Posted by: swapnaraju | February 20, 2013

KERALA – GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

KERALA, GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

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Kerala , a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of Southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 ms in the east and networked by 44 rivers, Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. images (2)Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine… All of which offer you a unique experience. And what’s more, each of these charming destinations is only a two hour drive from the other. A singular advantage no other destination offers.

Kerala, India’s most advanced society: With hundred percent literacy. World-class health care systems. India’s lowest infant mortality and highest life expectancy rates. The highest physical quality of life in India. Peaceful and pristine, Kerala is also India’s cleanest state

Beaches

Varkala
About 50km from Thiruvananthapuram, and less crowded than Kovalam, Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where the cliffs
varkalarun adjacent to the sea. There is also a 2000-year-old Vishnu temple for those looking for some soul-searching.

Marari
Located 11km from Alleppey and about 60k from Kochi, Marari is reputed not only for its stunning ecology but also its unparalleled cleanliness. The water here is perfect for a light swim, some snorkelling and if you’re lucky—even some surfing.

Bekal
South of Kerala’s northernmost district of Kasargod is Bekal. A relatively new entrant on the luxury traveller’s map, it is most famous for its fort, which is the oldest in Kerala. Explore the fort, drive through the coconut groves, and boat across the backwaters, and you will be greeted by Bekal’s astonishingly untouched beach.bekal

Kovalam
Kovalam is to Kerala what Baga is to Goa. Located 16km from Thiruvananthapuram and made up of three coves—Hawa Beach, Lighthouse Beach and Samudra Beach—

Kappad
Probably the most historic beach in Kerala, Kappad is where Vasco da Gama moored his ships in 1498. Located 16km from Kozhikhode, the beach here is partly rocky and partly
smooth.

BACK WATER

backwaterBackwaters are free from the pounding action of waves. Backwaters are one of the most alluring and economically valuable features of Kerala. These include lakes and ocean inlets which stretch irregularly along the coast.. The biggest backwater is the Vembanad lake with an area of 260 sq.km.

Second comes the Ashtamudi which covers an area of 55 sq.km. Sastamkota lake is the largest natural fresh water lake of the state. It extends over an area of 4sq.km. Other important backwaters are Veli, Kadhinamkulam, Anjuthengu (Anjengo), Edava, Nadayara, Paravoor, Kayamkulam, Kodungallur (Cranganore) and Chetuva. The backwater2deltas of the rivers interlink the backwaters providing excellent inland waterways along the lower and costal areas of the state.

Hill stations

Kerala has a long chain of lush, mid-clad hill stations that are home to exotic wildlife. All the hill resorts in Kerela offer the most enchanting experience of nature in all its virgin beauty

Munnar Hills

munnarMunnar hills is situated in the confluence of three mountain streams – Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni & Kundala. Situated 1600 metre above sealevel, this hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town.


Ramakalmedu:

Rolling green hills and the fresh mountain air make Ramakalmedu and enchanting retreat. The hilltop also offers a panoramic view of the picturesque villages of Bodi and Cumbum on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Situated at a distance of 40 km from Thekkady and 75 km from Munnar

Echo Point

This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here. Echo Point is on the way to Top Station in Munnarecho

Rajamala
Rajamala is the natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), the Eravikulam – Rajamala region is now home to half the world population – estimated at around 1300 – of this endangered mountain goat. But the Tahr is only one of the reasons to make a visit to Rajamala.

Vagamon
One of the most beautiful places with a chain of three hills – the Thangal hill, the Murugan hill and the Kurisumala, important for Muslims, Hindus and Christians respectively.

Pullumedu
Velvet lawns and rare flora and fauna add to the beauty of Pullumedu. The famous Sree Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala and the Makara Jyothi illuminations at the shrine are visible from here. The winding journey to this hill along the Periyar River, offers a stunning view of hills draped in lush greenery.


Vandanmedu

This is one of the world’s largest auction centres for cardamom. A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.

Chellarkovil
This sleepy little village with its breathtaking view of the plains and cascading waterfalls is a feast for the eyes. The village slopes down to the famous coconut groves of Cumbum in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Festivals

India is a land of fairs and festivals and Kerala is no exception to this. Besides the major festivals that are celebrated across India, there are numerous local festivals that are highly observed in Kerala. Most of the festivals of Kerala are connected with local traditions and religions, and are crucial to the social and cultural structure. There are certain festivities like the boat races, which originated to commemorate religious events but subsequently turned out to be events of social importance.

Vishu
One of the most important festivals of Kerala, Vishu is celebrated in the month of April. According to the old traditional Malayalam calendar, it is the 1st day of the New Year.
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Navratri
The Navratri celebration, that runs over 9 days, is known by different names in different parts of India. It is Durga Puja of Bengal, Dussehra of Bombay, and Saraswati Puja and Ayudha Puja of the south. The last three days of navratri, known as Durga Ashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijaya Dasami are the most important.

Onam
Onam
the harvest festival of Kerala, is the most important and popular festival of Kerala. It is celebrated with lots of fervor and gaiety. All Malayalis, irrespective of their religion, celebrate Onam. It falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam (Aug-Sept).

Kerala, the Land of Ayurveda 

Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy.
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Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed the many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only access for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication.

Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.

images (5)One of the many fascinating experiences for visitors to Kerala is without doubt the Home Stays. These are literally home away from home, allowing you to get close with the host family and the community that lives in an area.

Tucked away in misty plantation hills, amidst cool coconut groves, circled by backwaters, by the side of sun drenched beaches or in villages with distinct characteristics; home stays in Kerala offer you one of the most favoured means by visitors to enjoy and experience the culture, lifestyle and flavours of the land and its people.

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