Kerala was one of the places I always wanted to visit….even before the state tourism department coined the famous catchline”God’s Own Country”..partly because of the reason that I had been hearing stories from my uncle since childhood of the wonderful place it is..and the nice friendly people there…and somewhat coz of my dearest friend who is a native of the state…who always told me to visit the place ..so it was with lots of anticipation that I started on the journey into god’s own country..
With sunny skies above me and coconut trees all around me, I landed in cochin international airport…it is a very aesthetically designed airport…much better than new delhi airport and much better maintained…wish I had taken pictures of the airport…
Cochin is a bustling city ..it has a rich history ..it used to be a major trade port and was famous for trading in spices..people from all over the world came here to buy spices…it is also unique for having given shelter to fleeing jews way back in the 1600s , who eventually made it their home…
Today, the old cochin town has a jewish colony with its own synagogue….today majority of the jews have shifted to Israel and only few inhabitants remain…the jewish colony is a quaint little town within the town..it has narrow whitewashed lanes and shines bright in the afternoon sun…. i visited the various shops there and also the synagogue…
jewish colony..the synagouge is at the end of the street
There is also a palace in the old town..from where the native rulers carried out their ruling..before it was taken over by the dutch…and then by the british…the palace is now known as dutch palace…
Cochin also has a beach known as Cherai Beach..well…I won’t call it a beach in the strictest sense..more of a sandy bank where land meets sea… the incline is very steep towards the sea and a very narrow sandy shore…nevertheless the bright sun and the blue sky above alongwith the coconut trees make it quite picturesque…it was very hot during the time I visited it, 12 in the afternoon I guess…the place is more suitable for spending time during the evenings
I traveled to Munnar from Cochin..it take four hours drive to reach the place..and it’s a total different season there!!!!..
Munnar is popularly known as Darjeeling of the south..it is full of tea estates and the famous nilgiri tea comes from here…
the place is totally different from the image of kerala….it doesn’t have any coconut trees..but yes..it’s full of greenery….the best thing about munnar are the tea estates….the really look lovely..and one can drive around all day around the hills watching the tea gardens…they are so picturesque…
tea gardens in munnar
munnar also has a lot of dams and I visited some of them..the reservoirs adjoining the dams are used for tourism activities and one can go for speed boating , rowing or canoeing ..the lovely hills around and the delightful weather make it a wholesome fun experience…..
speedboating in munnar!!
i also visited erunakulam national park which is situated in the upper hills of munnar…it is most famous for abundant growth of kurinji plants which flower once in 12 years!!!…and when it does..the whole park is covered in a blanket of purple …the plants flowered last time in 2006 ..so the next date of flowering is 2018…the park also has the highest mountain peak of south india..
After spending two fun filled days in munnar , I headed for thekaddy…thekaddy is a small town most famous for having periyar tiger reserve…the drive from munnar to thekaddy is a amazing one!!…. one is surrounded by beautiful scenes of tea gardens, cardamom plantations on one side and the green valley on the other side…..
the views of the valley on the way to thekaddy
a waterfall crisscrossing the road towards thekaddy
I did not find thekaddy to be very inspiring..its full of commercial shops offering everything from ayurvedic cures, massages, souvenirs, elephant rides to kallaripayattu demonstrations…I went to the tiger reserve…however, it offers tourists only a boat ride in its lake…in which only birds and some deer can be seen…it was a boring ride….though the surrounding forest views were nice…..
boating in periyar tiger reserve
From thekaddy I traveled to kumarakom….rented a houseboat for one day and night….the boat took me through the backwaters of kerala…..
the backwaters of kumarakom!!!
it was incredible experience ..whatever i had seen in images in magazines and television….it was there in front of my eyes….absolutely lovely!!!..
another houseboat passing mine by in the backwaters
i enjoyed a wonderful day in the houseboat..it took me through the backwaters into a lake..had a scrumptious lunch in middle of the lake..and spent a delightful evening in the houseboat……
my houseboat moored for the evening!!!
The last day of my trip, i again traveled to cochin and took off for delhi from there.
my last morning in kerala…the pic above is of st.peters church..near which my houseboat moored and let me off for cochin
My trip was really wonderful..though I feel I need to come back to this place again…there are so many things I haven’t seen yet…for one palakkad…and the people here..right from my driver, to the shopkeepers, hotel attendants and boatmen ferrying me…were so wonderful, polite and ever smiling…I don’t wonder why…if I lived in this green haven ..i would be amiable24/7…
Truly..it’s god’s own country….