Between the ancient creations myth of Kerala and the modern political fact is a land of lush, physical beauty that contains a rich storehouse of legend, history, culture and tradition.
When the victorious warrior-goddess Bhadrakali selected a place on earth where she would reside she chose Kerala in the southwestern corner of India and today the thattakkam, Kerala's local equivalent of a parish, is always under the divine jurisdiction of a goddess. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
Although legend declares that the land of Kerala was formed when Par-surama, an incarnation of Lord Visnu, threw his mighty battle-axe into the Arabian Sea, the fertile land that emerged was established as the state of Kerala as recently as 1956, with the integration of three Malayalam-speaking areas, Malabar and the two former princely states of Cochin and Travancore.
Kerala's attractions are tucked away in the Cardamon Hills and along the Malabar Coast, laced between 41 rivers and plantations of teak, pepper and rubber, all kept green by two monsoons each year. Much of the landscape and wealth of Kerala is dominated by tall, elegant coconut palms. No part of this tree is wasted and the state has a flourishing coir (fibre) industry. Coffee plantations spread across the foothills of the Western Ghats, tea grows at higher altitudes and, in southern Kerala, there are acres of rubber trees. Another important crop, sold to North India, is the areca nut which grows on graceful palms. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
The Malabar coast grows the world's best pepper. Half of Europe engaged in power struggles to command supplies of this small, pungent berry. Cardamom and cashew nuts are other important cash crops and no compound is without a few banana trees. The flatter, fertile land supports two or three annual harvests of rice. Tasty Keralan rice —eaten with practically every meal — is parboiled before dehusking, giving a characteristic fat grain flecked with red, a process that preserves the vitamin D.
Kerala made its impact on modern India when, in the state's first elections in 1957, it formed the world's first democratically elected communist government — controversially dismissed by the Congress government in Delhi after intense lobbying by Indira Gandhi. The CPI(M), which soon regained power with a huge popular mandate, was led by the great E M.S. Nam-boodiripad, who pushed through sweeping land reform, educational and health care programmes. As a result, Kerala has the most equitable land distribution in India, near total literacy and low rates of poverty — in the Indian state with the least natural resources. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
This high level of literacy (which is also due to the enlightened educational policies of the hereditary rulers of Travancore), coupled with relatively few employment opportuinities in Kerala itself, has led to Keralites finding work all over India and in the Gulf State. Gulf workers in particular have proved an important source of income for state, sending much of their money home to their families. Evidence for this can be seen in the proliferation of "Gulf houses", some of them extraordinary fantasies built of concrete in defiance of the climate and environment; towns such as Chavakad have become "little Dubais".
Women in Kerala have traditionally had a higher profile than elsewhere in India. Some communities, the Nambudiri Brahmans and Nairs, practised matrilineal inheritance and the women were in charge of running the family property. Although this system has now largely broken down, high literacy levels have empowered Keralan women and they tend to have relatively more freedom than their counterparts in other states. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
Any list of Indian writers, poets and musicians features Malayalis prominently people such as the diplomat turned writer K.P S. Menon, the novelist Arundhati Roy, the poet Vallathol Narayana Menon (also famous for reviving Kathakali and founding the Kalamandalam School in Cheruthuruthy), and the great singer of Karnatak music, the late Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar.
Kerala not only has Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Jews but many different castes and communities — all with their own customs and traditions and styles of dress, food, jewellery and marriage. Maybe these contrasting elements explain the genuine religious tolerance found in Kerala, a state remarkably free from the communal violence that haunts other parts of India.
Hinduism in Kerala operates around the twin poles of worship of a complex system of local goddesses, and the Sanskritic traditions of the major temples.
The temple of Chottanikkara, near Kochi, attracts a growing number of pilgrims who seek release from evil spirits, and the long iron nails driven into the huge tree near the sanctum of the goddess testify to their successful exorcism. These local practices contrast with the exclusive Brahmanical temple of Sri Padmanabhasvamy in Tiruvananthapuram, the Vadakkunatha temple to Siva in Thrissur 11. (Trichur), and the Krishna temple in Guruvayur. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
According to popular belief, the oldest of the Christian denominations, the Syrian Christians, was established by the apostle St Thomas in 50 AD. The followers of the Prophet Muhammad also came early to Kerala, and although the exterior of the mosque at Kodungallur is a brash, modern concrete structure, its interior is still the cool and serene original of India's oldest mosque. The mosque was built on land given by Kodungallur's Hindu ruler — a gesture echoed by the Raja of Cochin in the 16th century when he welcomed Jews fleeing Portuguese persecution in Goa. Although recent emigration to Israel has reduced the community to a handful, their magnificent synagogue at Kochi still stands.
Many of these different factors blend together: for instance, a Marxist politician might prostrate before a Hindu shrine; a Muslim contribute to a temple festival; or a Christian make a Hindu pilgrimage; and buses display the religious icons of three faiths. Saint George is particularly popular across all communities, as he is thought to offer protection against snake bites.
Kerala has an extraordinarily rich traditional theatre. There is the Sanskrit drama of Kutiyattam, the lyrical dance of Mohiniattam, the religious fervour of Krishnattam and, above all, the spectacular magnificence of Kathakali. What unites all these traditions is that they evolved out of the religious beliefs of their participants and, despite their highly dramatic presentation, are less a theatrical performance than an act of worship. The spectacular theyyams of Malabar demonstrate this concept when the fantastically costumed god-actors dance before shrines, possessed with the spirit and power of their Dravidian deities. Costume and make-up play an important part in these ritual dramas. It is worth arriving early at a Kathakali dance drama to watch the preshow transformation of the actors as they apply bright make-up, and don masks and ornate skirted costumes weighing up to 35 kg (77 lbs). Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
Only during the monsoon months of June to August is it difficult to find some ritual, ceremony or festival taking place. Although non-Hindus are not usually permitted to enter Keralan temples, temple festivals are accessible and visible to all.
In central Kerala the use of elephants brings a regal quality; there can be few sights to beat that of 30 great caparisoned tuskers assembled before the Vadak-kunathan Temple in Thrissur on the day of the Thrissur Pooram. Temple festivals are invariably accompanied by music. Look out for the panchavadyam drum and trumpet ensembles that accompany processions, the loud but virtuosic cenda melam drum-orchestras and the drumming genre tyampaka.
Attractions are plentiful in the capital, Thiruvananthapuram , former seat of the Maharajahs of Travancore, set on seven hills. The temple of Sri Padmanabhaswamy that the maharajahs built to honour Lord Visnu still physically dominates the bustling city, but access is forbidden to non-Hindus. Their heirlooms can be seen at Puttan Malika Palace (open 8.30am-5.30pm, closed lunchtime). Their old palace, now just inside Tamil Nadu 63 km (39 miles) south at Padmanabhapuram (9am-5pm, closed Mon, entrance fee), is well worth seeing and is an easy day-trip from Thiruvananthapuram. Window panes of mica cast a magical light into the carved rooms cooled with natural air-conditioning using inner courtyards. An imposing royal bed, a single granite slab, is placed atop a gleaming black floor made from egg whites and burnt coconut shell. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
The Napier Museum, housed in an extraordinary Indo-Saracenic building designed by Robert Fellowes Chisolm for Lord Napier in 1880, has a collection which includes jewellery, ivorywork, Chola bronzes and Keralan woodcarvings. Nearby, the Shri Chitra Art Gallery (open 9am-5pm, closed Wed am, Fri, Sat) features oils by Raja Ravi Varma and a good collection of miniatures. The museum, art gallery and Museum of Natural History are in the grounds of the Botanical Garden and Zoo (open 9am 4.45pm, closed Mon), north of the city centre. One ticket gives access to all the museums and gardens. Displays of Kalaripayattu, the local form of martial art, are staged by several yoga institutes between 6.30am and 8pm. At Margi Kathakali School, West Fort, visitors are allowed to watch Kathakali dance-drama classes and can enquire about future performances.
Among Kerala's excellent beaches, the best-known is Kovalam 12, located 16 km (10 miles) south of Thiruvananthapuram, where facilities at all levels are available. Except for the tourist trade near the beach itself, life in the surrounding countryside and the fishing settlements in the area life goes on very much as in the rest of rural Kerala.
Ayurvedic massage is relaxing after a swim in rough waters and masseurs are ready on shore to oblige. Massage using herbal oils is said to be most effective at the moment the monsoon breaks in early June.
Varkala, 54 km (32 miles) north of Trivandrum, is an attractive village and has a fine sandy beach at the base of cliffs. Watch out for fishing lines or nets that are dragged from the sea at around sunset. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
About 20 km (12 miles) north of Varkala is Kollam 20 (Quilon), a cashew nut port which is the southern gateway to the backwaters. Travellers can journey through a network of narrow canals and wide lakes where people paddle to their daily tasks. Unlike the wave-tossed western seashore, which runs roughly parallel, the backwaters are calm. Boats of all descriptions are punted or sailed along the shallow green waterways with palms arching overhead. Tidy bungalows line up on either side, to give way to great heaps of coconut fibre or clusters of Chinese fishing nets, lit up at night to attract shrimps. Where the waters widen, villagers sometimes can be found up to their necks, picking up fish from the muddy bottom with their toes and flinging them into terracotta pots that float beside them on the surface.
Many tourists take the boats between Kollam (Quilon) and Alappuzha (Alleppey) along the picturesque backwaters. Two companies run the cruises: the state Water Transport Department boats are usually slower than Alleppey Tourism (the trip that lasts up to eight hours depending on the route). At Karunagapalli, shipbuilders fashion kettuvallam (literally, tied boats) out of jakwood planks sewn together with coir rope. Cruising kettuvellam, complete with rattan-thatched canopies, can be hired for two-day trips. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
Inland, past the busy Christian town of Kottayam, the roads start to rise into the Western Ghats. Close by, in January, large numbers of devotees of the god Aiyappan start to make their way on foot up to the temple at Sabrimala. Aiyappan is very popular across South India and his followers — predominantly men, since only young girls and post-menopausal women are allowed to make the journey — are a common sight, dressed in black with tulsi beads around their necks.
Kochi 15 (Cochin) can be reached from Alleppey by water, but boat traffic on the way to this major port and naval base is extremely heavy, and many prefer to travel by road or rail. Ferries connect the islands of Willingdon, Bolgatty, Gundu and Vypeen to the southern peninsula of Fort Cochin and Matancherry and also to the commercial centre, Ernakulum, on the mainland. Semitic traders from Yemen and Babylon used to import dates and olive oil in exchange for peacocks and spices. Kochi is still an important spice port and its godowns (warehouses), smelling of pungent spices, are a hive of activity.
Jew Town, a settlement that dates back a millennium, and spice shops, still thrives with antique and spice shops. The small synagogue there is used by the diminishing Jewish community; most families have left for Israel. The synagogue is floored with blue and white tiles from Canton, no two of which are the same. Kerala Tour Packages, Kerala holiday packages from Delhi…
Matancherry Palace (open 10am-5pm, closed Fri) at Kochi was built by the Portuguese and repaired by the Dutch (renaming it the Dutch Palace), although its architectural style is Keralan. Its frescoes dating from the 17th century depict Indian epics in extraordinary vegetable colours.
There is little trace of the Arabs, Phoenicians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks who traded at this port. Old colonial churches and warehouses recall the Portuguese, Dutch, and British settlers with faded elegance. Dolphins sometimes romp in the current beside the boats near the harbour entrance. By the Chinese fishing nets, facing out to sea in Kochi, are a group of small huts where you can have the freshly caught fish cooked in front of you.
Travelling north up the coast from Kochi takes you past the turn-off to the Palakkad Gap (Palghat), the lowest point in the Western Ghats, to the port of Kozhikode (Calicut).
Close by, at Kappad, is the place where Vasco da Gama first landed in India in 1498. Further north, past Kannur (Cannanore), is Tippu Sultan's atmospheric coastal fort at Bekal. Still thrives with antique the diminishing Jewish
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Popularly known as the God's own Country', the state of Kerala is a beautiful state of India. Travelling in Kerala will offer you a unique and rich experience. Opt for a Kerala Holiday package and be ready to take a trip of the lifetime. There is no dearth of tourists' spots to be visited in Kerala. The state features beauty redefined. Kerala will offer you serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, lush hill stations, exotic wildlife, waterfalls, sprawling plantations, paddy fields, Ayurvedic health holidays, enchanting art forms, magical festivals, historic and cultural monuments and an exotic Malabari cuisine. You will totally love your visit here as being peaceful and pristine; Kerala is also the cleanest state of India.
Taking a tour through the forests and hill stations of Kerala, One comes across the best waterfalls ever seen ,. The water flowing down rocky stones encompassed by green foliage is a sight you won't like to miss. Plan your Kerala travel in such a way that the waterfalls and the wild life sanctuaries are a part of the itinerary. The falls at Athirappally, Soochipara, Thusharagiri and Thommankoothu are lovely and a part of many Bollywood films such as Raavana and Bahubhali. The interlinked body of waterfalls form network of waterways, estuaries,and lakes in Kerala, known as the backwaters in Kerala. The flora and fauna is quite rich along the backwaters of Kerala. Here you will find species of otters, turtles, crabs kingfishers and much more. Amongst the trees you can find here includes palm trees and various other leafy vegetables. The most famous town on backwaters are Allepey and Kumarakom , Sunset cruise on Backwaters in a houseboat are extremely popular
Popularly known for backwaters in Kerala you will also find sites of historical importance. Kerala features Ambalavayal archeological Museum which houses the remnants of the era of 2nd century A.D. Here you will see the famous Chacha Nehru Children's Museum which was established in 1980. In your Kerala tour package also include the Hill Palace Museum which is the largest museum here. The museum displays Museum displays majestic beds, paintings, carvings and samples of epigraphy belonging to the royal family of Kochi. If you are a connoisseur of tea, it is must that you visit the tea estates of Munnar. Try fresh tea from the freshly plucked tea leaves from the surrounding region. Here you can also relax and stay at the plantation bungalows.
Sunny Beaches and White sand ,is what makes Kovalam the number one tourist spot in Kerala . All the luxury hotels including Taj Hotels and Leela hotels have a presence in Kovalam. Bestowed with a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year, you can opt to visit this state anytime of the year. Choose Kerala tour package with us or we could customize one package especially for you where you can fully enjoy your stay in Kerala. Have a wonderful stay in Kerala.