Welcome to kerala
Area: 94.88 km²
Location: South West coast of India
Language: Malayalam and English
Best Time to Visit: October to March
From backwaters to beaches, Kochi is plethora of scenic beauty and dramatic landscapes. Charismatic Kochi has been drawing merchants and tourists it to its shores for over 600 years. Beckoned by breathtaking backwaters, Kochi is a prime tourist destination in Kerala. Kochi, better known as Cochin is Kerala's most metropolitan city. Step into Kochi and take a stroll down history where every waft one encounters smells the beckoned past by, its culture and heritage.
Known as the "Gateway of Kerala," Kochi is an enchanting city that had an electric influence of the Arabs, British, Chinese and Portuguese. Nowhere else in India, one could find such intriguing mix of culture and architecture. Here tourists can see 400 years old fishing nets from China, Portuguese houses, ancient mosques and crumbling remains of the British Raj.
The scenic location of Kochi's natural harbor, surrounded by palm groves, green field, inland lakes and backwaters, has enchanted visitors from across the globe for centuries. Kochi is a commercial and historical hub. Fort Cochin and Mattancherry are small historical towns in Kochi where tourist can see the influences of the Portuguese, Dutch and British structures. Kochi is home to the oldest European-built church in India, St Francis Church. However, it was once the burial site of Vasco de Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524.
One can even see the influence Jewish culture in Kochi. Visit the quirky Jewish town where a synagogue stands tall, surrounded by a flea market selling everything from antiques to spices. If tourists are on a tour to Kochi then they should pay a visit to the privately owned museums. Step into Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum and catch the glimpses of treasure troves that Kochi exudes through its numerous art and dance forms.
Leaving the shores of Kochi without seeing beautiful Kathakali is a sin. It is a beautiful dance form in which dancers are decked up in colorful costumes tells the enchanting stories of the land with nothing but their expressions and postures. Tourists can spend a day at leisure on the beaches of Kochi or can even indulge in some adventure activities out there. If looking for an ideal destination in India where one can unwind, relax and tranquilize then the beaches of Kochi is the place to be.
Tourists should explore the wealth of traditional Kerala culture on a short tour to Kochi. Great food, fantastic shopping and backwater sailing, going to Kochi is an amazing delight. Soothing massages, picnic on the beaches and treasure troves of the temple, one can encounter all this only in Kochi.
Tourist spots in Cochin: Chinese Fishing Nets, Hill Palace Museum, Dutch palace, Chendamangalam Palace Fort, Pallipuram Fort, Vypin Island, International Pepper Exchange
Kerala is a small state located in the south-western part of India. Kerala is edged by a 580 km long coastline. Towards its west, there is the Arabian Sea and towards its east, there is the Eastern Ghats, which act as a differentiation point between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
There are three airports in the state:
- Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 10 km from Thiruvananthapuram (Southern Part of Kerala)
- Cochin International Airport, Ernakulam (Central Park of Kerala)
- Karipur or Calicut International Airport, 27 km from Kozhikode (Northern Part of Kerala)
There are 3 more airports in Tamil Nadu which are quite close to Kerala:
- Mangalore International Airport
- Coimbatore International Airport
- Madurai Airport
Kerala is accessible by air from most parts of India, especially from South-Eastern towns, namely Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.
There are three major highways which connect Kerala with the rest of India i.e. National Highways 17, 47 and 49. These three highways are directly connected with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
There are 200 railway stations which connect Kerala with the rest of India. Every district and town of Kerala can be reached by railways other than its hill stations, Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady. Railways services also link the state with many metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.
Prominent history of Kerala speaks about many seaports. One can even reach Kerala via Ship, and the major ports of Kerala are:
- Cochin Port (Towards the Arabian Sea): Major junction which connects Lakshadweep and India. From Kochi, there are regular ships venturing towards the Lakshadweep Islands.
- Vizhinjam International Seaport (Towards the Arabian Sea), Thiruvananthapuram
Karipur or Calicut International Airport, 27 km from Kozhikode (Northern Part of Kerala)
Festivals celebrated in Kerala feature parades of elephants gleaming in their golden canopies, fireworks, snake boat races and performances of traditional art such as Mohiniyattam dance and Kathakali ritual drama. The riot of colors against the backdrop of the pristine blue beaches and lakes is a contrasting picture of vibrancy and silence. In Kerela, every festival is celebrated with fanfare and joy. For the people of Kerala, each and every day is a celebration. India is the land of fairs and festivals, and the tiny state Kerala is no exception to it. The unique culture of God's own city, Kerala, is simply mesmerizing and spellbinding. Every mosque, church and temple has its own annual celebration.
Like anywhere else in India, myths and legends are associated with the origin and development of festivals and fairs in Kerala. These festivals keep reminding the people of the rich cultural heritage the state possess. Festivals are occasions for recalling the lives of kings, saints, and mystics. Fairs and Festivals celebrated here provide a wonderful opportunity for visitors to get acquainted with the culture and traditions of the state.
Hundreds and thousands of people from around the world turn out for events like Vishu, Thrikarthika, Aranmula Vallamkali, Maramom Convention, Thrissur Pooram and Indira Gandhi Boat Race. All these festivals and fairs are celebrated with great vigor and enthusiasm. Festivals are like gems ornamented in the crown of Kerala's tradition and culture. Fairs and festivals act as a thread of harmony between the different religions in Kerala. Here festivals are celebrated to mark the passage of the year, crop harvesting and seasons. The best thing about the festivals is that there are several elements in a festival which pleases one and all. In Kerala the majority of the festivals fall between the months of January and March end.
Onam is the main festival of Kerala, which unite people of all creeds and religions. On this day, homes are thoroughly cleaned while people take the opportunity to buy new clothes. During this festival, people come together with the feeling of amity and exchange clothes with each other. Onam is a harvest festival; it is also a celebration of the greatness of King Mahabali and his return to his earthly abode. On the day of this festival the cities wears a deserted look till afternoon, as people generally stay home and enjoy the sumptuous Onasady, cuisine served specially on Onam.
As soon as the months of monsoon arrives, boat racing competition is all set to begin . The season commences with much fanfare and gaiety with the Champakulam Boat Race Festival. It's one of the largest and most eagerly awaited sporting events in the region. The other prominent event is the Snake boat race, which adds zing to the life of people in Kerala. The ferocious boat race attracts visitors from across India who cheers the spirits of their favorite boatman to row faster.
Thrissur Pooram is one of the most spectacular festivals celebrated in Kerala. This festival is nothing less than a mammoth extravaganza where amazing fireworks, traditional dance forms, enthralling musical programs and procession of decorated elephants are on display.
Here the tourist will get an opportunity to encounter the most magnificent elephants. Elephants play an important role in the cultural life of Kerala. A procession of finely adorned elephants is organized during The Gajamela or the elephant fair at Bhadrakali Temple. This 10-day long festival is a wonderful opportunity for people to get acquainted with the culture and traditions of the state.
Whether the fest is religious or traditional or modern, any fest organized here is incomplete without an art event which would range from the 2000-year-old Kutiyattam to contemporary stage shows.
Many festivals are celebrated in the different temples of Kerala. Fairs and Festivals of Kerala give an opportunity for tourist to behold the traditional performing art and delicious cuisines of the land. Don't wait further, plan a trip to Kerala and be a part of this cultural potpourri. Its myriad festival can astonish anyone with its uniqueness. Kerala is a saga of celebration-Watch this incredible state at its incredible best on its festival days.