Kerela – Land of Gods or Gods’ own country, as it is so rightly said. It’s a paradise on planet earth, similar to Kashmir in North. The only missing thing in Kerela is snow, otherwise, it is as beautiful as Kashmir. It is a heaven on planet earth.
We (me & my husband), went to Kerela during Monsoon season, which is considered as not so good season to go. But I feel, one should travel during off seasons. And trust me you do not lose a single thing in terms of sightseeing, facilities and any other service. The weather was pleasant, just perfect to enjoy.
Just to list down, there are lots of advantages if you travel during non peak season.
One of the major advantage is that you do not get lot of crowd, which results in no long queues, no traffic jams, lot of personal attention. Second, you can negotiate better. Third, you can just enjoy, relax, take your own sweet time for sightseeing. And last but not the least, you can capture your experience, journey absolutely hassle free, So you don’t have to take pictures/clicks quickly, as there will be no/fewer people waiting/staring at you to get away, so that they can have their picture clicked.
Coming back to our Kerela tour, we went in the month of Aug, 2013. And we enjoyed every bit of it. It is advisable to book your flights & land packages separately. Your land package should include hotel stay, travel/sightseeing & food (breakfast & dinner). Lunch is something, which you can do at a sightseeing place you are in the afternoon.
After extensive research, we had booked KTDC land package & it was the best decision taken. There are no better locations than KTDC hotels + the service is A Class. Earlier we were little skeptical about the state-owned hotel, but there is no doubt about the location & service provided by them. Although the food is of average quality in terms of taste, but other than this no negative point. The view from any KTDC Hotel is unbeatable.
Our Land package included all Hotels (4 places), Breakfast, Dinner, & a private Car for 5 days. And the package cost was very economical, approx 36K.
Just a caution, Kerela is a costly city at first, and there is entry ticket to every tourist spot (which I felt a little high for few places).
It takes 4 hrs approx to travel from one place to another by road.
We ensured that this trip of ours’ is a blend of relaxation & sightseeing. So that, a Holiday is not required after a holiday/vacation trip, before resuming office.
Places Travelled – Munnar (Hill Station) , Tekkaddy/Periyar (National Park), Kumarkoam (Backwaters) & the capital city Cochin. It was a 6N, 5D tour.
Day 1 – We started from Delhi on 15th Aug’2013, catching morning flight & reached Cochin. From Cochin, we had our Car waiting for us, to take us, to Munnar. The whole journey to Munnar was awesome. There were couple of waterfalls on the way, where we stopped for taking some pictures. Post Lunch, we reached at the hotel by late afternoon & enjoyed rest of the evening only to rest at the hotel.
Day 2 – Early morning, we got ready for some more camera clicks, as our hotel was at a best picturesque location possible.
Once, we had all our pictures clicked at the hotel, we went for sightseeing in Munnar. We went to Rose garden, & 3-4 spots around Mattupati dam.
There is one spot around the Dam, where we just walked down & reached the river/beach (whatever you would like to call it). That experience was good, not everyone was going down as it was little steep to walk, like you see in movies, and it is said that you can get encountered with wild elephants. But to our luck, we didn’t’ see even the E of Elephant.
Then we went to Elephant Park. Here you are allowed to bath/feed the elephant, but one needs to book in advance. Otherwise, what you get is only a 20 min ride on the elephant. Well, we were not that much keen to take just a ride. So we moved on to our next destination – to see the species available only in Kerela, in entire Asia. There your own car is allowed to go at a certain point. From there, one needs to take govt. owned mini bus. It drops you at a fixed point, and from there one needs to walk on the road.
Walking in such a great weather was enjoyable. In fact, I liked the idea of no vehicle allowed not even cycle. It is upto you, how much you want to walk. You can just return from the middle. There is no set end point. The walk is similar to Vaishno Devi, if one has travelled there.
Here, natures’ beauty is at its best. It is a paradise for Nature lovers. We were lucky to see rare species “Wild Goat”, from very near. After walking for couple of hours, we thought of returning, as we could see he had come a long way & there was no body near us. And the fact that, we had to go walking the entire path we have traveled to reach a point where that bus dropped us.
Post lunch, we went to see the traditional kathakali dance. It was nice, something different, Indian culture to see.
In the evening we came back to our Hotel to relax. The view from the hotel was valley at both sides.
Day 3 – After breakfast, we started for Tekkaddy/Periyar in our Car. The road trip between these destinations was spectacular. The entire journey had tea gardens at both sides of the roads. We were reminded of the song “Kashmir tu mein kanyakumari…..of Chennai express”, must have being shot at this stretch road.
On the way we stopped to see Spice Garden, Tea Plantation, to see how tea is made.
We stopped at the tea gardens alongside the road, only to take pictures. Tea plantation, one of the best thing done by British, when they ruled our country.
There were few more WOW stopovers in between (no specifics), we just felt that we are not in India. We have so much beauty in our own country & we admire foreign land. It is just that we need to explore them.
After reaching to Tekkady we went to our Hotel. Well, we were asked to reach hotel before 5PM, as it was inside the forest, national park. And the hotel was awesome. Every facility was available from leisure activities like playing table tennis, badminton to swimming pool, garden, spa…etc.
The hotel surrounding was like, you walk a bit & there is a lake, where outsiders come for Boat safari.
That day we took the world-famous “Shirodhara” at our hotel, and the whole body got so relaxed afterwards. For those who do not know what “Shirodhara’ is – it is like a Spa, where, oil is dropped at the centre of your forehead to relax, from a small container put above you. It is a Ayurvedic treatment for complete relaxation, stress busting…etc.
Day 4 – We went to National Park in Jeep Safari. The Jeep Safari package included – Breakfat, Jeep Safari, Trekking in Dense Forest, Boating, Lunch.
Although, we did not see any animals but it was a quite an experience in open jeep.
The highlight of the day was the trekking .It was a 2 hr trekking & it was literally a jungle/forest trekking. We were accompanied with another couple & a guide. So in all we were 5 people trekking.
We were given long socks, to avoid “litch” biting. Litch – is a long stick like thing, which will stick to your body & will suck blood, if not removed.
What a trekking that was – I actually thought that it would be like – there will be defined path where we will have to walk. But to my surprise it was something else It was a real trekking for sure.
I felt similar to what we see in a English Movies. 4 people (2 girls & 2 boys) walking in a forest, searching their way to the road. Pushing branches away to make their way. And, if you slip, you are just gone in the valley below.
But not worry it is safe. And if you are a family with kids, then I don’t think same path is used to trek. Then it is more friendly & walkable.
We were a group of 4 young pax, that’s the reason that path was used for our trek. We couldn’t see any other group on our trek path.
Post finishing Boating & lunch we proceeded to our next destination- Kumarkoan. We reached out hotel in the evening & the relaxed afterwards.
The KTDC Hotel of Kuamrkaom, was inside the Bird Sanctuary, The Best location possible.
The room was on a Cannel & from the Balcony, view was the lake. It was the unbeatable location. The area was huge to rome around, one could actually do nothing & relax and enjoy the lake side, walk around the hotel.
Day 5 – Early morning, after breakfast, we went to Bird Sanctuary. It was again against our perception of a Bird Sanctuary. Generally, there is road on which you have to walk or take a Cycle ride (if you would have seen Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary..Etc). It was like a small forest where one needs to walk. Yes, there was defined path made of concrete (similar to jogging track) but, it was different experience from regular/typical Bird Sanctuary.
Next we went to Motor Boat ride for an hour of Backwaters, for which Kumarkaom is very famous. That day I got to know what backwaters actually mean. There are races happening on Onam festival.
Suggest to take Backwater ride through Motor Boat instead of Speed Boat. For a simple reason, you will enjoy more in Motor Boat as it is slow in speed and is more economical compared to speed boat.
Later, we proceeded for our final destination Cochin. Before checking into yet another beautiful hotel, we completed our Cochin sightseeing. Went to Museum (where Portuguese, Kerela style items were displayed). Suggest, if you really like Museums & are into history, then must visit, otherwise, could be avoided. Followed by Jew Synagogue , Jew Town, Dutch Palace, St Franchis Chruch, Fishermen’s’ Bay. They are all nearby.
On the way to hotel, had some shopping in between of famous fresh tempting Banana Chips, Banana fry….and there are other snacks which could be purchased. In the evening we, reached our Hotel KTDC’s – Bolgatty palace, the only Hotel which is enclosed by Sea at three sides & has a 18 hole Golf Course. Now, one can imagine how big the hotel is. It was a British palace earlier. It also had all the amenities like swimming pool, other recreational activities spa, play..etc.
After check-in, we just took rest inside the hotel. One thing to point, the hotel has two types of rooms one in the proper building & another rooms near the sea. Suggest taking rooms in the hotel. They are much better than rooms near the sea.
Day 6 – After Breakfast, we just rome around the hotel for taking pictures followed by playing some Table Tennis for couple of hours. Post that, we checked out of our Hotel only to return back home to Delhi.
This was one the best trip I had. Got exceptional, one time experience. Not sure if the same could be experienced when I travel there again.
Wish to travel to Kerela, to experience other places like Kovalam, Alleppy…….