Visit to God's own country - Kerala

Kerala is well known as God's own country. Read this travel experience in Kerala to know more about the beautiful destinations of Kerala.

It has been a year since I moved to Hyderabad from Delhi.It was on my mind to visit Kerala for some time and I got this opportunity to visit God's own country in the second week of January.

We packed our bags and headed for Cochin as the starting point of our tour. I had already made the arrangements through local Kerala-based tours and travel company 'Paradise holidays'.

Day 1

Cochin International Airport

We took an early morning flight to Cochin and were received by the Tour operator's driver. Cochin Airport is known as the world's first airport fully operated with Solar energy. The airport looked like a vintage film set. We headed to the tour operator's office in Cochin, paid our dues and got a quick brief for the upcoming 4 days of our tour. We started our journey around 1 PM for Munnar.The first impression of Cochin is of one of the clean cities I have visited. Munnar is around 125 km's from Cochin. The roads leading to Munnar are full of spice gardens. We mistook Nutmeg (Jaayphal) for lemon trees until we visited one of the spice gardens to know how wrong we were. The road leading to Munnar is painted green by nature. It was so refreshing to see so much greenery especially after living in Hyderabad for a year. Around 3 PM we made a stopover at RASA restaurant, we were told by the driver this is one place where you will get north Indian food. Although it turned out to be an average experience, we were longing for Naan and tandoori roti but settled for chapati (this is more or less the same case in most of the restaurants). The average expense in most of the restaurants around and on the way to Munnar is around Rs 500/-. We quickly finished our lunch and headed for Munnar again. On the way, there are two famous waterfalls (Cheeyappara and Valara). These waterfalls have a full life around June to August due to rainfall. Cheeyappara was non-existent during our visit but we could see a glimpse of Valara waterfall's original glory. We made a halt for about 10 minutes and moved again. Another 30 minutes into the journey and we halted for one of the best experiences.

We visited Hindustan Spice Garden. The guided tour of the spice garden is for almost half an hour. It costs 100/- per adult.Child entry is free. Our guide very well explained the origin of most spices used in Indian kitchens. It was a great experience to see the cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, clove, kali mirchi, garlic, ginger, cocoa, nutmeg, coffee beans, pineapple and numerous other ayurvedic plantations. We bought few spices and homemade chocolates from this garden's produce from its outlet.Refreshed by this enriching experience we headed towards our resort before taking one little break for roadside masala tea. you should taste some of the local snack items along with the tea. The tea was average not only in this place but also at other places in subsequent days. By the time we reached our resort the day had almost ended. Our resort was away from the main town and was in the midst of the tea gardens. It is not known as 'Tea Valley'for no reason. We explored this awesome property in the middle of almost a forest before heading to the dance floor. Campfire is arranged on this floor every day at 8:30 PM.We were having a gala time till we ordered dinner. The food quality was much below our expectations and it was a shame for the resort to give away the location advantage with below average cuisine.

Day 2
Tea Valley Munnar Kerala
Next day we woke up early to explore the awesome property and serene nature. Munnar looked even more beautiful in the early morning. We did a little trekking before going for the breakfast in the resort. I would like to skip the breakfast experience (don't want to be harsh again). Our driver was waiting for us for the sightseeing tour. We started around 9:30 AM and from our way through main Munnar markets we went towards sightseeing spots. We could see numerous tea estates along our way. It was such a beautiful sight. The reason behind the spectacular visual symmetry of tea gardens is regular pruning. Routine pruning keeps the plantation around 4 or 5 feet tall. There are around 50 tea estates some of them are more than hundred years old. At one point of the time, most of the tea gardens were owned by Tatas.To reach most of the sightseeing spots you have to go through the Munnar main market which is a quite busy market with the sea of tourists and locals.

The sightseeing spots include echo point, Matupalli dam, photo point, rose garden, hydel park and rajaji national park. We gave a miss to the national park and hydel park as we anticipated that it may not offer much as we have visited these kinds of places in other visits.Our last sightseeing spot was Tea museum which we were looking forward to. The ticket is little overpriced for the average experience it offers. Though we got to know about the history of tea gardens in Munnar through a documentary and experienced the process of converting tea leaves to tea granules/dust tea by means of visiting the live factory within the museum. We bought some local tea variants of Munnar from this museum. The brand runs by the name of 'Ripple', tata partially exited few years back and the local employees joined together to hold around 70% of the companies's share. This plantation runs by the name of Kanan Devan hills Plantation company. Tata still owns around 20% of the company.

It was around 3 PM and we went for lunch at a restaurant. The food was up to the mark. We wanted to be in the midst of the tea gardens and what better place than the tea valley itself. We asked our driver to deboard us in the midst of the tea gardens so that we can soak in the energy of the valley. We spend good 2 hours in the tea gardens and took some breathtaking pictures. The walk towards the resort from the tea valley was the highlight of the day and we enjoyed the natural surroundings much better than the sightseeing spots visited earlier in the day. We committed one mistake by not taking food parcel to the resort and our taste buds died a thousand deaths again when we had to order the resort food at night. We stayed in our cottage for the rest of the night and watched the exciting cricket match between India and England.

' Read More baout Munnar Attractions'

Day 3
Alleppy backwaters in Kerala
We woke up early in the morning and hit the road for our third day of the journey. We were excited to visit Alleppey for the backwaters experience on the houseboat. Munnar looked more stunning in the morning minus tourists and traffic. Alleppey is around 185 km's from Munnar and we have to pass through Cochin. It was a pleasant ride for me especially since I love to stay awake for the road journeys. My wife and kid though decided to make up for the lost sleep.We had a quick breakfast along the way and continued the journey. I was expecting some stunning visuals along the way from Cochin to Alleppey but was a bit disappointed as the road was flat. We reached Alleppey around 12 PM and were most disappointed when we entered the houseboat. The houseboat was quite old and the upkeep was too poor. We decided not to start our journey in this houseboat. I called the tour operator and gave my piece of mind to him. We were paying almost Rs 8000/- for the houseboat and we were in no mood to board the substandard boat.Our persistence paid and a new houseboat was arranged. There were multiple houseboats waiting on the shore. I would advise not to go for a pre-booked option, you can visit the houseboats and choose the best one per your liking. Around 1:30 PM the houseboat hit the lake and after half an hour it was parked on the shore for the lunch. We were longing for good food throughout our visit to Kerala and the houseboat food didn't disappoint at all. It was rather the best food we had in last three days.

Gold fish along with local delicacies were served to us.We finally were happy to get a good hearty meal at last. After an hour break, the boat started again and we were surprised to find that it stopped in another half an hour and got parked again. We were told that to enjoy the backwaters you need to take a small boat. Along the way they were also persuading us to take an ayurvedic massage and buy local fish. Having enjoyed our own way of exploration of the place, we rather decided to walk the narrow road along the shore to explore the local life and it was a good decision. We spoke to locals and understood their way of living. We found an abundance of Banana, coconuts trees along the narrow lanes parallel to the shore. Many villagers were seen catching the fish by the simplest methods possible.They were seen performing their daily activities like washing clothes and utensils, bathing etc on the small ghats in front of their houses. We had the most refreshing coconut water along the way. We decided not to buy any fish as we were looking forward to the local chicken curry being prepared for the dinner.

We got back to the boat and since the sun was about to set and nothing much to do we decided to for ayurvedic massage in the village along the shore. The massage parlours are quite expensive as compared to those in the city. I guess, the houseboat guys commission is added in the price as our houseboat guy was persistent to visit one particular massage parlour. The day was going good so far when we got the shock of the day. The houseboat driver left for the day and the caretaker advised us to go to our room rather than being on the deck. At first we could not understand why he is advising so but later on we realised that it is to avoid mosquitoes and lizards.

The caretaker covered the houseboat with TARPAULIN and switched off the lights to avoid insects and mosquitoes. We quickly realised that we had a big mistake by choosing this way of spending the night. All houseboats are equipped with generators and good amount of diesel is required to keep it going. The smell of the diesel and smokes was too suffocating as there were numerous boats on the shore running with the same machinery. We had to close the door and stay inside the room. Honestly it felt like living in a confinement. The caretaker wanted us to have a candle light dinner in the deck but we were in the mood to have dinner outside. After some persuasion, he served the food in the room. We had nothing to do, we had the dinner and the after killing some time in the room, went to sleep.

A couple of hours were difficult as I could still feel the suffocation. Anyway, somehow the time passed. In the hindsight, we should have chosen a small boat in place of the houseboat as the houseboat only hovers around in the main lake in the day and it is a disaster to stay in the houseboat after sunset.

'Read More About Houseboats in Kerala'

Day 4

I woke up early in the morning and took a walk to feel the fresh air and enjoy the nature. We were served breakfast around 8 AM and the houseboat went back to the starting point. We deboarded at 9 AM.Our driver was waiting to take us to the Alleppey beach. Alleppey beach is one of the cleanest beaches I have visited and my son enjoyed to the fullest as he saw the sea and beach for the first time in his life. We spent almost an hour at the beach and headed to Cochin. Cochin is about 50 km's from Alleppey.After visiting Maritime Navy Museum, we headed for Fort Cochin area. Fort Cochin area consists of Churches, Dutch Palace and Jewish Synagogue. For history enthusiasts, it's a place for going back in the past and know about Jews, Portuguese and dutch reign in Cochin.Based on our previous experience in last few days, we were certain that we have to customise our day in order to have the most fun. We exactly did the same and spent the most time of the day in the Fort Cochin beach area.
Fort Kochi Beach Kerala
We were fortunate to see the Chinese fishing net operations.We were told that Chinese fishing nets are no longer being used by the fishermen. There is one set which is operational which is only for the demonstration to the foreign tourists. About 3-4 fishermen operated this for some tourists. We then explored the live fishing experience. There were 2-3 fishermen on the shore who were trying to fish during the afternoon. We were lucky to see them capturing few fishes. The afternoon is actually not the ideal time for fishing on the shore. The best part of watching fishing for my son was not actually the catching of the fish but the colourful unique seashells fishermen would bring along in the net. My son collected the best-looking shells on the shore.
Fort Kochi Attractions

We also witnessed the crabs coming out of the shell on the shore. The sightseeing places in fort Cochin was an average experience. You can easily find the most of the information on the internet for the Cochin history. It was about 5 PM and we went to Marine drive. It is a hangout place for the locals and not many tourists visit it. The boat rides prices were quite competitive as it was run by KTDC. We also realised that the backwater rides would have been a better idea from Cochin as we witnessed the backwaters exactly like we had imagined. This was experienced while driving back to the airport.

Overall it was a mixed experience. What we realised that instead of going with the tour operators plan, one needs to do a bit of research and make his own plan to have the maximum fan. There is everything for all kind of personality types. One can make a bike ride for the countryside or choose to relax on the beach or go for hiking etc. Also, tour operators need to be more creative in providing options for all kinds of people.

Also If you are coming with your kids, you can even spent 01 more day at Kochi spending whole day in'Wonderla Water Theme park' .

We headed back to the airport around 7 PM and boarded our night flight to Hyderabad.For the next few days we had a hangover of the god's own country. Go pack your bags and have fun. Kerala is definitely must visit place in India.


Author: Ravi Agrawal15 Apr 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 2

After reading entire article about Kerala, one would definitely fall in love with captivating beauty of Kerala. The back waters of Alleppey are truly enthralling. A traveler must visit Kerala once in life to explore the extraordinary beauty of India here.

Author: Amit21 Apr 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

Thanks, Ravi. Indeed Kerala is a must visit place.

Author: Divya H Narayanayya27 Jun 2017 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

Good Article Amit.Kerala is indeed beautiful.

Author: David29 Jan 2018 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 4

From cape (Kanya Kumari) comerin to Casarcode-South to North, entire Kerala charms its beauty.To explore it right tour plan required.If you are aware London Bridge, same structural bridge made by British in the year 1887 across Kallada River. Also near by eco tourism (First in India)Thenmala ,worth place to visit . The type of package always varies with budget.Guest relation, home atmosphere, organic foods, natural way yoga,you must get associate.
Hindi, Language, English,Malayalam, good guidance available to take care,very friendly manner. No communication gap, quality of service with professional way matters lot.

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