Kerala enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia – an equable climate, a long shoreline with serene beaches, Tranquil stretches of emerald Kerala backwaters, Lush Kerala hill stations and exotic Kerala wildlife, Kerala Waterfalls, Sprawling Kerala plantations and paddy fields, Kerala Ayurvedic health holidays, Enchanting art forms of Kerala, Magical festivals & the wonderful cuisine of Kerala.
Kerala Offers the most fascinating Water world on Earth – The backwaters of Kerala. The Great Kerala Backwaters comprises an intricate network of lakes, canals, estuaries and deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. The important stretch of this unique water world is the 168 km expanse from Kollam to Kottapuram, declared as a National Waterway. The most beautiful and popular part of the backwaters, the Vembanad Lake spans several districts in Kerala. The longest lake in India and the largest in Kerala.
The gateway to the Great Backwaters is the magnificent eight-armed Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam, which connects to the vast Vembanad Lake that flows through Alappuzha and Kottayam districts, before opening out into the sea at the Kochi (Cochin) Port.
At the backwaters, life exists in perfect harmony with nature. Watch life unfold as you glide past palm trees, thatched houses, temples, mosques and churches. Children swim. Boats glide along. Millions of ducks float by. Birds hover. Cows roam. Dragon flies dance. Lilies bloom. Welcome to a fascinating, endless magic maze brimming with experiences that last a lifetime.
The ancient regimens of Ayurveda, the 5000-year-old system of holistic healing, are practised to perfection in Kerala. Many of the backwater resorts / beach resorts / hill resorts / wildlife resorts have certified Ayurveda centres, while some of the houseboats offer treatment procedures on board.
Kerala has churches dating from the time of St. Thomas – the apostle who arrived here in 52 AD, temples that sport the Dravidian gopuram and Kerala architecture as well as the oldest mosque and synagogue in the country. Many of these are located along the backwaters.
Kumarakom Bird sanctuary is the first scientifically formed and preserved bird sanctuary in India, with about 180 species of birds. These include more than 90 species of migratory birds. The profuse bird life owes much to the location and the climatic peculiarities of the region. June to August is the best time of the year for bird watching. Migratory birds in huge numbers visit the sanctuary from November to February.
The backwaters are alive with a variety of birds. Watch Egrets, Herons and Kingfishers sunning themselves or swooping in to catch a fish. Kumarakom and Kadalundi are favourite haunts of migratory birds like the Siberian Storks, Teals, Darters etc.
The best season to visit Kerala is from October to the end of March, when the weather is cool and dry, but it’s possible to hire a houseboat all year round. Some find the monsoon season appealing for clubbing houseboating and Ayurveda. March to May gets very hot and humid.
The rice bowl of Kerala, Kuttanad boasts of paddy fields, which are below sea level and are surrounded by earthen embankments. The crops are grown on the low-lying ground and irrigated with fresh water from canals and waterways connected to the Vembanad Lake. The area is similar to the dikes of the Netherlands where land has been reclaimed from the sea and crops are grown. Kuttanad probably got its name from Karimadi Kuttan, a black statue of Buddha worshipped by locals, as the area was under the sway of Buddhism eons ago.
Cochin or Kochi has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Kochi is more popularly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Kochi is a place with deep roots in history and its streets exude an old-world charm; a place with beautiful monuments and a variety of linguistic and ethnic communities like the Jews.