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An insider’s guide to South India’s lush landscapes
If you’re visiting India, then a trip to the deep South is essential to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Beautiful quiet beaches, tea plantations and a tropical atmosphere await in Kerala. Read on for an insider’s view into the state from our very own local ambassador.
Many first time visitors to the Indian subcontinent overlook the southern state of Kerala – it’s the country’s hidden gem. In a country of over one billion people, it’s difficult to believe such a serene paradise can exist. But there’s so much more to the coastal state than relaxing on the beach – take off on a rainforest trek, kayak the backwaters or take advantage of some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Asia.
There’s a lot of water to explore in Kerala – canals, rivers, waterways and lakes which make up what’s known as “the backwaters.” There are houseboats and riverside homes to explore, but you can actually ride the backwaters yourself on a kayaking trip if you fancy it.
This part of southern India is ideal for growing tea and spices, so any visitors should take the opportunity to try out the local delicacies at a plantation. You may even notice some familiar names of places where spices are named after, such as Cardamom. The Munnar Tea Museum is a great place to find out more about how tea is grown and ends up in teapots around the world.
The beautiful landscapes of Kerala make the perfect habitat for a huge range of unique wildlife including elephants and the Bengal tiger. You can also spot endangered species such as the Indian sloth-bear, the Indian bison and the lion-tailed macaque. Kerela has vast forests such as the Western Ghats which are home to six national parks, two tiger reserves and fourteen wildlife sanctuaries. We can help arrange day trips to wildlife sanctuaries so you can get up close to the animals.
This part of India has a rich history, and today there still stands many fortresses which remind us of bygone eras. With many armies and battles fought on this land, there’s a great collection of ancient palaces and forts across Kerala which are well worth a visit.
When is the best time to go?
Because Kerala has a tropical climate you should be aware of monsoon season before you plan your trip. Although the monsoons bring regular thunderstorms, it is still a pleasant time to visit as you can see the waterways and the waterfalls at their capacity and they look spectacular. Kerala in the rains is also a lot cheaper so you can get some great discounts on accommodation during this time.
Kerala is a very rainy state so you should expect a bit of rain regardless of the time you travel. We love the rain here are it keeps our scenery lush! Take a look at the Kerala calendar:
The monsoons tend to arrive in June and last until late August. Everywhere is quieter during monsoon season so you’ll enjoy sightseeing in the towns and brief spots of sunbathing on the quiet beaches. It’s still warm and humid so it can be an enjoyable time to visit Kerala – just bear in mind that some places, such as wildlife sanctuaries, may close during this period.
India doesn’t have all four typical seasons but this is the coolest part of the year. The temperature can vary between 10-25˚C and it’s usually pleasant and cool with low humidity. Winter is a great time of year for hiking and exploring as it’s not uncomfortably hot.
This is the hottest time of the year with temperatures often reaching 30˚C. However this isn’t known as the dry season as you can still experience evening showers during the summer. The heat often puts off some travellers, so the Kerala hotspots are still less crowded than in the winter months.
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