With palm fringed beaches, awe-inspiring mountains, dreamy backwaters, a vibrant cultural scene and all the chaotic charm that India in known for, Kerala is pretty much a country within a country.
Spend any time here among its lush greenery and friendly, open people and the state tourist board's slogan 'God's own country' becomes perfectly understandable.
Location and Geography
Nestled down in the southwest corner of India, Kerala is long, thin state that runs along the Malabar Coast. Its western side boarders the shimmering Arabian Sea; its eastern edge is part of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity bonanza of a mountain range.
There is certainly tough competition for the accolade, but Kerala's most impressive geographical asset is probably its backwaters, a mystical network of lagoons, lakes, islands and villages that justifiably tops many visitors' must-see list. A few days spent cruising this aquatic labyrinth offers an enchanting glimpse into a different world.
Culture and Society
There is also something a bit other-worldly about Kerala culture. Best summed up by its kathakali dance-dramas-melodramatic supernatural tales performed by the most fabulously made-up actors you will ever see-it is a vivid picture of a state that is proud of its history and traditions.
Keralites are also fiercely proud of their education system. The highest literacy and lowest corruption rates in India coupled with a good healthcare system mean that the state is not as blighted by poverty as much of the rest of the country. Women also enjoy a relatively good time of it here.
The decent standards of living are visible in the contentment of the people, and you'd be hard pushed to find a destination where you are extended such as a warm welcome.
From excited schoolchildren jostling to shake your hand to the amiable waves from other holidaymakers and denizens of the backwaters as you sail serenely by, Kerala cordiality and curiosity will be among your lasting memories of this special state.
Holidays in Kerala
Still a relative newcomer to the tourist map, it lacks the hard sell of, say, Goa, and it's easy to get off the beaten track if you want to.
But while it often feels self-contained, Kerala is still teeming with everything that makes India such an intoxicating destination. Dazzing temples, astonishing architecture, delightful wildlife, towns and villages that are whirl of colour and noise, zesty food and soothing Ayurveda massage all ensure that your Kerala adventure will be much more than just brilliant beach holiday.
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