Whenever I think of Kerala, the word ‘pristine’ comes to my mind. This state situated in South India has an enchanting sort of unadulterated beauty about itself. When I first visited Kerala, the lush greenery left me wondering “is this for real?” I knew that this was the place to be in, any time, any day, any year, any season.
My husband originally hails from Kerala, but being born and brought up in Mumbai, he never really had the chance to explore the state excepting for a few occasional visits to his native town during childhood. And I come from Kolkata, so Kerala was always seen in textbooks or movies by me. So we were super excited to choose this as our honeymoon spot. The best thing we did while holidaying in Kerala is that we left behind our planning back home. We decided to simply go with the flow and see what the state had to offer.
Kerala is one of the most famous tourist hubs in India, and there is no dearth of places to visit or see here. We chose the quaint hill station of Munnar, the backwaters of Alleppey and the beautiful Kumarakom as our picks. We flew from Mumbai to Cochin International Airport in Kerala, and simultaneously rented a car to travel to Munnar.
The drive from Cochin to Munnar approximately takes about four and a half hours and is best enjoyed in the daytime, due to the magnificent landscapes that one gets to see while approaching Munnar. We however, were travelling late at night which had a different charm of its own. The road was curvy and we drove through a dense forest in the dead of the night. Our driver/guide was a cool and fun guy who spoke English as the main language, therefore making it easy to converse and understand., even though my husband speaks the local language. He told us stories about wild elephants tying to cross the roads at night in herds making all traffic halt, and the overall effect seemed thrilling.
We spent about a couple of days in Munnar before heading to Alleppey. Munnar has a lovely old world charm about itself, and everything falls into place in this dreamy romantic town. The fresh and cool air supplements the beauty, and one can take idyllic long walks, or drive down to the many tourist destinations, or simply relax and do nothing at all. Whichever way you like, Munnar is a place to unwind. We tasted some amazing local delicacies, took Ayurvedic massages, saw the rolling tea gardens, and soaked in the flavor of Munnar at its best. You can get some of the best dry fruits, spices, honey, home made chocolate, coconut oil and other local produce here to take back for your loved ones. There are plenty of hotels to choose from, and booking in advance helps as Munnar is a favorite all year round. The place grew on us as we spent more moments here, and by the time we had to say goodbye, felt this was a slice of heaven.
Our next destination was the backwaters of Alleppey, also fondly known as the ‘Venice of the east.’ It surely lives up to this name, as it was one of the most serene and breathtaking places we had ever places. I was looking most forward to visiting Alleppey during our trip, as I had read up so much about it and seen so many fabulous photographs.Alleppey also has a beautiful beach, with the Arabian sea skirting the shores We put up at one of the many houseboats tourists rent out in order to stay on the backwaters and canals. Our houseboat had a lovely homely vibe about it, and we shared it with two other couples on board. It was one experience we truly relished. While the boat cruised along the scenic backwaters and lagoons, we enjoyed some fabulous company of our new friends, gorged on freshwater fish curry, Kerala fish fry and rice, watched the sun set, and woke up to a crackling dawn. .Overall, it felt surreal. I personally wished our houseboat stint never ended at all, it felt so so perfect. This experience simply cannot be explained in words, one needs to take a trip down here to know what the fuss is all about.
Kumarakom was our final destination before heading back home. Situated alongside Lake Vembanad, this popular halt is just a couple of hours driving distance from Alleppey. Kumarakom offers a vast variety of flora and fauna amidst lush greenery. Rather there is no area which is not covered in greenery. The beauty enthralls the senses, and soothes the mind. We chose a resort which had its rooms designed like tree houses among-st a natural setting. Their swimming pool alongside the lake gave a mesmerizing effect, and we could watch in the sun go down while dipping our feet in the pool. In Kumarakom, we spent about a day and a half, but the resort had so much to see, including a bird sanctuary nearby, that we fell short of days. Kerala offers one of the best seafood range as well, and has equally good options for a vegetarian platter. But the best way to enjoy food here is to try the local cuisine made the local way.
Our Kerala trip is most etched in our minds forever because of the infinite range of natural beauty we got to see there. They do not call it ‘God’s own country’ for no reason. It truly is one its kind, and the pure greenery takes one aback at the first sight, especially us city people. We made some good friends there, watched nature in all its finery, interacted with the lovely locals, tried the fantastic native food preparations, and overall, were left wanting for more. Till we meet again, Kerala, you have been such a joy!