Kerala is called ‘God’s own country’ but I had heard that in the monsoon season, it looks even more beautiful that it looks in the other seasons. The beauty and serenity makes it feel like heaven. It’s so clean and green.
Weather in Kerala is pleasant throughout the year due to nearness to the sea and Western Ghats on other side. There are two monsoons seasons -: South-West Monsoon and North-East Monsoon. South-west monsoon starts from May-June and continues till September and Western Ghats gets the 1st rainfall.
Obviously watching sunset over the Arabian Sea while sitting on the Kovalam beach would be a romantic idea, but getting drenched under the cloudy sky and being in the huge tea estate will revitalize the mind, body and soul. So I chose to go to Kerala in the monsoon.
From Delhi to Kochi it was 3-hour flight journey, which was spent with half-sleepy eyes. By the time we reached Kochi or Cochin it was 9:30 am, and a cab was already waiting outside. We made a small halt for quick dosa-idli and filter-coffee breakfast and we were off to the mountains taking rounds & rounds that led towards Munnar. Some 135 KM away and at 6000 ft height, we were in between the misty sky and waterfall flowing among the greenness. Via a quick trip to spice garden (quite like our Sri Lanka trip, where the cab driver takes you to spice garden, elephant ride & shower) we entered Munnar. Quick tip – if you are in Munnar, buy some tea for sure and spices too.
Our hotel was overlooking the tea planted mountains and a small school, where bells rang every few hours and there was a cuckoo that woke us up at exact 6 o’ clock! Weather was cool and rain was just perfect to enjoy the vacation. (Especially if you were carrying the umbrella).
We did a mountain trek at Eravikulam national park and, funny enough, saw just 1 mountain goat! While coming back from park, one should try tree tomato or corn on the cob or have fried cashew nuts with a mug of coffee and not to forget homemade chocolate sellers along the way! Next we went to Mattupetty dam, it was a nice sight but nothing much. So we headed to echo point, which was 6 km from Dam. We absolutely loved the panoramic view with the mild rain-fall while sipping the masala tea with chilly vada-pav.
Next was driving down to Thekkady. It was some 110 KM drive amongst the most beautiful green patches made due to the grand Tata Tea Estate. We checked-in at our beautiful resort in the heart of Kumily with 8 acre of greenness, canopy of tall trees and a tree house café. BLISS. Soon we had to head to Periyar lake, where boating starts at 3:30 in evening and makes one witness one and half hour of cruising among flora and fauna with few sights of wild pigs, tortoise hugging the trees, sambal deers and wild elephants. Later we spent the rest of evening by watching Kalaripayattu (the martial art of Kerala) and Kathakali performance.
Next early morning we headed to Kumarakom, which is near Kottayam city. It’s set at the backdrop of largest fresh water Vembanad lake. Started a 4 hours shikara ride along the bird sanctuary with a break in between at some small resort along the Vembanad lake. The fresh homemade style food was heavenly. Well, shikara ride was different as it took you through small canals where houseboat couldn’t go. Later we checked-in at our resort and did some fishing at the resort private lakeside. The best part was Allepey’s nearness to Kumarkom, which meant we didn’t have to rush for early morning checkout.
We had heard so much about the backwaters of Kerala and when experienced, must say, one should plan a houseboat vacation in Kerala for sure. After driving through canals and lagoons and passing through villages when your houseboat comes to rest near a paddy field in evening, all you want to do is run towards that small church on the other side and return back to your houseboat living room only for freshly prepared traditional kerala food. Waking up on a houseboat with sun peeping through coconut leaves and some music coming from another boat was another world’s experience. As we went in July, we also saw the preparations for famous Nehru trophy boat race or Vallam Kali (which happens in August). These boats have 50 to 100 people seated in the Chundan Vallams (snake boats) and row hard to cover 1.5 Km in 3 minutes!
Before taking flight back to Delhi, we had a quick city tour of Kochi that included visit to Mattancherry palace or Dutch palace, Synagogue. Both places have Rs. 5 entry fee, so better carry the change. Chinese fishing net was another good place (if only visited at sunset time). We concluded our trip with a visit to St. Franchis, an oldest European church and a trip to private collection of interesting antique pieces at Folklore museum.
So when are you visiting Kerala? In monsoon or soon