Kerala, a state located in southern India, has been blessed with serene lakes, backwaters, gardens, and scenic beauty and when it comes to things to try out in Kerala, the list could go on forever for the state has truly a plethora to offer. So, the question remains: What to do and what not to do? It is the geographical equivalent of Netflix, there’s so much you can watch, that you spend most of the time deciding. That is where we come in, to serve as your guide on the top things to do in Kerala.
1. Stay in a Houseboat
The Backwaters of Kerala are nothing if not an absolute delight to witness. The peace and calm you achieve cruising the waters while staying in these houseboats remain unmatched. These houseboats possess the comforts of a five-star hotel and more with the obvious plus of the picturesque view outside. Overnight trips are recommended for they allow you to explore the rural beauty of Kerala. The houseboats at Alleppey and Kumarakom are a must-stay.
2. Eat a Meal on a Banana Leaf
You haven’t encompassed the experience of staying in Kerala unless you have eaten a meal on a banana leaf. The delicious Kerala cuisine includes rasam, appam with stew, coconut toddy, sadhya (a special meal prepared during festivals), erissery and so much more. The flavors of these already mouth-watering dishes are enhanced when you eat with your hands on a banana leaf.
3. Tour Spice and Tea Plantations
Envision yourself touring a plantation, surrounded by mesmerizing greenery while taking in the fragrance of spices and teas. That is the experience you will receive when touring the spice and tea plantations of Kerala. You might also get to try out the delightful tea grown here as well as some spice plantations that also offer dishes prepared using the spices grown and you simply must take them up on it.
4. Bamboo Rafting at Wayanad
The region Wayanad in Kerala is synonymous with adventure and to truly experience the thrill of the place, bamboo-rafting is your go-to. The raft made from bamboo is very comfortable as opposed to what one might think due to the presence of cushion-like seats for you to sit. The ups and downs in the streams of water make the ride all the more exciting.
5. Witness the Neelakurinji Bloom
The phenomenon is the Neelakurinji Bloom that attracts thousands of tourists to the Munnar hills. Just being there and taking in the blue-purple flowers will send you into a trance. They are rare to witness due to their bloom taking place once every 12 years, so don’t forget to mark your calendar in anticipation of this majestic bloom.
6. Get Enchanted by Kathakali
The vibrant dance of Kathakali is a specialty of the art forms of Kerala. The elaborate costumes, heavy makeup, and masks used in the performance are what make them one of a kind. This dance portrays a story beautifully through the strategic use of expressions and movements and this is a performance so breath-taking that everyone should definitely witness.
7. Stay in a Treehouse
For every nature lover, if your trip to Kerala does not involve a stay in a treehouse, then think again. One prominent treehouse is the Jungle Jive Tree House which provides you with a sense of tranquility as well as a mesmerizing view of the mountains. Another one is the Dream Catcher Resort which is situated amidst spice plantations where the fragrance of the place will simply overtake you.
8. Visit an Ayurvedic Centre
The only state that considers Ayurveda to be mainstream medicine, it’s quite easy to spot Ayurvedic centers in Kerala. Various hotels here also offer ayurvedic massages. Here at these centers, your well-being is approached holistically. This massage can only be described as rejuvenating and will erase all your anxiety and tension.
9. Marvel at Kalaripayattu
The mother of all art forms, Kalaripayattu is enthralling to watch. Being one of the oldest martial arts to survive, it possesses a rich history. The techniques and weapons utilized in the execution of this are what make it stand out. It also incorporates massage and meditation and strives for a balance between body and mind. Because of this, Kalaripayattu has rightly been considered a martial art form that has it all.
10. Elephant Rides
Festivals in Kerala are incomplete without an elephant march, the same trip here is incomplete without an elephant ride. It is the perfect activity for an adventure lover. The regions of Munnar and Thekkady house various junctions from where you can partake in this exhilarating adventure. For nature-lovers, there’s a cherry on top for you can actually take an elephant ride deeper into the forests to explore the unknown.
11. Temple Tour
Kerala is home to countless holy temples such as the Vadakkunnathan Temple, Sivagiri Temple, Tali Temple and so many more. A tour of these will bring out the divinity in you and it would be a spiritual experience. A must-visit, for example, is the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram which is an exemplary portrayal of Dravidian architecture.
12. Observe a Boat Race
The boat races of Kerala will keep you on edge, with the fanfare of the enthusiastic spectators and the thrill of boats overtaking from time to time making you constantly wonder as to who might win. The various colorful snake boats also form a major attraction of these races. Vallam Kali is a boat race festival that you certainly must attend to witness for yourself the exciting nature of these boat races.
These experiences are only the tip of what Kerala offers, which will enrich your life in ways you might not have imagined. After all, experiences are what change our perception of the world and help shape us into our best selves. If not, you’ll still have a great story. It was Dr. Steve Maraboli who put it best, “Happiness is not something to be achieved but something to be experienced.”