With its labyrinthine backwaters and emerald tea hills, glorious coastal beaches and ornate temples, a holiday in Kerala will relax and rejuvenate you as much as the ayurvedic treatments this Indian state is known for. We love getting entirely blissed out with traditional massage, herbal treatments, and purifying baths at the famous ayurveda resort Kalari Kovilakom, or exploring the lagoons, lakes, rivers, and canals on a Kerala houseboat, winding past palm-fringed, bucolic landscapes. Kerala is called God's own country for a reason.
Visit Kerala's lush, cooler regions inland such as Munnar and Wayanad to see spectacular spice plantations. Taste and feel spices such as pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, vanilla, rosemary, oregano, and basil. Authorised spice centres in Wayanad, Kottayam, and Kozhikode sell value-added spices such as ready-to-use spice powders, rare spice oils, and curry masala powders.
This Indian martial art form if one of the oldest fighting forms in existence. Kalarippayattu training coordinates both mind and body, blending moves like running, jumping, and somersaults, with lessons using daggers, swords, spears, maces, and bows and arrows, as well as teaching indigenous medical practices. The Kerala Kathakali Centre in Fort Kochi features daily demonstrations of this intriguing and ancient martial art.
The spectacular beaches of Kovalam are famous for their beauty. The three crescent-shaped beaches here are separated by rocky outcroppings and loved for their seclusion and solitude. The main beach, Lighthouse Beach is the most developed. Hawah Beach and Samudra Beach are both smaller and more isolated. All three beaches are set against a backdrop of coconut palms and mountains.
Since everybody knows the restorative powers of a nice cuppa, the tea industry has grown by leaps and bounds. The cooler climates of Munnar in Kerala mean the fertile valleys are refreshed by the region's lakes and mountain streams. This lush land has sprouted numerous tea plantations, including those around the Anayirankal Dam, as well as around the verdant town of Chithirapuram. Other important tea plantations in Kerala include Pathanamthitta, Grampi, Vilangakunnu, and Ponumudi.
The 'Gateway to Kerala', Kochi is a cosmopolitan city composed of an enchanting blend of Arabian, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese heritage. Hire a bicycle and explore the city's vast landmarks: the Chinese Fishing Nets at Fort Kochi Beach, Santacruz Basilica (the first European church built in Asia), Dutch Palace, a myriad of museums and galleries, as well as temples, mosques, and churches.