Best Tourist Destinations In India Kerala – God’s own country

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Best Tourist Destinations In India kerala



Best Tourist Destinations In India kerala

kerala , known as Gods Own Country has some of the best tourist destinations in India for any kind of holiday. It is the land of coconuts, backwaters, elephants and the land of rich cultures and traditions, and has been one of the most sought after places by travelers from all around the world . #kerala #tourism was also recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the must visit family destinations to visit.

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It is without doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth and that’s why it is known as’Gods Own Country’. From the stunning beaches along the Malabar Coast to the maze of backwater canals cutting through huge rice fields to the glorious rolling hillside tea plantations in the Western Ghats, #kerala’s landscapes are almost as diverse as its people and the culture and history of the people of #kerala is a major factor in attracting the tourists. If you are planning to visit kerala, here is a selection of the best places to visit in #kerala curated by the holiday experts Iris Holidays

#kerala, a state on the Malabar coast in southern India is probably one of the most popular Indian tourist destinations. It has been popular among tourists – couples, families & backpackers alike for the longest time – perhaps because geographically it is the complete travel package – It has everything from serene beaches to scenic hills, from tea & spice plantations to dense forests & calm backwaters. Apart from scenic beauty, it is popular for Ayurvedic treatments, classical dances – Kathakali & Mohiniattam, Kalaripayattu & of course, it’s delicious cuisine.

 

Kochi

Kochi, the largest city in #kerala, has historically been an important port city right from the 14th century – colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch & British at different times in history, the city still preserves an intriguing mix of architecture from its varying colonial past. Ernakulam is the city’s cosmopolitan part where as Fort Kochi is the tourist hub.

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The fort Kochi area has it own quaint charm, It is buzzing with tourists, but each at their own pace – this part of the city has a ‘homestay’ in every corner! We chose to discover this area on foot since all the places we wanted to see were close to each other.

We first walked to the Chinese fishing nets – Iconic to Kochi, these cantilevered fishing nets are said to be in use since 500 years! these are fixed land installations & each of them is about 10M high operated by a team of 5-6 fishermen. If you wait around, you might get to watch them in use!




visit the folklore museum but being shut on Sunday, instead we walked on; stopping from time to time taking pictures of interesting street art – we also visited David hall & OED galleries on the way. Do stop by if you are an art lover, I had an interesting conversation with Mr. Dilip, who spent time with us & showed us the gallery’s diverse contemporary art collection, you can also check the gallery website if the current exhibition is of interest to you before going there.

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Mattancherry is known for spice markets, a local spice store called ‘All spices market’ & were in awe of the variety of spices,oils,teas & coffees & felt like a kid in a candy store !. Some of the street stores also sell spices, herbs, soaps & oils.The Mattancherry (Dutch) palace museum is definitely worth a visit. The Murals in the bedchamber part of the palace depict scenes from the Ramayana. It is said to cover an episode from the epic in 48 paintings. Another part of the museum documents the portraits & lifestyles of the rajas of Cochin. One can also find a few items of furniture gifted to the rajas from the Portuguese. The museum captures a small part of Kochi’s Traditional, Portuguese & Dutch history.

Antique Store at Mattancherry

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Jew street has some very interesting antiques & gifting items, once can find painted cow heads, little house boats & hand made soaps everywhere. Many antiques sold here are not traditionally from kerala though, I was surprised to find many shops selling handicrafts from Kashmir & Rajasthan not just here but at most tourist attractions in #kerala. The Jewish or Pardesi synagogue is a highlight of this area. This entire area preserves parts of its Jewish heritage. One can also purchase lace & needle work pieces like table runners & matts locally made by the residents of the area.




Kochi also has some interesting Churches, here one finds a unique blend of European architecture (introduced by the Portuguese, Dutch & British respectively) & #kerala architecture in terms of motifs, mural painting or wood carving & there isn’t a standard layout for these churches either. I found the churches of St Francis & Santa cruz basilica particularly interesting.

At night we ventured out to princess street – it is a great place to shop & eat! It rained that evening & being unprepared, we were drenched (it often rains in Kochi, be sure to carry your umbrella when you visit!) One can see pretty houses with flowers on their windowsills & more street art across this area. We ate at Kashi cafe (& art gallery – another recommendation if you are an art buff like us!) Every cafe we visited in the city had great cold coffee & homemade cake.

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If you enjoy seafood, Kochi has some pretty great restaurants & cafes – My favourites are Fort house restaurant without a doubt as it had the best food we had in the entire trip; evenings are the best time to visit since it has a great view as well. Kashi cafe (Art & food) & Oceanos (seafood) If you like Art & Seafood – I bet you’ll like Kochi as much as I did!

Munnar

Munnar is a Hill-station on the foothills of the western ghats, One of the most sought after tourist spots of #kerala owing to its scenic beauty – lush carpeted plantations of tea & spices around its hills. It is also the largest tea growing region of the south.

AC KSRTC volvo bus from Kochi to Munnar, Starting from Ernakulam bus depot at 9AM. The journey was scenic but nearly 5 hours long! and all through the way, our bus driver played 90s Bollywood music! So our playlist comprised of – songs from Raja Hindustani, Ashiquie, Darr & other nineties hits! quite a nostalgic journey.

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taxis quite expensive in Munnar & realised the need to bargain (luckily, I had Vikram for this!) #kerala is hot during February, & as I found out much later, it’s not the best time to visit Munnar – the waterfalls start to dry up & the wildlife sanctuaries are shut due to breeding season (Eravikulam national park was shut) so we weren’t able to do any wildlife activities!

Though Scenic, with large properties, resorts in Munnar are far away from the market & tourist spots, plan entire day well before leaving the #hotel. The Kanan Devan Tea factory & museum.




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One of the things enjoy most in Munnar, was stopping on the way & walking through tea gardens, there are many many scenic places to discover by chance get to see tea pickers in action!




The Mattupetty dam was extremely scenic! beautiful, calm & serene. Though it was quite sunny around 4pm, (the #kerala sun is quite harsh, during the day & it gets hot by 9 am! don’t leave your #hotel without a hat & sunglasses & carry appropriate sunscreen). Boating at Mattupetty dam is one of the main attractions here.This whole stretch is scenic, one can walk around, boat or even shop for home made chocolates in the stretch of stalls by the lake. A completely commercialised tourist spot now – it has all the street food one would expect corn, coconut water,peanuts, snack stalls & even Passion fruit vendors! One can club visiting Mattupetty dam with Top station as both these are only a few kilometres apart. On the way back, our cab driver stopped by many places, claiming that these were ‘Shooting points’ or points where some Bollywood film shooting has taken place. although truth be told all of it was equally scenic!

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the elephant ride in Munnar to be short & over rated & would recommend the one in Thekkady since its in the forest! visit spice plantations in Thekkady Instead of Munnar.

enjoy the food in Munnar all that much. surprisingly found the coffee & tea very mild & milky here. Munnar was not favourite of the #kerala trip for sure, come again in the monsoon or winter to visit all the places.

 

Don’t leave #kerala without trying…

Puttu and kadala curry

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This is a breakfast staple eaten all over the state. Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake cooked in a mould with grated coconut. It’s usually served with kadala curry, a dish of black chickpeas made with shallots, spices and coconut milk, that can also be served with ripe bananas and grated coconut.

Appam with stew

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Appam is a #keralan staple made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. It’s similar to a thin pancake with crispy edges. These crepe-like bowls are made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water and a little sugar. Ishtu or stew is a derivative of the European stew and consists of coconut milk, cinnamon, cloves and shallots, eaten with appams. The stew may also feature mango pieces, vegetables, chicken or lamb. The addition of aromatic whole spices, ginger and fresh coconut milk enhance the natural flavor of the vegetables. The crucial ingredient is fresh coconut milk, which lends a sweet flavor.

Karimeen pollichathu (fish)

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This is one of #kerala’s traditional delicacies. Karimeen or pearl spot fish is a speckled fish commonly found in the backwaters of this state. This is traditionally a Syrian Christian delicacy but has become part of kerala’s rich cuisine. Pearl spot fish is marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, red chillies, and other ingredients, wrapped and baked in plantain leaves, giving it a unique flavour.

Malabar Parotta with kerala beef curry

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Layered flat bread that originated in the Malabar region called Parotta is made by kneading maida (plain flour), egg (in some recipes), oil or ghee and water. The dough is beaten and later shaped into a spiral with thin layers. The ball is rolled flat and roasted into a Parotta with ghee. This is then eaten with beef curry – pieces of beef simmered in a curry made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and star anise.

Erissery or pumpkin and lentil curry

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This is a popular curry in #kerala, made from either raw plantains or sliced yams. It also usually includes slightly sweet pumpkin that has been boiled in water with salt, chillies or pepper, dried lentils, grated coconut, turmeric powder, cumin seeds and garlic, served on a bed of rice. It appears on most menus at religious festivals like Onam.

Palada payasam (dessert)

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A sweet rice kheer prepared with palada is a delicacy made in almost all #kerala households during the festival of Onam and many other special occasions. There are many variations of it, however, the traditional recipe uses only basic ingredients like rice ada, milk, sugar and ghee. Rice ada is easily available in Indian #kerala grocery stores.

#kerala prawn curry (chemmeen curry)

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This is a sig#nature dish of the state – a prawn curry from the Malabar region made with a blend of fenugreek, black mustard and fennel seeds, coconut milk and green chilli. It also includes a special ingredient called kudampuli (also known as brindleberry) to give it a sour taste, plus it uses marinated prawns, drumsticks and raw mango to give it a spicy, tangy flavour.

Thalassery biriyani

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A rice biriyani is the most common dish of the Muslim community. Thalassery sea port was a centre for the export of spices where European, Arab and Malabar cultures came together and influenced the cuisine. Thalassery biriyani uses a unique, fragrant, small-grained, thin rice variety named kaima. The biriyani masala and cooked rice are arranged in layers inside the dish. Meat is cooked with the masala on a low heat and layered with rice before the lid of the container is sealed with dough. Hot coal or charcoal is then placed above the lid.

Fish moilee

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A famous #keralan fish stew made with coconut milk, which is a typical Syrian Christian delicacy. The curry is usually prepared in a traditional manchatti (earthen vessel) and stews lightly fried fish in coconut milk, and spices like turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and cloves along with fresh green chillies to give it a tangy taste. The fish (usually kingfish or seer fish) is marinated with oil, turmeric, red chili powder, lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes before being used in the curry.

Banana fritters (dessert)

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Pazham pori or Ethakka appam are juicy banana fritters tha feature as a traditional tea time snack. They’re available throughout #kerala and are simply ripe bananas coated with plain flour and deep-fried in oil.

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