiful view of our room, we made a plan to explore Kasargod.

Bekal Fort
Bekal Fort

We started from the most famous destination -Bekal Fort. Standing amidst the roaring music of the sea and unlimited waves in its background, this fort is among the best-preserved forts in Kerala. It was just 16 km from the south of Kasargod located on the national highway. Bekal fort has a circular impressive structure that rises 130 ft. above sea level and stands about 40 acres of land.

Being made in a shape of a gigantic keyhole, this historic fort offers best view of the Arabian Sea from its observation towers. Huge cannons were placed on these tall towers centuries before. We entered through a zigzag entrance and saw the trenches around the fort that looked amazing. The fort is the finest example of the defense strategy.

When we reached outside, Denis denoted to an old mosque. The guide told us that it was built by the valiant Tipu Sultan of Mysore. There is an observation tower amidst the fort. We had to climb a broad flight of stairs to reach there.

Then I insisted Denis to visit the temples of Kasargod. At first, he was not ready but I persuaded him and we headed to Ananthapura Lake Temple. Devoted to Lord Anantha Padmanabha, the temple is built in the middle of a small pond. There is no external source of water to supply the pond but rain only.

With each passing day, our curiosity to explore the Kasargod was increasing. We both wanted to make the most of our visit to Kerala. Next attraction which we visited was Chandragiri Fort. The guide who accompanied us, told that the fort was built in 17th century by Shivappa Nayaka of Bedanore. A small mosque was also situated near but we could not visit it.

Ananthapura Lake Temple
Ananthapura Lake Temple

Next day, we also visited Madiyan Kulom temple, located in Ajanur village. Devoted to goddess Bhadrakali, the temple also houses some other deities like Bhagavathi, Kshetrapalan and Bhairavan.

Enjoying traditional cuisine, having the glimpses of Indian culture and viewing the historic monuments altogether was a great experience.

Renowned for its illustrious scholars who belong to Kuttamath Kunniyur family, Cheruvathur is another interesting place which we visited. The main attraction is the ruins of a Dutch fort, dating back to 18th century.

The trip ended and we bid goodbye to this wonderful place with a heavy heart but we were happy to have the snaps of our tour.

Posted on February 29th, 2012 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Spending Memorable Vacations in Kerala

I was extremely excited when we decided to visit Kerala for the honeymoon. It is the only destination that had allured me since the time I started experiencing Ayurveda. After watching dream locations in movies and reading about the Ayurveda, Kerala was my dream destination. When I got the opportunity to explore it with my life partner, it was like icing on the cake.

Ayurveda Massage
Ayurveda Massage

In the very next week of our wedding, we got the chance to explore Kerala and believe me that was like a dream coming true. I was desperately waiting for the day, when we would fly to the beautiful state of south India and it was really a tough job to wait.

Finally, the day approached and we took a flight from New Delhi and reached Kozhikode Airport. From there we hired a private car and reached our destination hotel. As it was middle of the day, so we decided to take the rest for that day.

Next morning, we started our day with Kerala Ayurveda massage to revitalize our body and soul. Use of aroma oils by skilled therapists made it an unforgettable experience. That was simply different from the treatment I had taken in Delhi. One can choose the treatment from a long list of Kerala Ayurveda therapies. Ayurveda massages not only revitalize your body but is the base of natural healing treatment with the help of plant based medicines.

Later on, we moved to explore the sun kissed beaches of Kerala. It is really hard to explore every beach of Kerala in one single trip as this amazing state is full of beaches. So, we finalized only five beaches and that too for different days. Those five names include Kovalam Beach, Alappuzha Beach, Kappad Beach, Varkala Beach and Beypore Beach.

After reaching Kovalam beach, I understood why people love to visit beaches. 17 km coastline and cluster of three beaches can not be explained in words. Breathtaking sea views and endless sight of coconut trees create a fascinating environment. For the next four days we enjoyed a quality time on  rest of the beaches.

Kerala Vacation
Kerala Vacation

Then, it was the time to enjoy some more quality moments and to start the new life in the beautiful houseboats in the backwaters of Kerala. This was the most fascinating time in the complete trip. Made up of natural elements borrowed from mother nature, these house boats are something out of the world. Charismatic ride on those classical Kerala houseboats and interconnected canals gave us a chance to explore the green land in the most beautiful way.

Our  Kerala vacation was over but still we were not in a mood to go back in that hustle bustle of Delhi. The whole tour was amazing. We took the same route and came back with lots of golden memories. The only thing I can say about our  Kerala honeymoon tour was it was truly amazing to know my life partner in the mesmerizing views of Kerala.

Posted on January 18th, 2012 by Uma  |  Comments Off