Art and Culture
ART & CULTURE -Spectacle of color, costume and drama
Kerala – “Gods own Country” takes pride in its distinct culture and arts that has developed through centuries. More importantly, despite the onslaught of globalization, the state and its people makes efforts to preserve and nurture the various art forms and rituals associated with its ancient culture. Spectacular visual effects and stunning music are hallmarks of Kerala’s performing arts. To understand and appreciate this land and its people, we suggest that you try to savour bits of the varied art forms and participate in few of the festivals that may occur during your visit.
Kerala’s performing arts are a grand spectacle of colors and costumes. Kathakali, the pride of Kerala, is an art form where music, dance and drama are incredibly synchronized. Mohiniyattom, Ottanthullal, Koodiyattam, Chakiarkoothu, Pathakam and Chavittunatakam, though lesser known to the outside world are also important art forms of Kerala.
Kathakali, the classical dance form of Kerala, was originated in Kerala 400 years ago. A complete art, Kathakali constitute 3 fine arts – acting, dancing and singing, and is a pantomime in which the performing artiste does not sing or speak; the singer plays a key role in the staging of the art form.
Kathakali is usually presented at dusk in the premises of temples, sometimes continuously for ten days, each night featuring an act of the play and lasting till day break. The music is characteristically slow, strictly adhering to rhythm giving full scope for the performer to present his acting skills. The actors paint their faces vividly and use different costumes depending on the kind of characters they portray.
You may enjoy a short performance at the various performing centers across the state as well as at the hotel or resort you are staying. Get in touch with us to include one in your itinerary. Often a brief introduction to the performance is provided in English to help visiting tourists to appreciate it better. On request, you can also be privy to the elaborate make-up procedure of the performing artist involving intricate painting and decoration that are symbolic of specific traits of the character he or she would be presenting.
Mohiniyattam is a dance form said to have originated in Kerala. Originated as a temple dance, it portrays feminine love in its myriad forms – carnal, devotional and maternal.
Thiruvathirakali is a dance typical to Kerala performed by women for everlasting marital bliss.It is observed as an occasion to celebrate womanhood. Only girls and women perform this. They stand in a circle dressed in traditional style and the dance follows a circular pattern accompanied by clapping and singing.
Temple and Church festivals – Exotic night life, at its cultural best !!
The social and cultural fabric of kerala is very intricately woven around its temples, churches and mosques. Almost all towns and villages in Kerala are centered around a temple, church or mosque beginning with the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram, famous for its Sree Padmanabha (Lord Vishnu) temple. Hence your visit to Kerala is incomplete without seeing a temple or attending a Sunday mass at the local church. If you are visiting Kerala between December to March, these temples and churches offer you the best in night life you could never have imagined. The festivals in temples and churches are often night long affairs (often lasting a week) with various art performances, elephant marches, shopping, eat outs and socializing. The entire village is often lit up with spectacular fire works on display and people adorn their best outfits to enjoy their time. These festivals are celebrated in a much spirited and unique way compared to cultural festivals like Onam. We suggest that you get in touch with us for a brief a video show of few such festivals and let us know whether you can let yourself miss this exotic, little known bit about Kerala’s night life.
Cultural festivals – Gifts, social visits and feasts; a time you look forward to!
Onam: Onam is a traditional festival of Kerala and falls in the month of August or September according to the moon calendar. The entire state is in festive mood with street decorations and of course heavy shopping and social visits, that you may say that Onam to Kerala is what Christmas is to West. Be here to enjoy the magic of the festive season and you can be part of several other traditional functions that fall around onam (like the famous snake boat race in the backwaters of alleppey ) which happens on second saturday in the month of August every year and also enjoy the special elaborate meal served on banana leaf.
Vishu : The next most popular festival of the state, Vishu, which falls on 14 April, is the traditional New Year for the state. It is a time to exchange gifts, mostly clothes, visit friends and relatives and enjoy an elaborate traditional meal served on the banana leaf. Most temples in Kerala hold special functions on this day.
Ayurveda Evolved around 600 BC in India , Ayurveda science of medicine focuses on the well being of the body as a whole instead of just treating the ailing part; it stresses on the prevention of body ailments in addition to curing them. It is a unique, herbal-based medicinal science that not just cures you the patient of the specific illness but attempts to refresh and rejuvenate him by eliminating all toxic imbalances from the body and thus regaining resistance and good health.
Kerala’s favourable climate, abundant forest resources (with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants), and the cool extended monsoon season (June – November) are best suited for Ayurveda’s curative and restorative therapies. This ancient system of medicine has been kept alive in Kerala by dedicated practitioners over the centuries and now has adapted the processes to cater to the needs of patients reaching out to them from across the world. The Government has also attempted to ensure quality checks by awarding certificates of quality and authenticity to practitioners based on their experience so as to protect the interests of patients.
Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine but also a system of life. The main concern of Ayurveda is to prevent disease rather than to cure them. The system of preventive treatments in Ayurveda is called Sukachikitsa or rejuvenation therapy.
We invite you to discover the secrets of the world’s the most ancient and natural health-care tradition for maintaining health, vitality and longevity.
- Rejuvenation Therapy
- Body Immunisation
- Slimming Programme
- Body Sudation
Yoga means union between body and mind or body, mind and spirit, the traditional acceptance is union between the Jivatman and Paramatman that is between one’s individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness.
Therefore Yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine.
These 5 principles constitute the essence of the teachings .
- Proper Exercise (Asanas)
- Proper Breathing (Pranayama).
- Proper Relaxation (Savasana)
- Proper Diet (Vegetarian)
- Meditation (Dhyana)
Pranic Healing® is a highly evolved and tested system of energy medicine developed by GrandMaster Choa Kok Sui that utilizes prana to balance, harmonize and transform the body’s energy processes. Prana is a Sanskrit word that means life-force. This invisible bio-energy or vital energy keeps the body alive and maintains a state of good health. In acupuncture, the Chinese refer to this subtle energy as Chi. It is also called Ruach or the Breath of Life in Hebrew.
Pranic Healing® is a simple yet powerful & effective system of no-touch energy healing. It is based on the fundamental principles that the body is a self-repairing living entity that possesses the ability to heal itself and that the healing process is accelerated by increasing this life force that is readily available from the sun, air and ground to address physical & emotional imbalances.
is Kerala’s all the time favourite breakfast and it occupies a VIP position in Authentic Kerala Cuisine menu. This steam cooked rice cake with shredded coconut, is a healthy alternative to modern junk foods .From the breakfast Puttu has come a long way to be a round-the-clock favourite. It is indeed a nostalgic meal for us . It is usually served with kadala(Black Chana), Mutton stew , vegetable stew etc.
is the fermented rice pancake a fermented rice pancake, is a specialty of the South Indian coastal state of Kerala. Not only in India, it is popular in Sri Lanka and other coastal countries. Christian communities make Appam on the special occasions. Often served with coconut flavored vegetable stew, egg curry and Non – veg dishes like Duck, Chicken, Mutton curries.
Sadhya ( Lunch )
A typical Kerala feast, referred to as sadya, is spread out temptingly on a clean green banana leaf. And the food is to be eaten with the fingers. Even the dessert, payasam, that tastes like rice pudding, is served on the leafy plate.
The culinary efforts of the different communities of Kerala come out in distinctly different dishes of great variety. While Hindus specialise in delicious vegetarian food such as sambar, rasam, olan, kaalan, pachadi, kichadi, aviyal, thoran and so on.
The Muslims and Christians excel in non vegetarian cuisine. The pathiri, a sort of pancake made of rice flour, and biriyani which is a mouthwatering dish of rice cooked along with meat, onions, chillies and other spices are Muslim culinary delights. Christians have interesting recipes to make an array of fish dishes such as meen pollichathu, fish molee and so on. Christian cookery specially caters to people with a sweet tooth – crunchy kozhalappam, achappam, cheeda, churuttu etc.
Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and spices added to it – spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric etc. Spices are used in Kerala to tone up the system the way wines aid the digestion of western cuisine. The juice of tender coconut – ‘world’s safest natural soft drink’ – is a refreshing nutritious thirst quencher. The staple food of the masses is rice. Kerala cuisine also has a medley of pickles and chutneys. And the crunchy papadams, banana chips and jack chips can give french fries a run for their money any day.
A visual treat, an experience that you would savour for long and would return for more – cruising on a traditional wooden boat fully equipped with bed, bath and kitchen along palm fringed canals and lakes is probably kerala’s unique offering to visitors.
As your boat slowly glides through the calm lake, you can sit on the deck enjoying the breeze, with a drink in hand, and savoring the sights on the country side while a day of village life unfolds before you, almost in slow motion — house wives busy with their daily chores, children marching to schools in their white and blue uniforms waving at you, men fishing by the canal side, farmer plucking his coconut…is there a better wayto enjoy and understand local life? All this while your cook would be preparing your next meal in the kitchen with fresh catch from the lake or with the garden fresh veggies he picked up from the farmer by the way side…
You may choose to spend your night in the boat, when it is anchored in the lake and then the cool, light evening wind will cradle you to sleep. You may choose the course of your journey based on select land marks (local church, temple, market, farm etc) as well as its duration. We offer a wide array of houseboats that vary on the amenities ranging from simple sightseeing boats to those that have multiple bedrooms and even conferencing facilities
Silver sands. Rocky promontories. Endless structures of blue sky and sea. Beaches attracts all. Sumptuous spreads of green palm groves. Kerala has some of the finest beaches in the world. Each unique for its natural perfection. Each considered to be the tropical paradise of sorts.
It is located 16 Km away from Thiruvananthapuram city. This internationally renowned beach resort has been a favorite hunt of tourists since the 1930’s. It is considered to be one of the finest resorts in Kerala.
It is rated among the first tourist resort in the country. Kovalam, the excellent sandy beach consists of three adjacent crescent beaches also. Good accommodation facilities are available.
Alappuzha, the “Venice of the East” has emerged as a major tourist attraction due to the amazing backwaters and renowned beach. This beautiful beach is popular among the locales as well as visitors. The sea view park here has the boating facilities. This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Alappuzha. The pier, which extends into the sea here, is over 137 years old. Entertainment facilities at the Vijaya Beach Park add to the attractions of the beach. There is also an old lighthouse, which is greatly fascinating to visitors.
Varkala, which is known for the Sree Janandhana Swami Temple, is also known as “Southern Varanasi”. The beach, which gives attraction to this well-known place, offers us a pure natural entertainment.
Payyambalam is the beach near to Kannur town. It is a major tourist attraction of Kannur District. The beach is clean and long. Flat laterite cliffs jut into the sea at one end. Picturesque and incredibly beautiful. The Naura Cafeteria and well laid out gardens greet the visitor to Payyambalam. This is a drive in beach too.
Famed for its natural harbor, one of the finest in the world, Kochi has earned the obriquet “Queen of the Arabian Sea”. Kochi is one of India’s most interesting cities. Here you can see the oldest church in India. The ancient temples, churches and synagogues in this district are of special interest to the archaeologists and historians.
From time immemorial, Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese seafarers followed the sea route to Kochi and left their impression on the town. A Jewish community with roots going back to 1000 AD, a 16th century synagogue, and a palace built by the Portuguese and given to the Raja of Kochi which was later renovated by the Dutch are part of Kochi
Enjoy the lush green and tempting greenery of Kerala’s finest hill stations in Munnar, Nelliyampathy, and Wayanad,. An ideal getaway from the daily busy rush of the plains below. An ideal package for the honeymoon couple. The ravishingly beautiful hill stations nestling 1600 to 1800 metres above sea level, along the misty ranges of the Western Ghats.Munnar has a verdant topography comprising tea estates and tropical forests, with a rare collection of flora and fauna. The gurgle of streams and whiff of fresh tea leaves serve up a heady mix of delights.
This nature- lover’s paradise still retains its quiet charm unlike other popular hill stations that has lend itself to wide commercial exploitation. Opened up out of virgin forests a century ago by pioneer planters, this is where you fill your holidays with quiet moments at 1600m above sea level.
Relax within the cool stillness of thirty odd estates that spread across the expanse of the hills. Spend soul-searching moments within its remote and elderly churches- gracious, stone structures with ancient chandeliers and rosewood pews. Savour the heady fragrance of fresh tea as you take a trip down its lanes. Be a part of the picturesque ethereal setting of the Mattupetty Dam as you trek up the rich tropical forests beyond that lay beyond.
The hills surrounding Munnar is a wild life watchers’ delight, -with a sizable population of elephants, lbisons, langurs and macaques roaming free in herds. Further, Munnar offers the best opportunity you are ever likely to have to see the tea plantations, to watch tea being picked, to learn how tea is processed and to buy tea directly from the gardens.
The Kundale Tea Plantation
An area surrounding a lovely lake that offers some of the most stunning views of the region. If you arrive on a Sunday, make sure to drop in at the small Kundale Club in the afternoon, where the local planters gather with their family.
Eravilkulam National Park ( Rajmalai)
2695 metres high, Anamudi -the highest peak in South India looms here. Fifteen km from Munnar, the famous hill station of Kerala, is the beautiful Rajamala. The natural habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr (Hemitragas hylocres), the Eravikulam – Rajamala region is now home to half the world population estimated at around 1300 – of this endangered mountain goat. But the Tahr is only one of the reasons to make a visit to Rajamala. The picturesque beauty of this mountain will make you want to tent here forever!
The High Range Club
Charmingly colonial in style, this wicker-and -old-teak club still serves as a social centre for the far-flung farmers of the region around Munnar. Housing an elegant lounge, a delightful dining room, the obligatory gentlemen’s bar, billiards room and a library.
Tea Museum- Munnar
Munnar is perhaps the choicest of places to preserve and showcase some of the exquisite and interesting aspects on the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala’s high ranges. With special emphasis to Munnar, and to the delight of tea lovers and tourists, Tata Tea recently opened a Tea Museum which houses curious, photographs and machineries, each depicting a turning point that contributed to a flourishing tea industry, as seen today in the region.
Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. (open 7 days a week)
Children below 12 years: Rs.10
Pay a visit to the Mattupetty Dam for a day, 10km from Munnar , this popular picnic spot has activities like boating and horse riding and is a great place to spend the day especially if visiting with children . The Muttuputty Lake/Dam offers facilities such as this as do the local coastal spots and rivers. No matter whether you fancy sailing, being driven by the breeze or paddling your way along the waterways in a canoe, you are sure to find something to suit your abilities and boating style in this town or within a short drive of the place.
Munnar is accessible only by road- a scenic four hour drive from Cochin (132 kms)
Nearest airport: Cochin international airport, 130 km away and in neighboring Tamil Nadu, Madhurai airport, 142 km away.
A forest range 75 kms ( travel time: 2 ½ hours) from Palghat, the Nelliyampathy hillls comprise a chain of ridges cut off from one another by valleys of dense evergreen forests and orange plantations.
The height of the hills ranges from 467 metres to the tallest peak Padagiri loomig at 1572 metres. Accessing Nelliyampathy from Palght is a sensation on its own, as you negotiate over a dozen hairpin curves of the ghat road passing through the fascinating jungles of the Sahya Ranges. En rout, 17 kms from Palghat, the shimmering Pothundi Reservoir and ilts manicured surroundings make for the ideal stop over.
Seethakundu at Nelliyampathy offers fantastic view of the valley below-a wide-angled vision of a third of the entire Palghat area. Nelliyampathy has immense trekking potential. The Community Hall at Kaikatty provides a good camping ground for the trekkers.
The Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary
Sprawling over 285 sq.kms, this neighboring sanctruary shelters the largest population of wild Gaur ( Bison) The Cannimare Teak Tree, said to be the largest in the Asian continent towers roughly 5kms away from Thunakadavu-the headquarters of Parambikulam. Other wildlife Such as the Nilgiri langur, sloth nbear, the lion-tailed macaque and spotted deer abound along with a handful of tigers and leopards.
The hills of Nelliyampathy lie at a distance of 75 kms from Palghat ( travel time: 2 ½ hours) and 225 kms from Cochin ( travel time: 5 1/2 hours).
Luxuriant plantations of coffee, tea, cardamom, pepper and rubber stretch over the hills of Wayanad as far as the eye can see., With the fast-flowing rivers- Panamaram, Mananthavady and kabini- cutting across the undulating panorama and lending picture-postcard look to the whole region.
The north eastern tip of Kerala. Its pretty image notwithstanding, perhaps what the visitor finds most endearing about this quaint little hill station is its large tribal population and their fascinating lifestyles.
Including revered monarchs of barely fifty -strong tribes. An in -vogue barter system. And ancient rituals. Not surprisingly, based on evidences still found on these hills, historians contend that civilization existed in these parts at least a thousand years before Christ.
The two rock Waves at Ambukuthy Hills, 12 kms south of Sultan’s Battery (travel time: 20 min), contain ancient carvings and pictorial writings with human and animal figures in puculiar headdresses along with geometric from and symbols.They speak of a highly civilized people at an early centre of human habitation.
At just 32 kms from Mananthavady (travel time; 1 hour ), the eye-catching backdrop of Brahma -giri hills lend an idyllic charm to Thirunelly where the Vishnu Temlple touched by the soothing streams of Papanasini provides eternal bliss to the searching pilgrim.
With its own dream-like serenity, this natural fresh water lake surrounded by meadows and trees on all sides is a haven for peace-seeking travellers. You’ll find it on your way from Calicut half an hour ahead of kalpetta.
A stronghold of the jains in the past Two historic jain temples-one of which, through a network of mirrors bedazzle the visitor with a thousand inkages of the icon-are found here.
Historicallly important as the last resting place of Pazhassirajah who fought a guerilla war against the British.
An enjoyable climlb of about 1100 metres through a distance of 90kms ( time taken: 2 hours) from Calicut and 6 ½ hour from Cochin,brings you to the cool comforts of Wayanad.
Kerala, with equatorial forests covering 12 % of its land, has a rich and varied flora and fauna. You may choose to stay in a jungle lodge/resort bordering the forest or try out the unique experience of a tree house in the forest and take on treks, forest-tours, fishing-camps accompanied by an experienced guide. See below a glimpse of the various wild life parks (forest area permitted for tourist visits). Please note that wild life hunting is a criminal offence in India, so keep your ace lenses ready to shoot that picture of a life time when you see an elephant cuddling its baby or deers block your way in gay abandon or a peacock chooses to dance to its mirth…..
We will help you choose and organize a trip to one of these locations below based on your itinerary and time availability.
Eravikulam National Park
This sanctuary was set up specially for the preservation of Nilgiri Tahr, one of the seriously endangered animals. Now the number of tahrs has increased and they constitute the largest known population of tahrs existing in the world. In addition to tahr, the park shelters elephants, sambars, gaurs, lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, tigers and leopards. Munnar, the nearest town, which is connected to Kottayam (148 km.) and Ernakulam (130 km.) by road. There is a motorable road upto Rajamally. Further, travel is on foot, but the trekking is really enjoyable.
Silent Valley National Park
The Silent Valley contains India’s last substantial stretch of tropical evergreen rain forests and it is perhaps the only vestige of a near virgin forest in the whole of the Western Ghats. Elephants, tigers, wild dog, flying squirrel and lion-tailed macaque are found here.From Mukkali one has to cover at least 24 km on foot to reach the source of river Kuntipuzha,which flows through the valley. Nearest railhead is Palghat, 75 km away. Admission to this part is restricted. Prior permission is required to visit the part. For further detail contact: The Divisional Forest Officer, Palghat.
Thekkady (Periyar) Wildlife Sanctuary
The most renowned destination is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady, one of India’s major sanctuary areas. The drive to Thekkady itself is enchanting as the road winds through tranquil countryside, rich plantations and thick jungles. The sanctuary offers a lovely and comfortable way to see the animals via boat rides on the man-made lake, which the wildlife areas encircle. In addition to the wild life, there are water and land birds galore here, and one can sometimes find dedicated bird watchers setting in for one or two weeks of serious observations.
Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary
This bird sanctuary is a peninsular land of 25 sq. km. Formed between the branches of River Periyar. The rivers are rich in fishlife and are shallow for most of the year. The avifauna includes both resting indigenous birds and water birds. The most notable of the indigenous birds are Malabar grey hornbill, grey jungle fowl, heron, egret, jungle myna, wood pecker, rose winged and blue winged parakeet. Rare birds like Ceylon frog-mouth, rose billed roller etc. are also seen.
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Neyyar reservoir is easily navigable and extends 9.06 sq. km. The vegetation varies from tropical wet evergreen to grasslands. Agasthyakoodam of 1890 metres elevation is in this sanctuary. Elephants, gaur, sloth bear, Nilgiri Tahr, jungle cat, wild boar, Nilgiri Langur etc. are seen. A crocodile rearing centre, deer farm and lion safari park are the main attractions near the dam site.
Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated along the Nagarhole river, this area of forest offers you a rich visual treat of tigers, elephants, deers, peacocks and varied birds. However, the best time to spot animals would be summer when they move out from the dense interiors to the river side. Experienced guides take you around the forest in the early morning and dusk in SUVs to spot animals. You can also take a boat ride in the river to spot various birds, alligators and elephants splashing about in waters. Retreat your resort at sun set to enjoy freshly cooked hot meal, some beer and warmth of the camp fire.