Travel to Alleppey for a Truly Awesome Experience

While reading about Kerala in a travel magazine, I recalled my Alleppey Tour which I enjoyed with my husband last month. We planned our trip when the winters were approaching. Started from Delhi, we went Kerala by flight. This greatest tourist destination of India captivated our attention since our marriage. Eventually, we could plan it after 5 years but it was worth-doing.

Alleppey Houseboat Travel
Alleppey Houseboat Travel

Wherever I got to know about Alleppey, one thing common that I found was its backwaters. The increasing popularity of these backwaters forced us to visit them first. Alleppey backwaters are a network of natural waterways that connect different towns and villages in Kerala. Being beautiful and very peaceful, they offer you ample opportunities to relax.

As we wanted to make the most of our time so we stayed in a luxury hotel. It helped us to enjoy our tour at its best without worrying about the things like where to eat and stay.

The Alleppey canal side is worth to mention here. This is the most sophisticated way of seeing the land that envelops them. We went by houseboat which was truly an amazing house on a boat. Having never been on a houseboat I was very excited. The cruising on houseboats was a truly memorable experience. It felt great to be far away from the crowd of the city and that too, enjoying cruising amidst the water. By visiting beautiful backwaters and beaches, we made the most of our tour.

Alleppey Backwaters
Alleppey Backwaters

The crew was very supportive and it made our journey more comfortable. As we set off, my husband started admiring scenery and was also sharing his knowledge about this land. The cruise ended but we did not feel like detaching from that little houseboat. Keeping the delightful memories afresh in my heart, I headed to a small village with my husband. There we strolled around and captured the beautiful glimpses of the sunset.

The visit that we paid to Krishnapuram Palace, was one of its kind experience. Far away from the commotion of city life, being in a Greenland and you suddenly find something which you could only imagine is something that you cannot afford to miss. Built in 18th century by King Marthanda Varma, it is well-known for its impressive murals. Revealing the legend of Gajendramoksham, it houses a rich collection of antique sculpture, bronzes and paintings.

The shimmering backwaters, the peaceful journey and exciting cruising altogether made our Alleppey tour truly unforgettable.

Posted on December 21st, 2011 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Kerala Beaches – Unwind Yourself in the Lap of Nature

I am fond of reading travel magazines. The very reason is to get more and more information about a particular place like its culture, people, attractions and specialty. While reading, I came across few destinations in India, which are renowned for their beaches.  Kerala is one such destination that is renowned for its breathtaking beaches which I visited few months back with my family.

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach

Enveloped with sheer beauty, Kerala beaches are perfect destinations to enjoy vacation. We embarked on Kerala Beach Tour, which is a popular theme of the tour. The beaches spread over 600 km area and are gorgeous. Beaches are beautifully dotted with unlimited scintillating golden sands and swaying coconut trees which make them an ideal sport for relaxing.

Some of the most famous beaches of Kerala are:

  • Kovalam Beach
  • Kumarakom Beach
  • Alleppey Beach
  • Beypore Beach
  • Varkala Beach
  • Marai Beach
  • Kappad Beach
  • Sankhumugham Beach
  • Thirumullavaram Beach
  • Thangassery Beach

However, during our 10 days Kerala tour we could explore only three beaches, which are:

Marari Beach
We started for Marari beach from Cochin and soon we were in this tranquil destination. This beach destination is renowned across the world for its beautiful sandy stretch, azure sea and scenic atmosphere. The composite beauty of nature made us captivated till the time we stayed there. Marari Beach is also famous for rejuvenating Ayurveda therapies. I too had a refreshing experience in one of the Ayurveda centers that offers various treatments. After visiting the center, I felt myself rejuvenated like never before.

Varkala Beach
Our second beach destination was Varkala Beach, occupying a significant place on the tour itinerary. The guide who was making our all doubts clear during our tour, told us about the beach that it is renowned for its mineral water springs which are said to have medicinal properties.Like us, many tourists also visit the beach to explore the breathtaking beauty and to relax sometime in the lap of nature. This beach has also great importance as one of the well-known pilgrimage centres in Kerala.

Varkala Beach Kerala
Varkala Beach Kerala

Kovalam Beach
We heard a lot about Kovalam Beach and I read a lot about this beach in a travel magazine. Surrounded by lush greens, this charming beach consists of three small crescent beaches. These are Lighthouse beach in the southern most, Hawah beach in the middle and Samudra beach in the northern most. Its pleasant tropical climate helped us to enjoy the activities like surfing, wooden boat ride and shopping.

With lots of unforgettable memories during our Kerala Beach Tour, we bid goodbye to God’s own country.

Posted on October 12th, 2011 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Kerala Ayurveda–A Way of Holistic Healing!

Ayurveda in Kerala
Ayurveda in Kerala

My interest in Ayurveda developed when I was in college. During that period, I got to know about Ayurveda and I started believing in the miracles of Ayurvedic therapies. Having heard and read a lot about Kerala Ayurveda, I decided to experience the same and left for Kerala, the ‘Green Paradise’.

On being reached one of the Ayurveda center in Alleppey, I came across a collection of remedial programms, massages and yoga procedures. After consulting with the expert professionals, I decided to undergo ‘Panchkarma’ treatment with full body massage to get rid of stress and fatigue caused by hectic daily routine. A woman masseur poured lots of oil and her gentle touch worked wonders and I felt relieving of all the stress and fatigue.

During my Kerala Ayurveda Tour, I got to know different aspects of Ayurveda. Here is a brief:

Concept of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is basically a science of life. This holistic science of life has the power to cure your body in a natural way. Considered as the perfect system of healing, Ayurveda emphasizes on the benefits of taking personal responsibility for one’s own well-being by imparting complete health knowledge.

Ayurveda in Kerala

Kerala is an ideal place to experience Ayurvedic therapies. It is the land where Ayurveda has been practiced for a long time. As a result, now there are many Ayurveda resorts, providing you Ayurvedic treatments through spa, massage and different therapies.

The therapies rejuvenate the body technique and treat the health problems besides facilitating basic fitness. Several of the popular Kerala ayurveda treatment plans include spa treatment plans, panchakarma, oil therapeutic massage yoga and meditation.

Some famous Ayurvedic resorts in Kerala are:

  • Aquaserene Ayurvedic Resort
  • The Ashtamudi Resort in Kollam
  • Somatheeram Ayurvedic Resort in Kovalam
  • Keraleeyam Heritage Home in Alleppey
  • Ayurvedic Resort in Alleppey
  • Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort in Palakkad

Increasing Demand of Ayurveda

Visitors, not only Indian but foreigners are also eager to experience the bliss of Ayurveda. The Kerala Ayurvedic resorts offer the travelers multiple Ayurveda tour deals in Kerala including eating plan, spa, massage, yoga-meditation and treatment. Ayurveda massage is an importance remedy that may be used to men and women with no age bar.

Kerala Ayurveda Treatment
Kerala Ayurveda Treatment

Benefits of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic treatment uses medicated oils, drugs or powder prepared from natural herbs and plants as a result causing no side-effects.

Ayurvedic treatment also contributes in making the body more responsive to medicines and cures you by balancing the doshas which is a quick way of the healing process.

Yoga exercises help in strengthening the muscles, bones and many important organs like liver & heart, thus improve the blood circulation.

Ayurvedic therapies and meditation aid in calming down the nerves and relieve you of all the stress  of day-to-day life.

Panchakarma and Yoga exercises are also helpful in removing the harmful toxins from you body and thus making you feel relaxed.

Branches of Ayurveda

Following are eight branches of Ayurveda:

  • Kayachikitsa-Internal Medicine
  • Kaumarabhritya Tantra-Pediatrics
  • Bhuta Vidya-Psychology/Psychiatry
  • Shalakya Tantra-Ears, eyes, nose and throat
  • Shalya Tantra-Surgery
  • Agada Tantra-Toxicology
  • Rasayana Tantra-Rejuvenation
  • Vajikarana Tantra-Fertility Therapy

The wonderful massage with perfect healing touch really energized me!

Posted on September 14th, 2011 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Visit Kerala – A Home to Aromatic Delights

Spice Plantations Kerala
Spice Plantations Kerala

Recently, I got an opportunity to experience the pure and untouched nature during my Kerala tour.  We a group of four friends went there. I had heard a lot about Kerala from one of my colleagues, whose native land was Kerala. She used to talk about the spice plantations of Kerala. I always used to relish her food in lunchtime as it was enriched with the aromatic flavour of Kerala, the hub of spices.

The reason why I felt like going there was its picturesque surroundings of gardens. We planned a trip just after the monsoons and reached there in day time. After taking rest, we headed towards the greens of Idukki, which is called as the spice land of India.

Our knowledgeable guide shared his knowledge with us and told us that the climate and soil conditions of the hilly areas of this land make it best suited for tea cultivation. He plucked some green leaves and showed us. We saw that the shiny green leaves had pointed ends with a pleasant aroma. The trees were planted at a distance of 1 to 1.5 meter along the landscape. The guide told us that Cochin is the place which is known for producing spices. The traders dealing in spices also meet at the same place, which is actually the spice market of Kerala.

As we drove through the thick forests on a road that passes through several tunnels, we witnessed nature in a new form which was a great visual treat for us. Soon we reached in a place where we were enveloped in the unmatched aroma of the spice plantations. I was so delighted to find the spice gardens and tea plantations in front of my eyes. At the edge of the Periyar, we found many spices gardens. There were dense forests, dwelling at a height of 800-1000 meters which preserved the exotic flavours.

As we moved ahead towards Munnar and Wayanad, we were amazed to find some fragrances of coffee, black pepper and cardamom. We saw the clusters of black pepper plants. As we drove by, there were stretches of cardamom plantations. I decided to get down from the car to pick up some fresh cardamom. My friends also accompanied me. After collecting some cardamom and black peppers from trees, I run a few step and saw clove vegetation. All my three friends were busy in sorting out the other spices like black pepper, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg and cinnamon.

It was an exciting and fun-filled experience that made us forget everything for some time. I simply lost myself in the captivating beauty of the gardens and plantations. After coming back, when I shared my tour experience of Kerala with my family members, I felt nostalgic.

Posted on August 3rd, 2011 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Experience the Pristine Beauty of Nature during Munnar Tour

Munnar Tour
Munnar Tour

Munnar is one of the famous tourist destinations of Kerala where tourists come in a large number to feel the charm and glory of nature. Though I have heard and read about this mystic destination several times but I have felt its soul stimulating beauty during my Munnar tour last weekend. This is a beautiful Kerala tourist destination situated at an altitude of 5200 feet above sea level in the Idukki district. This is a premium hill station of this place located at the confluence of three Mountain rivers namely Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala which meet in the centre of the town.

Large number of tourists from several parts of the globe comes here to spend memorable and pleasurable holidays amidst serene and scenic natural ambiance. The incomparable beauty of this scenic land provides solace to the weary souls. This hill station is also a favoured destination for adventure freaks. The popular adventure activities of this place are rock climbing, trekking and paragliding.

Major attractions which we covered during our Munnar Tour are:

Devikulam

The beauty of gorgeous greenery with mountain backdrop makes this place a beautiful and romantic destination which calls on scores of tourists from several parts of the globe. Velvet lawns, cool mountain air, scenic landscapes, diverse flora and exotic fauna make this place an enchanting destination. Beautiful Sita Devi Lake and spectacular Pallivasal Waterfalls are the two foremost attractions of this place. Sita Devi Lake is a wonderful place to enjoy leisure or picnic. Trout fishing can be enjoyed here by tourists.

Eravikulam National Park

The diverse collection of flora, fauna and bird species make this place a popular destination for spending pleasurable holidays. It is one of the popular wildlife reserves of India where tourists come in large number for watching the wild animals in their natural habitat. This national park sprawled over an area of 97 km. The Tropical Evergreen Forest, Shola trees and rolling grassland dominate the flora of this sanctuary which nurtures a variety of wild animals. This park was founded in the year 1975 with an aim to protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Some of the other wild animals which can be seen during a safari at this place are lion-tailed macaque, nilgiri langu, tigers, leopards and several species of birds.

Pothamedu

The unending stretch of tea and spice gardens makes this place a renowned tourist destination which calls on scores of tourists round the year. This plantation hub of Munnar is situated at a distance of 6 km from the city center. The scenic beauty of rolling hills, tea plantations and dense vegetation makes it a famous destination of Kerala Tourism. Apart from offering sheer natural beauty this place also provides facilities for adventure sports.

Posted on June 1st, 2011 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Experience the Best of Nature Glamour during Kerala Tour

Kerala-Backwater-Tour
Kerala Backwater Tour

The name of Kerala always conjures my mind with an image of the sun-kissed beaches, the misty hill stations, the enchanting backwaters and the forestlands rich in flora and fauna. Because of its celestial beauty National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranked Kerala a ‘Ten Paradise of the World’ and ‘Fifty Places of a Lifetime’.

This recognition is enough, which lures scores of tourists to this place from across the globe. And I am one of them who visited this land of scenic beauty with my two friends last month. We took customized Kerala Travel Guide from a travel agent at budgeted rates. This 4 day and 4 nights tour package was efficiently designed that provided us a chance to explore and experience the myriad facets of Kerala Tourism.

The first day of our Kerala Tour is dedicated for beaches. We spent almost whole day at Kovalam beach. This is a cluster of three crescent shaped beaches whose charm is renowned throughout the world. We enjoyed the scenic composition of sea, sun and sand at our best. The pristine, serene and scenic ambience of this place enthralls us most. This beach is also ideal for water sports activities like Kayaking, Swimming, Surfing and Skiing.

Next day of our tour was dedicated for backwater cruise. The Kerala Backwaters are a labyrinthine network of 900 km of waterways interconnected with canals, rivers, lakes and inlets. It is the uniqueness of Kerala Tourism, which gave us chance to experience the natures jubilant scattered in the form of land, sea and sky. ‘Kettuvalams’ popularly known as Kerala houseboats are the ideal way to enjoy Kerala Backwater Cruise.

With Kerala backwater Cruise, we experienced nature’s breathtaking beauty with the soothing sound of water rippling alongside the houseboat. During our cruise, we experienced kaleidoscopic view of countryside, swaying palm trees, emerald rice fields and several historical monuments on the bank. We were totally engrossed by nature’s jubilant beauty. The ecstasy we felt cannot be expressed in words.

After spending memorable night stay in a leisurely flowing houseboat, we reached Periyar in the morning. It is among the famous of all Kerala Wildlife Sanctuaries known for its exotic collections of flora and fauna. This national park is located on the bank of Periyar Lake and sprawled over an area of 777 Sq.km. The exotic collection of flora and fauna species make this place a heart throbbing destination. Whole day we spent in this wildlife reserve sighting many animals, bird species and floral species. Some of the most sighted wild animals are wild elephants, Sloth Bears, wild boars and Stripe-necked Mongoose.

After enjoying nature’s beauty, we went to dance theater to experience the rich culture fiesta of this state. Here we saw Kathakali the most renowned dance drama of all Kerala dances. It is a classical dance-drama known for its unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. The word Kathakali literally means Story-Play. The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature whose stories are taken from religious scriptures.

Next and the last stop over of our itinerary were at a restaurant whose delicious dishes are known across the globe. Here we ate typical Kerala Cuisine whose taste still titillates my taste buds. After satisfying our appetite, we went to airport and good-bye this land of God’s own Country.

Posted on December 30th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kathakali Dance: A Colorful Representation of Rich Culture

Kerala Kathakali Dance
Kerala Kathakali Dance

The profound facial make-up, colorful costumes and various designed ornaments of Kathakali Dance scares me when I was child. As days passes I grow up and learned that colors are reflection of human temperament which play significant role while traditional folk dance presentations. I learned several new facts about this folk dance of Kerala which transformed my childhood fear into an appealing aspect. For the first time I experienced the live performance of Kerala Kathakali Dance during my Kerala Tour last week. I was in Kerala for my official conference and after attending it I rushed to see this cultural event at Margi Art Theater in Thiruvananthapuram.

Etymologically Kathakali stems from the Malayalam words ‘Katha’ (story) and ‘Kali’ (play). Themes of this story dance based on Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The story is narrated through proper mudras or hand gestures with a verse of the story sung in the background. This dance is a combination of five elements of fine art which includes expressions (Natyam) emphasis on facial expressions, Dance (Nritham) emphasis on rhythm and movement of hands, legs and body, Enactment (Nrithyam) emphasis on ‘mudras’ hand gestures, (Geetha) song/vocal accompaniment and (Vadyam) instrument accompaniment.

Apart from this there are several kinds of costume such as Sathwika (the hero), Kathi (the villain), Minukku (females) and Thatti. Each character of this dance is recognized by their characteristic makeup and costume.

The Kathakali show that I watched based on the theme of Ramayana in which characters of Lord Rama and King Ravana presented by artists. They portrayed the good and evil characters so efficiently that one can understand it without even music and narrations. The story of how good wins over evil is presented through facial gestures, various dance steps and hand movements which stolen my heart most during the show. The story was superbly presented and prefect coordination with ballads efficiently conveyed the messages to the audience. Throughout the show I was captivated by the facial gestures, rhythmic flow of body, various dance steps and artistic finger movements which convey several meanings.

After watching the Kathakali performance I realized that it much more than dance because its performance effectively combines the 5 major fine arts namely, literature (Sahityam), music (Sangeetham), Painting (Chitram), acting (Natyam) and dance (Nrithyam).This dance performance touched my soul and made me speechless. With various fascinating thoughts of this rich cultural presentation I returned to my hotel.

Posted on September 9th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Journey through Houseboat in Kerala

 Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

My stress took me to rejuvenation! Sounds odd, but true. Once I realized that my work is getting heavies and unbearable day by day, I planned a week-long trip to Kerala. It was the first month of monsoon and Kerala backwaters welcomed me with full enthusiasm. I was booked in a Kerala houseboat. A houseboat in Kerala is a medium that can let you explore all the major parts of this green state and offers true joy of living on waters. Moreover, you can halt at any of the beach resorts to savour lip-smacking Kerala cuisine and a wide variety of sea food delicacies. These beach resorts also offer a wide range of Ayurveda therapies for complete rejuvenation of mind, body & soul.

My sightseeing stated with Alleppey – the Venice of the East. My guide told me that these luxurious houseboats were earlier called ‘Kettuvalloms’ and were used as a medium to transport food grains and spices. My houseboat was well equipped with facilities like spacious bedroom with attached bath, kitchen, dining area, sun deck, living area etc. it was no less than an accommodation unit of a star rated luxurious hotel. The best part with the houseboat was it was completely made of natural products like bamboo mats, sticks, palm leaves and wood. The smooth wooden flooring and coir mats also added to the beauty of my houseboat.

The houseboat took me to places like Kumarakom, Kasargod, Guruvayur, Periyar, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram. While staying on waters I easily explored all these cities. I wandered across market streets and collected some of the rarest handicraft items. I visited the most ancient Hindu temples. I witnessed the finest of greenery. I spotted the rarest of animals in picturesque wildlife sanctuaries like Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The best part of my tour in Kerala was a long relaxing nature walk amidst spice and tea/coffee plantations in Periyar.

Posted on August 6th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kerala Wildlife: Tonic to the Souls of Nature Lovers

Kerala Wildlife
Kerala Wildlife

A large Indian wildlife book, start to finish, could take one to two years. But it could not satisfy my thirst to explore the divine greens and click the rarest & endangered species of animals / birds in India. All I really wanted to do was wildlife photography. I feel like I’m nothing without wildlife. They are the stars. I feel awkward without them.

And then I booked my tickets to Kerala – God’s own country. This was the ideal place where I could find the most exciting wildlife patters flourished amongst soothing greens and serene waterways. It was a two day journey by train, so I bought Kerala travel guide along with me. Those two days I kept on reading about Kerala wildlife and its enchanting elements.

The first place I came across was Periyar Tiger Reserve. Easily accessible from Madurai, Trivandrum, Cochin and Thekkady – Periyar is one of the most prestigious regions on the high ranges of the Western Ghats. Tranquil countryside, rich plantations, thick jungles and much more – I could imagine the true beauty of this fascinating natural wildlife sanctuary. Kerala vacation guide says that Periyar comprises of 171 grass species, 143 orchid species, 35 mammal species and over 265 avifauna species. That was a true love without any sight, where I lost my soul to the diverse geomorphology, wildlife and beautiful landscapes of Kerala.

Later, Kerala travel guide transported me to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, the second habitat of the endangered giant squirrel in India. Located in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats, the sanctuary occupies the forested region on either side of the Marayoor – Udumalped Road. Elephants, Gaurs, Spotted Deers, Panthers, Sambars, Hanuman Langurs & Rabbits can also be easily spotted here.

Later I came to know that Eravikulam National Park, Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary are some other ideal places to visit if you are a wildlife lover. These wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala are so well nurtured by the divine nature that one will surely surrender his spirit. And after two days – I was there at Trivandrum railway station – all set to explore the virgin beauty of this charming state.

Posted on June 28th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

A Date with Lively History of Cochin

Cochin
Cochin

Stories relate happenings and express thoughts and feelings about events. Stories and imagination transport us to another time and place. They can open one’s mind to new ideas and set one free, or they can control, manipulate and trap one in a place of desperation. Such is mine too. A short but lovable journey to Cochin that may push you to plan a tour to Kerala – God’s own country!

After enjoying enough of relaxing holidays in Kerala backwaters and spending days on waters in a houseboat, I planned to devote a couple of days exploring the rich ancient Dravid touch. And what place could be better than Cochin, when it comes to historical monuments in Kerala? So without giving any second thought, I headed towards the commercial hub of Kerala. On my way to Cochin, the first thing I came across was the Chinese Fishing Nets. My driver told me that when the traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets. These nets serve as the medium of livelihood to many fishermen here.

It was quite late in the evening, so I spend the rest hours of the day at leisure in my hotel. The best part of the day was having authentic sea food delicacies in dinner while enjoying Kathakali dance. Trained dancers from See India Foundation and The Cochin Cultural Centre were invited to entertain the guests there. The traditional dance form that they presented with impressive facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves – was simply spellbinding.

Next morning, I started my exploration with Vasco House, Dutch Palace, Fort Kochi and Jewish Synagogue. The beauty of these old structures is incomparable even today. These ancient monuments stand tall retaining the age old glory of Dravid architecture and showcase a perfect blend of Chinese and Belgian art forms as well. Before having lunch, I visited the Hill Palace at Tripunithura. This 19th century structure has now been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles of the Rajas of Kochi, including the throne and the crown.

In the second half of the day, I paid a short visit to Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary that lies in the heart of the city. It was the place where I spotted several exotic and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds. My next destination in Cochin was the Museum of Kerala History at Kalamassery, which exhibits the history and culture of Kerala through exquisite paintings.

After wandering in the city, I spent an hour in solitude at the Cherai Beach and relished fresh juice there. Roaming alone did not make me feel bored as the lively history of Cochin was there along with me to entertain.

tour to Kerala

Posted on June 3rd, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off