Kerala is a beautiful and flourishing paradise which is fenced in by the vast Indian Ocean and the spice growing Cardamom Hills; a state which is a poetic beauty of calm backwaters, tempting local cuisine and leisurely pace that transports you to the land of mental revival. The backwaters are situated between the hills and the coast, a network of waterways providing a communication route for villagers, along with fish for food and water for farming. As a result, you are left in awe of a tropical land populated by affable locals in your India luxury tour, who make sure that even the drained out travelers relax, unwind and slip into the gentle pace of life. Among the best places to visit in Kerala, we pick the top 3.
Cochin is the main port for south-western India, and has been for centuries. The British, Dutch and Portuguese influences remain evident. In a nutshell, Cochin can best be described as a series of islands. The standalone place to visit is the Mattancherry Palace with its detailed frescos, the old spice warehouses, the Jewish synagogue and the churches in Fort Cochin. Fort Cochin evokes a colonial charm, with wide tree lined streets and a large central parade ground surrounded by grand colonial buildings. The enormous Chinese fishing nets that cantilever over the shore are the indelible image of Cochin. The nets are still in daily use by the dedicated fishermen, and their catch can be tried in the numerous food stalls lining the shores, or in the comfortable surroundings of your hotel restaurant.
Munnar’s cool and pleasant climate provides a welcome relief from the scorching heat of the plains, and is surrounded by some of the world’s highest tea plantations. The hills are covered in a dense carpet of tea, for as far as the eye can see. A short guided stroll through the plantations allows you to observe the local tea pickers at work, and to enjoy the hill scenery. Munnar was a popular colonial retreat for the British, and it’s not hard to see why. The views are simply breath-taking, and the drive through the winding roads to get to Munnar is a treat in itself. The air is perfumed by the captivating smell of tea and spices gently wafting through the cool breeze.
A huge part of Kerala’s charm lies in the Backwaters, a network of canals and waterways that lead off from Lake Vembanad. Whether you are spending time in one of the luxury palm-shaded resorts, or drifting along the calm waters in a traditional boat, it is easy to be captivated by the local way of life. You’ll realise how integral this network is to the life of the region as you spot fishermen netting their daily catch. The snake-boat is the quintessential mode of transportation in the region. The sides of the banks are decorated with villages, temples and churches. The Backwaters flourish with wildlife, such as wading birds, kingfishers and fish eagles. An overnight stay on a traditional rice boat is a wonderful way to experience the backwaters. These boats are locally known as ‘kettuvallam’, and are crafted by tying jackwood planks together with rope, before coating them in a black resin formed from boiled cashew nut shells. Originally used to transport rice through the lush backwaters, they have since found a new lease of life; peacefully exploring timeless scenes of palm trees, rice paddies, temples and villages. To give a luxury feel (which most of the contemporary travelers look for), these sizable boats are now lavishly furnished with en-suite bedrooms, an open lounge and dining area, a deck and kitchen. A day on a rice boat is an unforgettable experience of the luxury tour Kerala, but staying overnight on board gives the chance to relish the romance of sunrise and sunset on the still and reflective waters.
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