Kerala is an Indian state located on the south-western region of the country, and is situated between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. Being near the coastline has blessed Kerala with all the wonders of nature—from marine to land resources, from the heat of its beaches to the chill of the Western Ghats Mountains, from endemic flora to fauna, from history to modernization, and many, many more.
Kathakali Dancer in Kerala
Its geographic location also gives the people the luxury of traveling hassle-free, as Kerala alone houses 3 of India’s major international airports, and its interconnected rail and road systems lead to almost any major city in India. With this, there is no doubting why a lot of people consider Kerala as “one of the most popular tourist places in India”.
If you’re still not convinced, here’s the 12 reasons why I love Kerala, and 12 reasons why you also should:
1. Colorful History
Kerala is generally believed to have originated during the Sangam Age, which roughly dates back just after 232 B.C. Sangam is an Indian word that translates to “academy”, which is quite fitting since it was during this time when some of India’s greatest minds lived. This era gave birth to several of India’s traditions—including Indian medical systems, literature, grammar, music, philosophy, and art—which made Kerala possess one of the richest and most colorful histories in the country . Although most of the ages that followed focused more on warfare and politics, the influence of the Sangam Age to Indian culture as a whole nevertheless continues to be felt, even today.
2. Cultural and Heritage Sites
Kerala, having a rich and colourful history, offers several largely preserved cultural and heritage sites. Fort Kochi is a heritage site and a beach at the same time—it features architectural designs of Indio-European origins, dating back to the Western colonization era in India. Other well-known sites include Fort Bekal, the largest preserved fort in Kerala, and the rock temple in the Calicut shoreline, which is believed to be 800 years old. If you don’t have time to come to these places, most hotels and resorts in Kerala include various culture-rich packages, such as the OttamThullal and Kathakali traditional evening performances—which make Kerala’s culture and history come to you, instead.
3. Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic Medicine by www.avacare.in
Kerala’s culture also boasts the Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicating system. Compared to other systems of medications, the Ayurveda isn’t only restricted to those diseased; it’s open for everyone! Most spa houses in Kerala offer Ayurvedic medicine, so there’s no way you’ll run out of slots. Ayurveda consists of natural methods of healing, such as yoga, meditation, and therapeutic massages. Plus, you’re guaranteed that every medicine used is herbal and organic, as these are grown in India’s very own plantations.
4. Wildlife Sanctuaries
If you think Kerala is just about history, religion, and Ayurveda, well… Think again! The eastern part of Kerala actually has 12 wildlife sanctuaries and 2 national parks, which attract thousands of tourists, and probably some enthusiastic biologists, as well. The wild side of Kerala features vast lands of untouched green forests that have been the habitat of several species of Indian flora and fauna, including one of the largest moths in the world, the Atlas Moth.
5. Spice and Tea Plantations
Like the sanctuaries, the eastern part of Kerala is home not only to India’s endemic wildlife species; it’s also the abode of one of India’s largest spice and tea plantations. The climate in the Western Ghats Mountains allows almost any species of plants to thrive, and had been one of the country’s leading sources of economic development. India is the world’s leading producer of tea and other important spices such as pepper and cardamom, and most of the plantations are located near Kerala. Imagine how it feels to see these plantations with your own eyes!
6. Delicious Cuisine
You’ve probably seen Indian cuisine featured on TV several times now, and you probably already know that it is never complete without Indian spices, too. Guess what… It’s better than how it appears on TV! Indian cuisine is not only known for its colors. It’s also known for its superb taste, aroma, and presentation. Of course, in Kerala, with bountiful waters on the west and spice-filled plantations on the east, the best of the best is here.
7. Beaches of Kerala
Beaches in Kerala
With all those I said above, it should be evident by now that Kerala is also your all-around beach-hopping paradise. Being located directly beside the Arabian Sea blessed Kerala with over 20 natural beaches, each having their own unique features. There’s the secluded Kappil Beach; then there’s the Payyambalam Beach, one of Kerala’s well-known local picnic spots; the Cherai Beach, for the water-lovers and swimmers out there; and the world-famous Kovalam Beach, just south of Thiruvananthapuram airport.
8. Snake Boat Races
Snake Boat Races
While you’re already on the seaside, you might as well know about the Snake Boat races of Kerala. Snake Boat racing is a traditional event that occurs in Alappuzha (north of Thiruvananthapuram) 4 times yearly. The boat got its name because it resembled the length of a snake. Snake Boat racing is very popular in Kerala since it’s near the Arabian Sea, and is probably the Indian counterpart of baseball in Japan, and soccer in America.
9. Beautiful Backwaters, Lagoons, and Canals
If you don’t like the hot and crowded seaside too much, and if you don’t like watching adrenaline-pumping boat races, but still want to witness the beauty of Kerala’s waterways, then don’t worry—there’s never a shortage of backwaters, lagoons, and canals in Kerala! Compared to the wavy and noisy seashores, the backwaters are still and calm. Also, they’re not only for the eyes, for you can…
10. Cruise through the Backwaters of Kerala in a Houseboat
Houseboat in Kerala
Yes! You can cruise the tranquil waters of Kerala as well! Kerala’s houseboats, the kettuvallams, which were originally used for trading commodities, are now being used to tour people on the backwaters—calmly and peacefully. You can do a variety of things while being on backwater tour: you can read a book, stare at the wonderful sceneries, or just sit back and relax.
11. Friendly Locals
Friendly Kerala Locals
Need I say more? Locals in Kerala are social-conscious, and they treat their tourists very well. Not only is Kerala’s culture rich and colorful; so are its people! It’s quite hard to attract tourists and a state’s name—but I have to say, the locals in Kerala are doing a very good job.
12. Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) in Trivandrum and Kochi Airport
If it can’t get any better than all of this, the Indian government also offers citizens of 43 countries a Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA)! When enabled with electronic travel authorization (ETA), getting a visa to Kerala India is made easy as breathing. With TVoA-ETA, the ordinary process of applying for a visa is done online—therefore saving applicants a lot of time, money, and effort. Notifications are sent via e-mail, and a printed version of these e-mails would serve as your ticket to India. TVoA also allows approved applicants to stay in India for up to 30 days.
I can’t speak for the rest of you, but these are 12 reasons why I love Kerala. Imagine this: You are given the chance to visit India with the TVoA—and you get to see the beauty of Kerala tradition, history, its flora and fauna, its cuisine, its plantations, its richness, its beaches, its still backwaters, its locals, and a whole lot more—effortlessly, for up to 30 days! What’s not to love about Kerala?