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Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway – Kerala
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

This is the 3rd blog in our series about the best winter holiday destinations in India. Previous articles featured Andamans and Goa. Intended to be a mini travel guide, this blog lists out useful information for your Kerala holiday – places to see, must-try dishes, best restaurants for European food, airports, climate, local languages, what to pack and how to get around.

Kerala, or Keralam as the locals call it, is a mesmerising state in the south-west expanse of India, within the Malabar Coast. The region has a pleasant weather throughout the year, with refreshing showers during monsoon, but during winter the state boasts of enchanting beauty, with just the right mix of climatic conditions, making it one of the best winter holiday destinations in India.

God's Own Country

Legend has it that Kerala emerged from within the Arabian sea, when a repentant Lord Parasurama flung his axe into it and the sea ebbed away  revealing a slight strip of land from beneath – Kerala. This piece of land came into being after receiving the blessings by Varuna(God of Oceans) and Bhumidevi (Goddess of Earth), thus earning the title “God’s own country” .

Land

Gentle and beautiful Kerala, the abode of nature’s many wonders, is an ideal winter holiday destination in India. The sun drenched beaches, endless assortment of coconut palms dotting the land, rich aroma of spices floating in the air, captivating backwaters, serene and meditative valleys strewn with local flora and wildlife and the Western Ghats mountains-shrouded in mist weave together a magical environment. The ambience is further complimented by the rich cultural heritage of the land, expressing itself through a myriad of festivals, art forms and celebrations.

Mystic Kerala

The state of Kerala is situated on the extreme south west of the Southern shoreline of India. The land is edged in by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats mountains on either side. The coastline runs a total of 580kms- north-south down the coastline; the width varies throughout, ranging from 35 kms to 120 kms. The characteristic nature of the land and its physical qualities neatly separates the state into 3 divergent sections of- the coastal region, plains & midland, and valleys & hills.

Where to find European food

Kerala has the best of all worlds when it comes to things gastronomic. The proximity to the sea provides unending source of fresh sea-food, while the staple diets as well as varied food preferences throughout the land ensures the availability of all other kinds of cuisines and dishes. No matter what the taste preference or inclination, Kerala has the ability to suit and satisfy all. The state boasts of many wonderful restaurants which offer an array of cuisines, and following are three of the most popular joints serving up European fare.

  • The Bungalow Restaurant – Situated in Kalpetta, this is a multi-cuisine restaurant offering European, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Continental dishes. A must visit for all those who go to Wayanad, this restaurant not only delivers smashing edibles, but the staff and service is also extremely genial and polite. The décor of the place is also a definite USP along with its popular breakfast buffet.
  • Our Place – One of the cosiest and most pocket friendly eateries in Thekkady is this restaurant. Specialising in Central European, English cuisine, ‘Our place’ is apt for those who miss the taste of Europe from time to time. Wonderful food, comfy environment and a delightful staff, makes this a must visit option especially for those who want a break from the local cuisine. The dishes are always as fresh as they come and staffs goes out of their way to make sure that they are able to give their clients exactly what they need. One of the highlights of the menu is the freshly baked bread – it is said that one bite of it will have you questioning if you are in Europe or Kerala.
  • Malabar Café – This restaurant in located in Kovalam and is the recipient of the 2014 Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor. The restaurant offers everything that falls in the categories of European, Seafood, and Family Fare. The café like quality, being on the beach, and sea viewing character of the restaurant complements its gastronomic offerings greatly. The ambiance and food fare is managed by a team of attentive and polite staff, and of course the location being right on the shoreline ensures that the seafood served is always fresh.

Must Try Dishes

Kerala, the land of spices is well known for its local cuisine.  The fare available in this state is an amalgamation of everything from its history, geography, culture and demography. The land offers lip-smacking dishes for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, with a wide range of dishes being based on generous proportions of coconut milk and blend of spices. These dishes though delectable throughout the year can be best enjoyed during the winters, further enhancing the state’s appeal as a top winter holiday destination in India.

Following are some of the must try dishes of the region:

  • Appam with Stew –  One of those rare dishes which are a hit with the locals as well as tourists, Appam’s are a kind of rice batter pancake- thick and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside served with piping hot stew which are brewed with the perfect blend of spices and coconut milk. The stew can be accordingly made to suit vegetarian or non-vegetarian diets.

Related post: 6 things only a local can tell you about Kerala

Cushiony Soft Appams & Stew

  •  Idiyappam with Egg Curry – Also called noolappam- Idiyappam’s are a different kind of rice flour pancakes, composed of numerous thin strands of batter weaved together which look much like an egg-basket. The dish is usually paired with a mild egg-curry for a burst of taste, but can be served with whatever the customer fancies.
  • Dosa with Sambar – Dosa is southern India’s most famous fare; a batter of fermented rice and lentil flour, roasted to a crisp and bathed in ghee is served up with Kerala style sambar. This dish can be consumed for any meal and at any time, with 100% satisfaction promised every time.
  • Payasam – A definite treat for those who love everything sweet, this dessert is a milk based Indian custard that can incorporate everything from dry fruits, jaggery to rice in it.

Other related posts:

Onam festival : Date, History, Celebrations and Onam Sadya

My Favourite 4 dishes of Malabar Cuisine: Foodie Delight

Kerala Fish Dish

What to see

Kerala is a picturesque land with undulating waves caressing its sun bathed beaches on one side, and the majestic yet mysterious and shrouded mountains on the other side. It is a nature lover’s paradise and has many sights worth watching. Some of the must see destinations of the land are as follows:

  • The Backwaters- The fame of Kerala’s backwaters have spread worldwide. The canals which interlink the lakes provide an uninterrupted passage which can be enjoyed on the luxurious houseboats.

Related : Alleppey houseboats

  • Fort Kochi – This is known as the gateway to Kerala and has numerous sites of the past with architectural and historical value.

Related posts: Walking tour of historic Fort Kochi  and  Jew Town in Fort Kochi: An easy way to travel back in time

  • Munnar – A spectacular hill station of exquisite natural beauty and allure. Munnar is also widely known for its tea plantations.

Related post: 5 Adventure Activities in Munnar This Summer

  • Anaimudi Peak – The highest peak in Southern India, this is a hub for all sorts of adventure sports and has great scenic value.

There are also a number of other attractions including the national parks, sanctuaries, beaches and other towns and cities of historic importance which will keep any visitor happily engaged, packing up precious memories. One could also consider a Kerala Ayurveda resort for a wellness holiday.

Other posts about places to see and things to do in Kerala:

10 Must Visit Places in Kerala – A Bespoke Travel Guide

Bewitching Boat Races of Kerala

7 unbeatable reasons to visit Thekkady

 Info

  • Distance from nearest airport – Kerala has three airports, which fly to both domestic and international destinations. The airports are: Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum), Kozhikode, and Kochi(Cochin). Kerala’s Trivandrum airport is one of the 9 designated airports in India which processes Travel Visa on Arrival for India.

Related post: All You Need to Know About Tourist Visa on Arrival in India – TVoA

  •  Average temperature during winter months - Mean minimum temperature at 28’C to 32’ C (82’F to 90’ F) on the plains, however at the highlands it drops to about 20’C (68’ F). The temperature further plummets around winter which lasts from November to February – the lowest temperature during winter can fall below 10’C. If you like a sunny winter holiday, head for the beaches, or if you prefer the cooler climes, head for the hills. Or if you are in an adventurous mood, you can mix them up. That’s what makes Kerala one of the top winter holiday destinations in India- the perfect blend of climatic conditions, sights, culture and culinary delights.

Related post: Best time to visit India

  • What to pack- As the temperature is not too low some winter clothes like light jackets and woolens can suffice easily. Apart from that, light clothing (plain cotton or cotton/synthetic blends), bathing suits, sunglasses, sun block lotion for when you go to the beaches, are required.

Related post: Ten Steps to Travelling With Your Kid, a Starter Kit

  • Languages spoken – Malayalam, Tamil, Tulu, Kannada, Hindi and English. Simple English will get you through the basic transactions at most tourist spots. If you are in doubt, check with your hosts at the place you are staying.
  • Popular modes of local transport – Travelling throughout Kerala is not too troublesome. Roads, railways, waterways are well connected throughout the state thereby all of the following modes can be used for transportation – Taxis, buses, autorickshaws, ferry boats and railways. If you are not familiar with any local languages and have trouble figuring out the local routes and fares, hire a taxi for the day (or a half day) from a reputed cab operator or from the Kerala hotel you are staying in.
  • Other nearby destinations – The state of Kerala is adjacent to 2 other major tourist spots of Southern India – Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Therefore all nearby travel destinations can be accessed from Kerala quite easily.

Related post: The Perfect South India Travel Itinerary for First Time Visitors to India

  • Where to stay – Kerala has a spectacular assortment of accommodation options including top notch hotels, cosy homestays and houseboats. While the hotels and villas can give you all the luxurious comforts available at 5 stars, the homestays allow you to get a feel of the local culture and experience the real Kerala. The other option is that of the houseboats on the backwaters of the region; it is the best way to unwind, relax and connect – with nature, your near & dear, or yourself.
Our handpicked accommodation options:
Picture courtesy: Galley hip , Timescity

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Posted by Sudha at 7:39 pm
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Plan to travel to an Indian holiday destination?

We are here to help. At no extra cost.
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  • Hidden luxury getaways
Know more


About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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