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Beautiful beaches, great cities, brill shopping
Member Name: smudge377
Date: 25/09/08, updated on 07/11/08 (71 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, great food, lovely beaches, the Western Ghats
Disadvantages: Innoculations and mosquitos
Kerala is an Indian state on the S E seaboard of india, overlooking the arabian sea.
It is a narrow, lush corridor, that is squeezed between the mighty mountains of the western ghats, and the arabian sea.
Its area is approx 38,864 sq km.
Its language is malayalam
the capital is Trivuvananthapuram (or trivandrum)
The state was formed in 1956 as an amalgamation of Travancore, Kochi, and Malabar.
The state is made up of roughly 60% hindu's, 20% muslim, and christian. There had always been a small jewish community in Kochi, dating back to 587BC, but this population is now very small.
However, Kochi does have a spectacular synagogue.
Its main crops are rice, mango, cashew and COCONUTS.
Kerala has been a travelllers paradise for many centuries. From ancient times people travelled to kerala to trade spices. It was not only the place to buy, but also a stopoff point for spices being sent from Indonesia.
Sandalwood and sadly, ivory was also a big trading export for Kerala.
There is a sector in Kochi where spices are still traded, and I have to say the smell is unbelieveable. Cardamon, cinamon, turmeric, cloves, plus so many more. It is the ultimate in smell-O-vision. Try the cardamon tea.
As a result of so many years trading with everyone from the Phoenicians, to the Portugese, Chinese, and Romans, to name but a few, Kerala has a very cosmopolitan feeling. Many Kealans also travel, and many of them work in the oil rich Gulf states.
The Portugese acquired Kerala, and there are still some fine examples of Portugese Imperial architecture. Go see the Bolgatty Palace in Kochi, on Bolgatty island, is a fine example, and you can stay there.
The cuisine of kerala is shaped by its home grown commodities.
Generally Keralan food is quite hot, esp with the use of pepper, but cooled by coconut, either grated in or with coconut milk.
As a sea board state, seafood plays a large part of the diet. Fantastic barbequed prawns in chilli, or masala kingfish, mmmmmh.
Meat is available, but the vegatarian food id so good, you won't be too fussed about meat.
We visited kerala for our honeymoon.
Previously I had only been to North India, which was HARD WORK, but kerala is a different world.
Beautiful palm lined beaches- we stayed in Kovalam, which is a real hub, but do venture further afield.
Kovalam has become very touristy since I was there. Many package companies travel there from the UK.
It has 3 gorgeous beaches, but beware, swimming in the sea there is really only for good swimmers. All along the beach are various restaurants, and hotels.
You can choose between the cheapest dormitory rooms, to the finest five star resorts ( The Taj resort is fab).
You can shop, have clothes made by tailors, chill on the beach, and eat to your hearts content. Its a great first experience.
Go to Trivandrum, the capital, see the Zoo, which apparently has been vastly upgraded.
the Sri Chitra Art Gallery is well worth a visit, to see a good selection of classic indian artwork, as well as a good selection of modern indian art.
We travelled the backwaters in a rice boat, which was extraordinary. We caught a train from Trivandrum to Kollam, stayed there overnight. I have to say, when I was there, it wasn't that nice a place to stay, but that was a few years back, so I am sure it has improved.
We then took our cruise up to Alappuzha and just soooo beautiful.
Visit Cochin, my husbands favourite city in the world. Travel between the islands of cochin on ferries, visit the Matencherry palace, Spice quarter, the fishing nets, and the jewish synagogue.
The shopping is brill, you can get clothes made up for you at the tailors shops in town, for a fraction of the cost you pay at home. The spices are well worth bringing home.
Its also a realtively cheap destination, and depending where you stay it can be budget or 5 *. Great food, and a huge choice, for all tastes.
You can take a trip up to the Periyar wildlife reserve, to see many birds, and mammals in the wild, esp elephants, bison and monkeys. You are unlikely to see a tiger here though.
Take a trip onto the lake.
There is so much more to Kerala than this, so go, explore and see what it's all about
Visit Kerala, its well worth it
Summary: India's finest