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Kerala, The Land of Trees

by on July 2, 2007

Kerala is a green strip of land, in the South West corner of Indian peninsula. It has only 1.1 8 per cent of the total area of the country but houses 3.43% of the the country’s population. Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters.

There are a thousand things that you can do like embark on an enchanting journey on the speckled backwaters on a kettuvallom, a fully furnished traditional rice boat, venture in to the very heart of the paddy fields, on narrow dykes with water passage running through the muddy path, cross water bodies with extremely narrow bridges or watch the natives do so. You can even drift across cheerful and colourful banks in a country raft or tread a treadmill used for irrigation even today.If you have an experimenting palette, you can feast here relishing the traditional panorama of vellayappam, Uppuma, iddli, puttu, masala dosa, appams, vegetable/meat stew, kappa and meen curry, hot red fish curry with steamed tapioca or boiled rice. If you are not the one dish at a time person, just can roll your sleeves and savour a multi course feast of rice, 15 vegetarian dishes, spicy pickles, crunchy banana chips, crispy pappadams, plantains and payasam- the dessert. Served on a plantain leaf, the meal is eaten with the fingers. Apart from all this, sip on coconut juice all throughout or relish the soft white flesh, natural and healthy. Indulge with a swig of toddy or fresh madbura kallu prepared from sweet toddy extracted from the coconut palm. Teem it with exotic karimeen pollichathu (baked fresh water fish) or spicy pickles. If you are a fish eater, visit the Malabar Coast and at Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi and take your pick from the inviting display of juicy sear fish, sardines, prawns, red snappers etc. and ask the fishermen to fry it the local way for you for an unforgettable snack.

Having toured and eaten to your heart’s fill, you can now turn your focus on something lavish…Keralan sarees. With thousands of colours, pattern, fabric, embroidery to choose from, Kerala offers something to suit every pocket. This five metres of fine off-white cotton edged saree with golden zari that lends an extraordinary elegance to the person wearing it, is woven from traditional handloom. Run around with gajras or a string of jasmine flowers adorning your head along with the swish sash of the patt pavada. Kerala is the spice capital of India and you cannot leave the place with a bagful of these aromatic spices.
The more adventurous can visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady and go on a safari in an elephant. Try following the tiger trail and spotting one, apart from the numerous egrets, herons, Siberian stork, darters, teals and hundreds of other migratory birds found here.

If you are a luxurious traveler, you cannot return without pampering yourself to an authentic Kerala massage. The options range from rejuvenation therapies like Shirodhara, Navarakizhi and Pizhichil to medicated treatments like Panchakarma processes of Vamana, Virechana and Raktamoksham etc.

Kerala is a magical place that offers so much to see and do, and yet leave you yearning for more. The addictive charm of the place mixed with the hospitality of the people and the fast urbanization definitely makes Kerala one of the most sought after destinations of today.

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