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A travellers diary with 101 things to do in Kerala
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26. Marvel at elephant pageants
The spectacle of 30-60 caparisoned elephants will enthral you as they move in a majestic procession, while trumpets and drum beats work up to a frenzy. The best of these spectacles is seen at the Thrissur Pooram.
27 Listen to temple music
Panchavadyam is an orchestra of 5 native instruments - suddha-maddalam, kombu, edakka, elathalam and timila. This traditional temple music accompanying elephant pageants builds up the festive spirit. And never fails to leave its listeners entranced. Audio cassettes of panchavadyam are available.
28 Visit the local markets
Small stalls with fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken… High pitched salesmen luring you with impossible bargains. Visit these bustling markets or chandas for fresh buys.
29 Go bananas
In Kerala, red, green and yellow are synonymous with various types of plantains’. These digestives come in different shapes too — tall, short, stout, sleek... And while you taste banana chips, raw banana dishes, banana milk shake, banana ice cream, dried bananas, fried bananas… you’ll wonder if there’s any other fruit more versatile.
30 Try your hand at percussion
Kerala’s rich repertoire of percussion music and instruments is world famous. So bring alive your taste for good music and learn whatever your holiday allows.
31 Cheer racing oxen
Entertain yourself at a Kumbala, the local ritualistic bullock race of Kasaragod or a Kaalapoottu – the agrarian sport of Palakkad.
32 Shop for souvenirs
Kerala’s handicraft centers have an extraordinary collection of wood, coir shell and sandlwood souvenirs, trinkets and jewellery. Woodcarved Kathakali masks, snake boats, elephants, jewellery boxes etc. are perfect showpieces for your drawing rooms and ideal gifts for friends.
33 Stay in a tree house
Spend romantic nights in the tree houses of Palakkad washed in the sweet scent of the forest flowers, and let the sounds of the forest fill up your dreams.
34 Have a mud bath
Go in for mud thereapy and discover its healing properties at the Kavil Bhavan Yoga and Cultural Centre at Nileswaram, Kasaragod.
35 Bask in sunshine
Screne, secluded and spellbinding. Kerala has some of the best beaches in the world. Ride the surf. Get a tan. Build sand castles. Or simply sift sand through your toes. Anything you do here will unwind and relax you.
36 Watch a Malayalam movie
Malayalam movies have excellent story lines and some of them are internationally acclaimed. If you visit the State during a film festival, you’ll get to see good movies with English subtitles.
37 Bathe in healing waters
Don’t miss your chance to take a dip in the waters of the Nelliyampathy forests in Palakkad or the mineral springs at Varkala. These waters are known for their medicinal properties. Take a splash, heal yourself.
38 Buy gold for all occasions
Kerala’s gold jewellery, intricately disgined and delicate, will steal any woman’s heart. Make sure you have enough money on you before you step into a gold shop. Because whatever be your taste, you’ll find patterns you’d wish to own.
An Aramula mirror is made of a finely polished alloy of four metals – copper, silver, bronze and lead. Once a closely guarded preserve of royalty, these ornamental mirrors are exceedingly rare-only two master crafts men and their families still make them.
40 Feel the presence of God at Maramon
Witness the largest Christian convention of Asia at Maramon, near Kozhencherry. Interestingly, the waters of the Pamba River dry up every year to reveal sands that serve as the venue for the event.
41 Ride in an autorickshaw
Explore the streets of Kerala in an autoriscksha, a three wheeled taxi painted yellow and black. Don’t be surprised if you meet a driver who has a degree in English literature or is fairly fluent with the language.
42 Peep into your future
The fortune teller on the street has your future written on his cards – your career, your life, your life partner and more. Just show him your palm and wait while his parrot picks your card from the pack.
43 Spin coir
See nimble fingers at work as they spin water treated coconut fibre into long ropes with a traditional hand spindle in the suburbs of Kollam. You can shop at a number of roadside stalls for brightly coloured coir door mats, wall hangings and carpets.
44 Learn exotic art forms
Watch kathakali, mohiniyattam, theyyam or thiruvathira and pursue one that interests you most. Learn how a story unveils through the eyes, fingers, feet and myriad expressions of the artist.
45 Rock about in a bullock cart
On a pleasant evening, treaverse the scenic mud roads of Kerala at the unhurried pace of a bullock cart. The tinkling bells and roll-over-from-side-to-side motion of the cart will pull you into a lazy reverie.
46 Walk the lanes of Fort Kochi
Put on your hat and sunglasses, wear comfortable sandals and embark on a walking tour of Fort Kochi where bastions, churches and mansions built by the British, Dutch and the Portuguese, 500 years ago will greet you. Interestingly, Vasco da Gama, one of the world’s greatest explorers, was buried here.
47 Order a meter of tea
Stop by a thattukada, a roadside kiosk, for a steaming cup of strong tea. Watch the expert stretch it to a metre while pouring it from glass to glass, blending it well and building up a tempting froth in the process.
48 Climb rugged heights
Not all places to visit in Kerala are on well travelled roads. Or on roads at all. Hike up rugged terrains at Munnar, Wayanad and Kakkayam (Kozkikkod) for an exhilarating experience. If you haven’t tried rock climbing before, our experts will teach you the tricks.
49 Engage in water sports
An adventure sports lover will rarely find time to stay idle in Kerala. Her beaches provide you with unlimited watersporting options of wind surfing, rafting, sailing, power boating and even that of a simple catamaran ride.
50 Take a train through paradise
A train journey is an interesting way to experience Kerala. Get a window seat and watch the landscape unfold like pages of a colourful picture book, or acquaint yourself with your fellow travellers who make interesting profiles