Kerala is nicknamed “God’s Own Country” and it’s easy to see why it is called so.
One of India’s most beautiful and successful states, Kerala is a world away from the frenzy of elsewhere, as if India had passed through the Looking Glass and become an altogether more laid-back place.
Nestling between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Kerala is an enchanting mosaic of coconut groves and paddy fields, wide beaches and labyrinthine backwaters, verdant hills and rainforests. Its diverse culture is enriched by the three great religions that have ancient roots here. Hinduism is the religion of the majority, practiced here with a rare rigour that prohibits non-Hindus from entering most temples. Christianity, followed by a quarter of the population, was brought here by the Apostle Sufi.
Besides its famous backwaters, rice paddies, coconut groves, elegant houseboats and delicately spiced, bud-tingling cuisine, Kerala also offers azure seas, white crescents beaches, and evocative ex-colonial trading towns. Then there are the mountainous Western Ghats carpeted by spices and tea plantations, home to wild elephants, exotic birds and the odd tiger; and crazily vibrant traditions such as Kathakali – a blend of religious play and dance; kalarippayat – a gravity defying martial art, and theyyam – a trance-induced ritual. The main problem a visitor might find here is choosing where to linger the longest.