Handicrafts of Kerala

Kerala is well known for its beautiful handicrafts. These items range from brass and bell metal works, silk sarees, wall hangings, coir products, ivory works, lacquer products, sandalwood carving, wooden toys, jewellery, coconut shell products, and cotton and silk fabrics.Read more

Life in a Houseboat

Never leave Kerala without experiencing a stay in a houseboat. Trust me, you can stay in the houseboat, just chatting, reading, eating, drinking, lazing and just observing nature. You can see people bathing, washing their clothes or doing work along the banks of the river; you can watch the small boats or the bigger boats passing you; you can see boats used as a transport carrying heavy metal, bricks or wood. You will be able to see birds, chicken, hens, goats and cows as you pass the back of the houses. You can see another boat load of tourists and locals passing you………one of my most relaxing and peaceful times of my life was spent in a houseboat! You can also indulge in the sumptuous food prepared by the chef in the houseboat!!

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The Elephant Fort at Thirssur

The Punnathoor Kotta is located about 3 km away from the famous Guruvayoor temple in Thirssur district of Kerala, and lots of tourists visit this place. This place is also known as Anakkotta – meaning Elephant Fort in Malayalam (language of Kerala). The elephant farm is said to be the largest in India and is owned by the temple. The elephants in this place were given to the temple by devotees and are looked after and trained here by the paid mahouts. The Hindus look upon an elephant as a sacred animal as it is considered to be a living symbol of Lord Ganesh, the deity who removes all obstacles from our lives. At this place, there were more than 60 elephants (not sure of the exact figure) ranging for baby elephants to jumbo sized elephants. An Indian elephant is certainly smaller than an African one. Read more

Fishing Phenomenon in Alleppey

I stopped by a fishing village bursting with life on the way to Kainakary village in Alleppey district. There were fishing boats everywhere, lots and lots of people unloading fish from the boat sorting fish selling fish, carrying fish and bargaining over fish. “Shagara” is a fishing phenomenon that happens only a few months in a year usually in June. It seems mud banks get formed naturally near the sea shore during the south-west monsoon season; oxygen and nutrients released from the mud attract thousands of fish and prawns. This action brings in the seafood in abundance, causing traffic in the sea ; everyone wants to fill his boat during this fish harvest. It was as if everyone was celebrating a festival. Many of the fishermen were wearing umbrella or mushroom shaped hats made of Palmyra leaves and some had the same shape hats in plastic. Read more

A Feast in Kerala

Kerala is known as the “land of Spices”. Even the Kerala cuisine is known for its spicy and hot foods. Traditionally, in Kerala food is served on a banana leaf. One has to take food with right hand. Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and spices to flavour the local cuisine giving it a sharp pungency that is heightened with the use of tamarind, while coconut gives it its richness, absorbing some of the tongue-teasing, pepper-hot flavours. The unusual cuisine of Kerala brings to the fore the culinary expertise of the people of Kerala. Producing some of the tastiest foods on earth, the people of Kerala are gourmets with a difference.
The cuisine is very hot and spicy and offers several gastronomic opportunities. The food is generally fresh, aromatic and flavoured. Keralites are mostly fish-and-rice eating people.Kerala cuisine is a combination of Vegetables, meats and seafood flavoured with a variety of spices. Seafood’s are main diet of Coastal Kerala. Whereas Vegetable is the main diet in plains of Kerala and Meat is the main course among tribal and northern Kerala.

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Warm Hospitality

I had the pleasure of being hosted to a 12 day trip to Kerala, courtesy of gracious Kerala Tourism Development Corporation office and Silk Air. SilkAir operates three times weekly flights from Thiruvananthapuram to Singapore and a daily service from Kochi to Singapore. I stayed in the following hotels : Bolgatty Palace in Kochi, Brunton Boatyard Hotel, Marari Beach Resort, Kadavu Resort and Ayurveda Centre and the Tea County Hotel. All the sprawling properties had a combination of modern and traditional architecture. The hospitality warm and I truly enjoyed the essence of traditional lifestyle thanks to all the sponsors.

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Rest and Relax at Marari Beach Resort

We headed for Mararikulam from Munnar. Mararikulam is an active fishing village. The Marari Resort is within almost 36 acres of land separated from the Arabian Sea by swaying palm trees. We walked through winding paths, passed a nice lotus pond and fruit trees and lo behold I saw palm thatched villas with concrete walls. I was awestricken by the Kerala styled open-air courtyard concept modern bathroom complete with two little banana trees growing there! There is a total of 62 villas all built in harmony with nature in the style of local fishermen’s hut. The Marari Resort owners follow the philosophy of using local products to the maximum and promoting local cuisine and most of the vegetables served at the restaurant are from their own organic farms.Read more

Memorable People

The people of Kerala are very down to earth, simple and many still traditional. The natives of Kerala are called “Keralites” and they speak Malayalam. I noticed that they are very religious and have not forgotten their traditional culture or ancient rituals. Education is very important for them and the state of India had 100% literacy at one point of time! Most people could speak English. One interesting fact – almost all Malayalee men had a moustache or a nice beard. About 60% of the population of Kerala are Hindus and the balance are equals of Christians and Muslims.Read more

Water, Air and Earth elements at Munnar

Munnar, both in Malayalam (language of Kerala) and Tamil (language of Tamil Nadu), means three rivers, as it is the merging place of three mountain streams – Madurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundale. I was well prepared for the 4-5 hours drive uphill. I always liked hill resorts especially the breathtaking foggy hill views you get as you go up the winding narrow roads. The Deepa World Spice and Ayurveda Plantation is a spice garden was established 37 years ago and it offers Ayurveda treatments. Anyone can walk into this plantation of medicinal plants and can request for a guided tour. This tour of the spice garden opened my eyes and brain to many herbs that I have only read about. I got to see it all visually and even smell it. I also visited the Eravikulam National Park also known as the Rajamalai National Park . This is about 45 km from Munnar and this park houses many endangered and rare species of animals and plants like the Nilgiri Thars (mountain goat), grizzled giant squirrel, tigers, leopards and elephants and more. I heard that the largest kinds of Atlas moths are also found here. A rare flower Neelakurinji that blooms once in twelve years is also found here.Read more