Offbeat things to do in Kerala.
By Tanya Malik
Kerala and beauty are synonymous. God’s Own Country, Kerala, is every bit beautiful and each and every corner of the state has something that makes you nature wonder at. 2017 has just begun and you all must have started planning your travel for the year. India’s travel treasure is never ending. Travel to any state and you will find it oozing something that satiates your travel hunger. 2016, for me, ended on a very sweet note as I celebrated my New Years in the lap of Kerala. I am short of words while writing about this ethereal destination. I feel that mere words alone can’t describe the beauty that Kerala possesses. Anyhow, I manage to bring to you six things that you must try on your visit to Kerala.
Sing to yourself on a Shikara ride
Where: Allappuzha backwaters
Allappuzha is a piece of heaven! When in Kerala, you really can’t miss the backwaters. Birds, coconut trees, fresh breeze, everything at Allappuzha awakens the traveller in you. Go for a shikara ride and enjoy the beauty of the place. On your way through the backwaters, you will pass through remote villages and may get to see people caught up in daily chores. Make it a memorable journey by singing some songs. If travelling along with family or friends, why not make it musical with some Antakshari? Music makes you connect with every place. Have you ever tried?
Pose in a lungi
Where: Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Yes, Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the richest temples in the world. It is the temple with the greatest treasure. All these thoughts will run through your mind as you step inside the temple. But wait! There are some rules that all the visitors need to follow. Males can step in only in a lungi, females wearing saris or skirts can easily enter the temple. However, those who are not carrying saris or skirts need to wear a lungi. Lungis can be purchased outside the temple. Phones, bags, cameras, nothing is allowed inside the temple and there are stalls where you can safely keep your belongings.
Now, once you step inside the temple, get ready for security checks, Many of them! As you enter the main sanctum, you will get to see a three-and-a-half foot tall statue of pure gold idol of Mahavishnu. This lying statue of Mahavishnu and beauty of the temple will leave you spellbound, for it possesses an air of positive vibes. After darshan, when you come out of the temple, don’t forget to pose in a lungi in front of the temple.
Play kabaddi with the waves
Where: Kovalam Beach
Kovalam is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala. It has an altogether different vibe to it. It is happening and unruffled at the same time. The lighthouse at the beach is the star attraction and you surely can’t miss looking at the view it offers from the top. I recommend to you to spend the entire day at this beach. Take a stroll through the beach with your favourite songs plugged in. The waves will call you for more as you walk by. It reminded me of the movie Dear Zindagi. Do you remember the scene where Shahrukh Khan teaches Alia to play kabaddi with the waves? Being a die-hard SRK fan I tried it and it gave me a lifetime experience. Now that was like a typical Bollywood sequence for me! Also, if you are at Kovalam Beach in the morning, you will find some fishermen pulling fishing nets from the sea, they always welcome you with a smile. You can join them too!
Take a deep breathe
Where: Varkala Beach
Known for having medicinal water springs, Varkala Beach will captivate you at the first glance. When the fresh breeze from the sea caresses your hair, you will instantly get a big smile on your face. Enjoy the tranquillity with some meditation at the beach or just sit back and listen to your favourite song. Take a deep breath and take back home the refreshing vibes of the place. It is a beautiful experience to see the sunset at the Varkala Beach. It is the only place where you will get to see the cliffs at the end of the beach. Go up the cliff and enjoy the scenic view. The Tibetan market at the cliff has loads to offer to the shoppers.
Cucumber and kaccha aam chaat
Where: Poovar Golden Sand Beach
Poovar is another place that will leave you with no words. We took a boat from the Neyyar River and then travelled through the mangroves to finally reach the Golden Sands Beach. As the bright shining Sun’s rays fall on the water of the river, you can feel a slight breeze caressing your hair. Don’t miss sipping some coconut water from the floating ‘coconut walas’. It is an unusual experience as you see the women washing off clothes by the river. When you finally reach the Golden Sands Beach, see how the Neyyar River is separated by the Arabian Sea. While taking a stroll at the beach, have some cucumber and kaccha aam.
Shop for lungis and bindis
Where: Chalai Market
One of the busiest street markets of Kerala, Chalai makes you shop for anything, right from guavas to gold jhumkas. Away from the picturesque scenes of Kerala, it is a destination that will make you taste another flavour of the state. As you try to avoid the noise of the honking cars, you will get to see women bargaining for fruits on one side and men selling off bangles and jhumkas on the other side. Don’t forget to buy a lungi and a sari, for they will be the best souvenirs ever. After drifting from one shop to another, you may forget noticing the bindi every woman in the state wears. Bindi is considered to be auspicious and you may not find a single woman not wearing it. Take back that authentic Kerala feel with some bindis.