Kerala - God's Own Country
TWedged between the Western Ghats on the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, the narrow strip of land known as Kerala is a destination of a lifetime. It enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. It is referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala was selected by the National Geographic Traveller as one of the 50 destinations of a lifetime and one of the thirteen paradises in the world. The alluring serenity of this place leaves every tourist spell bound, making them come back year after year.
An equable climate, a long shoreline sun-kissed serene beaches, tranquil streches of emerald and rhythmic Kerala backwaters, lush Kerala hill stations and exotic Kerala wildlife, kerala Waterfalls, sprawling Kerala plantations and paddy fields. Kerala has everything you might travel far and wide to see. Just one visit and you will know why Kerala has the lovely epithets attached to it.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine and Panchakarma, the rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda have also helped Kerala to gain a pan-global reputation as a worth-visit destination. Kerala Ayurvedic health holidays, enchanting art forms of Kerala, magical festivals of Kerala, historic and cultural monuments in Kerala, an exotic Kerala cuisine... All of which offers the visitors an unique experience. Just one visit and you will know why Kerala has the lovely epithets attached to it.
Kerela is networked by forty four rivers, with the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Western Ghats towering 500-2700 m in the east. So come over to this land that holds promises of leaving you mesmerized and gifting you one of the best holidays you have ever had…
History of Kerala
The name of the state of Kerala came from the word Keralaputra (land of the sons of Cheras), as mentioned in one of the Ashokan edicts dating back to 273-236 BC. Chera was the first large empire that took roots in this state, and used Tamil as their administrative language till 7th century. The Chera power declined in the 10th century AD. After Chera, the Cholas, the rulers of Tamil Nadu, came into power. The Cholas power decline in the 11th century, then gradually political power in the state went into the hands of the Zamorin of Calicut. In 1496, Vasco da Gama became the first European to find a route to India through sea and started a long-time fight for the power in this region between the Portuguese, British, and Dutch.
For a brief period in the middle of 18th century AD, Travancore, with the help of petty kingdoms, tried to control the political power of Kerala. Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan also tried to annexe the areas south of Travancore, but could not as because they were attacked by the British from the east and had to withdraw. After Tipu's first defeat by the British, the Seringpatnam Treaty brought all the captured parts of Kerala directly under the British and Travancore and Kochi became princely states under the British. Kerala became a separate state only in 1956 when new states on the linguistic basis were created in India. Formerly it was a part of Madras state and to carve out a new state the regions of Travancore, Cochin, and Malabar were added into one to be called Kerala.
Beaches in Kerala
Kerela has a 600 km long shoreline dotted with some of the finest, most charming beaches of the world, coconut groves, natural harbors, lagoons and sheltered coves. The beaches - alluring, balmy and clean are ideal getaways that let you watch the pageantry of the wandering clouds, the changing hues of the sky and the glowing sun disappearing down the horizon. Race the waves, chase the crabs, soak in the sun, or simply watch another day at the beach unfold leisurely. And there’s more…delectable seafood cuisine and friendly people to make it an unforgettable holiday.
Kovalam beach :Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The southernmost , known as the Lighthouse beach, is the most popular, Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all the budgets.
Poovar Beach : Poovar is an unspoilt and unexplored island, envoloped by the most serene backwaters, and opening out to the sea and a dream golden sand beach.
Shanghumugham Beach : This is a favorite haunt of sunset viewers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram ( Trivandrum ) airport and Veli Tourist Village.
The Varkala Beach : Vakala is important Hindu centre of pilgrimage as well as a seaside resort and spa. It has high cliffs with rich mineral springs rising majestically from the coastline. The two main attraction of this place are the 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre.
Alappuzha Beach : This beach is one of the most famous picnic spots. The pier, which is about 140 years old extends into the sea here.
Cherai Beach : This lovely beach bordering Vypeen island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occassionally seen here.
Fort Kochi Beach : The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British.
Kappad :It is believed that the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed on this beach with his team of explorers, thus giving it a place on the world map. The beach, calm and quiet, is an ideal place to relax. The best way to visit this beach is by taking a backwater cruise The rock studded beach is locally known as Kappakadavu. An interesting feature of the landscape is the sprawing rock that protrudes into the sea. The temple on the rock is believed to be 800 years old.
The backwaters of Kerela is a unique product of Kerala and is found nowhere else in the world. The coastal regions of Kerala have a network of waterways, inlets from the sea, and estuaries of over forty rivers, lakes and natural canals connecting coastal towns and drain into the Arabian sea. This interlinked body of waterways is known as the backwaters in Kerala.
The backwaters of Kerela are a self supporting eco-system teeming with aquatic life. Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters in Kerala. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants and bushes are a common feature along the Kerala backwaters, colouring the surrounding landscape, a rich green. The canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine water world is navigable.
The largest backwater stretch in Kerela is the Vembanad Lake which flows through three districts and opens out into the sea at the Kochi Port. The Astamudi lake, literarlly having eight arms, which covers a major portion of Kollam district in the south, is the second largest and is considered the gateway to the backwaters.It is also a popular destination for houseboat cruises.The most exciting thing on the backwaters of Kerela, however, is the kettuvallom ( traditional houseboat ) which has become the most popular tourism product in India today.There are several villages in the Kuttanad region and people travel from one place to the other by boats.
In a land as waterbound as Kerala it wouldn't be an unusual sight, but for a visitor to God's Own Country a houseboat gliding along the vast green expanse of the backwaters is the most amazing spectacle in the world. Even more enchanting is a holiday in the houseboats of Kerela. Cruise the backwaters for an unforgettable experience that lets you delve into nature’s magical realm.
Kerala Hill Stations
Kerala’s unique topography includes some of the best hill stations in South India. The hills draped in emerald green plantations topped with misty halo make it worth your trip uphill. All the hill resorts in Kerela offer the most enchanting experience of nature in all its virgin beauty Be it Munnar, Thekkady, Nelliampathy, Ponmudi or Peermede, the breathtaking hill stations here will make for one of the best holidays you have ever had.
Munnar Hills : Munnar hills is situated in the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni & Kundala and is 1600 metre above sealevel. 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.
Echo Point : This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here.
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.
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.
Vandiperiyar : Vandiperiyar is also home to a number of tea factories. The Agriculture Farm and Flower Garden have a delightful array of rose plants, orchids and anthuria.
Eravikulam National Park : Here is a sanctuary for endangered mountain goat of South India, the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragus hylocrious). The Eravikulam National Park is well known for its stark beauty of its rolling grasslands and sholas, spread over 97 sq km in the Rajamalai hills. An ideal place for trekking, facilities are provided here and tourists are allowed to go on foot up to Anamudi which is the highest peak south of Himalayas.
Watch wildlife at close quarters. Kerala, with its lush green tropical forests, attracts some exotic flora and fauna that make it worth your while to get a glimpse of life in the wild. Kerala has 12 Wildlife sanctuaries and two National Parks. They are.....
Peppara Wildlife sanctuary Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary, Shenduruni Wildlife sanctuary, Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, Idduki Wildlife sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary, Parambikulam Wildlife sanctuary, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, Eravikulam National Park.
The Houseboats or Kettuvalloms of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 foot in length, retrieved from being lost to the State altogether. Cruise along the palm fringed waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat or ketuvallom is the most enchanting holiday experience in India today. In this world of simple pleasures, you'll skim past ancient chinese fishing nets, water lillies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves.
Ayurveda In Kerala
Kerala is very popular for its Ayurveda centres that offer rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurvedic treatments is in fact attracts many tourists who come here. The various herbs used to concoct potions have high medicinal value.
Massages and other treatments that can cure skin, heart, digestive, neurological and several other disorders, are much sought after. Meditation and Yoga are also an important part of Ayurveda. Since the science deals with one’s holistic wellness, it also gives due importance to a sound mind. Yoga and meditation helps in this regard.
Luxury Spas in Kerala
India has a number of luxury spas that provide word class facilities and spa treatments to tourists. Luxury spas in India are your passport to wellness and rejuvenation. Of the many spas located across India, Kerala has some of the finest luxury spas in India. Luxury spas in Kerala not only provide finest spa treatments but also offer great scenic locations. Luxury Spas in Kerala offer a perfect blend of Ayurveda and modern wellness therapies.
Kerala is the front-runner in providing the best wellness therapies. The state has many hotels that offer fine spa facilities to tourists visiting the state. Apart from hotel spas, the state has various Ayurveda ashrams that are practicing the Ayurvedic treatments for a long time. These ashrams are the ideal centres for Ayurveda treatments. Your holiday in Kerala would be incomplete without trying out these relaxing therapies which will let you return to your homeland, absolutely rejuvenated. Kerela's natural abundance with its equable climate is best suited for Ayurveda's curative ad restorative programmes. Kerala is the only place on earth where it is practiced with absolute authenticity and dedication.
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Tourism in Kerala
Kerala - God's Own Country