A long weekend in Kerala - God's own country !! #southindiaitinerary

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Photo of A long weekend in Kerala - God's own country !! #southindiaitinerary 1/1 by TravelTales

Kerala, southwestern coastal state of India. It is a small state, constituting only about 1 percent of the total area of the country. Golden beaches, emerald backwaters, lofty mountain ranges, powerful art forms... the choices are many and so are the wonders that await you in Kerala. Come and take home what they call ‘memories’, the kind that makes life worth living.

When in Kerala all you do is to LET GO. Let the lazy backwaters set pace to your day and village folk songs croon to your heart. Let the clarion call of the jungles awaken the wilderness in you. Bathe elephants. Discover remote festivals that leave imprints on your soul. Take your taste buds on rides through flavors they never dreamt existed. Camp in the woods lying awake listening to the symphony of Nature at night and early in the morning let the mountain mists awake you with whispered tales of long forgotten travelers… A tropical paradise where you can paddle in tranquil backwaters, trek the rocky Western Ghats, chase the mists in the hill stations, rejuvenate with pristine Nature and Ayurvedic treatments, hug the unspoiled beaches and so much more. Kerala isn’t just a destination; it’s a saga of experiences!

Day 1

Visiting Kerala was a long due for me & my family. When it was the best season, we just couldn't resist ourselves from planning this trip to the beautiful place. We started our journey on a Thursday early morning Indigo flight from Pune to Kochi at 2.35am, and reached Kochi at 4.15am. There were plenty of cab services available outside airport. Picked one and drove towards Alleppey.

Alleppey is known as ‘the Venice of the East’. Offering the best tourist places in Alleppey, this charming place is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters and is home to a huge network of backwaters and more than thousand houseboats. We had pre booked a houseboat and the checkin was smooth. We paid INR 12500 for 5 people, inclusive of all meals. We were served a welcome drink and the the backwater cruise started. Around 2.00 pm a short anchoring of the houseboat amidst backwater for 1 hour to serve lunch. Again, backwater cruise started and they concluded at 5.30 pm. After 5.30, as per law, backwater cruise of houseboats are not allowed. Night cruise in backwaters are strictly banned. We enjoyed the sightseeing of back waters almost 4-5 hours which covered more than 40-50 km. Overnight stay at houseboat and dinner was served on time.

Photo of Alleppey, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Photo of Alleppey, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Photo of Alleppey, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Day 2

This day again cruise started at 8am and concluded by 9am. Overall it is 21 hours stay in a houseboat in the backwaters with all meal plans. There were options for day cruises also. But this is a unique experience, I must say !!

We hired a vehicle and visited local places in Alleppey. Our first visit was to Krishnapuram palace. There are several palaces in Kerala that take you to a glorious past of the state. Today, most of them are tourist attractions where you can have a glimpse of the luxurious lives led by the royal families that ruled here. Krishnapuram Palace in Kayamkulam is one such attraction that is worth a visit.

Photo of Krishnapuram Palace, Oachira, Kerala, India by TravelTales

Situated 14 km from Kottayam in Kerala, Kumarakom has become synonymous with backwater cruises across the world. A scenic bunch of islands clustered around the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is about 70 km from Kochi (Cochin). Kumarakom is a part of the Kuttanad region, the rice bowl of Kerala and is surrounded by lush paddy fields crisscrossed by canals and the lake. The Vembanad lake has its maximum length and breadth near Kumarakom.

Photo of Kumarakom, Kerala, India by TravelTales

Arthunkal Church, also known as St. Andrew's Forane Church is one of the oldest churches in Kerala. It is situated on the shores of Arabian Sea. It is one of the most popular churches in Alappuzha district. The Arthunkal Feast is celebrated for 11days. The highlights of the concluding day of the festival include a special ritual in which the devotees crawl on their knees all the way from the nearby beach to the church.

Photo of Arthunkal Church, Arthunkal, Kerala, India by TravelTales

Alappuzha Beach is one of the most exotic beach destinations in the country. The charms of Alappuzha have allured visitors since the time immemorial as the place has almost everything to delight the heart of a traveler. Besides the excellent beaches, Alappuzha is famous for its exciting boat races, backwater holidays, the flourishing coir industry and excellent marine products.

Photo of Alappuzha Beach, Kerala by TravelTales
Day 3

We stayed in a beach resort for that night and next day we checked out & started early towards Thekkady. Its 130km drive which took approx 4.5 hours to reach. We checked into a booked hotel there are went ahead for local sight seeing.

The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spreads across the entire district are the picturesque plantations and hill towns that nestle beautiful trails for treks and mountain walks. It is very famous among tourists for elephants and tiger reserve. This park is commonly called as the Periyar National Park. It attracts thousands of tourists every year for safari, rafting and other activities. The park lies in the middle of cardamom hills.

The north and the east borders of the park are covered by the mountains. The west part of the park is bordered by a plateau. From the plateau, the land steeps down to the valley of Pamba. The highest peak in this park is Kottamalai. This rich bio-diverse land was formed from the rivers. The park also includes a reservoir, which provides year-around water for the wildlife. There are lot other places in the park to visit, such as - Mangala Devi temple, Pullumedu, Periyar Lake, Cardamom hills, Wildlife Safari and the list goes on.

Photo of Periyar National Park, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Photo of Periyar National Park, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Photo of Periyar National Park, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Photo of Periyar National Park, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Photo of Periyar National Park, Kerala, India by TravelTales
Day 4

An overnight stay in Thekkady. Next day with a bit relaxed feeling, we checked out from the hotel bit late and drove to Cochin. As we had a late night flight, we had some time in hand to explore Cochin too. We reached Cochin in the late noon and visited Cochin Port. It is one of the most important natural ports in India. It is situated on Willingdon Island, just 20km from the direct Middle East to Far East sea-route. It has the most strategic geographic proximity to major marine sea routes. The port of Kochi is an all weather port and is one of the least congested in India. It is also the first Indian e-port, optimizing operations through electronic equipment.

Photo of Kochi, Kerala, India by TravelTales

Later in the evening, we visited Marine Drive. It picturesque promenade in Kochi which faces towards the backwaters of Kochi. It's one of the famous must-visit places for tourists and local populace. It's 140 m walkway that stretches from the Jankar Jetty (north) to the Emakulam Boat Jetty (South). It is situated along the edge of backwaters that begins behind the Children's Park ending at the Shanmugham Road. It is surfaced with black-dotted, red-carpet ultra tiles. Wooden benches, cast-ironed, weather-proof seating on ash grey tiles offers utmost relaxation.

There are various shopping malls and fast food joints which attracts many tourists from all across the world. It's a major centre of economic activities in Kochi and visitors throng this place to view the glance of rising sun over the sea jaws.

Photo of Marine Drive, Kochi, Kerala, India by TravelTales

We got dropped to airport by 9.30pm and we had a return flight at 00:25 to Pune. We reached home in the mid-night with sweet memories of Kerala trip.

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