12+ Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Kerala

Last updated May 10, 2018 @ 10:36 am [clear h=10]

I realize this might sound unbelievable. I was skeptical myself. Kerala seemed just like any state in India, and I expected chaos, hygiene standards far from perfect, glorified cows and staring men. But to my surprise, I discovered a state with friendly people, beautiful nature and high-end facilities.

The list of reasons why I love Kerala could easily fill a book. Here you have just 12+ reasons, short and sweet!

1. Kerala People

Nowhere else in the world have I experienced friendlier people, and that’s no exaggeration. It’s pretty rare to encounter locals that are so friendly and willing to pose for pictures without wanting anything in return.

In Kerala, the people wave at you, proudly pose, and have fun. Simply show your photos to them and you’ll be flooded with gratitude.

I’ll always hold people of Kerala dear to my heart, especially the local friends I’ve made.

people Kerala
One of many fun encounters with the friendly people of Kerala

2. Lush Greenery & Stunning Landscapes

Palm trees and coconuts everywhere! No, you’re not in the Caribbean, you’re in the State of Kerala! Being a native of central Europe, palm trees are quite a big deal for me, I was simply speechless..

One of the most amazing things was the greenery of the tea plantations! The views of the tea-covered hills are stunning and make up for the long and strenuous journey on Kerala’s mountain roads, which are surprisingly called highways.

The backwaters of Kerala are a unique feature not only in India, but also globally. Its 44 rivers and canals, alternating with lakes, provide for a viable mode of transport with incredibly beautiful surroundings. I knew I was in love when cruising there on a houseboat. And of course I wrote a post about it, are you kidding me? :)

Lush greenery in Kerala, India
Abundant lush greenery everywhere…

3. Culture

Kerala is incredibly rich in culture. Traditional Kerala forms of art include dances, music performances, martial arts and many more forms.

It’s mesmerizing to watch the faces of Kathakali performers – a dance depicting one of the stories from ancient Indian books, with green-painted faces, elaborate costumes and facial expressions so diverse! It takes years to perfect controlling individual facial muscles as these dancers have.

Other famous performances include e.g. Theyyam temple dance and Kalaripayattu martial arts.

Keralian culture translates to beautiful sightings anywhere on the street – I mean all the beautiful women in their sarees. Men wear doti or mundo, which I found quite special too.

Kathakali Kerala
Kathakali performance depicting a story from Ramayana, an ancient Indian book

4. Religious Tolerance

Imagine a place, where Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jews live peacefully together. Considering the stories we normally hear in the news it sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? But that’s how it is in Kerala!

We visited e.g. the town of Munnar, where a temple, a mosque and a church were all within walking distance from each other. People seemed to be very nice to each other and generally didn’t care what religion their neighbors were. That of course changes, when it comes to marriage, but I won’t get into that :)

There’s also a small Jewish population living in Kerala. The biggest Jewish community, in Cochin, has formed back in the ancient times.

Munnar India
A temple in Munnar, near a mosque and a church!

5. Rich History of Muziris

Kerala used to be world-famous, much before the times of Vasco de Gama, who’s considered the first to discover the sea route to India.

It is now known that Kerala’s ancient port of Muziris was one of world’s most famous points on the ancient trade routes, dating as far back as to 3000 BC. Recent archeological artifacts only confirm this theory, as objects clearly influenced by a mixture of cultures (incl. European) are currently being excavated near Cochin.

Muziris India
The ancient spice routes originating in the port of Muziris

6. Spices and their Trade

Kerala’s convenient climate conditions make for ideal conditions for spice growing. Spices used to play a key role in Kerala’s history. With India’s 70% share on world spice production, Kerala is among the leading spice-producing states in India.

If you’re visiting Kerala, you definitely shouldn’t leave out a visit to spice plantations. I was surprised to see spices like black pepper and clove grow! Not to mention that it was my first time seeing coffee plants blossoming. Did you know they have a jasmine scent?

clover spice
Well, hello there tiny clove!

7. Diverse Wildlife

Kerala’s wildlife is very diverse and the natural habitat with an abundance of greenery provides for one of today’s rare escapes for endangered animal species. The Bengali tiger lives there, and despite the huge tiger population decrease in the past decades, things look more optimistic today.

Wild elephants roam Kerala’s forests and currently have a much better life as Indian law prohibits anybody from capturing elephants in the wild. The network of state-supported sanctuaries serves not only for the previously laboring elephants, but also for saving elephant babies who might happen to end up separated from their families and unable to survive on their own.

elephant India
Bathing of elephants at the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre Kappukadu, near Trivandrum

8. Pleasant Climate

The climate in Kerala seems moderate to me, even though you might consider it very hot :) But there’s always the possible escape to the mountains where even in the high season the temperature might drop below 10 degrees Celsius at night.

The hot weather makes it an ideal beach destination, which helps if you have 600 km of coastline like Kerala does!

Munnar Kerala
Smooth-looking tea plantations on the way to Munnar

9. (Spicy) Food

I probably shouldn’t write too much about the food, because I’m a picky eater who doesn’t handle spicy stuff very well. Yes, I lived in Sichuan, and survived there, but that doesn’t mean India would be a piece of cake! So I mainly stuck to non-spicy alternatives and when those were not available, I refrained to delicious naan bread and rice only with just a little local sauce.

The spicy meals seemed to taste awesome too, but I only managed to try and never made it past a few bites. But if you yourself are a spicy food aficionado, you’ll have a time of your life :)

chilli India
You know how Indian food is.. the integral part is chilli! (or curry)

10. Things to Do

It’s extremely difficult to get bored in Kerala. You can do many nature-related activities like hiking, wildlife tours, boat rides, houseboats and so on and so forth.

And then there are cities with fun events, like the Art Biennale in Cochin every 2 years, and a myriad of temples to admire.

Here are all the places to visit in Kerala.

houseboat Kerala
That’s how a houseboat looks like. Isn’t it pretty?

11. Hotels and Facilities

Kerala has something for everyone. You can spend a few rupees and stay in a slightly dodgy place if you’re on a tight budget. But you can also enjoy a full luxury of hotels that provide whatever you can think of. Are you a fan of resorts? No problem, you’ll find enough options to choose from.

See what hotels I liked the most during my stay in Kerala. 

hotel Kerala
Beautiful view of part of Raviz Kollam hotel at sunset

12. Ayurveda & Yoga

Kerala’s got the best of India and Ayurveda is no exception! You can get pampered and enjoy Ayurvedic treatments all over Kerala. Let the masseuses rub the miraculous oil in your skin and give it a nice glow.

For those of you who need to reconnect with yourselves, there are many ashrams in Kerala! You can do Yoga and meditate all day long. This activity is becoming increasingly popular among the overworked people from the West, and it apparently works. It’s actually quite cheap to stay in an ashram, but you can’t expect much luxury ;)

Ashram Kerala
In the Sivananda Ashram near Trivandrum

The Friends

Probably unrelated to Kerala overall, I need to mention this point anyway! My trip to Kerala wouldn’t have been this awesome without the great friends I was there with! My local Kerala buddies, as well as the 29 international friends have made the trip really special!

keralablogexpress
#keralablogexpress friends!
Photo by Jinson

[clear h=10]If you visited India already and missed Kerala, I hope I just convinced you to make another trip to India and head straight to Kerala.. As you could see, it’s unique and definitely shows a very different side of India. [clear h=10]

More info about Kerala, together with a myriad of eye catching photos can be found on Kerala’s official website.

If you feel like going, I suggest you get yourself a Lonely Planet guidebook on Kerala (and South India). What I read there always gets me thrilled about an upcoming trip and then helps me understand the historical and cultural background of the locals.

And if you’re planning a Kerala trip on your own, refer to this itinerary.

So are you packing your bags yet? :) If you already had the chance to get to know Kerala, what were the highlights of your trip?[clear h=5]

Did you enjoy this article? Sharing is caring, as they say! ;) [clear h=5]

Disclosure: TravelGeekery participated in a sponsored trip to Kerala organized by Kerala Tourism. All opinions presented are Veronika’s own.

Lovely pinners! Here are some pins for you :) 

Some places are just way too easy to fall in love with. See why it's like that with the Indian state of Kerala.   Beatiful tea plantations in Kerala, India

51 thoughts on “12+ Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Kerala”

  1. Glad you had a great time and fell in love with Kerala. I personally love the food and ofcourse the beautiful backwaters. PS: it isn’t Keralian people, they’re called Keralites or in slang, Mallus.

      • Indian men would stare at you because your a minority just the same way white men would state at a half decent looking black women in some backwater of Eastern Europe , also in a third world country where a significant number of people starve to death and there is 0 welfare
        its not surprising that people would want some money (small change by western standards) when you ask for a photo. You could solve the problem by not asking locals to pose for a snap.

        • ? What are you replying to? I didn’t mention anything about staring or people wanting money.
          Btw. all the photos with locals in this blog post are those when the locals asked for a photo with me.
          Hope you have a good day, Jason.

  2. I so wanted to go there! i actually won a place on KeralaExpress this year as a blogger but I had to cancel it last minute….Still planning to go though…so many things to see and do there, great list you have shared!

  3. Wow, Kerala sounds wonderful! I haven’t visited India, partly because I couldn’t make a decision about how to approach such a big diverse country. Maybe Kerala would be the place to start. ..

    • Yes Rachel, I believe Kerala is the best way to start exploring India.. I think that’s where the culture shock is lessened to a minimum.

  4. Mmm, this looks like an amazing place! Your photos are beautiful. I’m ready to pack my bags to go eat the spicy food and photograph the tea plantations. :)

  5. Great tips and beautiful photos!!
    My husband and I are thinking to travel to India next year and your post just make me want it even more!
    Travel is all about good experiences and memories!
    Cheers,
    Nat

  6. Looks stunning!

    We’ve sadly had to cut India from our current trip as we simply won’t have the months we need to do it justice!

    It remains one of Sarah’s favourite ever countries (she’s already spent 2 months there), despite not even getting south of Mumbai.

    Your review looks stunning.

    Were you volunteering or working there, a solo traveler or was it part of a group trip?

    • Hey Chris, you should definitely go see Kerala and more of India, it’s so worth it :)

      My trip was part of Kerala Blog Express 2, a bloggers trip organized by Kerala Tourism.

  7. I have been thinking of going to Kerala for quite a while now – thanks for all the good reasons on why I should finally do it!

    • Hi.. I’m Vijay, Better to start from Kochin. Then go to Munnar Hill and tea plantations including tekkady natural wildlife sanctuaries. You have plenty to explore there. Then go to Alapuzha backwaters. If you have time to spend make a trip to Wayanad also.

  8. Useful article , I am thankful for the specifics . Does someone know if my assistant might be able to find a sample a form document to fill in ?

  9. I’ve been to Kerala 4 times in the past ten years. I absolutely LOVE it! I am a spicy fan so the food I fell in love with. As a tip to those that go, you can ask the waiters to make your food not so spicy. I personally asked them not to and most were surprised.
    And ladies? Don’t forget to purchase a Sari and be shown how to put it on.

    • Hello Angie, wow 4 times! But I can understand why :)
      So do you know how to put on a sari now? I was shown twice, but still couldn’t get the hang of it, it’s so complicated..! I brought a sari back home despite the fact I might never be able to put it on myself :) Maybe after watching hours of YouTube tutorials :D

  10. Nice article.proud to be a keralite and I should say that there are also places like paniyeli poru,vagamon,wayanad (there are lot to see in this district) which are also stunning.glad you had fun in here.

    • Thanks Jyothi! I went to Wayanad too, but didn’t really experience it as we had too short time and there was a strike!
      Many greetings to Kerala from Prague! :)

  11. Really good tips! Thank U very much. I’ll going to Kerala on September, we’re travelers, my boyfriend and I, and we’ll go for meditation and yoga, and of course for the nature and the animals We are so excited! Now we are in France Namaste

    • Tracy, you’re going to have such an amazing time! Kerala is a great place to wind down, relax and meditate. Enjoy it to the fullest :)

    • Why do people say namaste everytime they talk about India?. First off, namaste is a hindi word that is meant to greet someone, not as a goodbye. Secondly, when you talk about kerala, there is no namaste. Because in Kerala people speak Malayalam and not Hindi.
      So next time, do some research before you chant namaste for everything.

      • dude im a keraite..and I use the word namaste..in several occations as way of being polite. malayalam is a combination of several languaes mainly tamil and sanskrit..and it got words from arabic and several other languages too… so saying namaste is not some kind of bad thing or kind of ignorance. in my openion namaste is kind of word which everybody understands internationally…

  12. Hi there. Great blog… I have returned back to Australia 3 days ago from northern India. I spent 2 months in Rajasthan then up to Rishikesh and Haridwar. Also made it down to Orchha and Kadjuro. also got to Amaritsar. Cannot handle being back because I miss India so much. In January I am going to go to Kerala and rent a house until June. Any tips on renting in Kerala? No problem if you are not sure maybe some of your follows can give me the tip I am looking for. Thanks for the post.

    • Hello Sandra, thanks for stopping by! Wow, you’ve seen a lot of North India, I still have to go there myself.
      I’m sorry, I don’t really have any experience renting in Kerala. I’d check out Airbnb and look for Facebook groups.
      Enjoy it there!

  13. I live in kerala.. Its a beautiful place filled with lot of mysteries.. The more you explore,
    the more your life change.. A place mixed with excitement.. Spiritual waves.. I have been travelling inside kerala for last two years.. Still i havent completed half of the beautiful places..

    • That sounds wonderful, Adithya. To discover Kerala extensively like you do must uncover many hidden charms… Good you have it close! :)

  14. Kerala is beautiful place is in India. In Kerala, we can enjoy Nature. Kerala culture is awesome. I read your blog and i get the some valuable information on Kerala. Thanks for sharing this so interesting post! I really want to be thankful for the way you have put it here.

  15. Kerala is extremely popular for its backwaters. I personally feel that it is better to sit and relax on the beaches of Kerala rather on Goa beaches.

  16. Wonderful blog and Im so very happy that you liked Kerala.. Although I must admit im a bit jealous of you..Even after being a Keralite I have not seen so many places as you have..And yes your blog did make me nostalgic and I cant tell you how desperate I am to pack my bags and go to Kerala..I am really glad you enjoyed your trip and I hope you keep coming back..

  17. I am so inspired reading your blog on Kerala and it is pushing me fulfill this long awaited wish to travel Kerala. I have so many friends who recently made their visit to Kerala and even, I had to go with them but due to personal reasons, I have to cancel my plans. Do you really think that lonely planet book would be of great use when it comes to travel some unexplored places in Kerela who information is not so easy available on internet..

    • Hi Amit, thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you’ll make it to Kerala soon! As for the Lonely Planet Guide – I use it mainly to get to know the background and history of a place. And then local recommendations on places to go are usually the best :) Hope that helps!

  18. After reading your article, I think everyone should visit the above-listed places and it is extremely top places to visit in India with family and best holiday destination for those who are looking to explore adventure places.

  19. Kerala is an amazing place to visit in India. Visit of this place is makes you feel like you are in the lap of nature. Places like Munnar, Kovalam, Alleppey, Thiruvananthapuram etc are the actual piece of heaven on the earth. The most amazing thing i love about visiting Kerala is the backwaters and the stay in Houseboat. You have reminds me the visit on mine to the Kerala. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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