A Photo Essay: Kerala- God’s Own Country

Having visited the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) a few years ago, I was so struck by India that I was determined to go back. I specifically wanted to visit South India- Kerala in particular. I had heard beautiful things about it. I like busy cities, but I also like to chill, so I made sure that we had a bit of both during our trip.

We flew into Cochin and spent a few nights there, at Taj Malabar, which is an absolutely stunning hotel- right on the harbour. We also went to Kumarakom, a small town situated right on the backwaters, and stayed at a less than fabulous hotel called Zuri. We planned the trip quite late and literally every resort in Kumarakom was booked out, so we were forced to book presidential pool villas at Zuri. We had our own private pool and lawn with a view of the backwaters which was nice, but given the price we paid, I felt that we didn’t get our money’s worth as the room and service were shoddy.

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Nevertheless, we had a magical time relaxing at the resort in Kumarakom, and exploring Cochin. There’s not too much to say because the real appeal of these places is the culture and beauty of the surroundings, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

We had a great time learning to cook traditional Kerala style food at chef Nimmy Paul's house. She also provided insight into the Kerala way of living, so it was a great way to spend an afternoon. This is her famous spicy prawn.

We had a great time learning to cook traditional Kerala style food at chef Nimmy Paul’s house. She also provided insight into the Kerala way of living, so it was a great way to spend an afternoon. This is her famous spicy prawn.

In Kerala, one of the must do attractions is to spend a night on a houseboat. I wasn’t too keen on this because, well, what do you do in a houseboat for 24 hours? We opted to go on a sunset cruise instead, which allowed us to see the beautiful scenery in just 2 hours. All that was missing was a Savanna Light :)

The unspoilt, lush scenery made for great sunset pics.

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Other Kerala highlights included celebrating my birthday on 30 December, plus NYE in Cochin. I’m usually in JHB during my birthday and it’s always such a fail because all my friends are away plus all Jozi’s best restaurants are closed. It was really nice to be on holiday. birthday

I hadn”t spent NYE with my mother in over a decade, so it was special to do that this year. It’s been a trying year for her and even though the trip brought back some sad memories of my dad, I’m glad to have spent quality time with her. Taj Malabar hosted a banquet dinner on NYE which was great fun. We got there at around 8pm but started feeling sleepy by 10:30pm, so went up to our rooms to have a power nap, before waking up just before the countdown. Whatevs, NYE is overrated anyway :)

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If, like me, you’ve visited more popular areas of India already (like Mumbai and Delhi), I’d absolutely recommend that you experience Kerala. If you have time on your hands and don’t mind driving, consider trekking up to Munnar, where you can visit stunning tea plantations. Kerala offers a very different experience of India, and it exposes a completely unique aspect of this splendid country. You need to go with an open mind and accepting heart, and then you’ll have the time of your life.

x

H