Top 10 things to do in Kerala

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1. Wake upto the world’s best breakfast
Kerala’s spread of morning dishes – vellayappam, Uppuma, iddli, puttu, masala dosa,appams etc. have been rated the best breakfast in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine. A must-try is the crisp lacy appam served with meat/vegetable stew.

The magazine says in its article

In the lush, green tropical state of Kerala, at the southern tip of India, there are a great many dishes offered early each morning in vegetarian restaurants, all of them extraordinary. Each is simple in its ingredients (rice, coconut, palm sugar, and such), yet ingenious. And with tantalizing names like wellayapum, uppuma, iddli, and puttu, ordering breakfast is a pleasure for the tongue. The best is masala dosa, a huge paper-thin crêpe made from a fermented batter of rice and black lentils, wrapped around potato curry and accompanied by hot tamarind lentil stew and fresh coconut chutney. Served on a banana leaf and gobbled up using your right hand exclusively, it is almost as much fun to eat as it is delectable.

2. Walk-through verdant paddy fields
Here’s different walking experience that you can experience anywhere in the world. Venture in to the very heart of the verdant paddy fields, on narrow dykes in Alleppey, Vaikom, Kuttanad or Palakkad. Don’t lose yourself completely in the dazzling green around you, as you’ll have to watch out for the slushy water passages that run through your mud path. Try this out in Kuttanad, Alleppey or in Palakkad.

3. Sip tender coconut plucked from a coconut tree
In Kerala everybody loves coconut trees. It gives cool coconut drink, coconut kernels, oil, toddy (alcoholic), fibres for rope, fronds for firewood, etc. Climbing coconut trees is no longer difficult but still Govt is trying to use machines. The fun is also in seeing the coconut tree climber going up the coconut tree wearing the coir trap to pluck the coconut and how he carried things to pluck coconut in the hip holster which is similar to the ones used for carrying arrow. Refresh yourself with a sip of cool tender coconut- nature’s rejuvenating nectar – and a scoop of its soft white flesh, Nutrition at its natural best while visiting Kerala plucked straight from a cocount tree by a cocnut tree climber.

4. Enjoy an authentic Kerala Ayurveda Massage
Kerala Ayurveda is famous all over the world and a visit to Kerala is the best time to experience an Ayurvedic Massage to rejuvenate yourself. Gift yourself new life through an authentic Kerala Ayurveda Massage from a trained Ayurvedic Physician in Kerala. Surrender to the magical fingers of specially trained masseurs and to medicated baths that will refresh you as well as the herbal diets that will replenish you. Also do try out yoga and meditation that will revitalize and recharge you.

5.Take a swig of toddy
Try to taste for fresh madhura kallu (sweet toddy extracted from the coconut palm) and have it the Kerala way with exotic karimeen pollichathu (baked fresh water fish) or spicy pickles.If you have opted for a houseboat cruise you can ask the crew to stop pver at a Toddy shop near backwaters. Toddy is the desi cousin of the wine or any mild alchoholic drink in west.

6. Do fishing with Chinese fishing nets
Watch and participate when fishermen tug at the huge Chinese fishing nets with their rich haul. These nets that billow from massive bamboo poles were brought here by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, the Mongolian King in ancient perios. Their silhouettes against the evening sky make for terrific pictures in Fort Kochi. The system of counterweights in Chinese fishing nets is most ingenious. Rocks, each 30 cm or so in diameter are suspended from ropes of different lengths. As the net is raised, some of the rocks one-by-one come to rest on a platform thereby keeping everything in balance. The catch is usually modest: a few fish and crustaceans — at the end of the mammoth effort. But this is something that you can see only in Kerala.

7.Cheer a snake boat race
Watch the backwaters of Kerala come alive in snake boat races. Feel the excitement bubble in you as teams of 100 oarsmen row their snake boats, their bodies swaying in unison to the fast rhythm of full throated singing, in one of the most exhilarating water sports anywhere in the world. The most famous of these races in Nehru Trophy Boat race that is conducted in the second Saturday of August every year and is named after the first prime minister of India – Jawaharlal Nehru who donated a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner of the race every year.

Boat Races in Kerala

8. Marvel at elephant pageants
The spectacle of 30-60 caparisoned elephants will enthrall you as they move in a majestic procession, while trumpets and drum beats work up to a frenzy in a traditional Pooram festival in any Kerala temple- the most well known being the one in Kochi. One of the best exhibitions of cultural heritage anywhere in the world the view of caparisoned elephants with music ensembles like Melam, Pandimelam, Panchvadyam or Thayambaka can be seen only in Kerala.

9. Spin coir
Coir and Copra are two words that were contributed by Kerala to the english language and watch nimble fingers at work as they spin water treated coconut fibre into long ropes with a traditional hand spindle in the suburbs of Kollam and Alleppey. Shop at a number of roadside stalls for brightly coloured coir door mats, wall hangings and carpets made of coir.

10. Order a metre of tea from a Thattukada
Stop by a thattukada, a roadside kiosk which opens at most tourist joints in Kerala at dusk, 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. Thattukadas also offer “thattu dosa”—a light rice-flour crepe fried in coconut oil and served with coconut chutney. The menu at a thattukada includes omelettes, spicy pork fry and parottas (like naan, but beaten and mixed with oil). Enjoy while you can when you visit Kerala.

There are other things like Kathakali performance, Theyyam, Mohiniyattam etc which we wanted to add to this list. But thought it should be short and sweet.

Do let us know if we missed out anything that a tourist can do only in Kerala.

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