Saturday, July 24, 2010

god's own country

Kerala – The land of spices!

Think of Kerala, think of spices! India is world’s leading country in producing spice with Kerala being the primary producing state. Ginger, cardamom, chilly, cassia, clove, kokum, cinnamon, nutmeg – you name it, you get it! But, Kerala is not only about spices. On one hand you get to see the serene and calm backwaters in Poovar and on the other hand there is the mystic Munnar hill. The state also has one of India's best beaches, the Kovalam beach.

The crescent-shaped Kovalam Beach is divided into three parts. The southern-most beach, Lighthouse Beach, is by far the most popular one. The middle beach, adjacent to it, is called the Hawa Beach, whiles the northern-most beach, Samudra, is the most laidback and secluded.

Not only can the beach lovers, animal lovers too go to Kerala! You will find one of the finest of forest reserves in India at Thekkady. Set high in the ranges of Western Ghats of Kerala is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. The park is often referred to as Thekkady. The sanctuary houses many species of wild animals and birds, the most famous being the wild Asian elephants. They make a fantastic sight when you spot them in the wild, roaming around in large herds. Photograph these magnificent pachyderms at close quarters in their natural habitat.
      Kerala culture at its best...

Kochi (Cochin), Kerala's most visited tourist destination, offers you a glimpse of the traditional Kerala culture, be it the Chinese fishing nets, the tranquil churches, the synagogue, or the remnants of the Colonial settlements. There is something for everyone! Famous for its backwaters and houseboat rides, Cochin is also a gourmet lover's paradise. The best place to look for authentic sea food is the waterfront at Fort Cochin. A string of stalls here serve hot and fresh seafood dishes. Rice Boats at Willingdon Island is known for its good cuisine, although a bit expensive. Fry's Village Restaurant on Chittoor Road is known to serve the local Aripathiri (chapattis made of rice flour) along with traditional curries.

Culturally, Kerala also offers Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art, and Kathakali dance, in which, elaborately costumed artists perform stories from the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata.

Postcard from Kerala

Kerala offers you a lot of sightseeing options making it a heaven for souvenir collectors. As souvenirs, you can take home the traditional Kathakali faces and bronze diyas (earthen lamps) to beautify your homes. You can also take home a good stock of fresh spices at reasonable prices along with the yummy banana chips! All in all, you can take home coir products, coconut shell crafts, wood crafts, wood and horn carvings, bamboo mat paintings, metal-ware, tea, coffee and a rich variety of spices.
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