Romancing the monsoon, Kerala style| Last Updated: May 31, 2013 at 6:09 PM
Monsoon lends a Midas touch to the ‘God’s own country’. Apart from heralding bumper harvest and prosperity, the rains beautify the picturesque state of Kerala with various shades of green and transform it into a treat for mind, body and soul.
It is one of the blessed states to receive the monsoon on its arrival as well as on its departure. Monsoon accounts for more than 80 per cent of the rains received by the state and since most of the rivers of Kerala are fed by rains, watching the monsoon water cascading down the hills in the form of breathtaking waterfalls and majestic rivers gurgling through the valleys makes for a beautiful sight.
Monsoon is also the best season to experience what Kerala is best known for – its Ayurveda and rejuvenation therapies. Since weather is pleasant and the atmosphere is free of dust, the body becomes more receptive to the healing process. Special Ayurveda rejuvenation
packages and herbal porridges are launched to accentuate the rejuvenation therapies.
The Kerala government organises various festivals designed around food, music and cultural events specifically in monsoons to lure the international as well domestic tourists. To top it all, even the fares and hotel rents become much cheaper so that there is no pinch on the pocket.
Kerala provides diversity of landscape in the form of mountains, hills, backwaters and the beaches. The monsoon ensures that every destination provides a different and fulfilling experience to the visitors.
Travel.India.com takes you through some of the best destinations to enjoy the rains.
Athirapally and Vazhachal Falls
Nicknamed the Niagara of India, Athirapalli and Vazhachal Falls are a must visit destination during monsoons in Kerala. Located in Thrissur district, around 90 km from Kochi, the water at Athirapalli plunges about 80 feet to join the Chalakkudy River and leaves a cloud of mist, which gives a heavenly feel. While rest of the year, it is just three strands of falling water but during monsoon it considerably expands and merges into one gigantic splash.
The picturesque destination has caught the fancy of several filmmakers too. Noted film director Mani Ratnam has shot several movies including Dil Se, Raavan and Guru at this destination.
Vazhachal Waterfalls are located just five km away from Athirapally Falls on the Chalakkudy River. This rushing watercourse, with the backdrop of the beautiful Sholayar forest range, is surely going to take your breath away. The place is extremely popular even with the locals, who make it a point to visit here during monsoons.
Universally known as the Paradise of South India, the Kovalam beach is said to be the starting point for monsoons in India. The first touch of rains on the dry sand is a sight to cherish and several tourists from across the world visit the place during this time to live this memorable experience.
The beach is a combination of three spectacular crescent beaches including the most popular Lighthouse Beach with an ancient 35-meter light house soaring towards the sky, the middle Hawah beach (since European women used to enjoy topless bathing here) and the third Samudra beach, which is dominated by the local fishermen. The interminable blue waters along the palm-fringed white sand beach, ensures that the visitors experience absolute delight and supreme satisfaction.
The beach, about 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram, is the most popular in the state because its shallow waters and low tidal waves make it the safest beach. If the weather gets a little unpredictable during monsoons, the best bet would be to indulge in Ayurveda, yoga and meditation at one of the renowned centres near the beach or at your hotel.
Alappuzha and Kumarakom
Another way to truly enjoy monsoon in Kerala is by taking the popular houseboat rides at either Alappuzha or Kumarakom. Relaxing in a houseboat and enjoying authentic Kerala cuisine while watching the rains pouring down is a sight to relish. The packages for houseboats come down significantly during monsoons and they even arrange for Ayurveda treatments on the boat itself to provide a fulfilling experience to the tourists.
When it is not raining, one can enjoy walking on the wet sand along clear water and swaying dense coconut palms at Alappuzha, also called the Venice of East. It is a dream tourist destination and one of the most popular beaches of Kerala. The enchanting beach boasts of numerous lagoons, fresh water rivers and huge lakes. An old lighthouse nearby and a 140-year-old pier adds enormous charm to the place. The presence of Vijaya Beach Park makes this place a perfect combination of entertainment and relaxation for the tourists.
Kumarakom, located 26 km from Alappuzha, is a collection of small islands with swaying coconut palms and paddy fields on the edge of the Vembanad Lake. The beautiful islands provide extremely picturesque backdrop and makes you want to stay there forever. The ecosystem is rich in natural flora and fauna and one can even visit the famous Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, which boasts of a large variety of indigenous and migratory species.
Known as the Kashmir of South India, Munnar is one of the most beautiful destinations in India. Monsoons add an extra streak to the place and it turns fresh and verdant green. The undulating stretches of tea and cardamom plantations, randomly crisscrossed by babbling mountain streams and tumbling waterfalls, give this place a heavenly ambience. Situated at a height of 6000 ft, Munnar (the name means three rivers, since it is located at the confluence of Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers) provides an enriching experience whether you take a stroll to admire the beauty of the place, visit the age old mansions from the British era or just sit inside the room to marvel at low-lying clouds and mist laden valleys.
Nearby places like the beautiful Mattupetty dam, the popular cascading waterfalls at Attukal and Nyayamakad, trekking to the Lock Heart Gap or visiting the scenic Eravikulam National Park — home to the Nilgiri Tahr — are just the icing on the cake.
Some things should be kept in mind before you head out for your monsoon vacation to Kerala.
- Carry raincoats and umbrellas. Pack synthetic clothes, since they dry quickly, and rain-proof boots.
- A medical kit with some antibiotics is a must in your luggage. If you are planning to go for trek, carry salt to prevent leeches getting stuck on your skin.
- Carry a mosquito repellent and sleep fully clothed.
First Published: September 25, 2012 at 1:30 AM