India is known for its crowded cities filled with narrow streets, crushing traffic and epic slums. But the southern state of Kerala offers an alternative experience for travelers to this diverse nation, thanks to lush green landscapes, quiet rivers, idyllic fishing villages and a slower, simpler way of life.
With a literacy rate of nearly 100 percent, Kerala is one of the most educated states in India, and Kochi, a historic fishing village, is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to this part of India, and also the economic capital of the state. Travelers can wander the coast and watch as locals cast impressive handmade nets into the ocean and reel them in filled with fish. Kochi is the perfect place to experience a traditional Ayurvedic massage or book a backwater cruise through the flowing rivers of Kerala on a private boat.
Visitors can escape from India’s more common urban landscapes on visits to mountain town tea plantations, where black, green and white teas are grown, picked and packaged for purchase. Travelers can also drive through the vast rice paddy fields of Palakkad and sample Southern Indian dishes before heading to Silent Valley National Park or the Malampusha Gardens. The capital city of Kerala, Thrissur, is famous for its jewelry and silk shops, as well as its colorful temple festivals. Be sure to catch a traditional Kathakali production to see a unique form of dance that blends music, bright costumes and ancient stories.