Kerala is a little known state located on the southwest tip of India. And it’s beautiful. Between its perfect climate, liberal hospitality, and easy-going nature, Kerala is a paradise unto itself. Observe the wildlife in Wayanad, learn some history in Kochi, or lounge around on beaches in Kovalam.
Visit the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Wayanad where you might spot Royal Bengal tigers or a sambar deer. Peacocks, families of spotted deer and gray langurs, wild boar, monitor lizards, grey mongooses, technicolor birds, and some of the reserve’s thousands of elephants are also common sightings. Leopard sightings are for the lucky, as only one black panther has ever been spotted.
Head west towards the coast to Kochi next. In any given century, this city was filled with traders from around the world – Arabs, Romans, Moors, Chinese and Portuguese, among others. The stories they brought home, of street bazaars overflowing with spices, silk, and gold, made this coast world-famous. While no longer an international trading post, the air remains thick with history as the European-era bungalows, with their terracotta roof tiles, and butter-yellow or mint-green facades, still remain. The waterfront spice warehouses still fill the air with cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger as well. Make sure to visit St. Francis CSI Church, India’s oldest European church, Paradesi Synagogue, and Mattancherry Palace.
Head even more south to hit some amazing beaches. First, stop in Varkala where peaceful seaside cliffs adjoin the Arabian Sea, setting the scene for several water spouts and wellness spas. The waters lapping at Papanasam beach are considered to have holy, sin-cleansing properties. Then head even more south, almost to the tip of India, and you’ll arrive at Kovalam. Head to Hawa Beach, which is highlighted by the candy-stripe lighthouse on the headland.
Kerala’s nickname, “God’s Own Country,” is no exaggeration. It’s natural beauty would be enough to earn the moniker on its own, but this Indian state is also extremely prosperous. The coexistence of Hindus, Muslims, Christians only adds to the peaceful paradise in southwest India.