A sliver of a state in India's deep south, Kerala is shaped by its landscape – almost 600km of glorious Arabian Sea coast and beaches, a languid network of backwaters and the spice and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats. As relaxing as an ayurvedic massage, just setting foot on this swathe of soul-quenching green will slow your stride to a blissed-out amble. Kerala is a world away from the frenzy of elsewhere, as if India had passed through the Looking Glass and become an altogether more laid-back place.
Besides its famous backwaters, rice paddies, coconut groves, elegant houseboats and delicately spiced, taste-bud-tingling cuisine, Kerala is home to wild elephants, exotic birds and the odd tiger; and crazily vibrant traditions such as Kathakali plays and snake-boat races. Few visitors neglect to put Kerala on a South India itinerary – the biggest problem is choosing where to linger the longest.
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Need to know
Central Kerala covers the small strip of territory running from Kochi (Cochin) in the south up to Thrissur (Trichur) in the north east. The obvious highlight is the captivating trading-post city of Kochi but this area includes the lovely beach at Cherai and the towns of Parur and Chennamangalam.
A perfect trip to Kerala
Travelling in Kerala is as easy and rewarding as a glide through its backwaters...
When in Kerala: 10 must-dos in India's deep south
Kerala has been a favourite haunt of travellers from around the world for nearly 600 years; it's been known to exhilarate, enchant and enthral...
Serene Kochi has been drawing traders and explorers to its shores for over 600 years. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj.