Soft, white sand beaches, beautiful people, tropical fresh climate, spices, tea plantations, India’s highest literacy rate, a riveting culture and distinctive cuisine. I love Kerala. Be there and believe. It has something for everyone.
Travelling has the been the closest thing to my heart and stories about Kerala has always made my mind wonder with excitement. Finally the day came when we and my family decided to take a trip to this wonderful destination.
Our journey started on 13th Dec 2015 with a a FREE Ola ride to New Delhi railway station from where we boarded our train- Kerala Express. It was 2.5 days journey filled with fun, laughter, food and meeting up with interesting people.
As it was a long journey, we had packed our bags with lots of food that actually got over within 1.5 days of the journey and then we decided to pamper ourselves with Pizza from Domino's using the IRCTC app at Vijayawada around 5.30 pm. The pizza was supposed to get delivered at Tirupati junction by 7.30 pm but as usual our train was running late. The pizza delivery boy had to wait, go back and re-warm the pizzas which got finally delivered to us at around 10.45 pm haha. But the waiting and and the hunger made us relish the food even more.
Missing the train incident at Palakkad Station!!
As most young thrill seeking people would do, we decided to play a game. This was about boarding the train at the last few seconds of it leaving the station. At Palakkad junction during the final call of the train leaving somehow I got lost and ended up almost missing the train.
Somehow I managed to run and get into another coupe of the train! Gosh!! My cousins started looking for me all over but could not find me and started panicking all over. Finally I reached my compartment and got scolded for my thrill seeking lifestyle :P
Finally we got down at Ernakulam which was very very warm and it took us some time to acclimatize. Here we met our pick up people, Sajjin & Sudish from Vaiga Holidays with whom we had to travel throughout Kerala. They were very interesting, funny and jovial people.
From Ernakulam we left for munnar and on the way we got a chance to visit Ganpathi herbal & spices plantation in the kumily region. This was one of the most beautiful plantations that I have ever seen. First thing that struck me was the lingering fragrance in the air. The sweet smell of Pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and sometimes the combination of two or more made our visit worthwhile. Here's a memorable video from the plantation...
Apart from being enjoyable, we were given an insight into the growing and processing of spices. It was a great feeling to be there surrounded by Nature, smelling the fresh, aromatic air. After the visit to the spice plantations we left for munnar where our stay was at the Bellmount resort.
Rajamalai (Eravikulam) National Park
Rajamalai/Eravikulam national park is a UNESCO world heritage site situated at an altitude of 8983 feet. There is an entry fee and then you need to be in their transport (bus) and then they will take you to main entrance of park. The nilgiri tahr is a goat and that is almost the only animal here. But the scenic beauty, clouds and rain make it a wonderful place to visit.
This is the highest point in munnar which is about 1700m above sea level. Its falls on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and interestingly it gets this name from the fact that it was the uppermost railway station located in the Kundala Valley.
Here we got to see the panoramic view of the western ghats and some parts of Tamil Nadu.
Ideal time to visit October to January.
This dam is situated around 15 km away from munnar and in the vicinity of the dam is a beautiful lake where you can enjoy, Serene boat ride. Entry is pretty reasonable at Rs. 300 for 5 people for 15 minutes. The lake looks very huge and the dam contains it. As it is at a significant height, the clouds are also not too far away. Awesome view.
Next we went to see pallivasal waterfall which is situated near Devikulam. The view of this falls is breathtaking. The sight of the roaring water around is something which you can never remove from your thoughts. The view of the Falls will look as if it was created artificially, but it's natural and the height of the fall is also good.
One of the major attractions near munnar is Echo point which is roughly located 18 km away. The spot earns its name because of the natural echo, that one can hear in the hills near the lake so you can understand how much fun we must have had here :P calling out each others name at the top of our voices. Plus we got to drink loads of fresh coconut water with cream in it.. so yummy!!
Elephant Arrival Spot
Timelapse as well gorge on delicious food.
Devikulam is an ideal hill station with exotic flora and fauna and fresh soul refreshing air. There is a small lake which is ideal for fishing and chilling around.
We also had a chance to witness the beautiful and enchanting kathakali dance. Kathakali is stylized Indian classical dance drama usually foretelling a story of a kind and requires skills and practice. After hours of make-up, the artists perform. I was astounded by their ability to make different facial expressions. Moreover, I found it impressive for the men to take up the female roles so well!!! HAHA! :D
But to appreciate the show, you need to read the plot beforehand. A good theater will provide you with all information.
Thekkady is located near to Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and is about 85 km from munnar. Here we were staying at the peppervine resort which was like a seven star hotel with beautiful rooms and architecture.
Wild Safari at the Sanctuary
We had hired a jeep to do the jungle safari. It's completely adventure experience at the National park. forest department helped us a lot. After that we did trekking and boating. We saw many wild animals and the nature was beautiful in the park. It's a perfect place to spend the time for thrilling experience.
Thekkady to Alleppey - BackWaters
140 km away from Thekkady is Alleppy which is one of the most famous & beautiful place- The Backwaters. We were staying here at the Haveli Backwaters resort which is a boutique hotel. Its infrastructure was not good as peppervine resort but food was very yummy.
Alleppey is the important point for trips into Kerala's backwaters but the town has many lakes and canals. The backwaters of Aleppey connects Kumarakom and Kochi in the north and is the main centre for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race which most of you must have seen on television.
Boat Ride at Backwaters
The Venice of the East, the boat takes you through the narrow canals where you find small villages situated on the banks of the lake. Initially near the bank it was stinky near the bank but got better towards the centre. It was beautiful experience for us, we could see villagers washing clothes, and enjoying a living in the small houses near the banks.
We also got see little baby coconuts that were yellow in colour and in size as small as an orange. I bought a few pieces to bring them back home :D Once back from your backwater run, we tried the coffee or at Cafe Paradiso.
Our local boatman told us that the place is called backwaters because the lake water is fresh river water that comes down from the river. If you really like the monsoons, the backwaters is the place to be.
Alleppey Beach football fun!
This was a fun place to be. We played football, volleyball with the local boys here and off course clicked a lot of selfies :D
Light House Beach/Kovalam Beach
This place is 16 km away from alleppey and is an international beach. It is named after the 30 meter high Light house here which is the most important feature of this beach.
The Beach is very clean and there are many small restaurants around this area which would be definitely liked by sea food admirers. while visiting this place you don't have to be concerned about living and food facilities.
Kumari Temple & Vivekanand Rock
Both kumari temple and vivekanand rock are situated opposite to each other in kanyakumari. People are generally not allowed to click pictures here but we somehow managed to click a few.
It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock.
This temple is home to Lord Vishnu in a reclining position, the temple is an architectural wonder filled with murals, sculptures, inscriptions and carvings. The temple is lit by oil/ghee filled lanterns and no artificial electricity is used withing. Men have to wear lungi (indian traditional dress) and remain bare chested. It is the richest temple in the world with tonnes of gold hidden inside its premises.
The old majestic palace is of the 16th century and lies at the end of mainland India. I was enticed by its unique architecture and design. it has 16th & 17th century murals and artifacts.
Goodbyes can be tough
Finally the day came when my most memorable trip had to end and boy! it was tough to leave such a beautiful state behind. The pizza night, station incident, the backwaters and the fresh aroma of the spice plantations, such were the memories of my trip.
A Yahoo! answer to the question “Why is Kerala called God’s own country” turned up this: “Nestled between the pristine waters of the Arabian sea on the west and the lush Western Ghat mountains on the east, its intense network of rivers and lagoons, thick forests, exotic wildlife, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters and a long shoreline of serene beaches make it a traveler’s paradise.”
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