Plunge into multi-dimensional India, a world of sweet spices, temples & tigers with this exotic special.
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Kerala is one of India's most captivating provinces. It also happens to be one of its most prosperous. Known as "Gods own country," it's hard not to see Kerala as a land blessed.
The reputation of the province far precedes itself. For beauty, Kerala offers a labyrinth of backwater canals, the beaches of the Malabar Coast, and lush hillsides. Societally, the province's meteoric rise to prosperity is so notable that experts refer to its growth as the Kerala Model. It is a progressive state, according to its Department of Tourism, laying claim to some of India's highest literacy and life expectancy rates. According to The Washington Post, its slogan may reference both its natural beauty as well as the coexistence of Hindus, Muslims and Christians in the area. It has even received recognition from The Economist for its comparatively good palliative care. Whether looking at its natural state or its civilized one, Kerala is impressive.
The hill stations of India are popular and idyllic travel destinations, and Kerala's are no exception. Trekking through the rolling green Devikulam hills leads to the mineral waters of Sita Devi Lake. According to Kerala's Tourism Board, the resort of Munnar is home to the rare and strange mass blooming of the blue Neelakurinji flower, which occurs once every 12 years. While it is a special sight to see the flowers carpeted across the hills, it is not the only reason to visit. The nearby Eravikulam National Park looks out onto valley and mountain, and is home to a rare mountain goat called the Nilgiri tahr, according to The Washington Post.
Apart from the hill stations are the backwaters and canals that weave their way inland. The town of Alappuzha is known for its scenic canals that look out onto paddy fields and coconut lagoons, as well as its boat races. The eight arms of Ashtamudi's backwaters are also sailable for a cruise.
Culture and medicine
Museums, pilgrim centers and monuments abound in Kerala. Travelers can learn about the archeology of the area at the Hill Palace Museum, or explore its historical narrative at the capital city's Keralam Museum of History and Heritage. Known as the Spice Coast of India, Kelara has absorbed the cultures of the many traders that passed through the region, from the Dutch to the Chinese. The pilgrim centers are a place to connect to the region's diverse spiritual roots.
Ayurveda is another piece of profound cultural heritage. It is a holistic healthcare approach that aims to harmonize the physical, the mental and the spiritual. As Kerala's Tourism Board notes, the region is conducive to this kind of medicine due to a temperate climate, a verdant countryside and monsoon-enriched air moisture. Aside from Ayurveda hospitals, there are yoga and rejuvenation therapy centers where people can experience the practice firsthand.
Beaches and beyond
Kerala has its fair share of gorgeous coastline along the Indian Ocean. A Bekal, located in the northernmost district of the region, is home to a large, well-preserved fort as well as a recently developed beach resort. Nearby is the remote and relatively untouched Kappil Beach.
The province of Kerala offers plenty for a whole vacation, but its position along the southwest tip of the Indian subcontinent makes it a good jumping platform to the many beautiful Asian islands scattered throughout the Indian Ocean. Near to Kerala is Thinnakara Island, featured in The Guardian for its diminutive size and its coral lagoon. Farther out, however, lies the storied Maldives. As The Telegraph notes, Kerala and the Maldives can be combined for a vacation perfectly balanced between action and relaxation.
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The delicate aroma of tea dances on the hill-top breeze as tea plantations compete for space among the thick forests of exotic spices around Munnar.
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