To walk the ancient streets that run across cultures, beliefs and ideas. To open wide the mind and watch... the different colours seep into each other...
"And let the courtyard of the world make us human all over again."
[Ad] Partnership with Kerala Tourism. All views and opinions remain my own.
There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to get you dreaming of travel, right? Come with me and voyage through the quiet waterways of southern India with this 7 day Kerala itinerary.
India, on the whole, is not known for being a quiet place. With over 1.35 billion residents, you can expect to find hustle and bustle, city lights and bright skies.
And while I love a good city, the months and months of city based lockdowns have left me yearning for the sky. Gasping and gaping and searching for a horizon, one unpunctured by chimney tops and unaware of scratched stereo soundtracks and muffled thumps and zoom calls.
And people. Oh, do we miss people. Scrambling to open the door to the postman, chatting over the wall to the neighbours. Braving the frost in the road for a glimmer of New Year cheer.
My last foreign trip seems a fantasy, a dream. Tasting sweet kesari bath in Mysore, returning only days before the blockades came in and the borders closed.
So I was fascinated to hear these travelling tales from Kerala, and I hope you will be too. This video is an antidote to lockdown life:
HUMAN BY NATURE
Friends tell me that Kerala evolved a way of life that is different to other parts of India. Its history of trade and seafaring led to a mix of religions and cultures in the way that all good ports do. But Kerala defines itself not just by its stunning green landscapes and beaches, but by its "peoplescape" too. They call it "human by nature."
One of the gentlest doctors I ever worked with used to speak fondly about his home. When I told him I would spend my honeymoon in Delhi, he near doubled up with laughter.
"Everyone who lives in Delhi goes to heaven," he told me. "Because no God sends them to hell twice."
Kerala, he told me, was nothing like that. He spoke of cooling waters in calm canals, his boyhood friends, shopkeepers and the gentle chatter on shared boats, a canopy of nature resting overhead. Boats and goats, palms and open arms, and school uniforms running through blades of long, long grass.
Perhaps it was the starlit skies as we worked the night shift that made the descriptions glitter. Or perhaps it really feels that way.
Either way, in more practical terms, I've spoken to friends in the business and here’s what they recommend for a 7 day Kerala itinerary.
For when the time is right.
Planning Your 7 Day Kerala Itinerary
Why You Should Visit Kerala
Nicknamed "God's own country," Kerala is renowned for its slow canals, green vegetation and diverse and welcoming communities. It spills from the edge of the Western Ghats to the pristine beaches that splash onto the Arabian Sea.
When to Visit Kerala
Although Kerala doesn't reach the scorching temperatures of the north, it's still better to visit during the "winter" months between September and March. The air is less humid and it's more comfortable to travel around.
7 Day Kerala Itinerary
DAY ONE - ARRIVE IN KOCHI
Most visitors arrive in Kochi international airport. Depending on your flight time, you might just like to rest and recover. But if time and energy is on your side, then these are the highlights:
- Sri Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple. This Temple of Healing is possibly the most famous temple in Kerala.
- Kerala Kathakali Centre – catch a traditional Kathakali dance performance here.
- Kerala Folklore Museum - brush up on art and architecture here.
- The Santa Cruz Basilica - widely considered to be one of the most impressive churches in Kerala.
DAY 2 KOCHI TO MUNNAR
Travel from Kochi to Munnar takes around four hours and the journey will being you to some of the most famous parts of Kerala: the tea plantations.
The beauty of this region caught the attention of the British Raj, who made it a summer getaway destination in the late 19th century.
- Top Tip: check out the Top Station Viewpoint, the highest point on the Munnar-Kodaikanal Road.
3 – tour the Munnar tea plantations
Relish the deep sea greenery of the Munnar tea plantations and explore the land by foot or on a bike.
4 – HIKE IN ERAVIKULAM NATIONAL PARK
Get active in this part of the Western Ghats by trekking through Eravikulam National Park. If you're lucky, you may spot the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered mountain goat.
5 – MUNNAR – ALLEPPEY (ALAPPUZHA)
There's a good six or seven hours of travel today but I'm told its worth it. Alleppey is the land of backwaters, canals and house boats.
But if you're in the mood for sightseeing, check out these highlights:
- The Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, a beautiful waterside temple from the 15th century.
- The Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, a serpent temple with over 100 000 images of snakes.
- The Alappuzha Lighthouse, a slice of engineering from Birmingham on the seascape of Kerala.
6 – ALLEPPEY OVERNIGHT ON A BOAT TOUR
Kerala's gorgeous traditional house boats allow you to really soak and sink into the natural landscape and "humanscape."
7 – Alleppey back to Kochi
Return to Kochi for your flight home. Or connect with other parts of India.
More on Travel in India
Did you enjoy this 7 day Kerala itinerary? There's so much more to travel in India. Check out these resources:
This article was sponsored by Kerala Tourism. However, as always, as ever, we kept the right to write what we believe.