Destination: Kerala - God's Own Country
Land of Spices, Elephants, Beaches, Jungles and Ancient Traditions
Kerala has long been a home to aromatic spices such as black pepper and cardamom, Ayurvedic medicine and ancient Hindu spiritual practices. This sliver of a state on the southwest coast of India is sandwiched between the sparkling cerulean waters of the Arabian Sea with its endless sandy beaches to the west, and the Sahyadri Mountains to the east. Tropical rains have made this land fertile with lush evergreen forests, lakes, canals, tea plantations and jungles.
The Evergreen Land
Hundreds of miles of canals, called backwaters, meander through the heart of Kerala forming the lifeline of its inhabitants – irrigating iridescent green rice fields, transporting people, livestock and supplies, and creating an ecosystem parallel to none other. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending out to virtually half the length of the state of Kerala.
At lower elevations to the west, Kerala’s native habitat consists of evergreen rainforests. In the highlands to the east, deciduous and semi-evergreen forests are prominent. The highlands are perfect for tea, coffee, rubber and spice plantations and wildlife reserves. The midland is made up of undulating hills and valleys. This area is rich with cashew, coconut, arecanut, tapioca, banana, rice, ginger, pepper, sugarcane and vegetable plantations.
Explore rolling hills covered in spices and tea
The Sahyadri Mountains divide the southern half of this ancient subcontinent creating verdant rolling hills that lead up to deep green mountains where you can find India’s largest spice plantations. These same spices drew explorers and traders to Kerala from tens of thousands of miles away for millennia; travelers who were willing to risk life and limb to trade gold and jewels for a pound of this famed black pepper. Feast your senses on rolling hills covered in cardamom, pepper, cloves and every spice you can imagine.
Where elephants roam...
Life here is gentle, unhurried and moves at the gait of an elephant. Don’t be surprised if you see an elephant or two sharing your road, as Kerala is full of these loving pachyderms. Depending on which post-confluence retreat you choose, you may just end up sharing your yard with one.
The tropical climate gives life to one and all. Tigers and elephants roam the jungle, monkeys swing from trees and scamper across rooftops, spices and tea quilt the hills and fisherman dot the waves and the soft sandy beaches along the coastline. Discover for yourself why the locals call this land “God’s Own Country”.