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Human By Nature: Kerala, India


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Christabella Wunderlich



Welcome to the enchanting land of Kerala, India. Known as “God’s Own Country,” Kerala is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. Situated on the southwestern coast of India, Kerala is a state that embodies the true essence of the country, with its diverse landscapes, rich biodiversity, and vibrant traditions.


With its tropical climate, Kerala is blessed with abundant greenery, picturesque backwaters, pristine beaches, and misty hill stations. The state’s geographical location along the Arabian Sea provides a pleasant and inviting atmosphere throughout the year. Whether you are seeking relaxation, adventure, or a cultural experience, Kerala has something to offer every traveler.


Beyond its breathtaking landscapes, Kerala is also renowned for its extensive cultural heritage. The state has a long and illustrious history, dating back thousands of years. From ancient trade routes to colonial influence, Kerala has been shaped by a diverse range of cultures, resulting in a unique fusion of traditions and customs.


One of the highlights of Kerala is its distinctive cuisine, which tantalizes the taste buds with its flavors and spices. Whether you are savoring the local delicacies like appam and stew, or indulging in the famed Kerala seafood, the cuisine is sure to leave a lasting impression on your palate.


The festivities and celebrations in Kerala are a sight to behold. With a calendar filled with colorful and vibrant festivals, you will have the opportunity to witness ancient rituals, traditional dances, and music performances that have been passed down through generations. The traditional arts and crafts of Kerala, such as Kathakali, Theyyam, and mural paintings, are a testament to the state’s rich artistic heritage.


Kerala is also renowned for its traditional Ayurvedic medicine, which offers holistic healing and rejuvenation. Whether you seek relaxation and stress relief or wish to detoxify and purify your body, Ayurveda has a range of treatments tailored to meet your needs.


The backwaters of Kerala are a major attraction that lures travelers from around the world. Cruising through the tranquil waters on a traditional houseboat, surrounded by lush greenery, is an experience that will leave you in awe of Kerala’s natural beauty.


The state is also home to an impressive array of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, where you can encounter diverse flora and fauna. From the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, these protected areas offer ample opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.


Kerala’s hill stations, such as Munnar and Thekkady, provide a cool and refreshing escape from the tropical heat. Surrounded by sprawling tea plantations, mist-covered mountains, and cascading waterfalls, these hill stations offer breathtaking views and a chance to unwind amidst nature.


With a long stretch of coastline, Kerala boasts some of India’s most pristine and picturesque beaches. From the famous Kovalam Beach to the serene Varkala Beach, these sandy shores are perfect for relaxation, water sports, or simply enjoying a mesmerizing sunset.


Historical monuments and landmarks dot the landscape of Kerala, showcasing the state’s architectural brilliance and historical significance. From the iconic Kochi Fort to the ancient temples and palaces of Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, these sites offer a fascinating glimpse into Kerala’s past.


Music and performing arts are deeply rooted in the culture of Kerala. From traditional classical music forms like Carnatic music to the rhythmic beats of the Chenda drum, Kerala’s performing arts scene is vibrant and captivating.


Kerala is also a land of diverse religious beliefs and practices. The state is home to numerous temples, churches, mosques, and pilgrimage sites that attract devotees and spiritual seekers from all walks of life.


Embracing sustainable tourism initiatives, Kerala has gained recognition as an eco-friendly and responsible destination. The state takes pride in preserving its natural and cultural heritage, and various organizations and communities are working together to promote ethical tourism practices.


Prepare to be enchanted by the beauty, warmth, and unique experiences that Kerala, India, has to offer. Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, food enthusiast, or culture seeker, this captivating destination will leave an indelible mark on your heart.


Geography and Climate

Kerala, located on the southwestern coast of India, is nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats mountain range. The state covers an area of approximately 38,863 square kilometers, making it a compact yet diverse destination to explore.


The geographical features of Kerala are incredibly varied, offering a scenic tapestry that ranges from tranquil backwaters and lush forests to rolling hills and pristine beaches. The famous backwaters of Kerala, consisting of a network of lagoons, lakes, and canals, are a defining feature of the state’s geography. These backwaters are a result of the numerous rivers and their tributaries that crisscross the region, including the Periyar, Pamba, and Kaveri rivers.


The Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cuts through the state, providing a stunning backdrop to the landscape. This mountain range is home to several peaks, including Anamudi, the highest peak in South India. The Western Ghats also contribute to the rich biodiversity of Kerala, with numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries preserving the region’s flora and fauna.


Due to its proximity to the equator, Kerala enjoys a tropical climate throughout the year. The state experiences two primary seasons, namely the Southwest Monsoon (June to September) and the Northeast Monsoon (October to November). These monsoons bring abundant rainfall to Kerala, nourishing its fertile land and contributing to its lush greenery. The monsoon season also adds to the charm of Kerala, as the rain creates a romantic atmosphere and enhances the beauty of the backwaters and waterfalls.


The winter season in Kerala, from December to February, brings cooler temperatures, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploring the natural wonders of the state. The summers in Kerala, from March to May, can be hot and humid, but the proximity to the coast offers refreshing sea breezes that provide some relief.


It is important to note that the weather in Kerala can vary based on the region. Coastal areas experience a more moderate climate with higher humidity, while the hill stations in the Western Ghats offer cooler temperatures and pleasant weather.


Overall, the varied geography and tropical climate of Kerala contribute to its stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems. Whether you are exploring the serene backwaters, embarking on a wildlife safari, or lounging on the golden beaches, Kerala’s geography and climate create an immersive and inviting environment for travelers to experience.


Biodiversity and Natural Resources

Kerala is a treasure trove of biodiversity, boasting a rich array of flora and fauna. Its diverse ecosystems, ranging from coastal regions to lush forests and mountainous terrains, provide a habitat for numerous species, some of which are unique to the region.


The Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot, extends through Kerala and is home to a remarkable range of plant and animal species. The dense forests of the Western Ghats harbor a variety of endemic flora, including medicinal plants, orchids, and rare species like the Neelakurinji flower, which blooms only once every 12 years.


Kerala’s coastal areas are havens for marine life. The Arabian Sea teems with a diverse range of marine species, including dolphins, sea turtles, and different types of fish. The coral reefs off the coast of Lakshadweep, an archipelago located in Kerala’s proximity, are also rich in marine biodiversity.


The state’s backwaters and wetlands provide a unique ecosystem that supports various bird species, both resident and migratory. Kerala is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with numerous bird sanctuaries such as Thattekad Bird Sanctuary and Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary housing a stunning variety of avian species.


In addition to its diverse flora and fauna, Kerala is also rich in natural resources. The state is known for its fertile soil, thanks to its many rivers and the deposition of silt carried from the mountains. As a result, agriculture plays a significant role in Kerala’s economy, with crops like rice, spices, rubber, and coconut being major contributors.


The state’s forests are not only biodiverse but also serve as a vital natural resource. Kerala’s forests are a source of timber, bamboo, medicinal plants, and other forest products. Sustainable forestry practices are followed to ensure the preservation of these resources for future generations.


Kerala is also endowed with abundant water resources, with numerous rivers, lakes, and water bodies scattered across the state. These water sources not only support the agricultural sector but also contribute to the aesthetic beauty of Kerala, with its famous backwaters and waterfalls.


Recognizing the importance of preserving its biodiversity and natural resources, Kerala has implemented various conservation initiatives. These efforts include the establishment of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and protected areas to safeguard its delicate ecosystems and promote sustainable tourism practices.


Whether you are exploring the rainforests of the Western Ghats, cruising through the backwaters, or taking a dip in the pristine beaches, Kerala’s biodiversity and natural resources create an immersive and unforgettable experience, truly deserving of its title as “God’s Own Country.”


Cultural Heritage and History

Kerala’s cultural heritage and history are as diverse as its landscapes. With a history that spans over thousands of years, the state has been influenced by various dynasties, traders, and colonial powers, shaping its unique traditions, architecture, and way of life.


The history of Kerala dates back to ancient times, with evidence of human settlements found in archaeological sites such as the Edakkal Caves. The region was a significant hub for trade, attracting merchants from across the world. Over the centuries, Kerala saw the rise and fall of several powerful dynasties, including the Cheras, Cholas, and the Zamorins.


One of the defining aspects of Kerala’s cultural heritage is its strong connection to its ancient traditions and rituals. The state is known for its vibrant classical dance form, Kathakali, which combines elaborate costumes, makeup, and gestures to depict stories from Hindu epics. Other classical dance forms, such as Mohiniyattam and Koodiyattam, are also cherished cultural treasures.


The architecture of Kerala showcases a blend of indigenous styles with influences from different civilizations. Temples, palaces, and forts stand as architectural marvels that highlight the state’s rich history. The Mattancherry Palace in Kochi, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, and the Bekal Fort in Kasaragod are notable examples of Kerala’s architectural heritage.


Christianity, brought to Kerala by Saint Thomas the Apostle, has a deep-rooted history in the state. Several ancient churches, including the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church in Palayur and the St. Francis Church in Kochi, serve as reminders of the early Christian presence in the region. Kerala is also known for its harmonious religious diversity, with Hindu temples, mosques, and synagogues coexisting peacefully.


The state’s long history of trade and cultural exchange is evident in its cuisine. The traditional cuisine of Kerala, known for its use of coconut, spices, and seafood, is a reflection of the diverse influences it has absorbed over the centuries. From the fiery flavors of Malabar biryani to the delicate flavors of a traditional sadhya (feast), Kerala’s culinary heritage is a treat for the taste buds.


Kerala’s cultural heritage is not limited to its artistic and architectural legacy; it also celebrates its literary contributions. Writers and poets from the region have made significant contributions to Malayalam literature. The Jnanpith Award-winning poet, Vallathol Narayana Menon, and the renowned writer, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, are among the literary luminaries from Kerala.


Preserving its cultural heritage is of utmost importance to the people of Kerala. Festivals, such as Onam, Vishu, and Thrissur Pooram, are celebrated with great pomp and joy, showcasing the rituals, dance performances, and music that have been passed down through generations.


Exploring Kerala’s cultural heritage and history offers a fascinating journey through time. Amidst its ancient temples, vibrant festivals, and diverse art forms, you can truly immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Kerala’s cultural legacy.


Cuisine and Traditional Food

Kerala’s cuisine is a delight for food lovers, offering a tantalizing array of flavors, spices, and traditional recipes. Known for its use of coconut, spices, and fresh seafood, Kerala’s culinary traditions have been influenced by a blend of indigenous ingredients and cultural influences from Arab, Portuguese, and Dutch traders.


One of the most iconic dishes of Kerala is the traditional Sadhya, a sumptuous vegetarian feast served on a banana leaf. The Sadhya typically consists of a variety of dishes, including rice, parippu (dal), sambar (spicy lentil soup), avial (mixed vegetable curry), thoran (stir-fried vegetables with coconut), and a variety of pickles and chutneys. The highlight of the Sadhya is the dessert, known as payasam, a sweet and creamy concoction made with rice, jaggery, milk, and nuts.


Kerala is also known for its abundant seafood, thanks to its long coastline and network of backwaters. The traditional dishes like Meen Curry (fish curry) and Karimeen Pollichathu (pearl spot fish marinated in spices and wrapped in banana leaf) are a must-try for seafood lovers. Freshly caught prawns, lobsters, and mussels are also commonly used in various preparations, including fiery seafood curries and delicately spiced stir-fries.


The use of coconut forms an integral part of Kerala’s cuisine. Coconut milk, grated coconut, and coconut oil are widely used in the preparation of several dishes. Coconut-based curries such as Ishtu (a mild, creamy stew made with vegetables and coconut milk) and Avial (a mixed vegetable curry cooked with coconut paste) are staples in Kerala’s traditional food.


Another popular component of Kerala’s cuisine is the variety of snacks and breakfast items. The famous Kerala Parotta, a flaky and layered flatbread, is often paired with spicy curries or served with a sweet filling as a dessert. Other traditional breakfast dishes include Puttu (steamed rice flour and coconut cake), Appam (fermented rice pancakes), and Idiyappam (string hoppers).


Kerala’s spice trade history has influenced its use of spices in cooking. Traditional dishes are flavored with a variety of spices, including black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric. These aromatic spices not only add depth of flavor but also provide numerous health benefits.


To complete the culinary experience, Kerala offers a range of refreshing beverages. From the traditional cup of strong black tea, known as “kadak chai,” to refreshing drinks like Sambaram (buttermilk spiced with ginger and curry leaves) and tender coconut water, there is a beverage for every palate.


Exploring Kerala’s cuisine is an adventure in itself. Whether you are a vegetarian or a seafood enthusiast, the diverse flavors and traditional recipes will satisfy your taste buds and leave you craving for more. Indulge in the culinary delights of Kerala and immerse yourself in a gastronomical journey filled with delightful flavors and cultural richness.


Festivals and Celebrations

Kerala is a land of vibrant festivals and celebrations that showcase the rich cultural heritage and religious diversity of the state. Throughout the year, the calendar is filled with colorful processions, traditional dances, music performances, and elaborate rituals that attract both locals and tourists alike.


One of the most widely celebrated festivals in Kerala is Onam, which marks the harvest season and pays homage to the mythical King Mahabali. This ten-day festival is a grand affair, with people decorating their homes with floral carpets, participating in snake boat races, and enjoying traditional games such as Vallamkali (boat race) and Pulikali (tiger dance). The highlight of Onam is the grand feast, the Sadhya, served on banana leaves.


Vishu, celebrated in April, is another significant festival in Kerala, associated with the Malayalam New Year. The festival is marked by the Vishukkani, the first sight in the morning that includes a symbolic arrangement of various items representing prosperity and good fortune. Devotees visit temples, exchange gifts, and enjoy firework displays as part of the festivities.


Thrissur Pooram is a spectacular temple festival held in Thrissur, known as the “Festival of Festivals.” The Pooram takes place at the Vadakkunnathan Temple, where processions of caparisoned elephants, traditional percussion ensembles, and fireworks create a mesmerizing spectacle. The Pooram is also famous for the breathtaking display of brightly decorated parasols, called kudamattam.


Other notable religious festivals include the Attukal Pongala, an all-women gathering in Thiruvananthapuram to offer a special pudding to the deity, and the Aranmula Snake Boat Race, where rowers compete in long snake-shaped boats to honor Lord Krishna.


Kerala is also home to a vibrant arts and music scene, and numerous festivals celebrate the performing arts. The annual Soorya Festival in Thiruvananthapuram brings together renowned artists from across India for a week-long extravaganza of dance, music, and theater performances. The Navaratri Music Festival in Kozhikode showcases classical music performances by some of the most accomplished musicians in the country.


The diverse communities in Kerala celebrate their own religious festivals with equal enthusiasm. Christmas is celebrated with great joy and fervor by the Christian community, with midnight masses, carol singing, and elaborately decorated churches. Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan, is a time of feasting and prayers for the Muslim community in Kerala.


Embracing the cultural traditions and festivals, Kerala celebrates a true spirit of unity in diversity. The colorful processions, traditional dances, and music performances create a lively and joyous atmosphere that reflects the vibrant and inclusive nature of the state’s cultural fabric. Exploring the festivals and celebrations of Kerala is an opportunity to witness the rich traditions and the harmonious coexistence of different communities in this enchanting land.


Traditional Arts and Crafts

Kerala is renowned for its rich tradition of arts and crafts, which have been passed down through generations. These traditional art forms not only showcase the artistic prowess of the people but also hold deep cultural significance. From vibrant dance forms to intricate handicrafts, Kerala’s traditional arts and crafts are a testament to its cultural heritage.


Kathakali, one of the most distinctive and globally recognized art forms of Kerala, is a magnificent dance-drama that brings ancient epics and mythological stories to life. With elaborate costumes, mesmerizing makeup, intricate hand gestures, and dynamic expressions, Kathakali captures the essence of Kerala’s artistic prowess. The performances, accompanied by live percussion music and vocal recitations, leave the audience spellbound.


Theyyam, a unique ritualistic art form, is deeply rooted in Kerala’s folklore and mythology. It combines dance, music, and vibrant costumes, transforming the performers into deities or ancestral spirits. Theyyam performances are vibrant and energetic, accompanied by traditional music played on drums and wind instruments. This ancient art form showcases the spiritual beliefs and traditional rituals of the region.


Kerala’s traditional music is primarily classical and devotional in nature. Classical music forms like Carnatic music and Sopana Sangeetham hold a special place in Kerala’s cultural landscape. These music traditions have evolved over centuries, with highly structured compositions and intricate melodies. The rhythmic beats of percussion instruments like the Chenda and Maddalam add depth and richness to the music.


The state is also known for its exquisite handloom textiles. Kasavu sarees, with their signature gold border, are a symbol of elegance and grace. These sarees are typically woven with fine cotton and adorned with intricate motifs inspired by nature and religious symbols. Other traditional handloom fabrics include Balaramapuram sarees, Kuthampully sarees, and Kasavu mundu (dhoti), each showcasing the skill and craftsmanship of Kerala’s weavers.


Another traditional craft that Kerala is famous for is the intricate art of mural painting. These paintings, often found in temples and palaces, depict mythological stories and religious themes, using bright colors and intricate detailing. The traditional mural paintings are done on walls, canvas, and wood, preserving the cultural heritage of the state.


Brass and bronze casting, known as “Bronze Kalamezhuthu,” is a traditional art form that involves making intricate sculptures and idols using the lost-wax casting process. Skilled artisans create beautiful figurines, lamps, and other decorative items, showcasing their craftsmanship and attention to detail.


Coconut shell carving is another traditional craft in Kerala. Artisans carve intricate designs on coconut shells to create exquisite jewelry, showpieces, and utility items. The intricate carvings display the level of skill and intricacy that go into this craft.


Exploring Kerala’s traditional arts and crafts is an opportunity to witness the creativity, skill, and cultural heritage of the state. Whether it is watching a Kathakali performance, admiring the intricate details of handloom textiles, or marveling at the beautiful mural paintings, these traditional art forms provide a window into Kerala’s rich artistic legacy.


Ayurveda and Traditional Medicine

Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine, has deep roots in Kerala and is an integral part of the state’s cultural heritage. Known for its holistic approach to wellness and healing, Ayurveda focuses on the balance of mind, body, and spirit to achieve optimal health.


In Kerala, ancient texts like the Charaka Samhita and Susruta Samhita form the foundation of Ayurvedic practices. The state is home to numerous Ayurvedic centers and resorts that offer a range of treatments and therapies. These centers combine ancient wisdom with modern facilities, providing a sanctuary for rejuvenation and wellness.


One of the key principles of Ayurveda is the identification of individual body types, known as doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Ayurvedic treatments are tailored to each person’s unique constitution and aim to restore balance in the body. These treatments include massages, herbal remedies, dietary recommendations, meditation, and yoga practices.


Kerala is renowned for its traditional Ayurvedic massages, such as Abhyanga (full body massage), Shirodhara (streaming of medicated oil onto the forehead), and Pizhichil (warm oil bath). These therapies help to relax the body, alleviate stress, improve circulation, and detoxify the system.


Herbal medicines and formulations play a crucial role in Ayurveda. Kerala’s abundant plant biodiversity contributes to the availability of a wide range of medicinal herbs and plants used in Ayurvedic treatments. Medicinal plants like neem, turmeric, ashwagandha, and brahmi are commonly used to treat various ailments and promote overall well-being.


The practice of Ayurveda in Kerala is not limited to treatment but also extends to preventive healthcare. Ayurvedic physicians emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques.


People from around the world visit Kerala to experience the benefits of Ayurveda and seek treatment for various ailments. The serene environment, natural surroundings, and expert practitioners create an ideal setting for healing and rejuvenation.


Kerala also hosts an annual Ayurveda festival in Thiruvananthapuram, where experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts come together to celebrate and promote the ancient healing system. The festival features informative sessions, demonstrations, and discussions on Ayurvedic practices.


Ayurveda is deeply ingrained in Kerala’s culture and way of life. Its legacy continues to be passed down through generations, with families practicing Ayurvedic traditions and recipes at home. The state’s commitment to preserving, promoting, and practicing Ayurveda has earned Kerala the reputation as a global hub for traditional medicine and holistic wellness.


Backwaters and Houseboats

The backwaters of Kerala are a mesmerizing network of canals, lagoons, and lakes that stretch along the state’s coast. These serene waterways offer a unique and enchanting experience, giving visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and tranquility of Kerala.


One of the best ways to explore the backwaters is by boarding a traditional houseboat, known as a Kettuvallam. These houseboats were originally used to transport goods but have now been transformed into luxurious accommodations for travelers. They are made using natural materials like coir, wood, and bamboo, giving them an eco-friendly touch.


Houseboats come in different sizes and configurations, ranging from small, cozy boats for couples to larger ones that can accommodate families or groups of friends. Each houseboat usually has one or more bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen, and a deck where you can relax and soak in the views of the backwaters.


As you drift along the peaceful backwaters, you’ll witness picturesque landscapes of coconut groves, paddy fields, and small villages. The calm and stillness of the water create a serene ambiance, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature.


The houseboat experience is enhanced by the warm hospitality and delectable cuisine. The onboard crew, including a captain and a chef, takes care of all your needs, ensuring a comfortable and memorable journey. You can savor traditional Kerala dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients, including freshly caught seafood and aromatic spices.


During your houseboat cruise, you can choose to stop at various points of interest along the backwaters, giving you an opportunity to explore the local culture and interact with the friendly villagers. You can visit traditional coir-making units, observe toddy tapping (extraction of sap from coconut trees to make a local alcoholic beverage called toddy), or simply witness the daily life of the people living by the backwaters.


The backwaters also offer unique recreational activities like fishing, canoeing, and birdwatching. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at catching freshwater fish, while birdwatchers will be delighted by the rich avian diversity, with species like kingfishers, herons, and ducks being a common sight.


The best time to experience the backwaters and houseboats in Kerala is during the cooler months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant for cruising and exploring. However, houseboat services operate year-round, so you can enjoy the backwaters at any time of the year.


Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a serene escape, the backwaters and houseboats of Kerala offer a unique and unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to slow down, relax, and connect with the natural beauty and tranquility that make Kerala truly “God’s Own Country.”


Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks

Kerala is blessed with a rich abundance of biodiversity, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The state is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks that provide a haven for various species of animals, birds, and flora.


Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Thekkady, is one of the most popular wildlife destinations in Kerala. Spread across a vast area of dense evergreen forests, it is home to elephants, tigers, deer, wild boars, and numerous species of rare birds. The sanctuary’s highlight is the boat cruise on the Periyar Lake, where you can spot wildlife coming to the lake to drink water.


Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Western Ghats, is another prominent wildlife reserve in Kerala. The sanctuary is known for its diverse range of species, including elephants, Indian bison, tigers, leopards, and various species of primates. Trekking through the forests of Wayanad offers an opportunity to witness the wonders of nature up close.


Eravikulam National Park, located near Munnar, is famous for the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, a mountain goat species found only in the Western Ghats. The park is also home to several other wildlife species, including elephants, Nilgiri langurs, and Indian muntjacs. The park’s rolling hills, shrouded in mist, offer breathtaking views of the surrounding tea plantations.


Silent Valley National Park, located in the Palakkad district, is considered one of the most ecologically significant areas in the Western Ghats. The park’s lush rainforests are home to elusive species like the lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, and Malabar giant squirrel. With its untouched beauty and pristine environment, Silent Valley is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and avid birdwatchers.


The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is a haven for avian species. Situated near Kochi, it is home to over 300 species of birds, including the Malabar grey hornbill, Sri Lankan frogmouth, and various species of kingfishers, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.


Idduki Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the Idukki district, is known for its diverse flora and fauna. The sanctuary is home to elephants, bison, sambar deer, and several species of reptiles and birds. Trekking trails within the sanctuary offer opportunities for wildlife sighting and exploration of the lush greenery.


These are just a few examples of the many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala. Each sanctuary and park offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to connect with nature, spot diverse wildlife, and appreciate the importance of conservation efforts.


Exploring these protected areas not only offers a chance to witness the wonders of Kerala’s wildlife but also contributes to the conservation and preservation of these natural habitats. Kerala’s commitment to protecting its natural heritage has garnered recognition and ensures that future generations can continue to appreciate the beauty and vitality of its wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.


Hill Stations and Tea Plantations

Kerala’s hill stations and tea plantations are a treat for those seeking a cool and refreshing escape from the tropical heat. Nestled in the Western Ghats, these picturesque locations offer stunning vistas, misty mountains, and lush green landscapes that are a feast for the eyes.


Munnar, located in the Idukki district, is the most famous hill station in Kerala. It is renowned for its sprawling tea plantations, rolling hills, and pleasant climate. The scenic beauty of Munnar is unparalleled, with its mist-covered valleys, gushing waterfalls, and clear blue skies. Visitors can explore the tea estates, learn about the tea-making process, and enjoy panoramic views from viewpoints like Echo Point and Top Station.


Thekkady, also in the Idukki district, is another hill station that captivates visitors with its enchanting beauty. It is renowned for the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Periyar Lake, offering a unique blend of natural splendor and wildlife diversity. Thekkady is a favorite among nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, with opportunities for bamboo rafting, trekking, and wildlife safaris.


Wayanad, located in the northeastern part of Kerala, is a hill station blessed with dense forests, sprawling plantations, and quaint villages. It is known for its untouched natural beauty, including picturesque mountains, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant wildlife. Exploring Wayanad offers a chance to visit tea, coffee, and spice plantations, indulge in nature walks, and even discover ancient Neolithic caves.


Ponmudi, situated near Thiruvananthapuram, is a lesser-known hill station that offers a serene and refreshing experience. The winding roads, dense forests, and misty landscapes of Ponmudi are a delight for nature lovers. Trekking enthusiasts can embark on trails that lead to picturesque viewpoints like the Golden Valley and Meenmutty Falls.


Kerala’s hill stations are not just about breathtaking views and cool climate; they also offer opportunities to engage with the local culture. Visitors can interact with the local tribes, experience their way of life, and learn about their customs and traditions.


The tea plantations of Kerala are a sight to behold. The region’s hilly terrain and favorable climate provide ideal conditions for tea cultivation. Walking through the lush tea gardens, visitors can witness the entire process of tea production, from plucking the tender leaves to processing and packaging. Some plantations also offer tea tasting sessions, allowing visitors to savor the flavors of freshly brewed tea.


Visiting the hill stations and tea plantations of Kerala ensures a rejuvenating and serene experience. Whether it’s the breathtaking views from misty mountaintops or the enchanting aromas of tea gardens, these destinations provide a soothing retreat amidst nature’s bounty.


Beaches and Coastal Attractions

Kerala’s long coastline along the Arabian Sea is adorned with pristine and picturesque beaches, making it an idyllic destination for beach lovers and sun seekers. The golden sands, azure waters, and swaying palm trees create a serene and inviting atmosphere that beckons travelers from near and far.


Kovalam Beach, located just a short distance from Thiruvananthapuram, is one of the most popular beach destinations in Kerala. It consists of three crescent-shaped beaches with shallow waters, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Kovalam Beach is also known for its charming beachside shacks, ayurvedic centers, and vibrant nightlife.


Varkala Beach, situated in the town of Varkala, stands apart with its unique and dramatic cliffs that overlook the Arabian Sea. The serene and less crowded atmosphere, coupled with stunning views, makes Varkala Beach a favorite among travelers looking for a tranquil retreat. Visitors can take a dip in the natural spring waters believed to possess medicinal properties and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the cliffside promenade.


Muzhappilangad Beach, located near Kannur, holds the distinction of being the longest drive-in beach in Asia. Its long stretch of sand allows visitors to drive their vehicles along the shoreline, offering a one-of-a-kind experience. The beach is also adorned with several tiny islands that emerge during low tide, creating an enchanting sight.


Bekal Beach, near the historic Bekal Fort, is known for its natural beauty and tranquility. The palm-fringed shoreline, pristine sand, and gentle waves make it an ideal spot for leisurely walks and picnics. Visitors can also explore the nearby Bekal Fort, a well-preserved medieval structure that provides panoramic views of the Arabian Sea.


Marari Beach, located in the Alappuzha district, is a hidden gem that offers peaceful and secluded surroundings. Its tranquil ambiance, swaying coconut trees, and turquoise waters make it the perfect spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. Visitors can also witness the traditional fishing activities carried out by the local communities.


Kerala’s coastal attractions are not limited to just beaches. The state also boasts enchanting backwaters, where visitors can cruise along serene canals, lagoons, and lakes. The backwaters of Alappuzha and Kumarakom offer an immersive experience, allowing you to witness the traditional way of life in the region while surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.


Water sports enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to indulge in along the coastline of Kerala. From kayaking and surfing to parasailing and snorkeling, there are numerous opportunities to get adventurous and explore the underwater world.


Exploring Kerala’s beaches and coastal attractions promises a serene and idyllic experience. The tranquil shores, glistening waters, and breathtaking sunsets create a perfect setting for relaxation, adventure, and memorable moments by the sea.


Historical Monuments and Landmarks

Kerala is a land steeped in history and heritage, dotted with a plethora of historical monuments and landmarks that bear witness to its rich past. From ancient temples and palaces to colonial forts and churches, these architectural marvels offer a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history.


The historic city of Kochi, also known as Cochin, is home to some of Kerala’s most iconic landmarks. The Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, is a magnificent structure that showcases a blend of colonial and traditional Kerala architecture. The palace houses exquisite murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.


The 15th-century Jewish Synagogue in Kochi is another significant historical landmark. It is one of the oldest active synagogues in the Commonwealth countries and is adorned with beautiful Chinese porcelain tiles and religious artifacts.


Fort Kochi, with its colonial legacy, is a treasure trove of historical sites. The Fort Kochi Beach, with its iconic Chinese Fishing Nets, is a picturesque spot that reflects the influence of Chinese traders in the region. St. Francis Church, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, is another landmark with historical significance. It is the oldest European church in India and houses the tomb of Vasco da Gama, the renowned Portuguese explorer.


The city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, is home to the magnificent Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a stunning blend of traditional Kerala and Dravidian architectural styles. It is renowned for its intricate carvings, grandeur, and cultural significance.


The Bekal Fort, situated in Kasargod district, is the largest fort in Kerala and a splendid example of military architecture. This 17th-century fort, surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking the Arabian Sea, offers panoramic views and an insight into the state’s history.


Kerala also has a strong Christian heritage, and several churches hold great historical and religious significance. The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church in Palayur, believed to be the oldest church in India, is a testament to the early Christian presence in the region. The Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi and the St. George Forane Church in Edappally are other notable landmarks that reflect the state’s Christian heritage.


Moreover, the remnants of ancient civilizations can be explored at sites like the Edakkal Caves in Wayanad. These caves contain ancient rock engravings that date back thousands of years, providing valuable insights into the region’s prehistoric era.


Exploring these historical monuments and landmarks allows visitors to delve into Kerala’s rich past and appreciate the architectural marvels that have stood the test of time. Each site tells a story and offers a glimpse into the diverse cultural heritage of this enchanting land.


Performing Arts and Traditional Music

Kerala’s rich cultural heritage is beautifully showcased through its vibrant performing arts and traditional music forms. The state’s love for art and music is deeply ingrained in its identity, with a plethora of art forms that have been nurtured and preserved over centuries.


Kathakali, Kerala’s iconic dance-drama, is a visually captivating art form that combines dance, music, elaborate costumes, and facial expressions to depict stories from Hindu epics. The intricate makeup, stylized gestures, and dramatic performances make Kathakali a truly mesmerizing experience.


Mohiniyattam, often referred to as the “dance of the enchantress,” is a graceful classical dance form characterized by subtle expressions, flowing movements, and vibrant costumes. This dance form, predominantly performed by women, tells stories from mythology and folklore with elegance and beauty.


Koodiyattam, recognized as one of the oldest existing theater traditions in the world, is a complex and highly refined dramatic art form. Combining dance, music, and acting, Koodiyattam is performed in ancient Sanskrit language, known for its intricate hand gestures, facial expressions, and intricate eye movements.


There is also a rich tradition of classical music in Kerala. Carnatic music, a form of Indian classical music, is highly cherished and nurtured in the state. The vibrant notes, intricate compositions, and soulful ragas resonate with music enthusiasts, and several musical concerts and festivals celebrate this ancient art form.


Kerala is also famous for its percussion music, with traditional instruments like the Chenda, Thimila, Maddalam, and Edakka being integral to cultural performances. The rhythmic beats of these instruments add energy and intensity to the traditional music and dance forms of the state.


The temple festivals of Kerala provide a unique platform for showcasing the traditional music and performing arts. During these festivals, you can witness melam, an ensemble performance of percussion instruments and wind instruments, which creates a captivating symphony of sound.


Several cultural festivals and events are organized across the state to promote and celebrate the performing arts. The annual Swathi Sangeethotsavam held at the Kuthiramalika Palace in Thiruvananthapuram is a prestigious music festival that attracts acclaimed musicians and music lovers from far and wide.


The Kerala Kalamandalam, located in Thrissur, is a world-renowned institution dedicated to preserving and promoting various art forms, including Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, and classical music. It offers comprehensive training and education programs to ensure the continuity of these traditional art forms.


Experiencing Kerala’s performing arts and traditional music provides a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural heritage. Whether it’s the captivating expressions of Kathakali, the enchanting grace of Mohiniyattam, or the soul-stirring melodies of classical music, these art forms create a mesmerizing tapestry of sights and sounds that truly enriches the cultural experience of Kerala.


Religious Places and Pilgrimage Sites

Kerala is a land of religious harmony and spiritual diversity, with a myriad of religious places and pilgrimage sites that hold great significance for people of different faiths. From ancient temples and churches to mosques and synagogues, Kerala offers a unique tapestry of religious landmarks that showcase the state’s rich spiritual heritage.


The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the most revered Hindu temples in Kerala. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple stands out for its architectural grandeur and intricate carvings. Devotees offer prayers and seek blessings, while the temple’s rich history and cultural importance make it a must-visit site.


Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, situated in Guruvayur, is another important pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is one of the most revered Krishna temples in India and attracts devotees from all over the world. The main deity, Lord Krishna, is believed to be over 5,000 years old, and the temple’s rituals and festivals add to its spiritual allure.


The centuries-old Sabarimala Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is nestled in the Western Ghats and is a significant pilgrimage site. Devotees undertake a rigorous 41-day penance before embarking on the pilgrimage to the temple. The annual Mandala-Makaravilakku festival attracts millions of devotees, making it one of the largest pilgrimages in the world.


Kerala also has a vibrant Christian community, and there are several churches of historical and religious importance. The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church in Palayur, believed to be one of the oldest churches in India, holds special significance as it was founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.


The St. Mary’s Forane Church in Koratty, Thrissur, is known for its annual Feast of Koratty Muthy, a major Christian pilgrimage and cultural event. The church premises host grand processions, traditional music performances, and a vibrant fair gathering devotees from various parts of Kerala.


The Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kodungallur holds historical significance as the oldest mosque in India. It dates back to the 7th century and is believed to have been built by Malik Ibn Dinar, an Arab Muslim missionary. The mosque’s architecture and its cross-cultural influences make it a unique spiritual site.


In addition to Hinduism and Christianity, Islam has a strong presence in Kerala, and the state is home to several revered mosques. The Beemapally Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram is known for its annual Urs festival, which attracts thousands of devotees who come to pay homage to the Islamic saint, Syedunnisa Beema Beevi.


Kerala’s historic connections with Judaism are evident in the Jewish Synagogue in Kochi, also known as the Paradesi Synagogue. It is one of the oldest synagogues in the Commonwealth and reflects the vibrant Jewish heritage. Its intricately crafted interiors and collection of ancient artifacts make it a significant religious and cultural landmark.


Visiting these religious places and pilgrimage sites not only provides a deeper understanding of Kerala’s diverse faiths but also offers a chance to experience the peaceful and spiritual ambiance that surrounds these sacred places.


Sustainable Tourism Initiatives

Kerala has taken significant strides in promoting sustainable tourism initiatives, aiming to preserve its natural and cultural heritage while ensuring the well-being of local communities. These initiatives have been implemented to create a harmonious balance between tourism development and environmental conservation.


One of the noteworthy initiatives in Kerala is the promotion of responsible tourism practices. The state has introduced the concept of “responsible tourism zones,” where tourism activities are carefully planned and managed to minimize negative impacts on the environment and local communities. These zones prioritize community involvement, cultural preservation, waste management, and sustainable resource utilization.


Community-based tourism initiatives have been developed to empower local communities and ensure their active participation in the tourism industry. Homestays, where tourists stay with local families, provide cultural exchange opportunities and direct economic benefits to the host communities. The income generated from these initiatives allows community members to improve their standard of living and preserve their traditional way of life.


Kerala has also made significant efforts to preserve its natural habitats and protect wildlife. The establishment of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks has ensured the conservation of diverse ecosystems. Efforts to promote responsible wildlife tourism, such as regulated safaris and eco-friendly accommodations, reduce disturbances to animal habitats and facilitate wildlife conservation.


Another aspect of sustainable tourism is the emphasis on promoting eco-friendly practices. Many resorts and accommodations in Kerala have adopted green initiatives, such as rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment, solar energy usage, and organic farming. These measures reduce the carbon footprint of the tourism industry and promote sustainable practices.


The traditional art and craft forms of Kerala have also found a place in sustainable tourism initiatives. Visitors are encouraged to support local artisans and purchase their handicrafts, ensuring a sustainable source of income for these skilled individuals. The promotion of traditional arts and craft forms helps preserve cultural heritage and contributes to the economic well-being of communities.


Educational initiatives and awareness programs are integral to promoting sustainable tourism practices. Tourists are provided with information about the region’s culture, traditions, and the importance of environmental conservation. These programs instill a sense of responsibility among travelers, encouraging them to engage in activities that promote sustainability and respect for local customs.


Furthermore, Kerala’s public transportation system promotes sustainable travel options. The state government has invested in well-connected public transportation networks, including buses, ferries, and trains. This reduces the reliance on private vehicles, minimizes traffic congestion, and helps in mitigating the environmental impact of tourism.


Sustainable tourism initiatives in Kerala reflect a thoughtful and conscientious approach towards preserving the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and the well-being of local communities. By encouraging responsible tourism practices, Kerala aims to offer visitors an immersive experience while ensuring the long-term sustainability and authenticity of the destination.



Kerala, India, is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. From its enchanting backwaters and pristine beaches to its lush hill stations and vibrant festivals, Kerala has something to offer every traveler.


The state’s geographical diversity, with its backwaters, beaches, mountains, and forests, provides a picturesque backdrop for unforgettable experiences. Kerala’s commitment to preserving its biodiversity and natural resources through sustainable practices ensures that future generations can also appreciate its pristine landscapes.


The cultural heritage of Kerala is deeply rooted in its ancient traditions, performing arts, and religious diversity. The state’s dance forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, traditional music, and centuries-old temples and churches reflect the rich cultural fabric of the region. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant festivals, explore historical monuments, and experience the spiritual sanctity of pilgrimage sites.


Kerala takes pride in its culinary traditions, with its flavorful spices, fresh seafood, and traditional Ayurvedic cuisine. Visitors can indulge in the diverse flavors and savor the health benefits of Ayurveda, while also appreciating the sustainable practices followed in the state’s food industry.


Sustainable tourism initiatives in Kerala promote responsible tourism practices, community involvement, and environmental conservation. The state’s commitment to preserving natural habitats, supporting local communities, and promoting eco-friendly practices ensures that tourism development is done in a responsible and sustainable manner.


In conclusion, Kerala is a destination that captivates and enthralls with its unparalleled natural beauty, cultural richness, warm hospitality, and commitment to sustainable tourism. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, cultural immersion, or spiritual exploration, Kerala, India truly lives up to its title of “God’s Own Country.”