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What is a deluxe houseboat service and how to book it?

Kerala Houseboats

It was in the year 1991 that the Kettuvallam Houseboat (Rice Boat) ( Read More: https://goo.gl/WAuEME ) for comfortable cruise in the backwaters of Kerala was first launched. Most of the latest designs incorporate 3 bedrooms with toilets, a living space and kitchen. There are two main types of houseboat Services offered in the Alleppey Backwater: The deluxe houseboat service and the premium houseboat service. Each varying according to the kind of services offered, ranging from the availability of the Air conditioning to the kind of flexibility with the food on board.There are several variations ranging from lesser rooms to large living space and maybe a deck balcony at the roof level. Normally, the platforms that cantilever from the hull are used as balconies. Innovative changes have been made to accommodate modern fittings. For fixing the toilet seats, shower tray and ceramic floor finish a concrete slab is laid at the floor level. These toilets are made of steel cabinets with a network of steel meshes on which beneficial bacteria are grown with the help of a catalyst named actizyme.

One of the three main types of Houseboat Service frequently used in the backwater tourism is the Deluxe Houseboat Service: To provide this service, a houseboat must include facilities such as front living area and bedrooms with a beautiful wooden ceiling with overlapping logs to give it a contemporary feel. The bedrooms of the deluxe A/c Houseboat often have complete glass windows stretching across most of the wall to offer the guests a complete and uninterrupted view of the backwaters while travelling. It is  less expensive, with the air conditioning operational between the time 9pm to 6 am, and a common menu during the night cruise. During a day cruise on a deluxe houseboat service cruise, the air condition service would not be available since it is usually operational between 9 PM to 6 AM..

An Approximate Sample Menu Onboard Houseboats

Deluxe Non Veg Menu Deluxe Pure Veg Menu
Welcome drink

LUNCH

Rice

Sambar

Mixed Vegetables Thoran (Carrot, Cabbage, Beans)

Mezhukupurathy (Long Beans)

Fish Fry (Pearl Spot / Seer Fish)

Banana Kalan

Pappadam

Salad

Pickle

Tropical seasonal fruit

EVENING

Coffee or Tea, Banana Fritters

DINNER

Chappati

Dal Curry

Chicken Roast

Vendakka Mezhukupurathy

White Rice and Raitha

Salad

BREAKFAST

Tea /Coffee

Bread, Jam, Butter, Omlette.  OR

Iddly, Sambar. (By default) OR

Dosa, Sambar. OR

Poori Masala. OR

Idiyappam and Kadala Curry / Egg Roast. OR

Appam and Vegetable Curry / Egg Roast. OR

Puttu and Kadala Curry

Welcome drinkLUNCH

Rice

Sambar

Mixed Vegetables Thoran (Carrot, Cabbage, Beans)

Mezhukupurathy (Long Beans)

Banana Kalan

Pappadam

Salad

Pickle

Payasam-Vermicelli

Tropical seasonal fruit

EVENING

Coffee or Tea, Banana Fritters

DINNER

Chappati,

Dal Curry

Aloo Gobi

Cabbage White Thoran

Vegetable Salad

White Rice and Raitha

Vendakka Mezhukupurathy

BREAKFAST

Tea /Coffee

Bread, Jam, Butter.  OR

Iddly, Sambar. (By default) OR

Dosa, Sambar. OR

Poori Masala. OR

Idiyappam and Kadala Curry OR

Appam and Vegetable Curry  OR

Puttu and Kadala Curry

The menu usually varies according to customer preferences and the cruise owners often go out of the way to make sure that the travellers’ taste preferences are catered to, to a great extent.

Book your houseboats cruise with www.backwaterbreaks.com

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Why Backwaterbreaks.com is the best website to book Kerala houseboats online?

Kerala, God’s Own Country, is famous for a multitude of things. One such thing that pops up into any traveller’s mind when they decide to pursue a vacation in this beautiful land is the cruise on the invigorating backwaters of Kerala. But then one simple search on google, “best place to book Kerala backwater cruise”, throws at you a zillion results; a plethora of Cruise operators who offer different kinds of service,and different kinds of houseboats. This is where backwaterbreaks.com steps in. We make your life simpler by filtering through all of these houseboats and converging the best of the service and boats available onto a single platform for your deliberation.

What do we actually do?

Backwaterbreaks.com draws together the best of the houseboats, owned by different cruise operators, in the Kerala Backwaters onto the online platform. This makes available to you the prices, the services, the facilities and so on available on each of these boats for your careful scrutiny and comparison. The different certified cruise owners list their houseboats on the website with the pictures and relevant details pertaining to the listed houseboat such as the facilities, availability, seasonal rates, and so on. These details are cross verified by the backwaterbreaks.com team to ensure the authenticity of the cruise owners.Once you find the cruise option that fits your criteria, we let you book it online using your debit/credit card through our secure payment system.

What is the booking process?

The process is simple and requires you to open backwaterbreaks.com, enter the date you wish to commence your travel and the number of fellow travellers. Our efficient search engine brings you the required details at the click of your finger. If the dates don’t work for you or the number of people travelling went wrong; you can always mod7479508ify your search on the results page. Once you have finalized your criteria, the click on the “Request Booking” sends your request with the specific criteria to the corresponding houseboat operator to check for availability.

Once the availability is confirmed by the cruise operators, you may choose to pay and book it or reject it and look for other options.

Why should you book with us?

There are a zillion cruise operators who offer houseboat services. They often offer it as a part of packages via tie ups with tour operators or directly lease out right at the deck or by providing information online. The prices usually varies according to season and festivities. Backwaterbreaks.com makes your life simpler in a lot of ways.

Authentic houseboat owners

houseboat

One of the common problems faced by travellers worldwide is the disparity between the details provided by the individual cruise operators and the actual services provided especially in regard to the photographs of the houseboats and the actual houseboats they receive when they go on a cruise.

Not only does Backwaterbreaks.com perform a strict verification process to confirm the validity of a cruise operator, but Backwaterbreaks.com also ensures that “what you see is what you get”.As per Backwaterbreaks.com policy, it is mandatory that  the owner provides the exact boat he/she confirmed on the website.

Houseboats at local market price

At BackwaterBreaks.com, the owners who register with us are required to add the original running(seasonal) market prices of each houseboat they own. Hence the prices are the original ones without any inflation or hidden costs. The hefty cuts that may be cut otherwise with the involvement of middlemen is completely eliminated.

Highly secured payment gateway

bbBackwaterBreaks payment is backed up by one of the most renowned payment gateway in the world, Stripe (https://stripe.com). With Stripe, we accept payments in more than 130 currencies. You can make a booking in your local currency  and we will do the hard job of converting it to INR and transfer it to the houseboat owners.

Book in the comfort of your home

BackwaterBreaks offer a hassle-free and honest booking experience. Book your next Kerala vacation in the comfort of your home. You can book it through your laptop, tablet or mobile, whichever the device your booking experience will be seamless.

What should I expect on a Kerala houseboat trip at Alleppey?

The first visualization that would pop up into the mind at the mention of a houseboat or a cruise would probably be the sparkle off a modern cruise boat but add Kerala in front of the “houseboat” or “cruise” and you have a novelty promising a spiritual and rejuvenating journey. India is a land of chaos and mystery, so it is only natural to wonder what is actually going to happen in one of the famous ” backwater houseboat cruises” of Kerala.

So what exactly is a houseboat?IMG_9180

Originating from the need for transporting men and materials on the Kerala backwaters, the houseboat has its origins in the “Kettuvallams”, made from local and eco friendly; bamboo poles, coconut fibre, ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. The onset of modern transportation  soon turned these into remodelled luxurious houseboats that are now one of the chief attractions of the tourists.

What makes it special?

While there may be five star resorts and other luxurious accommodations for experiencing a tranquil vacation, the houseboats offer a rustic experience, bringing the travellers in touch with the grandeur of nature.

What kind of amenities do I expect on it?

Four bed - 3

Most of the latest designs incorporate bedrooms with toilets, a living space and kitchen. There are several variations ranging from lesser rooms to large living space and maybe a deck balcony at the roof level. Normally, the platforms that cantilever from the hull are used as balconies. Innovative changes have beenFour bed -6 made to accommodate modern fittings. The amenities vary depending upon the kind of package that you have chosen. Some of the facilities include dressing mirror, luggage compartment, writing table, wardrobe, attached bathrooms,television, music system, and air-conditioning.

How long do the cruises last?

There are two types of cruises: day cruises and overnight cruises. Usually the overnight cruise is suggested by most people. Check-in time for day cruise is approximately 11 am while checkout time is 5:00 pm. For overnight trip check-in is usually around 12 pm while checkout is next day 9:00 am (the timings vary with cruise operators). According to Govt regulations, Houseboats are usually not allowed to move from 5:30 pm to morning to allow fishermen to work, hence they are usually docked, near the banks, for the night.

What kind of cuisine does the Houseboats follow?

onaKerala houseboats in particular are famous for its reputation for good sea food. Of course, sea food anywhere is expensive but because of the proximity of the state to the seas and oceans, sea food tends to be cheaper in Kerala. But depending on your budget and liking, food served in Kerala houseboats can vary. However, most often the houseboat foods includes fish and vegetarian food because that is what is most often demanded by the customers. Breakfast in houseboats in Kerala mostly comprise of the quintessential south Indian imagesfoods such as idly, dosa, sambar, with hot tea or coffee. During lunch most of the times, the menu will include foods such as different kinds of fish fry and they are also accompanied with different kinds of chutneys, papad and different kinds of sweets. During most evenings in the house boats, the passengers are given tea and other snacks which may or may not be south Indian. They could be from different parts of the country depending upon the kind of Kerala house boat package you have chosen.

 Do I get alcoholic drinks on the Houseboat?

The stringent licensing requirements by the Kerala State Government has its effects on the houseboats and consequently the boats do not have a bar or stock alcohol. Some cruise operators maybe okay with you carrying your own alcohol , or buying (at request) you beer from the local shops.

Which is the best time to go for a Houseboat Cruise?

The pleasant and equable climate of Kerala makes it a favorable place to visit throughout the entire year. Winter and summer (October to March) are the peak tourist seasons. A cruise in the houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala, or experiencing the beauty of sunset over the Arabian sea from Kovalam beach during summer and boating in the Thekkady lake, or trekking the highlands of Kerala during winter,all are sure to be experiences worthy of being cherished throughout life. But for those, who really want to enjoy the day under the cloudy sky, and feel the bracing scent of the wet soil, revitalizing the body, mind and soul, monsoons are meant for you.

Climate Variations in Kerala

climate
Kerala, a state in India that lies close to the equator is bestowed with a pleasing and agreeable climate through the entire the year. Kerala owes this blessing with its nearness to the sea as well as the fort like Western Ghats on the east. Having a diverse geographical feature, the climate of Kerala is also diverse with mainly 4 seasons : Winter, Summer, South-West Monsoon and North-East Monsoon.

Following are the main Seasons affecting the Climate

Winter Season

The receding north west monsoons in Kerala marks the onset of winter ranging from the month of November till the middle of February. Although the temperatures between seasons do not vary much in Kerala, this period often experiences a slightly lower temperature when compared to the others. The highlands of Kerala, where the climate is cool throughout the year, winter temperatures often fall below 10°C. Winter season in Kerala witnesses the lowest amount of rainfall.

Summer Season

climate

As the days fly by in the month of February, it is accompanied by an increasing temperature with low rainfall and slightly humid weather. Summers in Kerala are cool and pleasant, thanks to the Western Ghats which prevent the dry northern winds from entering the state and the Arabian sea for the cool breeze that blows towards the land providing it with a moderate temperature. Erratic rains accompanied by lightning and thunder is another feature of the season. Starting from March, summer season continues till the end of May or the beginning of June and is concluded with the outset of monsoons.

South West Monsoon in Kerala : Southwest monsoon is the main rainy season in Kerala. This season ( Edavappathi – as the rains starts by the middle of the Malayalam month Edavam ) begins by the end of May or early June with the outset of the southwest monsoon winds. The next few months are periods of torrential rain. Lying on the windward side of the Western Ghats and being the first state to be hit by the monsoon winds, Kerala receives copious rainfall. Almost 85% of the rains received in Kerala is contributed by the monsoons. The slopes of the Western Ghats are among the places in India which receives the highest amount of rain. Most of the rivers of Kerala are fed by the monsoons. The southwest monsoon in Kerala lasts till the end of Septemberclimate

North East Monsoon in Kerala: Also known as the Retreating Monsoon or the Reverse monsoons, northeast monsoon hits Kerala during the return of the southwest monsoon winds. These rains (Thulavarsham – as it rains during the Malayalam month of Thulam) are in the months of October and November and sometimes lasts till December. Heavy afternoon rains accompanied by thunder and lightening is the main characteristic of the season. Days are warm and humid but there is not much variation in temperature.

Climatic condition of the Earth has been changing over the past few year. This global change in weather have their effect on Kerala as well. The information provided here is based on the details available over the past 50 years.

Best Times to Visit Kerala

climateThe pleasant and equable climate of Kerala makes it a favorable place to visit throughout the entire year. Winter and summer (November to May) are the peak tourist seasons. A cruise in the houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala, or experiencing the beauty of sunset over the Arabian sea from Kovalam beach during summer and boating in the Thekkady lake, or trekking the highlands of Kerala during winter,all are sure to be experiences worthy of being cherished throughout life. But for those, who really want to enjoy the day under the cloudy sky, and feel the bracing scent of the wet soil, revitalizing the body, mind and soul, monsoons are meant for you.

Monsoon tourism in Kerala is gaining more popularity year after year. Monsoon tourism allows tourists to explore the intrinsic beauty of Kerala with a feel of adventure. Government of Kerala and Kerala tourism department is promoting Monsoon Tourism in Kerala.

 

Book Houseboats with https://backwaterbreaks.com/#/

Different things to do on your visit to Kerala:  https://backwaterbreaks.blog/uncategorized/things-to-do-on-your-trip-to-kerala/

10 Authentic, Must Try Kerala Dishes

Kerala, ‘The land of spices’, has no paucity when it comes to delectable varieties of authentic dishes. With copious amounts of spices and seasonings topped by the touch of coconut flavor, each dish vies for the attention of a traveller’s taste buds.  

Here are 10 of the must try dishes of the authentic Kerala Cuisine:

Appam with stew

9131600_origAppam is a Keralan staple made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. It’s similar to a thin pancake with crispy edges. These crepe-like bowls are made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water and a little sugar. Ishtu or stew is a derivative of the European stew and consists of coconut milk, cinnamon, cloves and shallots, eaten with appams. The stew may also feature mango pieces, vegetables, chicken or lamb. The addition of aromatic whole spices, ginger and fresh coconut milk enhance the natural flavor of the vegetables. The crucial ingredient is fresh coconut milk, which lends a sweet flavor.

Karimeen pollichathu (fish)

food0This is one of Kerala’s traditional delicacies. Karimeen or pearl spot fish is a speckled fish commonly found in the backwaters of this state. This is traditionally a Syrian Christian delicacy but has become part of Kerala’s rich cuisine. Pearl spot fish is marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, red chillies, and other ingredients, wrapped and baked in plantain leaves, giving it a unique flavour.

Puttu and kadala curry

images
This is a breakfast staple eaten all over the state. Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake cooked in a mould with grated coconut. It’s usually served with kadala curry, a dish of black chickpeas made with shallots, spices and coconut milk, that can also be served with ripe bananas and grated coconut.

Erissery or pumpkin and lentil curry

331_topThis is a popular curry in Kerala, made from either raw plantains or sliced yams. It also usually includes slightly sweet pumpkin that has been boiled in water with salt, chillies or pepper, dried lentils, grated coconut, turmeric powder, cumin seeds and garlic, served on a bed of rice. It appears on most menus at religious festivals like Onam.

Palada payasam (dessert)

A sweet rice kheer prepared with palada is a delicacy made in almost all Kerala households during the festival of Onam and many other special occasions. There are many variations of it, however, the traditional recipe uses only basic ingredients like rice ada, milk, sugar and ghee. Rice ada is easily available in Indian Kerala grocery stores.

Malabar Parotta with Kerala beef curry

parottaLayered flat bread that originated in the Malabar region called Parotta is made by kneading maida (plain flour), egg (in some recipes), oil or ghee and water. The dough is beaten and later shaped into a spiral with thin layers. The ball is rolled flat and roasted into a Parotta with ghee. This is then eaten with beef curry – pieces of beef simmered in a curry made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and star anise.

Kerala prawn curry (chemmeen curry)

This is a signature dish of the state – a prawn curry from the Malabar region made with a blend of fenugreek, black mustard and fennel seeds, coconut milk and green chilli. It also includes a special ingredient called kudampuli (also known as brindleberry) to give it a sour taste, plus it uses marinated prawns, drumsticks and raw mango to give it a spicy, tangy flavour.

Thalassery biriyani

imagesA rice biriyani is the most common dish of the Muslim community. Thalassery sea port was a centre for the export of spices where European, Arab and Malabar cultures came together and influenced the cuisine. Thalassery biriyani uses a unique, fragrant, small-grained, thin rice variety named kaima. The biriyani masala and cooked rice are arranged in layers inside the dish. Meat is cooked with the masala on a low heat and layered with rice before the lid of the container is sealed with dough. Hot coal or charcoal is then placed above the lid.

Fish moilee

FishA famous Keralan fish stew made with coconut milk, which is a typical Syrian Christian delicacy. The curry is usually prepared in a traditional manchatti (earthen vessel) and stews lightly fried fish in coconut milk, and spices like turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and cloves along with fresh green chillies to give it a tangy taste. The fish (usually kingfish or seer fish) is marinated with oil, turmeric, red chili powder, lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes before being used in the curry.

Banana fritters (dessert)

Pazham pori
or Ethakka appam are juicy banana fritters feature as a DSC_0734-Largetraditional tea time snack. They’re available throughout Kerala and are simply ripe bananas coated with plain flour and deep-fried in oil.

Festivals Celebrated in Kerala

Kerala in addition to being endowed with profuse flora and myriad fauna, is also rich in culture and festivities. Every festival involves a multitude of art forms showcased with all pomp and show ranging from vibrant music and dance to elaborate elephant processions and amazing fireworks. Kerala is truly God’s own country in the respect to its secular celebration of all religious festivals as one unit. Some of the famous festivals celebrated with all splendor in Kerala is as follows:

Onam

festivals
onam sadhya

Onam is the biggest and the most important festivals of the state of Kerala. It is one of the biggest harvest festivals and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm all over the state by people of all communities.

Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). This corresponds with the month of August-September according to Gregorian Calendar.  It is a festival of flowers stretched over 10 days. It features traditional songs and dance performance like thiruvathira Kathakali, feasting, various indoor and outdoor games and boat races. According to a popular legend, on this day, the great, mighty and kind demon king of the region known as Mahabali returns to his people every year after he was condemned to live in abyss as a result of one of the deceitful ploys of God Vishnu, which he played to save the Kingdom of Gods from him but granted him an annual trip to his people. Onam celebrations ensure a colorful reception of the great King Mahabali. The legend is believed to have happened at Thrikkakara, the legendary capital of King Mahabali.

Vishu

festivals
Vishu kani

Vishu Festival heralds the beginning of New Year in Kerala and is celebrated in a big way in the state of Kerala and the adjoining areas of Tamil Nadu. Vishu falls on the first day in the Malayalam month of Medam. When the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini nakshatra—it is celebrated as Vishu. It is said that what one sees when one first opens one’s eyes on Vishu morning is an indication of what one can expect in the year to come. Thus on Vishu, effort is made to assure one opens one’s eyes before an auspicious image—the Vishukkani.

‘Kani-Kanal’ is prepared in big pots comprising of coconuts, fruits, cereals and Konna flower in the night before the festival and behind the pot, a mirror and the garlanded deity of Krishna are kept. It is the first thing that people see as a good omen when they get out of bed and ask for the blessings of the God. In Kerala, the Kani in the temples of Guruvayur, Ambalapuzha and Sabarimala are famous.

Eid Ul- Fitr

festivals
Eid

One of Islam’s most important festivals, Eid ul Fitr is the culmination of the month-long period of fasting and austerity known as Ramzan or Ramadan. It is believed that the Holy Quran was revealed during the month of Ramzan, and in commemoration of that sacred revelation, Eid is celebrated on the day following the sighting of the new moon.

Family gatherings, fireworks and much feasting round off the festivities. People wear new clothes, houses are decorated, friends and relatives visit each other to exchange greetings. The highlight of banquet tables is the sweet milk-and-vermicelli pudding known as ‘seviyan’- because of which many people refer to Eid ul Fitr as ‘meethi’ or ‘sweet’ Eid.

Navaratri

festivals
navaratri

Durga Puja of Bengal, Dussehra of Bombay and the Saraswati Puja and the Ayudha Puja of the South, is a 10-day long festival devoted to Saraswati, the goddess of learning. In Travancore especially, the Navaratri is a state ceremony celebrated with great magnificence since the times of Padmanabhapuram when the Maharaja of Trivandrum stood in the Verandah of the ‘Karivelappura Malika’ in front of the Trivandrum temple and threw money to the masses standing below.

Deepawali Or Diwali

festivals
Diwali

Deepavali is the festival of lights and crackers and sweets and is celebrated to commemorate the riddance of the world from the oppression of the Naraka by the god Krishna. The chief feature in the celebration of this festival is the oil bath early in the morning.

Trikartika

festivals
trikartika

It is a festival celebrated to commemorate the birth of Goddess Bhagvati. The houses are illuminated and people flock to the temple of the goddess and make offerings. In the evening, women go out to worship the goddess.

Maha Siva Ratri

festivals
shivaratri

‘Maha Siva Ratri’ or the great night of Siva, is celebrated in the month of March. On this day, people fast. The celebration of this festival at Siva temple at Alwaye on the banks of the Periyar River is a splendid one. The Lingam of Siva is worshipped for the entire night. A fair is held on a very large scale featuring shows, dances and dramas.

Christmas

festivals
christmas

Kerala is known to be the best destination in South India and is famous for celebrating Christmas. Kerala is certainly famous for its celebration of Onam with all the glitz and similarly, Kerala also loves to celebrate Christmas.Everyone in Kerala irrespective of religion, imbibe the true spirit of christmas by decorating their homes, and taking part in all the festivities associated with the festival. Kerala is also known to have some of the most artistically constructed churches.

Thiruvathira

festivals
thiruvathira

The festival of womenfolk of Kerala, it is celebrated to commemorate the death of Kamadevan, the cupid of Hindu mythology and then was granted an eternal spiritual life to him by Lord Siva. The maidens of the Nair families perform rituals since early morning and enjoy swings accompanied by songs and music. Special delicacies are prepared and a dance known as Thiruvathirakali or Kaikottikkali is performed by a group of women dancing in a circle around a lighted brass lamp wearing traditional dresses and singing exclusive Tiruvathira songs.

Thrissur Pooram

festivals
thrissur pooram

Touted by UNESCO as “the most spectacular festival event on the planet”, Thrissur Pooram, celebrated in the month of April/May, is literally a behemoth of festivities that surpass everything else. On the day of Pooram, the sight of beautifully clad fifty or more elephants passing through the streets of Thrissur on the sound of beating drums is simply otherworldly. But this glorifying sight of the creatures isn’t the only highlight of the Thrissur Pooram, for the 36 hour long celebrations of the festival are undertaken with utmost discipline, following a proper schedule that begins with routine puja and ends with grand display of fireworks that match the best in the world.

Read more about Top 21 religious places to visit in Kerala

Visit Backwaterbreaks.com to book your houseboat today!

Different Things To Do in Kochi

The scenic city, Kochi is located on the southwest coast of India, Kerala. A port since the ancient times, the city has been touch of Arab, Chinese and European influence. The city reflects of these influence through its motley architecture, customs and so on. Some of the interesting things to do while on a trip to Kochi are as follows:

1. Visit the Kathakali Center
baner3
The Kerala kathakali centre popularly known as school  of traditional arts established in Kochi since 1994 is the kerala’s foremost arts school and an authentic theatre where kathakali,music,martial arts and other dance forms are demonstrated in traditional style extolling the rich culture and experience of the Kerala’s art forms. They offer performances as well as classes for those interested.

2. Boat ride

houseboatThe state of Kerala is renowned for its backwaters and one among them is the backwaters, offering a pleasurable experience with the presence of water birds, wildflowers and lush greenery along its banks. The backwaters separating Ernakulam from Fort Kochi and Mattanchery are dotted with several small and mid-sized islands.

3. Exploring and Shopping in Fort Kochi

Promenade-shops

The little picturesque town is dotted with European heritage and a cosmopolitan temperament. The best way to explore is by walking through and discovering the Chinese fishing nets, the St Francis Church which once housed Vasco Da Gama’s grave, the trendy restaurants and little cafes and of course, some lovely boutique shopping. It’s a tourist friendly spot, with lots of foreigners as well as locals.

4. Pilgrimage

049130210kuravilangad_Main_thumb

Kerala has a variegated belief system influenced by its historical and cultural inheritance inclusive of a touch of the foreign influence. Worshipped religions include Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and plenty more. Kochi provides a small glimpse into its diverse belief system with a plethora of places for pilgrimage and spiritual enlightenment.

Read more : Top 21 religious places to visit in Kerala

5. Bike Tours

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One of the most trending ways to view this beautiful land is the adventurous biking and cycling tours of Kerala. There are many in the market offering a variety of bike and cycle tours all over the city.

Read More: Bike and Cycle tours in India

6. Kochi Biennale

Kochi-biennale-boatThe Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi, Kerala. It is the first Biennale being held in India. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an initiative of the Kochi-Biennale Foundation with support from the Government of Kerala . The exhibition is usually set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. The shows were held in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.

7. Kochi Carnival

3529510470_a799868d2d_bIf there is one festival the whole of Kerala impatiently awaits every year, then it’s the Cochin Carnival held in the last week of December. The city is decked up like a bride and tourists, not only from within the country, but also outside, flock to this lovely port city to participate in the revelry. The inception of carnival can be traced back to the Portuguese New Year revelry, held here during the colonial days. Gradually, it evolved to take the form of what is today popularly called the Cochin Carnival of Kerala.

Visit Backwaterbreaks.com to book your houseboat today!

Bike and Cycle Tours in Kerala

Kerala-ST.jpgKerala, one of the well known tourist destinations in the world has time and again stayed true to its title of “God’s Own Country” with its plush green sceneries and rejuvenating aura. There is no dearth of exhilarating experiences when it comes to tourism in this green splendor of a state tucked away in the south western corner of India.

One of the most trending ways to view this beautiful land is the adventurous biking and cycling tours of Kerala. There are many in the market offering a variety of bike and cycle tours all over South India currently, especially Kerala.

Not only do they take care of the travel but also the safety and the route.If you are a solo traveller, there is no dearth of rentals offering bikes for ride. 

Following are some of the people who offer cycling or biking tours in Kerala:

Kerala Bike Tours (http://www.keralabiketours.com/) was founded in 1999.

The owner and Tour Leader Daniel, with over 100,000 miles and 20 years experience of India and her roads has refused to compromise on his core objectives; Combining a love of India, her people, scenic beauty and culture with a strong passion for motorcycling, the corners, the character and longevity of the timeless Enfield Bullet to give you.

Responsible Travel (http://www.responsibletravel.com/holiday/3750/cycling-holidays-in-kerala)

This company was started in 1999 by two friends with a passion to introduce the great outdoors of India to global travellers to India. In a shift from normal run-of-the-mill tourism, they encouraged travellers to go out and ‘feel’ the place through people, experiences and local food. From a small repertoire of tours when they started out, the company now covers the whole country in a wide canvass of activities; like bird watching, wildlife safaris and experiential journeys that involve unusual adventures in the remotest parts of the country. In the bargain, they introduced kayaking in the fascinating backwaters of Kerala, great trekking & cycling challenges across the Western Ghats and youth travel to the remotest villages amidst these mountains’.

Spiceroads (http://www.spiceroads.com/tours/kerala)

The SpiceRoads family began back in the mid 1990s, when Hamish Keith was creating, operating and leading ground breaking cycle tours throughout Thailand and in emerging destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for well known companies such as Exodus Travels and World Expeditions and his own company the Wild Planet.

This well-planned eye-opening cycling tours provide an active immersion into local cultures, languages, scenery and, of course, the most delicious of foods. By combining legendary service and rare opportunities for cultural experiences, our travel philosophy continues to excite, enthuse, and positively impact every guest.

Mountain Bike Kerala (http://www.mountainbikekerala.com/home/our-destinations/kerala-singletrack)

The Mountain Bike Kerala began in the year 1996 and consists of a  small team of passionate MTB and cycle enthusiasts who ride and guide on the trails they love to ride. Since 2005 they have guided riders from World Champions to new enthusiasts on some of the most stunning trails on earth.

Top 21 Religious Places to Visit in Kerala

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Kerala is colored with a multitude of shades ranging from natural beauty to cultures and traditions. One highlight from amongst this being the revered places of worship. Not only is Kerala overrun with a plethora of floral grandeur but it is also packed with an assortment of religious splendor. Each of these places of religious pilgrimage breathe its own unique and mystic stories with roots entrenched over more than a 1000 years.

Some of the praiseworthy spiritual and  sacred places are as follows:

1.Sabarimala

7430_1416108040Sabarimala (in Pathanamthitta) – is an august Hindu site of worship, famous for its deity Lord Dharmasastha or Ayyappan  believed to son of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. The saintly god, is always in meditation, believed to give darshan only for 41 days in a year starting from 1st of Malayalam Month of Vrishickam (16 or 17th of Nov) till last week of December, which is known as Mandalam Pilgrimage. Mandalam Pilgrimage is reported to 2nd largest pilgrimage in the world, with nearly 300 million devotees from all over world reaching here. The appearance of celestial flame in skies on Makara Jyothi day (Mostly on mid of Jan), is one of the most auspicious day. This is one of the most crowded places in India during the pilgrimage season from November to January. Also, temple authorities do not allow women into the temple grounds, supposedly to avoid tempting the deity, as being the lord considered as a chronic bachelor. The temple is open only on 41 days during Mandalam (Pilgrimage) Season as well as on 1st day of each Malayalam Month. Ideally male tourists can choose the second option, as best time to visit. Ladies above 60 and girls below 12 are permitted in. The temple is well known for its secularist values. A visit to nearby mosque (Vavar Palli), considered to be tomb of Muslim warrior Vavar, believed to Lord Ayyappa’s friend, is a must before entering the main temple.

3. Guruvayur

anayottamThe Sree Krishna temple located in the Thrissur district of Kerala is one of the most important pilgrimage centres in India. The temple is one among the 108 Maha Vishnu temples of India and is is believed to constructed by Deva Guru (Guru of Gods) as well as Lord Vayu Deva (God of winds) on orders of Lord Krishna, during his death time. The temple also includes a deity worshiped by Lord Krishna during his lifetime in Dwaraka (Gujarat) and brought to Kerala, after Dwaraka was taken over by seas. The temple is lauded for its murals and sculptures. The temples follow stringent rules which prevents non-hindus from entering its premises

4. Sree Padmanabha Temple

The temple located in the heart of the Thiruvanathapuram city is one of the 108 Great Vishnu temples. The Lord, Sree Padmanabha is an unique form of Lord Vishnu, in a sleeping posture which is rarely seen else. This temple holds a very important position in Kerala History, as the Lord Sree Padmanabha was crowned as Emperor of Travancore in 17th century and all the later rulers of Travancore ruled the state in his name and with designation as Sree Padmanabhadasa(servant of lord padmanabha).

5. Ettumanoor-Vaikom-Kaduthurthy Temple:- The Trio of Temples located at Ettumanoor, Vaikom, Kaduthurthy temples (all located in same road with a distance of 20 to 30 Kms between each), in Kottayam district of Kerala, are popular Shiva temples, believed to have been established on the same day, its sacred to visit all the temples within a Day. Very famous for its large super imposing structures at Vaikom and Ettumanoor Templs. Ettumanoor Temple is also well known for its Seven and a Half Golden Elephants (Idols) which are taken out during festivals.

6. Kodungallor Temple

The temple situated in Kodungallor, Thrissur District on NH 17, is a very famous Devi temple, that highlights the historical relation between the Ancient Tamil Empires of Chera, Cholas and Pandyas. This temple is believed to have Kannakki (Heroine of Ancient Tamil epic-Silappadikaram) in a fiery form, after destroying Madurai. The temple was built in 1st century AD by Chera Emperors. Thus, many unique ancient tamil customs still adorn the temple culture. The Goddess is believed to be Goddess of Epidemic and worship helps to control it. The sacred red turmeric of the temple is said to be highly effective against diseases like chicken pox etc.

7. Churches

Some of the prominent churches are the follwing: 1. Syro malabar church (syrian catholics) 2. Latin Catholic Church 3. Syrian Orthodox Church(Jacobites) 4. Indian Orthodox Church 5. Syro malankara church 6. Marthoma syrian Church 7. Various Protestant Churches

8. Seven and Half Churches- Ezharapallikal

St Thomas the Apostle, after landing at Kodungallur in AD 52, established seven and half churches for Christian communities. These churches are known as Seven and Half Churches or Ezharappallikal.

The seven churches are located in different parts of Kerala. The church established at Thiruvithamkode (Thiruvamkode) in Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu is accorded the status of a half church.

  • Paliankara- (Kodungallur – Azhikode), 40 km from Trichur: Diocese of Irinjalakuda
  • Palayoor (Near Chavakkadu & Guruvayoor), 28 km from Trichur: (Arch) Diocese of Trichur
  • Kottakavu (North Paravur): (Arch) Diocese of Ernakulam – Angamaly
  • Kokkamangalam (Alappuzha Dt, 5 km from Cherthala) St Thomas Church, This is also headquarters of Archdiocese of Ernakulam – Angamaly
  • Niranam, Nr Thiruvalla: St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Niranam (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church)
  • Kollam: The Headquarters of Diocese of Kollam
  • Chayal (Nilackal), Nr Sabarimala, Pathanamthitta Dt: Ecumenical Church, Kerala
  • Thiruvithamkode, Kanyakumari Dt, Tamilnadu (Half church): Orthodox Syrian Church, Tamilnadu

9. Malayattoor Kurisumudi church

This is an important Christian pilgrimage centre near Angamaly. It is believed that St. Thomas held his prayer at the top of this mountain after being attacked by some tribes when he landed in Kerala. Due to his meditation, the rock where he sat started bleeding and a golden cross appeared. Due to this belief, a pilgrimage to this mountain is considered one of the most holiest among Indian Christians. The most important pilgrimage season is the days just before Easter, when hundreds of thousands of devotees climb the rocky mountain by foot, with a heavy cross on back, recreating the painful Last Journey of Christ. A kiss on the holy rock is considered as most divine moment. The hilltop church is located 10 km away from the town of Kalady.

10. Korattymuthy

The name of the church means Hail Mary of Koratty. It is also known as the Lourdes of South India and Vailankanni of Kerala. Korattymuthy shrine is also known as ‘Our Lady with Poovan Bananas’. This Marian Apparition is situated in Central Part of Kerala. Offering of ‘Poovan Bananas’– a special variety of plantain and ‘Muttilizhayal’ are major offerings in this pilgrim centre. In the month of October, during the Feast of Korattymuthy, major pilgrimage travel is seen on this Holy Place.

11. Cheraman Palli (Cherman Juma Masjid), Kodungallor

India’s oldest mosque and World’s 2nd mosque built in 629 AD soon after Medina Mosque in Saudi Arabia. This Mosque was built converting Kerala’s Chera Emeperor’s Palace into a mosque on his orders, after Cherman Perumal’s (The Great Chera Emperor) conversion to Islam. Due to traditional relations with Arabia, soon after formation of Islam, champions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) came to Chera Capital of Kodunagallor (Muziris)and demonstrate Prophet’s miracle. This made Chera Emperor to convert into Islam and expressed his desire to meet Prophet. He met the Prophet, married sister of Nejd King and settled at Muscat, where he died and his tomb exists there today. As per his last wish, his royal palace was asked to convert to mosque, which resulted in formation Cheraman Palli. The original mosque was destroyed during Great Periyar floods in 1341, and several later mosques on its same site were destroyed during various wars and raids. However the current mosque was recently rebuilt. The important legacy of this mosque, is its effective harmony with Hinduism and adoption of several Hindu customs into its system. The Royal Lamp used by Cheras are still used inside the mosque and one of the most important highlight. The Mosque is built in traditional Hindu Kerala architecture with lot of murals, hindu motifs etc and several traditional Hindu lamps is used. A white block of Marble blessed by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) brought here from Makkah. Unlike other mosques which normally faces westwards towards Makkah, this mosque faces towards East (as Makkah mosque was not built, at time of Cherman Mosque as well as following Kerala Hindu system of facing eastwards). Most of Muslim festivals as well as Hindu festivals particularly nearby Thiruvanchikulam Temple festival.

12. Kanjiramattom Mosque

The mosque is situated at Kaniramattom, 20 Kms from Kochi. This mosque is the right example of antique beauty of mazhars and dargahs. This was an official temple classified by Kochi Maharajas and most of the Imams (Priests) are chief scholars at Kochi Raja’s court. The annual Chandanakudam in January attracts many pilgrims. During the festival, pilgrims carry pots smeared with sandalwood paste in a procession to the mosque, with caparisoned elephants and percussion musics – both found in temples – form essential parts of the Chandanakudam festival.

13. Palayam Pally, located in heart of Trivandrum, is the principal mosque of Trivandrum. It is a Juma Masjid (Friday Mosque). The Mosque is one of the largest in Kerala and famous for its regular sermons. The mosque was established with patronage of Travancore Kings.

14. Thazhathangady Juma Masjid,Kottayam:- is a mosque situated in Thazhathangady, one of the Heritage Zones of Kerala near the town of Kummanam. It is one of the oldest mosques in India and is more than 1000 years old. It is famous for its richness of architecture, wood carvings and the beauty. This mosque is situated on the banks of the Meenachil river. Thazhathangady Juma Masjid is also called as the “Taj Juma Masjid”. The ancestors of this Masjid came and settled in Kottayam, from different parts of Kerala.The Muslims who lived here played an active role in Freedom Struggle and other National Movements. This mosque is known for its intricate wooden carvings and architecture and looks similar to Kerala Architecture.

15. Chempittapally;West Kochi

The name “Chempittapally” is derived from the Malayalam word “chemp” (means bronze) and “palli” (means mosque). The roof of this famous mosque was decorated with bronze tiles, hence chempitta pally. The compound has 3 gates; one in west which opens way to Panayapilly, second in south which opens way to Goldenmukku and Kochangadi, and the main gate in the eastern side of compound, which opens way to Angadi, which in turn leads the way to Jew Street and Mattancherry Bazaar towards the north and to Chullickal towards south.

16. Odathil Palli(Odathil Mosque) Thalassery; is a famous 300 year old Mosque. This land originally belonged to Dutch, who had started a sugar cane farm and a Garden (Odam in Dutch means Garden), which was transfered to East India Company who gifted this land to a Muslim contractor. He built a small mosque, using Sugarcane stem to make a Dome and Minaret. This was the first mosque to have a Dome and Minaret, which was laid by Hindu Zamorin Ruler, marking the great tolerance. This is famous among tourists to visit, as its historic tradition and a mosque in pure typical Kerala Hindu style and a golden dome covering over its original sugarcane dome.

17. Jain Derasar in Mattancherry(Kochi) – This derasar is dedicated to Theerthankara Shree Dharmnath Swamy. It has completed 100 years and has become a Theerth. A sthanak is also there inside the big temple complex. There is a big Jain Community in Kochi. It was built by Gujarathi Community who have settled here for past 200 years for trading. Its more popularly known as Gujarathi Temple. A must visit for any tourist in Kochi, due to its towering North Indian Architecture.

18. Jain Derasarin Alleppey – This temple is located in Allepey (Allappuzha) which is also known as the Venice of the east. It is very calm and quiet temple. Allepey has a very small Jain population.

19. Jain Derasarin Kozhikode city – There are 2 temples inside the temple complex of which one is over 2500 years old and has 1000 pillars.

20. Karumadi-Kuttannear Ambalapuzha, which has a small shrine dedicated to Lord Budhha, worshipped by locals as Karumadi Kuttan.

21. The Statue of Buddha at Mavelikara, in Alleppy district has the largest statute of Buddha, nearly 4 four feet sized. This is the most preserved statute of Buddha in Padmasana posture. A small shrine is constructed around it, though no rites are performed.

 

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