25 Things that you must do while in Kerala
Kerala the land of ‘God’s Own Country’ best known for its picturesque beauty, favorable climate, savoring cuisine and jaw dropping scenery is increasingly gaining footfall from tourists all over the world. Situated on the South-Western coast of India is Kerala the tropical paradise engulfed by the Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean on the West and Western Ghats on the East. With diverse geographical features contained in the state like stunning backwaters, mesmerizing beaches, striking hill stations, lush green paddy fields, exotic wildlife, cascading waterfalls and more Kerala is becoming an important tourist destination. While you are on a vacation in Kerala and if you have planned to have one, here are the 25 things that you must do while in Kerala.
- Discover Mystical Munnar:
Experience weather like that of Switzerland in Kerala at the mystical and serene hills of Munnar. A beautiful hill station filled with luscious green tea and coffee plantations, panoramic view of hills, misty mountains, waterfalls, magnificent landscape, rivers and streams, wildlife and more. Sip a glass of good tea, witness tea production, munch on some home-made chocolates, hear your own echo at the Echo point, enjoy the beauty of Munnar on a cycling tour, crunch on some farm fresh healthy carrots, enjoy a bird’s eye view of Munnar paragliding atop the hills, explore the sandalwood forests in Marayoor and many more are worth experiencing.
- Go on a House Boat Cruise in Alleppey:
Kerala most famous for its great backwaters, is an enchanting view with opulent green paddy fields, swaying coconut trees bordering the waters and houseboats which are a major attraction for tourists all over. These moving luxurious hotels built on a boat with all the necessary amenities will take you through the long stretch of the great backwaters in Alleppey. To imbibe the complete mood and feeling of the waters, spend a night in the house boat amidst the tranquil backwaters.
- Visit the Athirappilly Waterfalls:
While in Kerala, you must visit the best and longest cascading Athirappilly waterfalls located in Thrissur, falling from a high loft, it is a biodiversity region containing some of the exotic and endangered species of flora and fauna. A prominent film shooting spot Athirappilly attains maximum beauty during the monsoon season, tourists engage themselves in bird watching, trekking, exploring the forests as well as taking a refreshing dip in the cool waters.
- Drive through the Beach:
Drive through one of the longest Drive-in beach in India only at the Muzhappilangad beach in Kannur district. Race through the sandy beaches in your car, show off your stunt moves, wheel your bike along the shores as all this is possible only in the Muzhappilangad beach in Kannur. A prominent hub of youth, the beach festival celebrated during the month of April attracts many tourists and visitors.
- Watch a Kathakali performance:
The ancient dance drama form of Kerala which tells mythological stories gathers a lot of attraction from tourists. The performance is tedious, with the face painting taking prolonged hours and the layers of attire which has to be fastened onto the body of the performer. This unusual dance takes years of practice including facial gestures, postures, hand and eye movements and also foot thumping to convey the message to the viewers. Usually held at night, Kathakali is often not missed by tourists who come to Kerala.
- Take a ride on an Elephant:
Elephants; the royal and majestic species are the official animal of the state, even featured on the Government emblem. Once used by the monarchs are now used for religious ceremonies in temples and many run free in the wild in Kerala. Elephant safaris, a ride on top of the elephant is a must try to explore the beauty of Kerala as well as the wildlife. The feeling is quite different and you will feel like a king, on top of the world.
- Wear the traditional Kerala Attire:
The cultural costume worn by the people in Kerala are saree and mundu. When in Kerala do not forget to wear the traditional Kerala set saree and mundu for women and men respectively. Saree is draped in a particular fashion, which often requires the help of another person, so is the mundu. The perfect attire while visiting temples, they are also worn during religious functions, festivals and occasions. Majority of the tourists buy them as souvenirs to take back to their home country.
- Explore the Beaches in Kerala:
Kerala; mainly a coastal state on its East is blessed with mesmerizing and striking beaches. Marari beach in Alleppey district is a clean and gorgeous sandy beach away from the crowded city life. Varkala beach in Trivandrum is also a major tourist spot, the beach is bounded by a large cliff, which is a striking feature and also houses many resorts and hotels atop offering a spectacular view of the beach. Paragliding and surfing are some of the adventurous water sports held here. Alleppey beach in Alleppey distric is also famous for its long coastline, cleanliness and golden coloured sand. Kovalam beach near Trivandrum is also the perfect place to chill and have a relaxing time with your family or partner. There are also various historical attractions near the beach which will be a good sightseeing venture for you.
- Visit the Museums in Kerala:
If you are keen on knowing the history, art and culture of Kerala, there is no better place to explore it than in the museums. Kerala has museums in almost all districts, most of which are old palaces of kings converted to museums housing the items and things which they used ages ago along with their architecture and construction which will leave us inspired. The museums also has artifacts, objects, utensils, clothes, weapons, inscriptions, paintings, scriptures and more which were used during the ancient times by the kings well preserved for generations to witness the existence and importance of the state and stay enlightened. Kerala folklore museum and Museum of Kerala History in Kochi, Napier museum in Trivandrum, Arakkal museum in Kannur, Archaeological museum in Thrissur etc.
- Have an Ayurvedic Massage:
Nothing is more relaxing, replenishing and rejuvenating than a body massage, to just melt away in your own world and heal your mind body and soul at the same time needs the healing touch of a masseuse. While in Kerala, do not forget to get an ayurvedic massage, the age old historic and natural medicinal treatment using medicinal plants and therapeutic oils is believed to have cured any diseases, discomfort and pain. Almost all districts in Kerala have Ayurvedic massage centers either individually or functioning inside hotels and resorts; they are a must try while in Kerala.
- Drink Tender Coconut:
Kerala is the land of coconuts, the state is gifted with so many coconut trees you cannot miss them while travelling. And if you came down in the hot and humid month of March – May, a nice long sip of tender coconut will cool down and refresh your body, do not forget to taste the sweet pulp inside the coconut that will surely be an invigorating experience for you. You can easily find coconut vendors on the streets and roadsides and stop by for a quick refill during your journey.
- Take a walk through Fort Kochi:
Fort Kochi, a place of historical significance was invaded by the Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and the British; their reigning has left back so many structures which are constructed in their style. The buildings till this date stand tall and has attracted tourists from all over the world. Take a peaceful walk around Fort Kochi engulfed by so many shady trees and cool breeze; you can witness the Portuguese and Dutch remnants. Also popular are the Chinese fishing nets, Mattancherry or Dutch palace, Portuguese built churches, Jewish synagogue, Jew Street and many more. Fort Kochi still holds the prominence and airs of the invaders, which leave the tourists coming again for another round.
- Visit the Bekal Fort in Kasargod:
One of the largest fort in Kerala, Bekal Fort is spread over 40 acres in Kasargod district. Some of the highlights of the Fort are a tall observation tower and a water tank, with flights of steps leading to it. A major tourist spot and location spot for movies, the fort is located close to the Arabian Sea and built during the 1650 AD. The Fort needs to be explored by walking where you can discover underground tunnels which the kings used to escape from enemies and the landscape is lusciously green and beautiful. Tipu Sultan had used the fort as an important military station and tourists visit the Fort to admire its scenic beauty where the sun, sand, fort, greenery and skies meet.
- Experience the Thrissur Pooram:
A Hindu temple festival held in the district of Thrissur is famous for using more than 50 bejewelled elephants for procession, colourful umbrellas, one hour long display of fireworks and most importantly the Melam, where more than 200 artists participate with their instruments like Chenda, trumpet, cymbal, edakka, madhalam etc. The large swarm of people who come to witness the pooram are uncountable; the Melam often gets people high with its rhythm and beat. It is vital that you witness the Pooram during the month of April- May at least once in your lifetime.
- Watch the Snake Boat Race in Alleppey:
The great backwaters of Alleppey are always not that calm and tranquil, during the month of August they celebrate the snake boat race which gathers visitors and tourists from all over the world. The 130 feet long snake boats are packed with rowers who compete to emerge first and reach the finish line. Just being there during the race will invoke great enthusiasm and energy in the viewers. Cheering for the snake boat race is a once in a life time event that will give you an adrenaline rush.
- Explore Wildlife in Wayanad:
Wayanad is partly covered by the Western Ghats making it a densely forest area, where you can spot all species of flora and fauna. A wildlife safari among the Wayanad jungles will be an adventurous experience you will never forget. Get up close and personal with the animals, click pictures, explore caves of historical significance, tea plantations, witness the beautiful gushing of waterfalls, as well as small streams and rivers, enjoy the misty mountains, go trekking or hiking in the woods, stay on top of a tree house and be one with nature.
- Have a Kerala Sadhya:
A very traditional and vegetarian Kerala meal served on a banana leaf and had during special occasions like weddings, ceremonies, festivals etc. The sadhya needs to be enjoyed in the traditional way, sitting cross legged on the mat and with your right hand without using any cutleries. Containing about 20-25 dishes served in one single course they follow a specific order while serving and mainly includes all vegetables and pulses. The sadhya is also never complete without treating your palates with 3-4 types of payasam, which is a heavenly and sweet dessert. A completely healthy and tummy filling meal, the sadhya is a must have if you are in Kerala.
- Visit the Hill Palace in Thripunithura:
One of the largest archaeological museum in Kerala spread across 54 acres containing 49 buildings altogether. The palace was built 1865 by the Maharaja of Cochin and then handed over to the Kerala Government by the Royal Family. Now open to the public, the palace contains numerous paintings, artifacts crowns, horse cart, weapons, sculptures, coins, ornaments etc. which was once used by the Maharajas. The construction and architecture of the palace will leave you mesmerized and should be a sure visit while in Kochi.
- Explore the Elephants and Boat Ride in Thekkady:
Located in the Idukki district amidst the Periyar National Park, Thekkady is a dense green forest containing varied species of animals like the majestic elephants, tigers, sambar, deers, bisons, Nilgiri Langurs etc. Spread over an extensive land, Thekkady has many natural attractions that will leave you wondering like submerged trees, boating, bamboo rafting, lakes and streams, lush greenery, wildlife safari, trekking, hunting for spices, coffee plantations, waterfalls and more.
- Visit the Zoo in Thiruvananthapuram:
One of the oldest zoo in Asia and the largest in the state, the zoo is spread over 55 acres of land and contains animals and birds of all breeds preserved in their natural habitat. Visitors can take a leisure walk around the zoo and enjoy the species of animals, birds and reptiles housed there, some of which are white tiger, Asiatic lion, royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephants, giraffe, zebra, hippos, ostrich, white ibis, Indian peafowl, vulture, turtles, snakes, crocodile etc.
- Feast on Kerala Cuisines:
Kerala is a land of spices where staple food is rice and blessed with a lot of coconuts; all these incorporated into Kerala dishes will give a lip smacking, unique and delectable taste to the Kerala cuisines. You must try the appam puttu, kadla, idiyappam, biryani, sea food made in both red chili and coconut milk etc. All the dishes will be a perfect feast to your palates where the flavour of coconut oil, coconut milk and all spices will leave you wanting for more.
- Watch a Kalaripayattu Performance:
Kalaripayattu is a 3000 year old martial art which originated in Kerala and an ancient mode of fighting used during battle and self-defense. It is a grace itself to watch as the athletes fight it out using weapons and use multiple forms and postures; many tourists come over to witness these practice sessions. Now this martial art is used in many contemporary dance performances and is increasingly gaining demand with more and more students and even tourists pooling in to study this ancient art form. It is believed that even Shaolin, the Chinese art form emerged from kalaripayattu.
- Witness the Theyyam:
Most predominantly seen in the Malabar region like Kannur, Kasargod, Calicut and Wayand, this ancient form of religious worship is mostly done by people of the lower caste and the locals in these regions, consider Theyyam as God and they pursue blessings from them. Basically Theyyam is a dance performed telling stories about the myths and tales of a particular deity followed by a ritual song and other musical instruments. The person performing the Theyyam has to go a through a tedious make up session where striking colours are used mostly red, orange and black. There are around 400 types of Theyyam and each one differs from the other, watching a Theyyam performance is quite enigmatic and makes you more inquisitive.
- Visit the Edakkal Caves:
Situated in the district of Wayanad, Edakkal caves are natural caves consisting of pictorial drawings and writings dating back to 5000 BC. You can see animal figures, weapons used and many symbols which are yet to be deciphered, the caves are a prominent archaeological site and attract tourists from all over. Located about 1200 metres above sea level and the landscape and surroundings are picturesquely beautiful and worth a visit once in a lifetime.
- Go Bananas:
The bananas you get in Kerala are nothing like you have tried before, varied in different shape, colour, taste and size bananas form a major part of the Keralite family. Easily available everywhere and in the local market, they are eaten raw, fried, steamed and even for curries. Do not forget to have the pazhampori while in Kerala, banana dipped in a flour batter and readily available in all restaurants and hotels best teamed with a nice hot cup of tea. These are the 25 things that must you want to do in Kerala.
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