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A wonderful blend of cultures, beaches, backwater cruises, tea plantations and national parks to enjoy.

Kerala has been a draw to oversees explorers, traders and invaders since ancient times, attracted by ivory, sandalwood and spices. The Phoenicians, Romans, Chinese and Arabs all landed here, shipping spices to Europe, the Middle East and China. The Portuguese Vasco da Gama arrived some 500 years ago; the region has a delightful mix of cultures that makes it high on the list of most people's itineraries. 

The capital city is Kochi (Cochin) located in magnificent estuary. The city reflects the cultural influences with 500 year old Portuguese churches and palaces, chinese fishing nets and a Jewish quarter. Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are a blend of English, Dutch and Portugense architecture and a joy to explore. Kochi is also famous for the Kathakali dance, which incorporates elements of yoga as well as dance. 

Kerala is also famous for its backwaters, 900 kilometres of man made and natural waterways that can be explored on authentic houseboats from one to seven nights. From places such as Alleppey, your houseboat can be either a private or shared vessel and will include all meals and a guide. There are also many hotels and lodges if you prefer.

Beyond the backwaters, discover tea plantations in the verdant landscapes of the Western Ghats and spice plantations in Periyar where cardamom, ginger and cinnamon are harvested. Periyar National park in the Western Ghats is also a must on any itinerary. Here, you can observe elephants, monkeys, tigers, deer, leopards and over 200 species of birdlife. Birdwatchers will also enjoy visiting Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, whose 14 acres of woodland and wetlands is home to the likes of egrets, herons and fly-catchers.

Kerala has 600 kilometres of coastline and beautiful tropical beaches, with many luxury resorts to relax after explorations on the backwaters and inland national parks. The most famous beaches are at Kovalam and Marari beach.

 

Hugh Clayson

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