This is a paid article written in partnership with Kerala Tourism, with products or services supplied by them. Full editorial integrity is maintained at all times. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.
The state of Kerala is like no other in India. Intensely laid back and uniquely spiritual, the lush, tropical landscape, spectacular festivals and mysterious culture has fascinated travellers for thousands of years, but it is the people that keep bringing travellers back to God’s Own Country time and time again.
It is no secret that India can be hard on the unwary traveller. The sheer number of people that crowd the cities, the pollution and traffic and the culture shock that assaults your senses have all caught many backpackers off guard. Backpackers who have eventually found their way to Kerala looking for an escape, looking for the unique and distinct lifestyle that Kerala has to offer.
Stepping onto the picturesque wooden houseboats known as Kettuvallam allows you to slowly meander through the waterways and backwaters of the majestic Kuttanad region and offers a tiny glimpse into village life as you are surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest. Lazy days can be spent meandering through the tea and spice plantations as you head through the highlands to escape some of the tropical heat, passing the occasional charmingly well worn church or temple.
But Kerala is far more than its scenery. To understand Kerala you have to get to know her people.
A melting pot of cultures, personalities and stories, all drawn from an ancient history of seafaring trade and exploration, unlike other parts of India who’s tales are told through myth and legend, or grandiose monuments to the past, Kerala’s history can be told in the stories and tales of the people who live there.
Practitioners of Kalaripayattu, a martial art unique to Kerala, told the history of their culture through their art. Each technique, each movement, told a story of its own that fed into my own fascination with furthering my training and discovering the deep links the fighting art had with the healing and wellness arts of Ayurveda. A focus on wellness that sits well with the Keralan way of life.
A welcoming homestay wasn’t just a place to lay my head, it was an invitation to sit around a hearth and explore Kerala’s deep culture through its sweet, explosive cuisine.
A slow exploration of Kerala’s natural forests and wildlife reserves lets you discover the tigers and elephants that roam free around the national parks and lays bare the intrinsic link Keralan culture has with its elephants, which are considered as much a part of the collective family as any person and shows the link between human and nature.
Living a new way of life in Kerala.
God’s own country is not a destination to see quickly. Kerala is a state where the moment you arrive you find you never want to leave again. A plan of a few days will turn into a few weeks, a few weeks will turn into months as every traveller puts down their backpack and decides that for now at least, the nomadic instinct has been satiated.
Being in Kerala for any length of time means that you will eventually succumb to the uniquely laid back lifestyle that is infused with every sight, sound and smell in the state. The local people you interact with on a daily basis include you into their daily lives, their daily routine. You are as a traveller invited and welcomed into an inclusive family that lives in harmony with the nature around it.
The Keralan way of life holds a deep, intricate connection between the people and nature.
You may have travelled to Kerala for the beaches, the weather, the grand, rolling plantations and the stunning national parks, but you will stay for the people. Come to Kerala and experience a way of life like no other, a way of life were each man can walk among the heavens in God’s Own Country, and the personal stories of individual people are as intrinsic to the cultural makeup of the country as any beach, jungle or monument can ever be.
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