All posts tagged: Kerala

Kerala: A Well-Behaved, Tranquil State; Truly A God’s Own Country

Kerala, the southernmost state of India, as I found, has some sort of warmth in its air.  Its people, despite walking fast – with their lungis, all tucked up –never seem to be in hurry. This place has some sort of force – full of magic, and if it is, it speaks for a magic that only knows the language of friendliness and peace. They say, people in Kerala are most educated, I say they are well learnt. And what makes them so qualified is the culture they follow and the kindness they preach. I always wondered what’s in this place (and perhaps in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu) that it gave India so many great teachers of philosophy – from Shankracharya to Chinmayananda, and many others; and I found the answer only when, at last, I personally visited this part of my country. Almost every other person here – from the older, more religious to the younger, more practical – live in their own world of self-effacing originality. Their lifestyle is uncomplicated, simply …

Varkala: The Dying ‘Benares’ Of South

Despite being an avid traveler myself, I often find myself writing a story, almost innocently, trying to discourage the idea of frenzied and mass tourism. I’ve seen local cultures turning into commodities when religious rituals and traditional ethnic tires reduce and sanitize, to conform to tourist expectations – as so was the case with Varkala, a coastal town in India’s southernmost state of Kerala. Once a destination is sold as a tourism product, it starts losing its originality – which, with time, brings about nothing but yet another modern tourist destination, providing us with perfectly staged, not so authentic, experiences. Varkala is a calm and quiet hamlet, having its presence on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has one of those ideal places, which has a perfect beach and a great crowd. The only thing, however, that differs Varkala among its other tropical Indian counterparts is its rich history. It was only about less than 20 years ago when Varkala, which today, has become an ideal spot to amble, for tanned westerners – was always found …

Life In The Backwaters Of Alleppey, Kerala

Tourists in their fancy houseboats seemed high in spirit, with their impressive camera doing most of the work. But in the local ferry, the atmosphere was rather regular. Here, no one appeared to be in hurry or amazed by the arresting beauty of the backwaters in Alleppey – one of the prime highlights of tourism in Kerala. I heard a lot about the backwaters of Kerala. I heard that tourists here hire a floating houseboat and wander through its maze of interconnected lagoons, canals, lakes and inlets – home to a dazzling assortment of flora and fauna, and local villages. I heard that they spend days sitting on the deck, experiencing the tranquility of this place, with a book in their hand, while swiftly sailing through one village to the other. I wanted to explore this place too, but my own way. And here I was, in a government ferry, surrounded by a bunch of locals who were heading back from the mainland of Alleppey, with all the ration they needed, and a newspaper that they’d …

In Photos: Discovering Fort Kochi By Foot

Every place has its own defining attraction. When it comes to Kochi, the cultural capital of Kerala, The Jew Town and the Chinese fishing nets make the headlines of the travel guide books. But there is much more to see and a plenty more to do in Kochi, and the best way to submerge in its romantically artistic and historic outlook, is by travelling on foot. Ideally Kochi has two parts, the new Kochi (South Ernakulum) and the old harbour part (popularly known as Fort Kochi). Fort Kochi can easily be the most non-Keralite city. It does not give you the Kerala we picture in our mind. It does not have the relaxing house boats, nor does it have the ever-expected views of street-lined coconut trees. Expect something more refreshing when you’re here. From the smell of spices in its small streets, to some of the most colourful architecture in India – Fort Kochi has its own charm, and remains the favourite destination for tourists, over the new Kochi. Its narrow and confined streets seem …