India has been the receiver of immense publicity in the global arena for all the wrong reasons in the recent past. Given the scenario, travelers hesitate before booking their tickets to the country. Is it worth the risk? Will I too have to fear for my safety? ; are some of the million questions nagging at their heads before planning a trip to India.

The good news is, the Indians have not been lying back doing nothing; Indian tourism arena is changing with the changing times and requirement. If it be the railways which currently have police patrolling the bogeys or the safety on the streets; all areas have been looked into in regard to providing safety for the numerous visitors to the country.

Kerala was named as one of the “ten paradises of the world” and “50 places of a lifetime” by the National Geographic Traveler magazine(National Geographic Traveler – Editor’s letter). Kerala is a state wedged between the Western Ghats on the eastern side and the Arabian Sea on the West, thus having a wide range of topography from high altitude mountains to golden beaches and is criss-crossed by 41 rivers. The tributaries, unique backwaters, lagoons and numerous small islands provide many scenic attractions for visitors.

Kerala compared to the rest of India has high levels of women empowerment and status. Kerala ensures better safety than any other state owing to the rapidly changing socio-economic culture.

Having said that, the smartest way to travel to any country would be to initially comprehend the customs and cultures of the place so as to avoid any sort of awkward moments during the trip.

This includes being aware of the perception of the natives in regard to the body language, attire, customs, and beliefs and so on. It is important to respect the culture and society of every country in the world. The same goes for India; miscreants are here as in every other part of the world. It is important to take measures and precautions accordingly and be prepared for the travel.

Some of the important things to take note of while traveling down to Kerala are as follows.

Culture

Kerala has a modest and conservative culture with the cities like Cochin being more liberal than the other regions. The people are tolerant with the biggest example being the existence of different communities living in total harmony and peace. Dressing should be modest and comfortable as most parts of Kerala except the cities follow conservative dressing. Avoid hugging or kissing at public places as this is not a common norm among the natives and might raise unwanted attention. It is also a custom to leave the footwear at the door while entering the Kerala households.

People

Personal information, plan and details of accommodation and travel should not be shared with strangers. It is best to keep a check on the body language to avoid misinterpretations and confusions. The natives are usually very friendly and helpful.

Monetary Transactions

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that visitors can bring. However if you have foreign currency notes of more than US $5,000 or equivalent and/or foreign exchange including currency of more than US $10,000, or equivalent, you will have to make a declaration in front of the customs officer. Banks are open for transaction from 10:00 – 15:30 hrs on weekdays and from 10:00 – 12:00 hrs on Saturdays. Credit Cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. It is also advised to carry less cash as there are ATMs available at most destinations.

Most favorable visiting time

The peak season falls between September and May while the monsoon programs range between June and august.

Travel Kit

Travelers are advised to carry modest but comfortable outfits (preferably cotton) along with hats, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion etc. Emergency medical supplies can be bought off any medical store in the state.

Food

Indian food is generally spicy and it would be advisable to specify in advance about your tastes and preferences before placing an order. It is best to opt to eat from suggested and known places than local places as not all places can guarantee high hygiene standards. Always carry bottled or boiled with you and avoid unsafe water from taps for drinking

Accommodation

Plan and book the accommodation well in advance from reliable sources to eliminate the chances of being duped.

Temple codes

some temples do not permit entry to non-Hindus. Strict dress codes are followed in most of the temples. Footwear is banned inside the temple premises. Some places allow photography while others strictly prohibit it.

Transport

It is best to book taxis from reliable companies than those locally available off the stands or from prepaid counters. Try booking Rickshaws from the prepaid auto stands as much as possible. It would be best to avoid traveling alone late at the night.

Smoking and Drinking in the Public

Smoking and consumption of alcohol is prohibited at public places and is a punishable offence.

Important Contacts

Police control room: 100

Fire station: 101

Ambulance: 102, 108

Police Helpline:

While traveling on Highways (Highway Alert Number): 9846 100 100

While traveling in Trains (Railway Alert Number): 9846 200 100

Website: www.keralapolice.org

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