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Climate in Kerala

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Kerala, a state in India that lies close to the equator is bestowed with a pleasing and agreeable 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.

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

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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 September1010332_571740662876315_1456309974_n

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

The 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.

 

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Festivals 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 festivities as one unit. Some of the famous festivals celebrated with all splendor in Kerala is as follows:

Onam

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Onam is the biggest and the most important festival of the state of Kerala. It is a harvest festival 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

vishu-kaniVishu 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

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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

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Durga Puja of Bengal, Dussehra of Bombay and the Saraswati Puja and the Ayudha Puja of the South, it 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

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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

16TVPD-KARTHIKA_16_1686925fIt is 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

07-1457333023-maha-shivratri-festival-602-07-1457330439.jpg‘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

08ctaab01-Stars_09_1679354eKerala 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

c_06.jpgThe 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

bnr04Touted 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.

 

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

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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 of Kochi 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

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The little picturesque Fort Kochi 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

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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 : https://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2016/05/09/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 Kochi.

Read More: https://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2016/06/04/bike-and-cycle-tours-in-kerala/

 

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 Kochi impatiently awaits every year, then it’s the Cochin Carnival held in the last week of December. Fort Kochi 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 the Kochi 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.

Places to visit in Kochi

To obtain an eclectic flavor and perspective of Kerala , there could be nothing more exemplar than the city of Kochi to set your foot in first. Seasoned with all best ingredients of culture, progress, architecture, people and so on, Kochi is enriched with the cream of local and international history.

The following are some of the star attractions in the land of diversity and green:

Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi

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The chinese fishing nets (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only in Kochi, outside China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing using these massive nets. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.

Fort Kochi beach

A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a memorable experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline. The coastal stretch has loads of small stalls, which make on demand mouth-watering traditional cuisines using freshly caught fish.

St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi

It is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that, his burial spot inside the church has been clearly marked out.

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Vasco House, Fort Kochi

Vasco house, located on Rose Street, is believed to be one of the oldest Portuguese houses in India. Vasco da Gama is believed to have lived here. This house features European glass paned windows and verandahs.

 

Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi

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The original church, situated in Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and named as a cathedral in 1558. The British colonists destroyed the cathedral in 1795. The current structure was built in 1905 and raised to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town, Mattancherry

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The synagogue, built in 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.

 

 

Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), Mattancherry

The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi were held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The palace is located in Mattancherry.

Bolghatty Palace, Bolghatty Island

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This Dutch palace is situated on Bolghatty island which is just a short boat ride away from the mainland. The palace has been converted to a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). The island has a tiny golf course and the panoramic views of the port and the harbour, makes it an attractive picnic spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.

Hill Palace, Tripunithura

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Built in the 19th century by the Raja of Kochi, this palace served as the seat of the Raja of the Kochi province. The palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles showing the wealth and splendour of the Rajas of Kochi, including the thone and the crown. The musuem also houses a large collection of archaeological findings. Hill Palace is located 16km east of Cochin in Tripunithura, a satellite town of Cochin.

Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort

It is the oldest surviving European fort in India, built by the Portuguese in 1503. Its situated in Pallipuram on Vypeen island.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

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Mangalavanam is a protected bird sanctuary situated right in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of many exotic and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds. Mangalavanam is located right next to the High Court of Kerala.

 

Museum of Kerala History, Kalamassery

The museum has on display spectacular audio-visual exhibits depicting the history and culture of Kerala along with many life size statues of many famous personalities and several paintings depicting Kerala history.

 

Parikshith Thampuran Museum

This Rajas of Cochin used to conduct their durbars in this impressive building located within the Durbar Hall grounds. It was later converted to a museum which has a treasure trove of archaeological findings and relics including old coins, sculptures, oil paintings and murals. The building has been taken over by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy and now houses the Gallery of Contemporary Art. All the exhibits of the museum have been moved to the Hill Palace museum.

Cherai Beach

This lovely beach ideal for swimming is located on the north end of Vypeen island, one of the many small islands just off the mainland. The beach is lined by gorgeous coconut groves and paddy fields. Vypeen can be reached by land or by boat.

Wonder La

Wonder La is South India’s largest amusement park situated 14kms from Cochin. The park includes a range of attractions including mini castles, water theme park, ferris wheel, rides, slides, shows and fountains. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the fun and activities.

Veega Land

 

Marine Drive

A stroll along the long tree-lined coastal pathway that lines the backwater is well worth the time spent, especially late afternoon or dusk. The bustling backwaters, dotted with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers and passenger boats, can be observed from this walkway that lines the coast.

 

Willingdon Island

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This man-made island was created in 1933 by sand dredged while deepening the backwaters for the Cochin Port, under the direction of Sir Robert Bristow. A while back the Airport, Sea port and the railway terminus (Cochin Harbour Terminus) were situated on this island. Today, it is the home of the Cochin Port and the headquarters of the Sourthern Naval Command. The airport continues to be the naval air station, while the main airport has been moved to Nedumbassery, 30kms north-east of Cochin. Most of the trains now terminate at Ernakulam Junction instead of Cochin Harbour Terminus.

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor

The Nehru stadium in Kaloor, has a seating capacity of 60,000 in multiple tiers. It is the fourth largest stadium in India and the largest in Kerala. The ground is lit by a set of unique convex pylon floodlights that arch over the ground. The stadium is home to both the Kerala Ranji cricket team as well as FC Kochi football team.

 

Top 10 Ayurvedic Centers in Kerala

Kerala’s ideal climate and unparalleled herbal wealth makes it perfect for the Ayurvedic Treatment. Monsoon is determined to be the best season for Ayurvedic rejuvenating therapies. During Monsoon, the atmosphere is cool and dust free. Body is said to absorb the herbal oils and medications better during this season since body pores open up at this time.

Read More about Ayurveda at : https://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2014/10/31/ayurveda-the-ancient-medicine-system-that-heals/

1.Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort

thumbThe Carnoustie Ayurveda and wellness Resort is nestled among the palm groves alongside the stunning backwaters of Kerala. The resort  not only prides itself on its scintillating location but also its calm and peaceful aura and the facilities.  It has a lavishly appointed spa, outfitted with traditional architectural touches and lovely fountains where guests have access to experts in yoga, Ayurveda, and naturopathy, and treatments that seek to assist with everything from purification and detox to anti-stress and relaxation techniques.

  1. Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village Health Resort

downloadThe Kairali Ayurvedic center is not only well known for its impeccable treatment and facilities but also its characteristic blend with nature.  The resort is set amongst 50 acres of lush land in the Palakkad district of Kerala. The highlight of the resort are the streams running alongside each cottage. According to the treatment rules, only vegetarian food is served, and no alcohol. Guests are encouraged to participate in early morning meditation and yoga . The resort has its own organic garden, and swimming pool.

  1. Kalari Kovilakom

kovilakonKalari Kovilam is a palace belonging to the ancient Vengunad Kingdom in Kerala that has been converted into a palace for Ayurveda by CGH Group. It takes its treatments quiet seriously with strict diet rules  excluding meat, leather footwear, or alcohol. There’s no TV, or any entertainment for that matter. Hymns are chanted in the evenings. Every therapy is personal and customized, often combined with yoga and other methods to provide deep healing from within and without. Even the food is served according to individual requirements. The aim, according to the resort, is to give guests a chance to start their lives over again and be reborn.

  1. Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort

somatheeram-ayurvedic-health-resortSomatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort which offers a wide range of Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation is located in Kovalam. The resort offers complete mind and body revitalization. The resort also offers soothing and peaceful cultural trysts in the Guests can enjoy cultural performances in the tranquil evenings. Its close location to the beach proves it even more attractive.

  1. Beach and Lake Ayurvedic Resort

7479508The serene and exclusive Beach and Lake Ayurvedic Resort is hidden away on an island between the Arabian Sea and the Karamana river near Trivandrum is a scenic splendor with backwaters on one side and the beach on the other. The rooms have a majestic view and the resort is bursting forth with the beauty of Yoga, Kalaripayattu martial arts, and Ayurveda

  1. Shin Shiva Ayurvedic Resort

imagesShin Shiva is a budget resort with a cosy yet professional service. The resort was birthed by a doctor with the lineage of 400 years in Ayurvedic treatment. Located atop a cliff at Chowara, overlooking the ocean and close to Kovalam beach, the resort offers a spectacular view worth seeing.  It’s around 30 minutes drive from Trivandrum airport. A wide variety of packages are offered.

  1. Sarovaram Ayurvedic Health Center

sarovaram-ayurvedic-backwaterLooking for a budget ayurveda resort, then this is one of the resort worth trying. The resort is located along the backwaters of Kerala providing a serene picturesque view. The resort is spread over three acres of garden, right on the water’s edge near Kollam. Family owned, it’s run by third generation Ayurvedic doctors. While there you can enjoy activities such as a houseboat ride along the backwaters, evening dance performance, or visit nearby villages.

  1. Ideal Ayurvedic Resort

5Another affordable option for Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala, the Ideal Ayurvedic Resort is located in Kovalam. It’s situated on the edge of a small village within a canopy of coconut palms, five minutes’ walk from Chowara Beach. Although not as luxurious as other Ayurvedic resorts, treatment is still of a high standard and is administered by doctors. Yoga and meditation complement the wide range of packages available.

  1. Ayurveda Yoga Villa

images (1)Located in the lush Wayanad district of Kerala, where nature abounds, the Ayurveda Yoga Villa offers a unique blend of Ayurveda treatment, yoga practice, and training in Kalari martial arts. The comprehensive Seven Days to Inner Peace package is worth trying. Shorter three day packages for those who want a rejuvenating escape are available. Treatments can also be tailored to your needs. Guests tend to find the atmosphere really special at this place. There’s a herbal garden and shop on the premises.

 

5 Interesting Things to do in Kerala

Kerala, 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.

In addition to some of the widespread tourist pursuits of the place, Kerala has a seen a rise in some unique but less common things of tourism interest which are given below.

Stay in Tree Houses

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Tree Houses have recently reared its head among the popular pass times in Kerala. Although a little lesser known, it is an extremely fun way to spend time enjoying the grandeur of Kerala from the lavishly constructed tree houses atop the grand trees of Kerala.

The tree houses will not fail to surprises you with its airy expanse, not to mention the amenities at hand. So you can lounge in luxury even as you indulge the child in you. The tree houses are an exceptional example of the fusion of nature with modern architecture.

Relish the company of the Majestic elephants of Kerala, Kodanad

KodanadA rural riverside village located in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, Kodanad is not only famous for its picturesque location alongside the Periyar river but also because of the famous elephant training centre. Elephants are an integral part of Indian mythology and culture. In God’s Own Country, elephants are often referred to as the sons of the ‘Sahya’ (the Western Ghats).

Kodanad  is one of the largest elephant training centres in Kerala. Earlier elephants captured from the Malayatoor forests (the forests in the East and North of Kodanad) were trained here. Since the introduction of a ban on elephant capture Kodanad has been reduced to a training centre. The famous Malayatoor Church is near Kodanad. Various activities are open to wide eyed tourists here such as elephant safari, elephant bathing etc.

Revivify your Soul on a Houseboat Journey on the Backwaters of Alleppey

IMG_9331Sit back and take in the scenic beauty of the grandiose backwaters of Kerala flanked by plush flora on the traditional Houseboats tailored to the house the necessities and luxuries of the modern world.

Read More about Houseboats at: https://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2014/11/24/kerala-houseboats/

Read about booking Houseboats with backwaterbreaks.com : https://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2015/03/03/booking-houseboats-with-backwaterbreakscom/

Neelakurinji Blooming on the Hillside

If you have a weakness for beauty in the form of blooming flowers, then Eravikulam neelakurinjiNational Park is a must visit. Watching the blooming of the “ Neelakurinji” (Strobilanthes kunthiana) which happens once in 12 years is a fascinating experience in itself. Another treat that you get on your trek up to the peak of the hill is the Nigiri Thar, an endangered mountain goat. The park remains closed in February and March.

 

Watch Theyyam in Northern Kerala

IMG_2145Theyyam is a form of worship where man dons the guise of God and propitiates the Gods through possessed dancing; Theyyam is also known by the name Kaliyaattom. The performance of Theyyam is supposed to make life prosperous and remove all hazards. Theyyam has its etymological origin from Daivam,  i.e., god in vernacular. Theyyam is performed in mainly in the North Malabar districts of Kannur and Kasargod in Kerala State, India.  If you are a big lover of art forms, then this is one that should not be missed.

Temple Festivals of Kerala

Kerala is undoubtedly famous for its luxuriant greenery and incredible natural grandeur. Its rich cultural and traditional heritages leaves no stone unturned in attempting to surpass the verdant opulence. One among the plethora of cultural feasts for the eyes are the temple festivals of Kerala. Some of the major one’s are as follows:

 Arattu at Thiruvananthapuram

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Arattu festival is a festival that is celebrated in Trivandrum in the famous Padmanabhan Temple. In Kerala, arattu festival is celebrated as a closing ceremony of a 10-day festival in Kerala. The Arattu festival in Kerala is celebrated twice a year, once in the months of October-November and one more time in the months of March-April. The festival actually refers to the procession that takes place as a closing ceremony of the 10-day festival at the temple. Read on further to know more about Arattu festival of Kerala, India.

On this occasion, the ex-Maharaja visits the temple at Trivandrum and performs certain rituals. After the rituals, a grand procession is taken out of the temple. The procession comprises of beautifully ornamented elephants with the idol of Lord mounted on the front elephant. Drummers and musicians playing musical instruments accompany these elephants. While the procession leaves the perimeter of the temple, a salute of 21 guns is given as an honor. The procession progresses slowly towards the Sanghumugham beach.

The Maharaja also accompanies the procession amidst tight security. On reaching the beach, a ceremonial dip is taken in the sea. Slowly the procession heads back to the temple thus marking the end of the 10-day festival.

Ambalapuzha Arattu

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The Sree Krishnaswamy temple at Ambalapuzha dedicated to Parthasarathy was established by the Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran in the year 790 M.E. He offered his state to Sree Krishna and ruled the country as his regent after assuming the name of Deva Narayana.

The Arattu festival of this temple commences with the flag hoisting ceremony on the Atham day in Meenam (March-April). The important Arattu Utsavam, however, takes place on the Thiruvonam day in Meenam.

‘Velakali’ is an important feature of this festival. The famous Ambalapuzha Palpayasam (a milk pudding of exceptional sweetness) is the important offering of this temple.

 Aranmula Uthrattathi

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The Aranmula Uthrittathi is celebrated with a ritual boat race held during the Onam festival. Legend has it that a boat carrying offerings to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple was under attacked by enemies. People from the neighboring areas sent their snake boats to protect it. This has now evolved into a snake boat race, presented as an offering to Lord Parthasarathy.

 

Attukal Pongala

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Attukal Pongala (also known as the Sabrimala of women) is considered the largest congregation of women in the world. Women all over the city cook their offerings and bring it to the Attukal temple. ‘Payasam’ – a sweet dish made with rice, jaggery and banana is an integral part of this offering.

 

Adoor Gajamela

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An annual 10 day long celebration is held at the Parthasarathy Temple in Adoor, and the Adoor Gajamela is the highlight of it. Nine elephants in their ceremonial attire are paraded, as hundreds of visitors throng the temple gates to witness the regal spectacle.

Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha

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The Chettikulangara Temple near Kayamkulam celebrates the Bharani Utsavam in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February-March). The highlight of this temple festival is Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha. As part of the Kuthiyottam ceremony, young boys are required to fast, and are taken in a ceremonial procession to the temple to the tune of music, the beating of drums and ornamental umbrellas. For Kettukazhcha, local residents worship decorated effigies of chariots, horses and dieties and take part in a ceremonial procession.

Chittoor Konganpada

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Konganpada is celebrated in the Bhagavathy temple at Chittur in the month of Kumbhom (February-March). It is meant to commemorate the victory of the Nairs of Chittur over the militia of Konganadu (Coimbatore) which the Goddess Bhagavathy is believed to have orchestrated.

 

 

Chottanikkara Makam

Chottanikkara

Chottanikkara Makam is an auspicious day observed at the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple. The Murti of Goddess Bhagavathy is given a ritual bath, after which it is accompanied by Lord Shastha and eleven elephants to an open ground until noon. The deity is clothed in regal attire and adorned with jewels. It is also believed that prayers offered during this time will be answered.

Ettumanoor Festival

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The Ettumanoor festival is celebrated in an ancient Siva temple about 12 Km North-East of Kottayam. The arattu festival of this temple is celebrated annually in a grand fashion on the Thiruvathira day in Kumbham. Multitudes flock to the temple on the 8th and 10th day of the festival when seven and a half elephants made of gold are displayed for public view.

Guruvayoor Festival

Guruvayur

The Guruvayur festival begins on the day of Pushya in the month of Kumbham (February-March), and culminates with the Aarattu on the 10th day. The rituals are served to purify and energize the deity’s powers. The cultural festivities include a variety of processions, bright lights, decorative arches and non-explosive fireworks. Homes are freshly painted and buildings are decorated with lights, plantain trunks, coconut bunches and arecanuts.

Haripad Temple Festival

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The Thaipooyam Festival is a one-day affair held at the Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple. Devotee carry kavadis (decorated wooden arches) on their shoulders and perform a ritualistic dance called Kavadiyattom as they proceed to the temple. Some devotees also pierce their cheeks with long arrows and perform a tantric dance as an offering to the gods.

Kanathurkava Uthsavam

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The Kanathurkavu Temple in the heart of Kannur celebrates its annual festival in April each year. Thousands throng the premises to witness the Theyyattom – a dance ritual of the Goddess Mahadevi.

 

 

 

Kappally Kumbham Thira

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The Kappally temple conducts its annual Thira festival between the 3rd and 13th days of Kumbham (February-March) every year. The 12th day is considered the most important day of the festival.

 

 

Kodiyettu Uthsavam

The Kodiyettu Utsavam is a festival dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathy, celebrated in memory of the temple’s consecration. It commences on the Makayiram day in Vrischikam (November-December) and ends on the Uthram day.

Kodungallur Bharani Utsavam

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The Bharani festival is well known for it’s spectacular event called kaavu theendal. For this ritual, oracles from various parts of the state arrive at Kodungalloor Bhagavathy temple. The men and women run around the temple in a trance, smiting their crowns with swords and proclaiming their communion with the Mother Goddess. The devotees strike the temple rafters with sticks and throw their offerings over the roof in to the inner quadrangle of the temple.

Koodalmanikyam Utsavam

The historic Koodalmanickam temple situated in the Manavalassery village is an architectural masterpiece. The deity, Sree Bharatha is worshiped here and the annual festival is conducted during the month of Medom (April-May).

Kumaranalloor Thrikarthika Uthsavam

Thrikkarthika is celebrated in the month of Vrischikam (November–December). On the Karthika day, devotees visit the Udayanapuram and Thrissur Vadakkunnatha temples and present their offerings. Legend has it that the gods of these two temples where enamored with the beauty of Devi as she returned from her bath. They hopped over the compound walls to look at here, and were finally met at the walls by temple priests. So, during Karthika, puja is performed over the walls of these temples. There is also a magnificent display of lights in the evening, called Karthika Vilakku, which is the highlight of the celebrations.

Kalapathy Ratholsavam (Chariot Festival)

The Sree Viswanathaswamy Temple at Kalpathy holds an annual 7 day chariot festival, and the last three days are called the Kalpathy Ratholsavam. The 700 year old temple celebrates this festival with Vedic recitals and a massive procession of decorated temple chariots drawn through the streets by thousands of devotees.

Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam

During the Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam festival, the major theyyam forms of Kerala are performed amid thousands of visitors. The festival itself is a riot of colours and pageantry, making it very attractive to onlookers.

Lokanarkavu Uthsavam

The Lokanarkavu Bhagavathy temple is situated at Memunda in North Kerala. It celebrates two festivals annually in the months of Vrischikam (November-December) and Meenam (March-April). The festival in Vrischikam is called Mandalavilakku and is the more important of the two.

Mannarsala Utsavam

Mannarsala, situated near the Sri. Subramanyaswamy temple in Haripad, is the seat of the famous temple of Nagaraja (God of Serpents). The temple itself is build in a grove and is known to have 30,000 images of snake gods. On the day of Ayilliam in the months of Kanni and Thulam (September and October), all the serpent deities in the grove and temple are taken in a procession and are offered Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk), Kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime) and cooked rice.

Nellikulangara Vela

The temple of Nellikulangara Bhagavathi attracts many visitors who seek to invoke the blessings of the Goddess. Their annual festival is conducted in the 20th Meenam (March-April) every year. During the festival, an image of the deity is placed on a richly attired elephant and taken on a procession. To accompany the procession, there is a live band, fireworks and a lot of pageantry.

Sharkara Bharani and Kaliyootu

The Sarkara Bhagavathy temple is situated in the Sarkara village, close to the Chirayinkeezhu railway station. This temple celebrates the Kaliyoottu festival in Kumbham and the Bharani festival in Meenam (February-March). Kaliyootu is actually a commemoration of the fight between Darika and Bhadrakali.

Sundareshwara Temple Festival

The Shri Sundareshwara Temple was founded by Shri Narayana Guru in 1916 and it’s dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple conducts an 8-day long festival in the months of March- April every year.

Thrissur Pooram

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The Thrissur Pooram is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May). The 200 year old festival displays a spectacular procession of elephants and drummers for a whole 36 hours. Unlike other temple festivals, the Thrissur Pooram is celebrated by all residents, irrespective of religion, caste or community.

Thirunakkara Uthsavam

The Mahadeva Temple at Kottayam is located on the Thiruvakkara Hill. It is a famous Siva temple, known for its historical significance, antique heritage and sanctity. The temple conducts a 10-day long Arattu Utsavam in the 1st Meenam (March-April) which attracts hundreds and thousands of devotees.

Thrichambaram Uthsavam

The Thrichambaram temple is dedicated to Sree Krishna and is located in the Taliparamba village. The temple’s annual festival lasts for 14 days from 22nd Kumbaham (February-March).

Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple Arattu

This temple’s annual 10-day long Arattu festival is celebrated in the month of Meenam (March-April). It commences with a Kodiyettu (Flag hoisting) on Karthika day and ends with the Arattu on Uthram day.

Vaikathashtami Festival

The Vaikathashtami Festival is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and is held during November or December at the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple.  This annual celebration held at the temple is a 12 day long affair, held during the dark lunar fortnight in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam.

The Ashtami falls on the last day, and at dusk, deities from neighbouring temples are brought in a ceremonial procession. All the deities are worshipped and offered presents, and then an Arattu is performed in a pond close to the temple. The festival also features various classical dances and cultural celebrations.

Uthralikavu Pooram

Uthralikkavu Pooram is a festival held at the Shri Rudhiramahakalikav temple, situated at Wadackanchery in Thrissur district. The temple’s annual Poornam festival is held during February / March every year.

As you can see, there is no dearth of festivities in Kerala. Do plan your next Kerala trip around the festival season, and join us in the celebration.

When you plan your Kerala tour package, do consult with your  tour operator. He will be able to guide you  and make arrangements to visit the right festival according to the season.

Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with Backwaterbreaks.com and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!

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Food on Houseboats, Kerala

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A cruise on the lush green Kerala backwaters is nothing short of a spiritual and rejuvenating sensation, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. The alluring backwaters coupled with the picturesque flora flanking the either sides is a marked feast for the eyes and food for the soul. Add it up all up with the exquisite Kerala Cuisine, and the vacation would give you a hint of the ultimate nirvana that all aspire for.

A houseboat cruise on the Kerala backwaters, opens door to a cuisine enriched with exotic tropical fruits, vegetables, cereals, fish and chicken garnished with the distinctive aroma of pepper, cardamom, chillies, and cloves-spices. In short, a cuisine that’s simply divine!

The cuisine offers a blend of home style cooking with creative selections of savoury spices and robust ingredients in dishes that explode with flavour.

What makes it different?

In addition to the assortment of spices used to pep up the dishes, in Kerala, the utensil used for cooking determines the taste and nutrition of the dish as well. Terracotta, bamboo, brass, bronze, copper or leaves etc are used to bring the rich flavours onto your tastebuds.

What kind of cuisine does the Houseboats follow?

kappachakkakandhariKerala and Kerala 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. Houseboats also pride themselves on having a large tourist clientele from outside of the country, places such as the United States of America, and European countries such as Italy, Spain and France.

imagesOne of the most traditional drinks of Kerala is the coconut water which is sweet and is most often served as a welcoming drink to the passengers on board. Coconut water is also given to the same passengers in between meals and as beverages as and when the passenger demands. Breakfast in houseboats in Kerala mostly comprise of the quintessential south Indian foods 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.

Food in houseboats also includes dinner which comprises mostly of the varied Indian cuisine like rotis, chapattis, dal, chicken curry made in the authentic Kerala style, and other kinds of vegetables. Most of the cooking and storage in the Kerala houseboats are dealt with utmost care and cleanliness. They take great care to ensure that the food is of high quality and the passengers have the best tastes of their lives.

An Approximate Sample Menu Onboard Houseboats

Deluxe Non 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

Deluxe Pure Veg Menu

Welcome drink

LUNCH

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.

Travelling in Alleppey- The Venice of the East

 

Alappuzha or better known as Alleppey, is the heart of Kerala’s backwaters, and home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. It is a small but chaotic city, with a modest grid of canals that would compel you to agree to its illustrious title ‘Venice of the East’ . The moment you take a step towards the west to the beach or in practically any other direction towards the backwaters, you would undoubtedly be blown away by its grandiose and picturesque greenery and the watery world of villages, punted canoes, toddy shops and, of course, houseboats. The best experience would prove to be floating along and gazing over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most spiritually rejuvenating and mesmerizingly beautiful relaxing experiences.

It’s easy to get around Alleppey on foot and one can come across many interesting old trading houses along the canals while taking a relaxed stroll down the quiet little streets, enjoying the relaxed pace of village life.

Among the several highlights of Alleppey, the most noteworthy one to point out would be the leisurely houseboat cruise through the enchanting backwaters engulfed in the entrancing landscape of palm-fringed banks, quiet water-bound villages, Chinese fishing nets, prawn farming and coir manufacture. Alleppey bowls one over with its labyrinth of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers crisscrossing it.

 

How to Reach Alleppey

Kerala is well connected by a network of roadways and waterways. Alleppey is one such city with well planned out transport systems, making it easily accessible to all those looking to uncover and enjoy its beauty and serenity.

By Air

Reaching Alappuzha by Air is the easiest and fastest means to reach the Venice of the East in Kerala. The nearest airports are the Thiruvananthapuram, 150 kilometers away; Kochi, 85 kilometers away; and Nedumbassery, which is equally close to Alleppey.

Traveling to Alappuzha by Air is hassle free and the tourists can also make a last minute booking in the online sites of the airlines. The tourists can fly down to Thiruvananthapuram Airport, which schedules regular domestic flights to this place. There are facilities of hiring cars near the airport terminals. Alleppey by Airways is also possible through the Nedumbassery Airport, which is only 85 km away from Alappuzha.

The visitors can also board flight to Kochi International Airport and reach by rail Allepey Station or take the roadways to Alapuzzha on NH47, which also connects Salem to
Kanyakumari. Alleppey by Air is the shortest and fastest route to the divine land of Kerela. Alappuzha is one of the most popular destinations for the tourists in south India.

By Train

Reaching Alleppey by train is easy from any part of India. Specially South India is very well connected to Alappuzha by regular trains. Any major city of South India or central India is connected by rail to Alleppey.

The visitors can board a train from the metropolitan cities and reach Alappuzha. The time required Traveling to Alleppey by train depends on the route of the train and the distance required to cover. Alappuzha railway station is a major station, which link every important city in India. This railway station is easily accessible throughout India. There are direct trains to Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam and also to further North from this station.

Alleppey by railways is very easy specially from cities like Kochi or Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, New Delhi, Chennai, Bengalooru or Bangalore, Coimbatore, Mumbai or Bombay and Kolkata. Alappuzha by train is a journey accompanied by serene landscape in the backdrop.

By Road

Reaching Alleppey by Road is a memorable journey surrounded by the greenery of Kerela. Alappuzha is well connected to all the major roads and highways not only in its own state but also to the rest of South India. The national highways connect Alleppey to the entire India.

Alappuzha is well-connected to almost all the major cities by road. Traveling to Alleppey by road is a pleasurable experience because of the surrounding atmosphere. The visitors can drive down to Alappuzha along the well connected road network transportation to all the major cities and towns of Kerala and the neighboring states.

Alleppey Changanacherry Road is one of the major roadway of the city, that starts in NH 47. This road directly connects Changanacherry from Alappuzha. It also connects Pallathuruthi Bridge and then leads towards other main places of Kerela. A number of interconnecting roadways to different parts of South India makes traveling to Alleppey by roadways very easy. National Highway 47 crosses Alappuzha. The visitors can reach Alleppey by road conveniently because the road conditions are good.

Alleppey Travel Tips

Journey to Alappuzha is exciting and involves being prepared to be swept off by the glistening backwaters and an absolutely fantastic green backdrop.

Alappuzha is a clean paradise and a storehouse of colorful marine life. The best time to visit Alleppey is during the months of August to December. Alappuzha is well connected to all the places of India by air, rail, road, and waterways. There are several tourist destinations in Alleppey like Pathiramanal, R-Block, Karumadikuttan, Kumarakodi, Krishnapuram Palace, Saradha Mandiram, Mavelikkara, Alappuzha Beach and Sea View park and many more.

Stay in house boats are lifetime experience in Alleppey. This is one of the most popular activities , that relax the visitors completely and erase all the stress of daily life. Some houseboats work in tandem with the ayurvedic centers of Kerala as well. Fishing, learning cooking in traditional methods, a walk through the villages in evening, shopping, strolling leisurely along the beaches etc are  some of the activities that can be taken up during the stay there.

The travelers should preferably  wear loose and comfortable clothes and carry torch, mosquito repellent, mobile chargers, and compulsorily sun tan creams. Carrying some necessary medicines is also a must keep in mind thing, not just for the backwaters trip but just about anywhere

Places to visit in Alleppey

http://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2014/09/27/places-to-visit-in-alleppey/

Shopping in Alleppey

Shopping in Alleppey for coir products is a fascinating and feasible experience. Alleppey is famous for its coir products and carpets. Alleppey offers glimpses of the coir manufacturing process-from the coconut husk tot the final rope/coir yarn stage. There are also several shops selling coir matting and carpets. The fine quality, variety and reasonable price tag make these products stay high in the demand list of tourists. Alleppey is also famous for its pepper, coconut oil, areca nut, cardamom, and sugar.

 Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with Backwaterbreaks.com and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!

https://backwaterbreaks.com/

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