5 Reasons to Visit Kerala during Winter
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The silver land between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea on the east coast of the peninsular India is called the God’s Own Country. This place of rolling hills, a fairly navigable inland waterways system joining the backwaters of the hinterland, paddy fields, long stretch of miles and miles of shining sandy beaches, puffs of cool winds coming from the Arabian Sea, the spicy mouth-watering feast of Sadya, the crunchy, zesty, meaty dishes of Malabar, the decked elephant pageants, spas and resorts and plenty of sunshine with a mild weather in winter is the Indian state of Kerala.
Kerala is a wonderful tourist destination in winter. It is one of the most upward mobile areas of India and a highly sought-out tourist destination. It has happened because of the tourist-friendly people and policies pursued by the government.
The 100% literacy in Kerala has also boosted the tourist trade because, firstly, the people are less wary of outsiders and, secondly, they know it is one of the highest employment generating sectors for every section of the people of Kerala. In other words a tourist gets more tolerated and welcomed in the literate atmosphere of the state.
The tourist season never ends in Kerala. Summers are the favourite time of the people from cold climes. Monsoon is liked by those who love the rain in its myriad configurations. The winters on the other hand are truly the most important season to be in Kerala.Here are five most important reasons for this winter-benefit in Kerala.
The Weather of Kerala Won't Let You Down in Winters
The climate of Kerala can be divided into four seasons. The period from the end of February to the middle of May is the summer season. This the period of high temperature spread all over Kerala. It is followed by the rainy season of the south-west monsoon that stretches up to September. This comes as a relief from the sweltering heat of the summers. This is the season of torrential rains almost up to October. This is followed by the North east monsoon rains fairly into the month followed by the onset of the winter season from December to the end of February. A simple analysis of the climatic characteristics of the four seasons is sufficient to see why the winter season is the best period to visit Kerala for tourists. The summers are hot causing high discomfort. The average tourists cannot enjoy most of the time at all the places. The monsoons are fairly wet restricting movement, at most of the places, which may extend to days if there is a particularly heavy period of rain in a season. The winter is the only season that provides a period of a cool invigorating climate. The weather in Kerala is mildly cold all over the state – except the high mountain reaches - during the winter. It is 210
at most of the places. This weather makes Kerala a ‘cool’ place to be in winter.
The main purpose of a tourist to visit a place is sightseeing. The tourists can go to Munnar and visit the Periyar Tiger reserve for a refreshing nature walk under the Sandal Protection Programme. The walk of 4 to 5 km has abundance of flora and fauna to soothe the eyes. The winter months are good for taking up the walk.
The wildlife lovers would like to visit Chinar wildlife sanctuary to see the unique wanderoo or the Nilgiri langoor, the atlas moth and the other rare species of flora and fauna. A visit to Fort Kochi in winter will be less harrowing than in summer or monsoon season. The salubrious effect of winter makes it easy on eyes, legs and mind.
Because a 'Smart Traveller Goes' to Kerala
Kerala has been listed as the ‘Ten Paradises of the World’ by a travel magazine. It is also honoured as one of the '50 places of a lifetime'. Winter visit has been recommended by the Traveller
magazine. The Emirates In-Flight Magazine called it ‘one of the ten hot spots’ for the millennium. The Pacific Area Travel Writers’ Association has awarded Kerala with the prestigious International Award for Leisure Tourism. The Guardian
Travel magazine said that Kerala’s real pull lies in the rich masala of its cities and its milder backwaters. Sir Paul Mc Cartney called it ‘Truly God’s own Country’. Financial Times
said that Kerala is the place where ‘the smart traveller goes’. Vogue
said that Kerala is ‘Beauty, Tranquillity and Spice’. The Time
declared that Kerala is ‘worth the journey.
Kerala has been called the 4TH Best Travel Destination in the World by a publishing house.
The first point of reference is food. It should be nourishing, tasty and healthy. Kerala gets a thumbs-up in this sector from the company. The food of Kerala is traditionally good. It is digestive and it is tasty. If the traditional style is followed and it is mostly the case all over Kerala, the Keralite food is free from fats. It is steamed rather than fried. Only the Malabar area uses a lot of ghee for frying dishes. But it is mostly confined to Non-Vegetarian dishes. In general the Kerala dishes use less oil and mostly it is the coconut oil considered to be less harmful than others.
The food in Kerala is heavenly for food lovers. There are hundreds of
dishes prepared in several ways. There is Sadya which is mostly
vegetarian, a variety of sea food and the meaty dishes of Malabar make
the cuisine of Kerala remarkable. A very common trait of the food in
Kerala is the use of coconut in all its forms. Coconut oil, coconut milk
and shredded or grated form are how the recipes use coconut. Even the
coconut shell is used to steam certain dishes. Another important feature
of this food is the use of spices. The typical Kerala dish will have
chilly, curry leaf and asafoetida with tamarind, cumin seeds etc. It
will also have the major ‘Garam Masala’ spices to make it fiery,
especially the non-veg dishes. Thus the Keralite cuisine is by nature
spicy. It is not oily in general because most of the dishes are steamed.
This food is made for enjoyment. Winter months from October to February
are the best time to enjoy the highly spicy, seasoned and still healthy
food of Kerala.
The place also have a friendly demeanour for visitors. Kerala is a kids
and family friendly destination. The nature of the local people is an
important reason for its commendation. There are places all over the
world which are famous for fleecing tourists. These places are visited
but later hated by the tourists because of the visible greed and
wiliness of people, traders and even the local self governments. People
consider them merely golden-egg-laying geese; the traders fleece them
with higher rates and currency rate differences in prices and even the
local self governments levy chocking taxes on them in the name of
managing the tourist destinations. It does not happen in Kerala. The
Policies of the government are tourism friendly.
The Kerala Government’s Policy
The government of Kerala has a well-thought out policy and a well oiled machinery to implement those policies for attracting and managing tourists. It even runs several tourist-lodges, resorts, hotels and motels to welcome and make the tourists’ stay in Kerala comfortable. Kerala was the first to open government-run motels on the highways to aid a budget tourist’s move all over Kerala. It has been found and noted that these boarding and lodging places run by the government are in no way inferior to the ones run by the private entrepreneurs. These places are available in winter season but a prior booking through the tourist department will be more convenient because winter time is the most hectic tourist period in Kerala.
Uniqueness of Sites in Kerala
The intrinsic qualities of a place make it good for a tourist to enjoy. A place becomes a repeat tourist destination due to several reasons. No amount of advertisement can make it attractive to tourists without having some qualities particular to it.
The uniqueness of the natural and man-made features goes in favour of Kerala. The man-made world of concrete match-box-towers of commerce, the plastic world of motels and hotels with identical decoration, same menu, same service with the same bored demeanour of the staff, duplicated advertisements of ethnic heritage with actors trying to recreate the old age magic make most tourist places in the world the same. The overall ambiance of sameness is a big boring feature of almost all the places the tourists visit. In this problem of sameness some places attain identity due to their Natural and man-made features. Monuments so beautifully constructed in the past like the Taj of India, the Pyramids of Egypt, and the forts of Spain are still attractive because of these man-made sites. The Swiss Alps with their magnificent slopes, the Niagara with its mesmerizing falls and the lush back waters of Kerala are some of the wonders of nature nothing can duplicate.
The backwaters of Kerala with a wonderful inland transport system through its lush canals make this natural geographical wonder a place to see. A smooth cruise in a good boat through the rushing paddy fields, coconut groves and friendly locals in the cool of winter months could be a tourist’s never before experience.
Enjoy with These Little Things during Winter in Kerala
Kerala offers a lot of unique festivities and participatory events in winter. The Mid January celebrations of The Kerala Village fair
offers a great moment of participatory fun. The veritable feast of dances, delicious food and memorabilia bought in the exhibitions in winter is fun. This is a speciality of the villages near Kovalam. So those who visit the beach at Kovalam have the added bonus of visiting the Kerala Village fair. This is a kind of time-machine celebration known as ‘gramam’. The villagers recreate the old ethnic style of Kerala in dress, food, snacks and dances along with the original handicrafts made in the old age style for 10 days.
The Kochi Carnival
held at the Kochi Fort is a font of joy for both visitors and participants. It is a ritual started by the Portuguese who used to welcome New Year with a lot of fervour. It remained unbroken in Kerala as the traditional New Year festivities but was formally revived in the Kochi Fort in 1984. It is a very colourful programme with a lot of events.
The Temple Celebrations
in winter are a treat to the senses. The Holy Bath or Aarattu and the Royal Hunt or Pallivetta are the famous festivals held by the Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram in October-November. These are religious rites held for 10 days. There is so much pomp and show attached to these events that thousands throng to take part in these rites. The Royal family of the erstwhile Travancore state leads the ceremonies as a ritual. The Idols of The Lord are taken to the Shankumugham beach for the sacred bath. The festival of the Makara Sankramam in February called Kumbhabhishekam is celebrated by taking a holy dip in the river Payasini and feeding the poor and needy. The Jagannatha Festival
in the Middle of February is famous for fireworks, religious congregations and elephant pageants. Kanathoor Nalvar Bhoothasthanam Festival
is held near the New Year Eve. The temple Theyyam's famous ritualistic dance held in a festive manner for 10 days. The Theyyam of Kuttikkol is also famous for its sacred festivities with dances and rituals. It is held in February. The Kalpathi Ratholsavam of Palakkad
is the famous chariot race held in November. Palakkad is also famous for the Pariyanampetta Pooram held with great pomp and show in the Bhagavathy temple. There are several such famous festivals for to tourists to come to Kerala in winter and participate comfortably without a lot of summer sweat.
It is not only the temple celebrations that attract tourists but there are so many other things to visit and do in winter in Kerala. The historic fort of Bekal is a two-in-one destination. It is situated close to the Bekal Beach. A cool breeze from the beach in winter makes the visit to the fort and later to the beach unforgettable. The Varkala beach near Pythal Mala Hill station is another dual benefit destination. The cliffs visible from the beach make it a remarkable place to visit. The beach towns are especially pleasant in winter.
Cultural Treat in Kerala Winters
Kerala is culturally a very rich state. It is the birth place of a variety of classical dances of India. Most of these dances have a religious connection. Some have the influence of the traditional Martial arts of Kerala. Kathakali, Theyyam, Koodiyatttam, Margamkali, Oppana and Mohiniyaattam are some of the famous dance forms of Kerala. If a person is interested in these performing arts the winter season will be very fruitful for visiting Kerala. There are several Theyyam festivals held in the winter season in Kerala. The Kuttikkol Thampuratty Theyyam
in February is one of the most important festivals of Kerala and considered to be an experience cherished by those who have witnessed this visual treat for four days. The Perunnal festivals at Arthunkal
in January and the Vettukadu Perunnal in the last week of the year are some of the remarkable celebrations proclaiming the secular nature of Kerala. These are Christian festivals celebrated in churches but visited by thousands of non Christians also. These festivals showcase the culture of Kerala. The Malabar Mahotsavam
in the month of January brings everything in a series of events to celebrate the cultural richness and offering of traditional Malabar cuisine.
These and many other festivals bring the culinary skills of Kerala to be exhibited in full measure. It is true that great delicious food is a 365 days 24X7 speciality of Kerala. It is also true that if the idea is to enjoy food of Kerala one does not need to wait for winter.
Green Ambience and Winter Wildlife in Kerala
A tourist place should be green and clean. Kerala fulfils this requirement. The pristine hills of Kerala, the spectacular scenery of shining rivers and falls, the verdant paddy fields, coconut groves, the lakes and the backwaters form the green ambiance of the charming Kerala. The winter season makes all these beautiful scenes look sharp and defined. Kerala has a 600 km long coast line with some of the best beaches in the world. The cool sun of winter makes the experience on the beaches better than any other season. It is the time to have a little sun on skin. Nothing could be better than basking on the beach under a winter Sun or moving around with the mild warmth of the Sun slowly trickling over the skin making all the cold of winter vanish forthwith. Winter in Kerala comes after the North West monsoons have receded to their oceanic abode. The general environ looks washed and greener in winter. A sense of cleanliness gets suffused all over in winter. Cleanliness is next to godliness is an old saying. It brings joy to a man’s heart. Kerala is clean. It is kept so by the highly literate people who are tourist friendly in general. Literacy automatically makes a person think about environment. The people of Kerala are environmentally friendly.
Kerala has 12 wildlife sanctuaries. It has 2 National Parks- the Silent Valley National Park and the Eravikulam National Park. These places are natural habitat of a wide variety of birds and animals. The winters are good to see the wild life in the open. It is time to not only see the native birds like Cuckoo, Egret, Heron, Duck, Mynas, Hornbill, Jungle Nightjars, Sunbirds, Shrikes, Common Snipes, Storks, Black Bulls but also the migratory birds like Common Teal or Yeranda, Sparrow-Hawk Or Praapidiyan, Buzzard or Parundu, Pale and Montegu’s and Pied Harrier or Medutappi, Marsh Harrier or Karitappi, Osprey or Taalipparandu, Peregrine falcon or Kaayal Pullu, European kestrel or Cherupullu, Oyster catcher or Kakka Patta and many more of the foreign guests in Kerala. These come to the land of Kerala in winter. Places like Vembanad Lake, Ponmudi, coastal backwaters, Periyar Lake and Wayanad etc turn into an ornithologist’s delight in winter.