Kerala, India: Find Yourself Through Nature and Culture
If you’re on a journey to find yourself through travel, Kerala, India is the place you need to seek. Kerala is said to be “God’s own country”, and after a visit there you’ll understand why. This enchanting emerald gem in Southern India is so deliciously rich with nature and culture, that you’ll leave feeling revived, and with a new appreciation for humanity.
When you come discover how you can be human by nature, you’ll learn about a gorgeous symbiotic relationship that’s crucial to the planet. You’ll discover how several elements of nature play important roles in making Kerala a special place.
From lush tropical jungles where wild elephants roam, to the crystalline waters of the Arabian Sea. And let’s not forget every tranquil river and stream in between. Kerala is truly unique, and much different than anywhere else in India!
Disclaimer: If you choose to travel, please take extra hygiene and safety measures to prevent the spread of covid. ALWAYS wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently. Do not go around others if you have any cold symptoms. Check the official government website for India for updates on when you can travel there again, and what their new protocols for entry are!
Here are some of the key natural elements of Kerala, and what you can expect to discover in each.
The Beach: Hearts that Beat in Time with the Waves
Enjoy pristine white sand beaches, and hear stories from the local seafarers who brave the waves every day. Even after being tossed, tumbled, and sun-scorched, they still have a deep love for the sea that gives faith in humanity.
Some beaches in Kerala even have therapeutic and healing properties, like Varkala. It’s best to visit this beach in December and March if you can.
If you’d like a beach known for serenity, head to the quiet Marari Beach. It’s ideal if you’re planning on doing a houseboat trip along the rivers, or if you have some extra cash to splurge on the Marari Beach Resort. There you will find an enormous property set among coconut trees and lily pad-filled ponds. They offer several rejuvenating luxuries as well, from Ayurveda treatments, to yoga classes on the beach!
For an off the beaten path beach town that’s also home to the famous Theyyam rituals, head to Kannur! Enjoy the cultural immersion and laid back atmosphere!
The Jungle: Innocence of the Forests and Wisdom of Ancient Ways
Kerala is also largely known for its delectable green landscape. From tea and coffee fields, to thick jungles where elephants roam, here you will be entranced by natural vibrancy!
You can book a tour in Munnar to see the tea fields and estates, and even sample various flavors! You’ll learn about the unique process in which the tea-pickers choose, pluck, and carry the tea as well! In Munnar, Thekkady, or Wayanad, you can take a spice tour if that tickles your fancy! See how black pepper, cinnamon, and the scintillating vanilla plants are grown and cultivated!
For animal lovers, there are also several animal sanctuaries you can visit. Just please make sure not to choose one that has elephant riding. For the true jungle-lovers, you can also book a stay in a real treehouse in many of the jungle towns!
I remember meeting artisan women in a jungle area in northern India whose stories are ones I’ll never forget! They grow up learning to hand-sew the most gorgeous tapestries, from pillow cases to entire wall coveings!
The City: Ancient Streets that Run Across Cultures
The advancement of human life over the years is truly remarkable. You can discover a fascinating journey and the creation of a complex melting pot when you visit the cities of Kerala!
Take for example, Fort Kochi; a fort right next to the beach that is said to be one of the best things to see in Kerala. Here you will witness the influence of Dutch, Arabs, Portuguese, Chinese, and British! You can even find a Jewish synagogue as well as a Basilica!
One cultural event that I mentioned above but will mention again here, is watching Theyyam! It is said to be a life-changing experience that is staged in various temples of North Kerala, typically in Kannur and Kasaragod. To find the dates and times, you can simply look them up online here. (Note: Due to the pandamic, all festivities are currently suspended. Check with the tourism website for updates!)
Speaking of mixing cultures, I also remember a time I befriended the most fierce and fascinating couple while I was in India. They explained to me how they had a “love marriage” as opposed to an “arranged marriage”, and how at first it was difficult because they came from two different regions! It gave me an entirely new perspective and appreciation for both types of ideas of marriage!
The Rivers: Discover Deep Journeys in Little Country Boats
Rivers have always been a sacred source of nature to humans for as far back in time as we existed. From providing daily transportation and a trade route for business, to supplying towns with drinking water and food to eat.
The rivers in Kerala, and the people who live on them, are a prime example of how to become human by nature. You can take a simple canoe ride in places like Kollam, and experience village along the river that will leave you with a deep appreciation for quality of life.
Or make a plan to go to Alleppey for an extravagant treat! There you can stay on a luxurious houseboat fit for a Maharaja, as you slowly drift down the tranquil backwaters! Marvel at the glorious landscapes and soak in the cheerfulness of the people you pass from the comfort of a sumptuous floating accommodation!
If an overnight boating experience isn’t your thing, opt for a ride on a Kettuvallom! They’re the super cool looking local ferries, that you can ride on for just a few hours, or the whole day!
No matter what activities you decide to fill your trip to Kerala with, there is one thing for sure you must do. Talk to the local people! Hear their stories, listen to their advice, and appreciate the nature the way they have for so long!
This post is graciously sponsored by Kerala Tourism, however all research and opinions are my own!