Lost in “KERALA”

Well, this time we decided heading off to ‘God’s Own Country, Kerala’ for our vacation. We were planning it from a long time and hence excitement was at its peak. Train journey was on our cards this time, so that we can soak in all the natural beauty on our way to Kerala. As we kept moving south, it was greener every moment, with lots of coconut trees everywhere (I think that’s what helps us actually identify that we are in South :-P). And the best part of our trip was the weather. Being mid-august, monsoon keeps pouring, but believe me, Kerala is just the best in monsoon. More beautiful, more green and more lively.

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Kerala

Our first destination was Wayanad, which is easily accessible through Kozhikode. Just 2-3 hours journey by road. Wayanad is said to be one of the best and most stunning places in Kerala. And its true!! The untapped beauty of this place mesmerized me. Cloudy mountains, lanky trees, deep valleys, tiny waterfalls everywhere and cool breeze. It felt like we were in heaven right away. We had a marriage to attend in Wayanad, which gave us a chance to experience Kerala wedding and food to our heart’s content. Pretty women wearing beautiful Kasavu sarees with flowers in their hair, men wearing dhotis, performing ceremonies, traditional dance forms and at the same time relishing delicious Kerala rice, sambhar, biryani and fish curry.

It’s just the first destination of so many and I was already in love with Kerala. For first two days we stayed at a well-known property ‘Vythiri Resorts’ and it was such a delightful experience. All we can see from our room were, clouds, Chembra peak (highest peak of Wayanad) and wilderness. All we could hear is wind blowing and rains pouring. It was an amazing stay and one should definitely explore this property if in Wayanad.

But yes!! Even houses are so beautiful and grand here. While we were staying at friend’s place, there was this sitting area overlooking mountains, river and forest. And we would love sitting there, sipping our coffee, having some authentic Kerala breakfast like ‘Puttu’ and talking for hours together.  Here we went to see ‘Karapuzha Dam’ and a ‘Rose Garden’, which was worth visiting, and we clicked some cool pictures 😛

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Beautiful view of Wayanad Mountains from our balcony
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Rose Garden at Karapuzha Dam

Next we went to Cochin, where we had a short stay. But the journey was long and tiring. So we freshened up, took rest for some time and then went out to explore for the little time we had. We went to Fort Kochi, watched fishing nets and shopped for some lovely Kanchipuram silk sarees. We didn’t have much time to explore this place, as we had to leave for another heavenly destination, Munnar. On the way to Munnar, we visited ‘Athirapilly Waterfalls.’ Mighty and huge, these waterfalls were fantastic. Being rainy season, falls were more wild, roaring and rough.

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Athirapilly Waterfalls

I would love to call Munnar as ‘Misty Munnar.’ While we sat in our balcony we would see the mist gradually covering all peaks, leaving everything invisible. The clouds were all over. ‘Top Station’ here is a wonderful place to admire artistically done tea gardens and hazy mountains. It’s green and misty as far as your eyes can see. And it’s all so scenic. You will be tired admiring the beauty of this place, but the beauty is never ending. Also a very scenic place here is ‘Matupetty Dam.’

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Misty Munnar
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Matupetty Dam

We absolutely loved Munnar and it was a pain to leave this place. But the next destination awaits us and that’s ‘Thekkady.’ This place is famous for the ‘Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary’. We enjoyed boating at Periyar Lake that gives you a chance to see various wild animals and birds.

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At Periyar Lake
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Periyar Lake

After boating we booked a programme to witness the famous ‘Kathakali Dance Show.’ Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical Indian dance, distinguished by its elaborately colorful make-up, costumes and face masks wearing actor-dancers.

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Kathakali

Here we stayed at ‘Shalimar Spice Garden’ and believe me its the best we had in our entire Kerala trip. In the middle of jungle surrounded by cardamom and spice plantations, this place is so exotic and peaceful. If ever I come to Kerala again, I will make sure that I stay here for a day atleast. This place has my heart. Also I purchased some fresh spices, organic cardamoms and coffee from here, which are grown in surroundings.

Very near to Thekkady is another lovely place called ‘Vagamon.’ It is exactly located on the border of Kottayam and Idukki districts in Kerala. A small village blessed with all beauty of nature. Pine Valley is one of the most beautiful attraction of Vagamon. Near by are Vagamon Meadows, covered with dewy green grass. While we were travelling to Vagamon, it was pouring, which made our journey even more beautiful.

Gorgeous views, numerous tiny and huge waterfalls on the way and the mist flowing past our cheeks. We stayed at a lovely mountain resort, ‘Falcon Crest’ and it was incredible. Whenever we opened our terrace doors, clouds burbled inside and made us cold and shivery. This was something we experienced nowhere and it was astounding.

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After all the mountains and clouds, its time to see what Kerala is most famous for, ‘Backwaters.’ We headed off to Alleppey from Vagamon and I was all grinning and dancing and couldn’t wait to step inside my houseboat and enjoy the serenity of backwaters. I have always read and heard a lot about backwaters and the charm they ooze. Infact trip to Kerala is incomplete without visiting backwaters. And here I am to feel it all by myself. We hired a ‘Xandari Riverscapes’ houseboat for a day. All decked up and cozy from inside, we had a upper deck also with comfy chairs to soak in all of the beauty around us. Once the houseboat starts, it cruises through backwaters, giving you a glimpse of local life, canals and numerous coconut trees. After an hour of riding we reached the Vembanad Lake, the longest lake in India.

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Houseboat

One side of the lake directs to Kollam, another to Kumarakom and another to Kochi. There are small islets on the lake and water birds flock on them. In the evening we had a ‘canoe ride’ where we went inside really narrow canals to see the local life of people living there. We passed beside lush green paddy fields and had fresh coconut water sold on boats or ‘floating markets.’ We also saw a snake boat (local name is “Chundan Vallam”) parked near the bank, which was over 100 feet long and is used for boat race during onam every year.

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Paddy fields

Later in the evening after canoe ride we stopped beside a paddy field in Vembanad Lake. We stood there watching the best sunset.

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Sunset at Alleppey

Slowly it grew dark. We could hear the sound of water and see stars so clearly in the sky. We savored a scrumptious meal onboard, consisting of pan fried fresh water fish, kerala rice, beetroot curd, coconut cabbage and payasam. It was an out of the world experience which we will never be able to forget.

After the divine experience of houseboat in Alleppey, we started off to Kumarakom, again famous for Vembanad Lake, houseboats, bird sanctuary, prawns and black spot or kariman fish. But here we chose to stay at ‘Aveda Resort’ which was a real good decision as the resort was fabulous. We specially loved their pool which was 150 meters long infinity pool overlooking Vembanad Lake.

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Aveda Resort and Spa, Kumarakom

Their cottages and pool villas are amazing and we had a pleasent stay. In the evening we went for a sunset cruise in Vembanad Lake. My hubby enjoyed the special Kariman fish delicacy known as ‘Kariman Pollichathu’ and ‘Prawns Biryani.’ While me being a vegetarian, super delicious ‘appams’ with ‘Kunjulli Thakkali Curry’ was mind blowing. We had a relaxing time here and we were all set for our next gorgeous destination, Kovalam.

Kovalam is a beautiful compact crescent shaped beach. Three parts of the beach, Lighthouse beach, Eve’s beach and Samudra beach form the entire crescent.

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Crescent shaped Kovalam Beach

We reached Kovalam around 1 in the afternoon and directly checked in at ‘The Leela.’ Huh!! The journey was long and tiring. Infact this is one shortcoming I observed in Kerala, highways are too crampy and crowded. There are no bypasses, which forces you to enter cities and hence elongates travel time. Traffic kills you, as it seems like never-ending. So basically road trips can be a bit of pain if you hate driving or sitting for a long time.

Leela is one of the most beautiful property in Kovalam, with a breathtaking view of sea and entire shoreline. Since you have not much to do in Kovalam, except beaches, this place was more of a chilling and relaxing destination for us. We took romantic long walks along the seashore admiring the beautiful  blue waters and the lighthouse in its back drop. You can climb the lighthouse, sunbath or simply enjoy the waters…

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Infinity view at Leela!!
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View from our room at Leela, Kovalam

Leela has a restaurant called ‘Tides’ at the beach, where you can dig in the tasty fresh seafood. Or can enjoy your food and drinks at their ‘Terrace Restaurant’ with the infinity view, dim lights and cool and salty breeze.

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Trivandrum is very close to Kovalam, hence we went down to Trivandrum for some local shopping like, spices, essential oils and my favourite banana chips. We also went to the famous ‘Shree Padmanabhaswamy’ Temple, which still holds a secret vault. It’s a huge temple and I should say very very rich. You could see lots of gold inside, sparkling and shining during aarti. It was also a wonderful experience. I wrapped a dhoti around me as you are not allowed to visit temple in jeans or churidar. I wonder how funny I was looking, but that feeling of peace and positivity inside the temple makes it all worth.

We just didn’t realise how time went off at Kovalam, staring at horizon, watching sunset, walking down the beach, drinking wine and soaking up all those salty vibes around me. It was the best vacation I could have asked for, but there is still more to go before I conclude. Our last and final and most awaited destination, ‘Poovar.’

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A blue sky, an island, a sandy beach, a river, an estuary, a stretch of coconut trees, a lone boat and the blue-green backwaters. This is Poovar for you, lost somewhere near the tip of South India, tucked in God’s own country.  There were a few resorts dotting the landscape, but besides that, all we could see was just the azure waters and the blue sky. The coconut trees stretched out, kissing the waters here and there. I looked at the vast expanse of water and wondered if there was anything so simple and yet so beautiful in life ! This is probably what they call happiness!!

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‘Poovar Island Resort’ is the best here. Picturesque backwaters, boat cruises, soothing palm trees, exciting floating cottages, warm and friendly staff, mouthwatering food, swimming pool, watersports, relaxing Ayurveda massages……what more can you expect? I can’t say enough good about Poovar Island Resort!!!!

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Poovar Island Resort and Floating Cottages ❤

We had a real good time here, taking traditional Sirodhara Kerala massage, gorging on yummy food, lying on hammocks staring the sun, watching the sky go orange during sunset, hearing waves crashing at distance and watching stars glittering in the sky from our floating cottage. It was bit scary at night when it was lightning and thundering and all we could see is water from our window. But this experience in floating cottages is something you should never miss if in Poovar.

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Sunset at Poovar from our floating cottage!!

Finally our vacation came to an end. But even this was adventurous. We checked out from Poovar at 2 in the morning, and it was dead scary sailing through backwaters in a boat with just a light in front to lit up your pathway. Passing through mangroves and those narrow channels, I was literally getting goosebumps. And to add on you could hear huge waves hitting the coast hard as if they gonna come to you anytime. Huh!! Anytime my boat used to turn and lose balance a bit, I used to freeze. But it all ended, we reached ashore, waved goodbye to Poovar and headed off to Trivandrum airport for our flight back home.

All the way to airport I was thinking about all the memories we created here, in Kerala. As you can see, Kerala changes people’s perceptions of India.  It’s a tropical paradise  which is culturally rich and full of adventure and beauty for travellers all around the world.  We spent an unforgettable 15 days in Kerala on a trip of a lifetime and had so much fun exploring and getting to know this part of India.

It would be really hard not to love it here.  It is definitely the best state in India! Cheers to Kerala, you beauty!!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. arv! says:

    Monsoon is next best season for Kerela! Lovely pictures. looks like you both had a great time together!

    Like

    1. RUPS says:

      Yes we had a lovely time!! U been there??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. arv! says:

        Only to Munnar in Kerela! someday…..perhaps!

        Like

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