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Where to Holiday in India

What is so special about Kerala, holiday homes in Kerala India

Kerala located in the south western tip of India, attracts thousands of tourists every year. Kerala is considered as one of the best places to visit in India for a holiday or vacation. Kerala is worth visiting at least once as per National Geographic Magazine who named Kerala as one of the paradises on earth to be visited at least once during ones lifetime.

This beautiful green State of India is fast becoming one of the leading tourism destinations of the world, not just because of its natural beauty which led National Geographic Magazine to name it as ‘one of the ten Paradises on the Earth’, or ‘one of the 50 must visit places on earth’, but also for the very friendly and educated people of the State. The people of this state have a passion for cleanliness and do not intrude on the foreigners, in such a way as to make them feel that they are the centre of attraction. If help is asked, they go out of their way to be of help.

So the attitude of the general public in Kerala makes the tourists feel at home and welcome. Kerala is different from other States in India in this respect. The tourist feels more relaxed in Kerala because they do not feel that they are the center of attraction. This is a great feeling, which combined with the stunning natural beauty of the state, does make the tourist really relaxed and happy that they chose to come here.

Best Hotels in Kerala

Here we are giving the links to the best hotels in Kerala in and around the best tourist spots of Kerala. Click on any of the best Tourist spots in Kerala names listed here to take you to a list of all hotels in that area with best rates from one of the world's leading hotel booking site Booking.com

What to do in Kerala, India

Kerala, ‘God’s Own Country’ as it prides itself in calling, is an ideal place to have a relaxing holiday, there are so many things to do in Kerala to make an enjoyable holiday in India. Kerala has fantastic backwater lakes on which you can have a relaxing houseboat cruise or you can go to the lovely beaches of Kerala or even go up into the beautiful mountain resorts of Kerala like Munnar, Thekkady, Ponmudi or Wayanad. There are some unique forms of Kerala art like Kathakali dance or Kalriphyttu which are interesting to watch. There are also wildlife sanctuaries where you can stay to enjoy a bit of jungle life right in the middle of a forest. Then there is the fantastic food of Kerala which must be tasted, for words cannot describe it. You can enjoy all this plus have a unique Ayurvedic treatment considered one of the oldest forms of medicine. The ayurvedic massages are something that should not be missed in Kerala.

When to visit Kerala

The usual Kerala season for foreign tourists, start in early December and lasts untill the end of February. Also a good time to visit Kerala is during the Kerala Monsoon Season from June till the end of August. This is the heavy rainy season in Kerala, and it is an experience of a life time, the cool windy rainy Kerala during Monsoons. Kerala food is a bonus, it is simply delicious. One visit to Kerala, and most of the tourist return back again and again for holidays, because that feeling of relaxation in Kerala.

Kerala is a land of educated people, it is a hundred percent literate State, almost everyone in Kerala speaks English. Comparing Kerala women to women in other Indian States, the women of Kerala have equal educational and job opportunities as men. Women in Kerala are also not so shy as in the rest of India

Kerala is a clean place, you will not find dirty or smelly people in Kerala. It is a habit of the people of Kerala to have a daily bath and change into freshly laundered clothes. There is religious harmony in Kerala and everybody shares in the celebrations of festivals of other religions. Festivals like Onam, Pooram, Idd and Christmas are celebrated and enjoyed by everyone in Kerala.

Kerala has been having foreign visitors from time immemorial, because of its spices, mainly black pepper. St. Thomas, or 'Doubting Thomas', an apostle of Jesus Christ, landed in Kerala in 52AD to spread Christianity in India and converted many to Christianity. So Christianity came to Kerala much before it reached Europe.

Art festivals of Kerala

The most famous traditional festivals of Kerala are Onam, Vishu and Thrissur Pooram. The Thrissur Pooram Festival is very famous for having many tame elephants lined up with golden crowns, with people standing on the elephants with decorative umbrellas and parading with a large crowd of people.

Festival celebrations in Kerala includes traditional cultural programmes like Kavadiyattam, Chendamela, Panchavadyam, Pandimelam, Vallamkali boat races and others.

International Airports in Kerala, India

Kerala has three international Airports – Calicut (Kozhikode), Kochi (Cochin) and Thiruvanadapuram (Trivandrum). The Airport in Kochi or Cochin has the best connections and has several flights a day from the Middle Eastern Gulf countries, especially from Dubai. Cochin International Airport (CIAL) is the first privately run Airport in the country, and its cleanliness and efficiency speaks volumes in favour of privitisation of Airports.

Best places in Kerala to visit, Best tourist spots in Kerala

Some of the best places to visit in Kerala are as follows:

Kochi, Fort Cochin

Kochi or Cochin has the nickname ’Queen of the Arabian Sea’, and is where most of the visitors to Kerala arrive through the Kochi or Cochin International Airport (CIAL). Now many Cruise ships stopover in Cochin for their passengers to enjoy Kerala. Cochin has been famous for its spices from ancient times. The important places to visit in Kochi are Fort Cochin, the Cochin Jewish Synagogue, the Matancherry Palace in Kochi, the Chinese fishing nets and St Francis Church in Fort Cochin, the first European Church in India and built by the Portuguese. Now Kochi / Cochin is a regular stop over for famous cruise vessels like the Cunard Queen Mary QE-2 and the Princes Cruise Vessels. Kochi/Cochin was also the only landing point for the prestigious round the world ‘Volvo Ocean Race’ in December 2008. These events have prompted the Government of India to build an International Cruise Terminal in Cochin.

Fort Cochin Chinese fishing nets

Cochin is also famous for the unique way of fishing with huge cantilever type fishing nets called Fort Cochin Chinese fishing nets. There is a dispute as to why the Fort Cochin fishing nets are called 'Chinese Nets', the best explanation is that the nets got this name, because the large nets used on the Fort Cochin fishing nets were woven in Kerala using a technique known as 'Cheeni', which in Malayalam also means 'China'. Any way these are a fantastic sight, and in Fort Cochin you can literally get on these nets and help the fisherman to operate their nets. You can also buy freshly caught fish right off the nets, and get it cooked right next to the nets, where there are several stalls who will grill or cook it the way you want.

Alappuzha, Alleppey Houseboats

Alappuzha was previously known as Alleppey, is surrounded by waterways and canals and is often called the ‘Venice of the East’. Alleppey is famous for its houseboats which can be hired for a day cruise or week long cruise on the famous backwaters of Kerala.

Alleppey is the place to hire a houseboat in Kerala. Alleppey is the main backwater port in Kerala and is home to hundreds of houseboats. If you shop arround in Alleppey for houseboats, you can get really good deals on the houseboat hire. A house boat cruise in Alleppey just has to be the most relaxing time of your life, and it is so good that you will want to do it again and again.

The old traditional Kerala cargo vessels called 'Kettuvallams', have been converted into Houseboats with comfortable bedrooms and attached European style closets and even hot water available to have a shower. It is surprising how comfortable these bedrooms are. There are air-conditioners in the bedrooms and the attached toilet is as good as in star hotel. The picture on the left shows a typical bed inside a Kerala boat house. You get to stay on these boathouses overnight, cruising around in the vast backwaters of Kerala. These houseboats are very sturdy and have been service in Kerala for many years.

Alleppey houseboat rates are not expensive. Cruises can be tailored to your needs, ranging from short day trips to longer, multi-day cruises. These boats can be up to 80-feet long and have comfortable bedrooms, showers, European closets and kitchen. The house boat will be operated by a crew of 3 persons, the Captain, cook and your personal valet who will cater to your every wish.The cost of the food is included in the fare and it is delicious food from fresh catch of Lobsters or Karimeen, the famous fish of Kerala. During the cruise trip on the Houseboat you can witness the local people going about their daily lives, young kids casting their fishing lines to catch fish for the family dinner and enjoying themselves, men and women rowing home after a day’s work, children playing, people bathing/swimming in the backwaters, women washing clothes and utensils and seeing many more houseboats full of happy and curious tourists.

Kerala Snake boat race, Vallamkali

The Chundan Vallam or Snake boats as they are called, are very long boats, with over a hundred rowers and a singing cheer group at the back to keep the rhythm of the rowers while they race down the water ways. The most famous of these races is the Alleppey Nehru Trophy Boat Race on the second Saturday of August every year. Called the 'Alappuzha Vallamkali' locally, it is held on the Punnamada Lake of Alappuzha. This hotly contested snake-boat race or Chundan Vallam race is very famous and many tourists time their visit to coincide with these races, just to witness this great event. The photo of the right shows Kerala's Vallam Kali Snake boats lined up at the start of the snake boat race.

Kumarakom Backwater Resorts

Kumarakom is a village in a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Backwater Lake, the largest of the backwaters of Kerala. Kumarakom is considered the best Backwater Resort in Kerala. The famous Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is on one of these Islands and on another is the Taj Garden Retreat hotel, a renovated old historical building which used to belong to a British missionary Alfred George Baker, who stayed back in Kerala. This village gained international fame through the Booker prize winning book ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy. Ayemenem village which is the setting for the book is next to Kumarakom and the ‘History House’ in the novel refers to the building which is now a part of the Taj Hotel here.

Munnar the best hill station in Kerala

Kerala has some of the best mountain resorts in India, although they are more often called hill stations of Kerala, India. Munnar is up in the cool mountains, at the confluence or meeting point of three rivers. Munnar is 135 kilometers (85 miles) from Kochi and is world famous for its tea growing estates and the beautiful scenery of thousands of acres of tea gardens.

Thekkady wild life park

Thekkady is one of the most fascinating natural wildlife sanctuaries of the world. Called ‘The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary’, it was declared a National Tiger Reserve in 1978. Tourists from all over the world come here. The splendid lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River allows visitors to cruise along in the safety of their boats while getting very close to herds of wild elephants, Buffalos and other wild animals coming to the shores of the lake to have a drink of water. The lucky ones get to see a Tiger. On the left is a herd of elephants next to the Periyar lake shore.

Best Beaches in Kerala

Kerala is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Many consider the Kerala beaches better than Goa beaches. The most famous beaches of Kerala are Kovalam, Varkala, Cherai and Bekal.

Kovalam Beach

Kovalam Beach is the world renowned crescent shaped beach resort near Trivandrum. Kovalam with its crystal clear seawater and white palm fringed sandy beaches is a favourite beach in Kerala for most of the tourists to Kerala. There are many seafood restaurants, handicraft shops, Ayurvedic massage centers and Yoga classes right next to the Kovalam Beach. Life on Kerala beaches are quite and relaxed and so Kerala Beaches better than Goa for those who prefer more relaxed environment on the beach. In the late evenings, there are traditional Kathakali dance performances and various other folk arts shows in the sheds next to Kovalam Beach.

Trivandrum, capital of Kerala

Trivandrum, the Capital of Kerala, has many interesting monuments and Museums. Some of it are listed here

Kanakakunnu Palace: used to belong to the kings of Travancore. The Palace, with its unique Kerala architecture is open to the public.

Napier Museum: One of Kerala’s finest collection of Ancient bronze items, carvings, musical instruments and a number of other unique treasures from old Kerala.

Numismatics Museum: This is a unique museum with an amazing collection of ancient coins dating back to the time of Christ.

Observatory: This observatory is one of the oldest in India and is one of Trivandrum's main landmarks.

Shri Padmanabha Swami Temple: right in the centre of Trivandrum has a very unique archtecture.

Sri Chitra Art Gallery: Has a good collection of artifacts. Works of one of India's greatest artists, Raja Ravi Varma, is given prominence.

Trivandrum Zoo: This is one of the Oldest and best-kept zoos in India and is located within the beautiful Botanical Gardens right in the heart of the city. The newly-opened snake house is one of the best in the world. The Botanical Gardens surrounding the Zoo is rich with the native flora of Kerala.

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