Named as one of the ten global paradises by National Geographic Traveller, Kerala (meaning “land of coconut palms”) has become one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. A narrow strip of land, 560 km long and 120 km at its widest, it is an exotic blend of nature’s finest. With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats towering in the east and networked by 44 rivers, amid the picturesque backwater lagoons; the state enjoys unique geographical features and has become synonymous with its tagline ‘God’s own country’
A tropical, emerald Paradise, soaked in its simple, primal lifestyle, Kerala looks like a verdant, green oasis that never seems to end. The criss-crossing of waterways explode in a joyous burst of green, as far as the eye can see. High above, the lush-green tea estates beckon from Munnar, a cozy hill resort; while down below, lie Periyar and Thekkady wildlife reserves – ideal for spotting tuskers.
Kerala’s antiquity can be traced by to 5000 to 3000 BC, from the time the world sailed here in search of spices, sandalwood and ivory. Its coasts were known to the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs and Chinese, long before Vasco da Gama landed here. An epitome of secularism, the entire landscape is dotted with temples, mosques, churches and synagogues. The state also has the distinction of having the country’s highest literacy rate and lowest infant mortality rate. Kerala is also known for its eco-tourism initiatives, handicrafts and Ottan Khullal art form.
The entire state comes alive during its main festival, Onam. From its luxurious houseboats to the snakeboat races; from heavily bedecked, caparisoned elephants during festivals to the oldest martial arts form of Kalaripayattu; from the unique Kathakali dance form to its famed Ayurvedic health spas; the state offers a truly unforgettable time.
State capital: Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)
Of tourist interest: Kovalam beach, Jew town, Onam festival, snakeboat races, Periyar & Thekkady sanctuaries, Maatanchery Palace, Munnar, Ayurveda, Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, elephant pageants.
By air: well connected
By rail: well connected
By road: Lies at the junction of NHs 7, 17, 45, 47
Official Website: www.keralatourism.org