3 Sep 2013

Posted by Chirstina Rose on Tuesday, September 03, 2013 No comments
There is much more to experience in Kerala besides the backwaters
and tasting the meen curry or resting your ached body with abhyangam.

Cardamom trail
Discover the magnificent cycling route from Munnar to Periyar, winding through the spice plantations and camping in tents on the way. The trail starts from Munnar, meandering through the tea plantations and forest patches, passing through the Lockhart Gap overlooking the amazing Bison Valley down below. The course is stippled with thick forests, cardamom cultivations and spice gardens that have made these cardamom hills renowned all over the world.

Have you ever heard of an umbrella that could protect you from heavy rains as well as heat of the sun, and still stay firm for many years? Kerala’s Panayola Kuda (palm leaf umbrella) does. Before ti was considered as a privilege of the higher class, this umbrella was made entirely of a particular variety of palm leaves and bamboo.

 Apart from the decorative versions of the umbrella used during temple festivals, it is hard to find these customary umbrellas these days. It is made of silk and strapped with metal and sequins. If you stroll along the midst of Alleppey district, through the Pannavalli village, you might get a chance to see these magical umbrella makers, who make variety of three fold, four fold, two fold switch, two fold ordinary and garden umbrellas. You can even enrol in an umbrella making factory in Kochi.

Infuse in street art
One does not need to do to museums or galleries to see art in Kochi, as art of sea serpents, boats, faces, blue birds etc. is spilled over the walls of Fort Kochi. Australian visual artist Daniel Connell has reproduced huge images of native Australians using hand drawn images and photographs, on the Kochi Carnival Office wall which is among the oldest buildings in Fort Kochi. The art was made possible due to the idea of Kochi-Muziris Biennale last year. The Binnale displayed the works of 10 street artists across Fort Kochi and Mattancherry.

Explore the villages
Next time when you visit Kerala, try connecting a village trip with your backwater hang around. Houseboats and ferries cannot contrast to attractive little canoes that can navigate the narrow canals and take you to main parts of villages. You can experience coir making, construction of boat, toddy (palm beer) tapping and fish farming in these villages. As on longer tour you can even get a sample of sadya (a traditional Kerala meal).

The Dolmens of Marayoor
Get back to the ancient ages with the dolmens of primitive architectures, believed to be primeval burial chambers of Marayoor. These architectures are found around the world which are characterised by four stones and a fifth cap stone on the top. In Marayoor near Munnar, dolmens are scattered all over the hills. The place is the only spot in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees and is famed for primitive rock paintings characterising the celebrated wanderings of Ram and Sita and the Pandavas.