Kerala. Travel to South India
Kerala – a Paradise on the Malabar coast of the Indian subcontinent. The favorable climate, the abundance of spices, cashew nuts, sandulovich and coconut trees made this region of South India in morsel throughout the history of the divided Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British. Naira and formidable warriors of the Indian castes have won their land from foreign invaders, using acrobatic feats of the ancient martial arts kalaripayatu.
Today Kerala according to National Geographic magazine, is considered “one of the 10 paradises of the world” and “one of 50 places to visit in my life.” Culture, nature and historical heritage of this South Indian state are diverse. Traditional arts, Ayurveda and yoga, the oldest ports Calicut and Kochi, magnificent beaches of Varkala and Kovalam, the mountainous tea plantations of Munnar, wildlife sanctuaries and river backwaters with coconut lagoons around the lake Vembanad.
Walk along the canals and Vembanad lake
Lagoons and rivers in Allepy, Kottayam and Kollam
Kerala is called ‘Venice of the East” for the many rivers, canals and lakes. Water maze is cut the area around a large picturesque lake Vembanad. Here is the Kumarakom bird sanctuary, where they live Cherokee, predatory osprey and eagles, colorful Kingfisher and parrots, migratory birds from Siberia. The most impressive place to travel through the channels – the town Allaiwhere you can rent a traditional canoe or a houseboat is a large floating house. And still look to the local people that make boats and now coconut oil. Around Allepy many quiet backwaters and lagoons, narrow channels, isolated villages on the Islands, the oasis of coconut palms. In Kottayam and Kollam also conducts excursions, there is also the possibility to take a boat and a houseboat.
In a houseboat journey is going in a leisurely pace. While tourists visiting the picturesque island with villages and a bird sanctuary, the chef on Board cooks the Lunches and dinners. Inside there are bedrooms (from 1 to 7, depending on the scale of the houseboat that is perfect for a couple or for a large company.
Boat for two people is 5000-6000 rupees a day, for four – to 8000 rupees. And most luxurious apartment on the water for the company can cost 10-15000 rupees. Pleasure, of course, is not the most economical in India but this trip is fully justified by the number of impressions and level of comfort.
A day Canoeing with visits to local villages and lakes is an average of 600 rupees per person. This trip passes along the banks of lush greenery, where locals go about their daily Affairs, and kindly smile for the camera.
The architecture of the Portuguese and Dutch period
Since ancient times, Kochi was conducted a brisk spice trade. For the fresh crop of nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon and chilli hunted Arabs, Jews, Chinese. In the XVI century, arrived in Kochi by the Portuguese colonizers. As a result of Vasco da Gama here started the production and export of spices and Afonso de Albuquerque built in the city of the Portuguese Fort. A century later the seaport of Kochi came into the hands of the Dutch, and in the early nineteenth century, the power shifted to the British.
Dutch and Portuguese in Kochi was actively built up, so to this day in the historical part of the city preserved magnificent buildings of that time. This is the Dutch Palace of Mattancherry in 1555 with the gallery and portraits of the Maharajas, a collection of palanquins, decorated ceilings and frescoes on the stories of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and ancient Indian epics-the Puranas. Kerala folklore Museum with 5000 different artifacts. A Jewish city with a synagogue 1760. A huge market with spices and stylish shops with Antiques, where you can find dusty Souvenirs of past centuries by European explorers, and even a vintage 200 year old door. The Catholic Basilica of Santa Cruz 1506, in the Gothic revival style, the old Dutch cemetery, St. Francis Church in 1503, where he was initially buried the Portuguese Explorer Vasco da Gama in front of the reburial of the body in Lisbon.
Heart of Fort Kochi – romantic street Princess street with the old colonial mansions, with solemn columns, nice restaurants in the quiet yards, tall trees-Banyan trees, bookshops and the huge Chinese fishing nets on the Quay nearby.
Of princes street are many beautiful hotels and cozy guesthouses for the night in the most romantic Indian city. Fort Kochi is a small island of old Europe in South India.
Nature reserves and tea plantations at an altitude of 1600 meters
The picturesque town of Munnar is in the mountains of the Western Ghats. In its surroundings grow real tea in lush green plantations, and around – the waterfalls, the valley Echo, sandalwood gardens, parks and viewpoints of the review sites. Locals love to come to Munnar and the surrounding area for picnic is lake Kundala and Mattupetty.
Inside Eravikulam national Park is visible the highest point of the Western Ghats mountain Anamudi (2695 meters). Forest Department to seek permission for trekking to explore the flora and fauna around Anamudi. In this Park there are langurs, long-tailed macaques, and in the depths of the forest inhabited by Nilgiris containers, tigers and leopards.
37 km from Munnar is Top Station – a popular and very beautiful place. Arriving here in cloudy weather, you can climb above the clouds. On the way to the station by jeep or tuk-tuk ride from Munnar you can go to the Attukad waterfalls, ride an elephant, visit a tea factory and the famous Museum of Tata. In the Museum there is a souvenir of the colonial era, retro photos, all kinds of teas. Here tell fascinating lectures about how to grow tea in India, how it is collected and how green tea differs from black.
Amma — hugging mother
Famous female guru
The Ashram of Amma – the hugging mother – a place where you can come, anyone, to be blessed and to embrace spiritual mentor. The Ashram of Amritapuri bright pink color is a huge complex where they live, servants, monks, students and families. Some spiritual meetings to collect up to 12,000 people at a time. For a small donation to the Ashram to stay for the night and to get a simple vegetarian diet.
Here, in addition to communication with the guru to try Ayurvedic treatments, yoga, meditation, practice of silence.
The Ashram of Amritapuri is located near the village of Karunagappally (10 km from the Ashram). The property is 29 km Kollam and 110 km Thiruvananthapuram. From Allepy direct buses to Karunagapalli. And yet the trip is best to lay at least a couple of days, as the Amma people come from all over the world.
The beaches of Varkala and Kovalam
Popular beaches with excellent infrastructure for tourists
Perhaps the two most important of Kerala beach, is an affordable village of Varkala and more respectable Kovalam. Both beaches are very popular with Indians and tourists.
Varkala is a small village with all necessary infrastructure (guest houses, hotels, restaurants, Ayurvedic clinics and yoga classes) on top of a hill with panoramic views of the Indian ocean. To reach the beach you have to walk down the stairs from the main street. On both sides of the open space and miles of deserted beaches with fishing villages. However, the waves in Varkala is very high, especially in spring and summer, when the South monsoon rains begin.
Other resort – Kovalam is a very beautiful Bay with crystal clear water from the high lighthouse. In Kovalam along the beach stretches a promenade with fish restaurants and guest houses. A little apart from basic infrastructure, on the cliff are luxury hotels – Leela Resort and Vivanta by Taj.
Kovalam beach is very popular among those who comes for treatment at the Ayurvedic clinic. Housing prices and the treatment is reduced by 2-3 times since April, when the South is already “off-season” however, often it is a good, Sunny weather. Within walking distance from the beach – nice village Vizhinjam with its lively fish market, mosques and Catholic churches. Just a 30-minute drive from the centre of Trivandrum.
Trivandrum – capital of Kerala
Temples and legends
It is the oldest center of trade in spices, ivory and sandalwood. According to legend, king Solomon in 1036 BC landed in the port of Ophir – the biblical country, which is famous for the abundance of gold, jewels and precious woods. According to one version, this place is located in Thiruvananthapuram.
Whatever it was, but the main Hindu temple of the city – Padmanabhaswamy eighteenth century also holds mysteries. Trivandrum was the capital of a native Principality of Travancore flourished and was famous as an intellectual center. A few years ago, in the temple with a 260-year-old found one of the biggest treasures in the history of mankind in the amount of 22 billion dollar. Archeologists suppose that the treasure was hid in the temple, the rulers of Travancore.
Back in Trivandrum, you can look at the zoo with elephants, Bengal tigers, lions, zebras and other animals.
The beaches of Kannur and Bekal
Deserted beaches and Portuguese FORTS
Less popular beaches of Kannur and Bekal are on the North of the state. These places are not often visited by tourists as Varkala and Kovalam. But the interesting thing here is not less!
These cities are on the coast as well famous medieval colonial buildings and kilometers of deserted beaches. In the Kannur should see the Portuguese Fort 1505 and spectacular ritual ceremony to they with dance and theatrical elements, which takes place in the folklore of the Academy.
The beaches of Bekal built luxurious resort where you can try traditional medicine – Ayurveda, take a yoga class, meditation and see the colorful shows and festivals. For example, an eco-friendly hotel Neeleshwar Hermitage, designed according to Vastu — the ancient Indian laws of space harmonization. The city is also worth a visit bakalski Fort of the XVII century.
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The Art Of Kerala
Theatre and dance Katakhali is a mixture of spiritual, religious and cultural performance. Meditations the actors set up the game, applied bright makeup, wearing fantastic costumes and shows popular stories from the Indian epic – Ramayana, Mahabharata, various Puranas. Drummers and singers create music plays, and the actors are bright emotions and expressive reactions on the face.
Martial art Kalaripayattu is one of the oldest on earth. Based virtuoso acrobatic stunts, and possession of a deadly weapon.
Wild dance to They is the most popular ritual performance during the harvest festival. Actors paint their faces with red paint, wearing bright exotic costumes, playing dancing to the drums of the wild deity.
The cultural capital of Kerala
Thrissur is famous as a place associated with spirituality and art.
The main temple of the city Vadakkunathan is one of the oldest in the state, made in the traditional Kerala style. The truth inside allowed only Hindus, but in the city the Catholic Church can get everyone.
In Thrissur are very colorful and noisy festivals: the Hindu Thrissur Pooram (April-may) a procession of elephants, religious Uthralikavu Pooram (February-March), a colorful dance procession Thypooya Maholsavam (February).
Yoga at the Sivananda Ashram
Retreat in the outskirts of Trivandrum
The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram founded in 1978 and most recently updated to conduct yoga classes. Classes start the 1st and 16th of each month. In the program of yoga, meditation, mantras, satsangs and advanced courses of Ayurvedic massage.
In the Ashram you can choose different courses: “Yoga holidays in 2 weeks”, “Month course for teachers and Advanced month course for teachers”, “camp”.
The wildlife reserves
Animals in the natural environment and trekking
Kerala has many national parks and reserves.
Parks in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern part of the state you can see the family of wild elephants. National Park Silent Valley is part of a biosphere reserve, which is covered with dense rain forests. In the depths of the jungle still live tribes modular and irula.
In the reserve, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary grow huge teak trees and wild animals – Gaura, crocodiles, bisons, tigers, Panthers. In the office of the tourist’s center of this Park you can organize a 1-2 day on-track, and even to spend the night in tree houses. Hiking tours can also be arranged in the vicinity of Munnar – Eravikulam and Periyar reserves.
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