Kerala is a region in India that is rich with attractions and beautiful scenery, nestled between the Western Ghats and the Arabian sea. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in south India. Travellers and tourists love coming to Kerala because of the wide variety of Things to Do and Places to Visit in Kerala. The backwaters are a peculiar feature of the state.
Kerala is a paradise for all nature lovers and it is well known for its beautiful hill stations, monsoon, elegant waterfalls, backwater cruises, houseboats, most pristine white sand beaches, palm-lined beaches, exotic environment, well defined forests, silent valley, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, natural ecological parks, bejeweled elephants, spectacular snake boat races, tea plantations, coconut groves, delicious local cuisine, aroma of spices, classical dance such as Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, martial arts and Ayurveda treatment.
As per the mythology, Kerala rose up from the sea when the Hindu Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Shri Maha Vishnu, threw his battle axe into the sea. Kerala's landscapes are almost as diverse as its people. Kerala is called God's own country, because of it's large number of traditional Hindu Temples, world's oldest Churches & Mosques, variety of faiths, religious institutions, heritage buildings & architecture, unique traditions, festivals, native culture, healthy air & natural environment.
Kerala's Ecotourism destinations include 12 Wildlife Sanctuaries and two National Parks. The highest peak of peninsular India, Anamudi is located in Kerala. The green cardamom of Kerala's Western Ghats is regarded as the world's best, and you'll find it in savouries, desserts and warming chai (Tea). There is no doubt that Kerala is one among the tourist paradises of the world.
Kerala is the most popular honeymoon destination in India, particularly because of its romantic resorts on the beaches, backwaters, hill stations and distinctive natural features.
Best Honeymoon Destinations in Kerala are: Munnar Hill station, Kumarakom Backwaters, Alleppey Houseboats, Thekkady National Park, Poovar Beach, Koavalam Beach, Waynadu Hills, Marari Beach, Varkala Beach, Athirapally Waterfalls, Vagamon Hills and Bekal Beach.
Trekking, Jungle camp, Bird Sanctuary visits & Bird watching, Wildlife watching, Feeding the elephants, Stay at top tree huts, Outdoor camping in forest around, Safaris through jungle roads, Boating in the lakes, Leisurely walks through Spice gardens, Visit to cardamom factory, Yoga, Kerala Martial Arts & Cultural activities, Ayurveda massage, Shopping for handicrafts and other recreational activities.
The Kathakali (Katha means story and Kali means play) performance is the dramatised presentation of a play, usually based on the Hindu epics the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. All the great themes are covered - righteousness and evil, frailty and courage, poverty and prosperity, war and peace. Drummers and singers accompany the actors, who tell the story through their precise movements, particularly mudras (hand gestures) and facial expressions. Preparation for the performance is lengthy and disciplined. Paint, fantastic costumes, ornamental headpieces and meditation transform the actors both physically and mentally into the gods, heroes and demons they are about to play. Traditionally, Kathakali dancers were all male but today women are increasingly participating as performers and teachers, though the costumes and makeup of the female dancers is much simpler that that of the males. You can see cut-down performances in tourist hot spots all over the state, and there are Kathakali schools in Trivandrum and near Thrissur that encourage visitors.
Mohiniyattam is a traditional dance form of Kerala meant to be performed solo by women. The word Mohiniyattam is derived from the words Mohini and Attam (Mohini means a maiden who charms the onlooker and Attam means dance). According to legend, Mohiniattam was first performed by Hindu God Lord Maha Vishnu, when he appeared in female form 'Mohini' to get back the Amrita (nectar) from demons during the chruning of milky ocean. The dance has influences and elements from two South Indian dance forms, the Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. The dance follows the classical text of Natyashastra / Hastha Lakshana Deepika, which has elaborate description of Mudras (gestural expressions by the hand and fingers). Hastha Lakshana Deepika recognizes 24 basic hand gestures called 'chatur vimsathi mudras' and nearly 300 combined gestures. The gesture language using Hastha Lakshana Deepika is equivalent to speech. One of the distinctive features of the Mohiniyattam is the simplicity of the costumes usually consist a large headscarf, white sari with a gold border and a matching blouse.
Kerala's most popular ritualistic art form, Theyyam, originating from folk dances performed during harvest celebrations. It is often performed in sacred groves (kavus) or in front of the village shrines in northern Kerala (Malabar). The sacred groves are the symbol of how nature related with divine God. Theyyam refers both to the shape of the deity/hero portrayed, and to the actual ritual. There are around 400 different Theyyams, each with a distinct costume, face paint, bracelets, breastplates, skirts, garlands and especially headdresses. The dancer along with the drummers recites the particular ritual song, which describes the myths and legends, of the deity of the shrine. This is accompanied by the playing of folk musical instruments. There is no stage, curtain or other arrangements for the performance. Theyyams are often held to bring good fortune to important events such as marriages and housewarmings.
Kalarippayatu is an ancient tradition of martial training and discipline, still taught throughout Kerala and said to be the forerunner of all martial arts. Kalaripayattu techniques are a combination of steps and postures. Masters of kalarippayatu, called Gurukkal, teach their craft inside a special arena called a Kalari. Kalaripayattu teachers often provide massages with medicinal oils to their students in order to increase their physical flexibility or to treat muscle injuries encountered during practice. The practice of Kalaripayattu is said to originate from the Dhanur Vedic texts encompassing all fighting arts and described by the Vishnu Purana as one of the eighteen traditional branches of knowledge. Kalaripayattu has three regional variants (Northern or vadakkan Kalari, Southern kalaripayattu or Varma Kalai & Central or Madhya Kalari) that are distinguished by their attacking and defensive patterns. Kalarippayatu movements can be traced in Kerala's performing arts, such as Kathakali, Kootiattam, Mohiniyattam and in ritual arts such as Theyyam.
Kerala murals (The Art of Painting on Walls) are traditional paintings depicting mythology and legends, which are drawn on the walls of temples and churches of Kerala. Most of the murals now seen in Kerala temples belong to the period from 15th century onwards. The commonly used colors in the murals of Kerala are saffron-red, saffron-yellow, green, red, white, blue, black, yellow and golden yellow.
Kalamezhuthu is a traditional and unique ritual art of drawing very large pictures of deities using natural colored powders on the floor during festivals in Kerala temples. The powders are made of rice (white), turmeric (yellow), charcoal from paddy husk (black), a blend of turmeric powder and lime (red) and dried leaves (green) of Nenmeni Vaka tree (Albizia lebbeck). Kalamezhuthu is one of the rare art forms that exist with three-dimensional perspectives that are not found in any other ancient art form.
Other noticeable arts in Kerala: Krishnattam, Kerala Natanam, Koodiyattam, Mudiyettu, Padayani, Chakyar Koothu, Ottamthullal, Ayyappan Theeyattu or Koothu, Mappilapaattu, etc. Kerala is a land of rituals and arts. Numerous festivals are celebrated in different parts of Kerala, and its vibrant dances are the main tourist attraction.