Today I'm going out of my bay area destinations to share with you one of the most-visited and beautiful destination in the southern region of India - Kerala. It's described as "God's own country", and this would not be an overstatement once you experience the myriad diversity of this tropical paradise: dense forests, fertile planes, beautiful beaches, cliffs and rocky coasts, an intricate maze of backwaters, still bays and astounding 44 glimmering rivers.
The Portuguese arrived in the 1500’s and left behind their mediterranean attitude and Catholicism and the Dutch left behind their architecture. The Brits left behind their reserved nature. The people are generally mixed with Arab,Tamil, Jewish and Portuguese blood and the local language is Malayalam. The Jews that escaped persercution over the last 2,500 years settled in Kerala and assimilated into Indian life. That's how the "Swastika" got into India, which is nothing related to Hitler! Its just a religious and auspicious symbol that signifies well-being and sanctity.
Kerala is a 560 kms long stretch of land at the southernmost tip of India, hence it provides kaleidoscopic backwater destinations. They offer all acquatic activities or just relaxing beaches for a peaceful vacation. To check out all these places visit here.
Cochin or "Kochi" is probably the best place to begin your tour of kerala. You can easily spend a couple of days here while you figure out your next stop. If you are short on time, try including at least these 3 places-Periyar for its Tiger reserve, other plant and wildlife, the exotic Spice Garden and the famous periyar Lake, The Kovalam Beach for its palm treese, coconut groves and the Ayurvedic Spas, Munnar for its tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains and the Lakshadweep Islands, an archipelago consisting of 36 islands, 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks in the Arabian Sea. These emerald islands, rich in greenery, adorned with colourful corals and fringed by silvery beaches overwhelm you with their natural beauty. And its a perfect spot for scuba-diving!!
You also have to find some time to appreciate the architecture of some beautiful temples scattered throughout the state. And being a 100% litereate state, you wouldn't have a problem asking for tips or directions. There are several tourist packages offered on the net which will plan your entire trip. So whether you choose one of these, or decide to explore it on your own, you need to put Kerala on your vacations destinations list if you are a true nature lover. As for food and lodging, there are plenty of options available that boast of international standards to make your stay as pleasant and stress-free as possible.
Anyone who's already been to this classic vacation destination, please share your thoughts for the benefit of others!