Location: Kerala is located in the southwestern tip of Indian peninsula. It is flanked by Arabian Sea on the west, Karnataka on the north and northeast and Tamilnadu on the east.
Climate: Kerala’s climate is dictated by the presence of sea on its west and also by the altitude of different places. There are highlands where it can be pretty cold, while there are places near sea which practically never gets winter. Based on all these, climate in Kerala can divided into three main categories:
Summer Season – This prevails from February to middle of June. It is generally hot and humid during this time. Only the highlands remain cool during this season. Munnar, Palakkad and Wayanad becomes heaven for tourists during these times.
Monsoon Season – This prevails from middle of June to end of September, though rains continue even in October. It rains heavily in Kerala most of the times and humidity is generally on the higher season. These rains are such a boon to rice crops and to the coffee, rubber, tea plantations of Kerala.
Winter Season: There is no chill in the winter but humidity is quite low and temperaturs also remains in mid 20s to early 30s. Weather is quite pleasant during this time and loads of tourists come to Kerala to enjoy its beaches and backwaters. Hills of Kerala are relatively colder during this period.
Some rainfall happens in Kerala even from northwest monsoon, or retreating monsoon. But spells of rain are of short duration. This makes things sultry. In the hills fogs are dense during March and April.
Cuisine: Kerala has a rich trading heritage and this has resulted in cuisines from different parts of the world getting blended with indigenous Kerala dishes. Coconut is growing quite extensively in Kerala, and so are rice, tapioca and spices like black pepper, cloves, cardamom and ginger. All these have found place in all Kerala cuisines one way or other. Grated coconuts and coconut milk are used for thickening and adding flavour to food items. Coconut oil is also used extensively as cooking medium. Grated coconut is used to garnish food.
Seafood and fish are also quite common in Kerala cuisines. The Portuguese introduced cassava in Kerala and this is still widely eaten in Kerala. One should not imagine Kerala food without chilies, curry leaf, mustard seed, tamarind and asafetida.
Things to do: Kerala, often referred to as ‘God’s own country’ has a lot to offer and to all kinds of tourists. Othere than the famous beaches and backwaters and houseboats, Kerala also has a series of things. Kerala has tea and coffee plantations where you can stay in homestay with local families. Kerala has cashew cultivation at a large scale, and so has rubber cultivation. Kerala offers pristine rural landscapes where one can walk and interact with the locals. Not just that, tourists can take a walk in spice gardens in Kerala, arguably the highest spice producing region in the whole of world.
You can indulge in elephant bathing and go for Ayurveda massages and yoga sessions. You can also pick to stay in the midst of greenery all around or on an island. A tree house in Wayanad may surprise you, but you can still stay there quite safely. You can see wonderful colonial buildings and at the same time enjoy the traditional Kerala architectural works. At the same times there are bamboo houses to welcome you. You can go watching the birds in a bird sanctuary in Kumarakom. There are some national parks too. Kerala is also home to some of the most revered religious places in the form of temples and churches. Kerala has the famous snake boat race and also a festival where elephants play crucial role.
1) Kochi: A major port city on the south-west coast of India, Kochi is the second largest city of Kerala. Often regarded as the commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi is quite a popular tourist place and also serve as the entry and exit points for tourists coming to Kerala. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in India. Later the Ducth and the British also extended their domination over Kochi. Colonial buildings of those periods can still be seen in Fort Cochin area.
2) Alleppey: Alleppey, also called Alappuzha, is a city on the Laccadive Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Situated around 60km south of Kochi, Alleppey is best known for houseboat cruises along the rustic Kerala backwaters – a network of tranquil canals and lagoons. A major feature of Alleppey is a region called Kuttanad, the ‘granary of Kerala’. Kuttanad is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
3) Thiruvananthapuram: Literally meaning the “abode of Lord Anantha”, Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala. Located in the South Kerala, it has Tiruneveli in the East, Kanyakumari in the South and Kollam in its North. It is a must visit place for any tourist visiting Kerala. Famous for the wealthy Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram has a number of attractive beach destinations nearby. These include Kovalam and Poovar.
4) Kollam: Kollam, earlier called Quilon, is located by the side of Ashtamudi Lake on the south-west coast of India in Kerala. The main fame of this ancient port city is cashew business; so much so that it is called the cashew capital of India. It is quite popular among the tourists for it has Palaruvi Falls, Thenmala (forests and reservoir), the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Ashtamudi (backwater) and lovely beaches.
5) Kasargod: Located around 50km south of Mangalore, Kasargod is an important town in North Kerala. Referred to as the land Yakshgana and Theyyam, Kasargod is fast becoming an attractive destination for tourists. It is a place where one can see Arabian Sea as well as backwaters. Bekal Fort and Chandragiri Fort are in Kasargod district.