Just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit Kerala in Southern India as part of the Kerala Blog Express. A tourist board invited group of 30 bloggers from all over the world. Getting to experience the wonders of everything the beautiful state of Kerala had to offer was absolutely “A Trip of a Lifetime”.
We stayed in a wide range of places from high end resorts right down to budget hostels and even spent a night camping in the Western Ghat mountains which run the length of the state.
Dotted along the coast of the Arabian Sea in Fort Kochi, the chinese fishing nets are a massive tourist attraction. The large net is lowered into the water using a series of ropes and levers catching everything alive below the surface of the water, even capturing some things not quite so alive.
For a small fee the local fishermen will allow you to operate the rig and bring in your own haul of fish.
The opportunity to spend a night on board one of the traditional House Boats on the Kerala Backwaters was simply amazing. The staff, yes staff, on the board prepared all the meals, sailed the vessel and basically waited on us hand and foot. This was the most relaxing portion of the entire trip.
Perfect for potential honeymooners, the backwaters offer so much more than you would expect from the negative connotations associated with the word ‘backwaters’. A series of canals and lakes mainly used for irrigation of the local farmland, but providing a very high end tourist experience at the same time.
The colours we experienced everywhere we travelled through the state were spectacular. From the ornate offerings on arrival at each stop to the clothes worn by the staff and locals in each town we passed through. Here two ladies out walking along the backwaters caught my eye. The attention to detail in their dress and demeanour shows a very different side to India that most people wouldn’t expect to find on the sub continent.
Tea is one of the big earners in Kerala and across India. It’s grown in extremely large plantations in the Western Ghats across the entire state with these amazing views becoming almost standard fare from the bus daily. The plantations provide both employment and business opportunities with small vendors offering cups of tea along the roads.
The actual preparation of the tea is an art form in itself, the local tea makers really know how to make a show and provide entertainment to the customer while they actually brew the cuppa.
Alongside the irrigation and the tourist opportunities, the backwaters are also where most people would wash daily, both their bodies and their clothes. It’s also a recreational facility for the local kids with groups of children playing in the water the whole way along our journey on the waterways.
The canal’s are also used for transport with boats and canoes essential for everyday living and just getting from place to place. People of all ages make their way to work, school and anywhere else along the big blue watery road.
Thanks to Kalypso Adventures we had the experience of staying in tents along the shoulder of the Western Ghat mountains but first we needed to get to the camp site. This meant a half day hike through the mountains overlooking the beautiful Silent Valley National Park. The views were absolutely stunning throughout the entire trip and between the tea plantations and the jungle like foliage it was a breathtaking morning.
There is nothing quite like watching a majestic animal in it’s natural environment, roaming free and doing it’s thing. We’d seen a fair number of elephants as part of arrival ceremonies and the occasional festival we attended during the two week stay, but getting to see a small family of elephants strolling by the lake as we observed from a boat in Periyar National Park was certainly one of the highlights of the entire trip.
Those are some of my favourite photos from the trip. Have you been to Kerala, what were your favourite things about your trip to God’s Own Country?