On one fine Saturday morning, my wife started yelling at me. The reason – it’s been long since we went for any vacation or rather any weekend gateway trip. To tell you the truth, I was also in need of a much-needed break. I was calm as I thought of having a break – not a weekender but a long vacation. I told her that I was too planning the same.
Initially, we thought of travelling to Shimla and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. However, we had to drop that plan since Sunayana, our daughter, was only 10 months old at that time. And, it was an obvious risk to take her to a place of “thin air”.
Kerala – God’s own Country
Later, my wife suggested travelling to Kerala, popularly known as “God’s own Country”. The idea attracted me. Kerala is an awesome place. We planned to go there in the month of October because of the pleasant weather, less torrential downpour than the usual rainy months. Without any hesitation, I quickly booked flight tickets with Indigo.
Our journey to Kerala from Pune began on 7th October. The Indigo flight from Pune to Kochi took approximately 2 hours.
Travelling in Kochi
Kochi is a great city and has a great urban space. We stayed in the M.G Road area which is one of the most important locations in the city. I was excited that I would get to see the Chinese Fishing Nets but unfortunately, that didn’t happen as the fishermen put the nets only during the rainy seasons when water levels are high. I was disappointed but had a good time in the beach and the sunset view was awesome.
Next day, we visited the Jews Synagogue of Kochi. It was a nice and mystique place. I never saw a Synagogue before.
Kochi is a good place for shopping. Lulu market is a famous name as it is the biggest market yard in Kochi.
A few days in Munnar can be actually rewarding!
After staying a couple of days in Kochi, we went to Munnar. You can book a cab or state owned bus to reach Munnar. If you travel with family especially when you travel with kids and aged people, avoid the bus journey.
It was a great journey from plains to hills. Munnar is a great place but pre-booking of hotels or homestays is recommended especially in holidays. Stay near Munnar bus stand (Munnar city) area or within 0.5 km range as there are plenty of ATMs and medicine stores.
The chilly weather, the tea gardens and the Munnar tea in a chilly weather will refresh your mind. The tea gardens are situated mainly in the Kannan Devan Hills. We visited the Top View and Eco-point. The Top View is a place where you can look down and see the Tea Gardens. The scenic beauty is a treat to the eyes which you will cherish whole life.
It was my wish to see the Kathakali Dance and Munnar fulfilled my wish. The ticket prices varied between Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 depending upon in which row you book your seat. Save some time for visiting the Spice Gardens where you will see plants of spices. You can buy spices and I bet, it will be the best quality in the market.
To travel in and around Munnar, book a cab which I think every hotel is connected with or you can also book an auto if you are travelling alone or with friends. People in Munnar are very friendly. They speak Malayali and Tamil fluently. You can still dance with English and Hindi and don’t forget to buy tea.
Exploring the Backwaters of Alleppey / Alappuzha
After our stay in Munnar, we then went to Alleppey or Alappuzha. We stayed in Cosy Hotel very close to the Finishing Point which is actually the riding point for Houseboats. Our hotel provided house boat at the cost of 7000 INR. The rate varies and peak season charges are more. Everything about the houseboat was good except the night stay. At night, they tied the boat to a palm tree nearby a village. I wished our houseboat floating in mid waters entire night. Alleppey is a small town and it is popular mainly because of the back waters.
Beautiful Thiruvananthapuram and Kovalam
After exploring Alleppey, we headed for the last phase of our vacation journey towards the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum in short.
Thiruvanthapuram, a very busy and modern city, still have the touch of ancient times everywhere. It was a tiresome first day since we travelled by train. Adding to our woes, our daughter Sunayana wasn’t feeling good. She was not accustomed to the changing climate and excess humidity in weather.
On our second day at Thiruvananthapuram, we decided to visit Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The temple is an awesome place and should be in the itinerary list for people visiting Thiruvanthapuram. People from all over India and abroad come to this temple. Everything was systematic and peaceful. Kudos to the temple management team who has to manage the huge rush every day.
There are certain things which devotees should follow before visiting the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Those who want to visit this temple, need to eat vegan items. Ladies need to wear saree and gentlemen need to wear wrap around dhotis. If you don’t carry them, you can buy the essentials from the shops adjacent to the temple complex. The costs may vary depending upon the quality of the items. Generally, it starts from 150 INR.
In the afternoon, we went to Kowdiar Palace. However, because of some reason, entry was restricted. Without wasting much time, we went to see the Shanghamugham Beach for sunset view. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day but the beach was good. After the day’s trip, we returned to our hotel in Thiruvananthapuram.
Next morning, we went to the Museums, precisely, The Napier Museum, the Natural History Museum. We had a beautiful local lunch that day. Kerala is well known for Banana and Jackfruit chips. We all had that in snacks along with the masala chai.
At 4 O’clock, we headed towards our last destination – the Kovalam beach. Trivandrum trip will remain incomplete if you don’t visit the Kovalam beach. It’s an awesome beach. The dawn and the dusk both will give you a great feeling. The Light House at Kovalam beach lit up during the evening time which enhanced the love for the place.
Our trip to Kerala ended in a good mood. We all looked happy and tired but still heart was pounding for more adventure and travel but we all have certain constraints. In this Kerala trip, we enjoyed a lot, visited many places. Missed some of them.
Kerala “God’s own Country” was really fabulous. Nice place with nice people so in your next trip, plan for it. Kerala will never disappoint you!
Photos: Susobhan Aich
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