Kerala: "Gods Own Country" has the lushest landscape in India
and can be found on the South Western coast just 8 degrees from the equator.
It is one of the richer states in India and boasts a high degree of literacy.
The climate is tropical, averaging around 30 for most of the year,
rising to 34 in April/May and dropping slightly in June/July.
There is usually no rain from December to March and occasional downpours
during April and May. The monsoon rains 'officially' arrive in June and
are heavy until August when it is more likely to rain at night only.
August and September are particularly pleasant months to visit Kerala,
it is ONAM (harvest festival) time, there are few tourists and it is quiet
and 'fresh' after the heavy rains.
Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala, built over 7 hills it is
a colourful and vibrant city with cinemas, museums, shops, restaurants
and temples. The largest temple is Sree Padmanathaswamy Temple at East
Fort and it dominates the fort area.
Kovalam is a popular beach resort attracting Western and Indian
tourists to its 'laid back' atmosphere. High season it can be busy by
Indian standards but happily it is far from being a package resort. There
is only one charter flight a week from England and no sky rise hotels,
all inclusive resorts or discos. There's very little nightlife as such:
watch a video movie in a beach restaurant, enjoy a cultural dance performance,
sit and chat or people watch. Maybe send and receive emails from an internet
cafe for less than £1 per hour or simply admire the night sky. Whatever
In the day, the sea is great for swimming and body boarding but can be
quite strong, so be wary of the undercurrents. There are lifeguards on
the beach during season time and flagged areas for safe swimming. You
can also use the swimming pools at a number of hotels for a nominal daily
Changing money is quick and simple with the money change kiosks in Kovalam,
or slightly more time consuming in the bank at Kovalam Junction. There
is an ATM machine at the H.S.B.C bank in Trivandrum that accepts most
Eating is inexpensive and a real delight for fish eaters or vegetarians.
Tasty freshly prepared food is cooked to order with as little or as much
spice as you like. The majority of restaurants are not licensed, but will
sell you beer if you keep the bottle under the table! Bottled drinking
water is widely available so do avoid drinking tap water.
A ‘must do’ while in Kovalam is the cookery class at the Lonely
Planet Restaurant. Shiva, the owner, makes it look so easy and is very
Travelling is also
not expensive; hiring a taxi for a day is a comfortable way to sightsee.
We will happily help you arrange taxis (with a trusted driver as your
guide) if required.
Good day trips include Kanyakumari on the most southern point, Ponmudi
Hill Station in the Cardamom hills, Neyyar Dam with the Sivananda Ashram
and Lion Park or ask Sivan about taking a short backwater tour from his
home village of Pachalloor. It's a very scenic and relaxing trip and fantastic
N.B: Away from the beach area you should dress modestly covering your
legs and shoulders.
Travelling further from Kovalam along the coast, you can visit Alleppey
and spend the night on a converted rice boat or take the all day backwater
cruise to Quilon, perhaps stopping at Vallikavu to get darshan (a blessing)
from Amma, a renowned local guru. Go to Cochin, the commercial capital
of Kerala: browse round the antique shops in Jew Town and see the Chinese
Fishing Nets at Fort Cochin.
Come inland to Thekkady to visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary then travel
up 1800 metres into the hills of the Southern Ghats to reach Munnar Hill
Station and tea plantations. Travel by local bus and train to have a real
picture of India, finding accommodation as you go.