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Kerala

India

1/5 Houseboats drifting along the Backwaters of Kerala
Houseboats drifting along the Backwaters of Kerala
2/5 The Keralans are among the friendliest people in India
The Keralans are among the friendliest people in India
3/5 Fishing off the Malabar Coast, Kerala
Fishing off the Malabar Coast, Kerala
4/5 In the traditional dance-drama of Kathakali, performers wear elaborate make-up and costumes
In the traditional dance-drama of Kathakali, performers wear elaborate make-up and costumes
5/5 Many of India's hills - in both the north and south - are carpeted in a maze of tea bushes
Many of India's hills - in both the north and south - are carpeted in a maze of tea bushes

The most well-known of India’s southern states, Kerala is the country’s most verdant and relaxed

The most well-known of India’s southern states, Kerala is the country’s most verdant and relaxed. It is undoubtedly one of India’s most beautiful and the slow pace of life in ‘god’s own country’ is ideal for unwinding and getting back to nature.

Sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats, the hills that form the border with Tamil Nadu to the east, Kerala is fertile paradise of palm lined beaches, rice paddies, steamy jungles and plantations in every shade of green imaginable. The hills are lovely country for treks and walks with fabulous views, or you can hike into the jungle with a reformed poacher in search of wildlife.  Between the coast and hills is an enchanting watery network of lakes, rivers and canals. The best way to get around is by boat, sipping fresh coconut water while drifting along on a converted rice barge, or paddling your own canoe observing Backwaters life along the way.

With its long coastline Kerala cuisine contains many mouth-watering seafood dishes. Delicately flavoured with local spices and enriched with coconut milk, meals are a foodie’s delight. We recommend joining a cookery demonstration or course to discover what is in the kitchen - and the secrets old family recipes at homestays. Kerala is also the home of ayurveda, a 2000 year old healing tradition based on the science of complete well-being.  An ayurvedic doctor will prescribe a special diet, herbal remedies and therapies, but if you don’t have the time or inclination for such a course, a massage in which your body is treated like a temple should leave you completely relaxed and rejuvenated. A laid back beach property, such as Neeleshwar Hermitage, is a great place to try one.

Hinduism is deeply engrained in everyday life and although temples do not permit non-Hindus everyone is welcome to join the festivals held in their courtyards. In the south you may see an elephant procession accompanied by bare-chested drummers pounding out the beat, while in the north, performers with elaborate masks and costumes dance to placate the gods during theyyam festivals.There are also cultural centres around Cochin where you can get to grips with the intricate movements in a Kathakali dance-drama performance.

At the end of the day you will find a warm welcome at a family homestay, or you can pull up a chair on the teak pillared veranda of traditional Keralan tharavad house overlooking the sea. Wherever you go you will be greeted by friendly people – Kerala is also India’s smiliest state. 

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A few of our favourite places to stay:

A homestay with a difference, Tranquil has a lovely swimming pool

Tranquil - A Plantation Hideaway

915m (3000 ft) high up in the Western Ghats Tranquil is hidden

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The only way to reach Coconut Lagoon is by boat

Coconut Lagoon

Coconut Lagoon sits on the shores of Vembanad Lake in the heart

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The house at Olavipe has been in the family for six generations

Olavipe

More than 120 years old, Olavipe has been in Antony’s

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View other places to stay in Kerala

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Who to talk to

Andrea Hulme

Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway.

How we can help you

At Natural High, we've had long experience putting together trips in Africa that really work. Whether it's intimate bushcamps in out of the way places, or a private lodge in one of Africa's top-billing wildlife areas, light mobile camping or remote island escapes, we know there is a lot to choose from. We're absolutely confident that we can recommend the right places for you.

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