Summer is back and if you happen to be an avid traveller, the line of caution suggested by friends and family would be to not venture outside. Yet, deep down we all know that summer is not the real issue. The real issue is the increasingly high level of carbon emissions year after year that has led to sustained high temperatures across California, forest fires in the U.S countryside, the melting of snow-capped mountains in Antarctica and glaciers in the Himalayas. Global warming is not going away any soon and the sad truth is that there are not too many places on earth that can actually give you the pleasures of a progressive world while conserving the endowments of nature.
But a wait a minute! Not all has been lost and paradise can, at last, be regained. You surely must have heard of the amazing travel dairies of tourists that have visited Kerala. But do you know that Kerala, God’s own land having successfully integrated economic development with environmental conservation is today a dedicated ecotourism hub? While there is no dearth of places with amazing endowments of natural beauty across the world, Kerala’s uniqueness lies in its ability to leverage its endowments of bio-diversity, forest cover and backwaters to create a model of sustainable economic development. This model of sustainable economic development has enabled Kerala to grow as a hub of ecotourism and attract travellers from across the world with its offering of healthy, colourful and green summer retreats.
- Cruise the Backwaters on a Houseboat
Be it downtown Manhattan in the United States, Osaka in Japan or Beijing in China, people across nations have styled their modes of transport on speed and more speed. Now, look at the paradox of Kerala. The bounties of backwaters, delta regions and forest covers in Kerala have been converted into useful inland waterways where people engaged in occupations of fisheries, tourism, agriculture, and animal husbandry commute on houseboats, thus saving the costs of fuel consumption, reducing carbon emissions and maintaining the aquatic and ornithological bio-diversity that it has. To see this simple yet amazingly effective innovation, spend a day or two for backwater holidays in Kerala. Savour the Kerala Wildlife on offer on both the sides of the delta regions. Kerala backwaters are amazingly popular with tourists from U.S, Europe and India and serve as a major earner of foreign exchange.
Travel Tip 1: Do not forget to carry your camera on your trip to Kerala. Kerala serves as a great sanctum sanctuary of birds, elephants and some amazing species of freshwater fish.
- Enjoy Village life for a Day- Spot Wildlife and Enjoy Nature
We have heard it many times that India is a land of villages and we could not have asked for a better evidence of this statement than enjoying village life in Kerala for a day. Of the many beautiful places to see in Kerala is the Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village. You can watch farmers cultivate their paddy crops on the fields and women process coconut choir to make mattresses, mats, ropes and packaging materials. Kerala has a very progressive agro-industry base that employs thousands of people, enables a substitution to the use of plastics across India and offers biodegradable packaging materials. Try savouring the traditional delicacies of the local Kerala cuisine for lunch that very often makes generous use of both freshwater fish and seafood like crabs, lobsters and tiger prawns. Also, do not forget to visit the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park in Kannur District and catch up with both venomous and non-venomous cobras and the king of serpents i.e. the King Cobra.
Travel Tip 2: Watch out for the amazing sunrise, the daily chores of the farmers on the paddy fields and their early morning routines as they take to their work. Carry a high-quality digital camera to record a couple of videos of farmers’ lifestyles. Watch out for the high degree of carbon neutrality in the way organic farming is practised.
- Watch a Kathakali Show-Kerala Kathakali Centre
When on a tour to Kerala if you miss out an enthralling performance of the Kathakali dance it is as big a crime as say, coming to the United States and not tasting the famous Jack Daniels. Visit the Kerala Kathakali Centre and catch up with one of these dance performances based on the ancient Indian epic of the Mahabharata. A very less known fact about the makeup and makeover deployed by Kathakali dancers is that the colours used to paint their faces are all natural and made from herbs and shrubs found in the vicinity of Kerala. There are hardly any artificial cosmetic items used by Kathakali dancers in bringing that intense and gripping look they sport.
Travel Tip 3: Do some basic reading of the Mahabharata and Ramayana at a glance from sources available online. You will find resounding similarities with Greek epics and shall be able to perfectly relate to the script of the Kathakali performance across the acts.
- Stay in a Tree House- An Exciting Experience
One of the fascinating treasures of the diverse and rich Kerala wildlife is a stay in a tree house amidst the dense jungles. Made of bamboo, thatch and timber that are available locally, these small tree houses are elegant, classy and very healthy to live in, apart from being beautiful. Stay in one of these tree houses and feel the thrill of listening to the creepy noises of nocturnal life forms.
Travel Tip 4: Can you just afford to manage a pair of night vision glasses? If possible, please do. It will bring alive your stay in the tree house even as you watch the different wild animals in the darkness. Moreover, watch out for the eco-friendly construction of these tree houses. Urban planners can well seek inspiration here.
- Bamboo Rafting in Periyar- For an Adventurous Experience
Forget rafting on air pumped boats and canoes and for a change explore the feel of bamboo rafting. On our tour to Kerala try your hands at bamboo rafting. Yes, take some time off and dive straight into the waters of the Periyar River for an adventure experience of a different kind. To state that your experience of bamboo rafting on the Periyar River shall be scintillating, shall be a gross understatement.
Travel Tip 5: Carry lightweight clothes and do not carry electronic devices. The bamboo rafts are open on all sides and the water can splash on your devices.
- Athirapally waterfalls
As much as Kerala is known for its forest covers, backwaters and wildlife, Kerala is also famous for its beautiful waterfalls surrounded by lush green hillocks that very often witness assemblies of herds of elephants as they converge for sessions of community bathing and water drinking. The best time to visit Kerala is the monsoon. A visit to the Athirapally waterfalls is well worth remembering. More than the height of the waterfalls it is the picturesque setting of the flora and fauna that makes it such a beautiful experience.
Travel Tip 6: The best time to visit Kerala is the monsoon. Kerala receives a fairly decent monsoon every year thanks to its large green forest cover that maintains the water cycle in the local ecosystem. The waterfalls are brimming with energy during the monsoons and make for an awesome experience of bathing, for both humans and elephants.
- Visit the Munnar Tea Museum
One of the great places to see in Kerala is the Munnar Tea Museum. Introduced by the colonial settlers from Portugal and the Netherlands, Kerala has over the centuries taken to the cultivation of tea and coffee in a big way. The best experience gained from traveling to the Munnar Tea Museum was off learning the untold story of the dedication and enterprise of the workers working at these tea plantations. The fresh aroma and flavour that we experience from a cup of tea is a product of the labour of these wonderfully simple and hardworking people.
Travel Tip 7: Visit one of the factory price shops and taste some freshly brewed Kerala tea. Kerala produces some of the finest brews of leaf tea that has a unique golden red colour and an unmatched aroma. Kerala has a hundred percent literacy rate and ranks high on human development index in India. This gest reflected in the sense and simplicity of the people of Kerala.
- Hit the Beaches on the Arabian Sea
Of all things beautiful and worth admiring, the beaches in Kerala India stand out. India has beaches elsewhere in the eastern, western and southern parts as well but the Kerala coastline is one of the cleanest, safest and one has to applaud the roles played by the local communities of people in keeping the beaches healthy and clean.
Travel Tip 8: The Kerala coastline is rich in ozone content and doctors highly recommend asthma patients to visit the Kerala coastline for short health retreats to take in the fresh air and use the natural ozone content in the air as a natural remedy for recurring congestions in the lungs.
In times when people across the world are felling trees, clearing forests and poaching wildlife, Kerala proves to the world that it is possible to integrate bio-diversity and beauty in the same metric. It is for this reason that Kerala will always have a special place in our memories.