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Kerala: A Paradise for beaches, backwaters & islands!

8 mins. read

Published in the Sunday Gujarat Samachar on 11 February, 2024

Incredible India has many things, it has mountains, it has beaches, it has national parks, it has hill stations, it has rivers, it has beautiful islands and it has a desert! To do all this, it is going to require us to make multiple tours and holidays. And one of the best things about all these things that you can see in India is the fact that everywhere, you can really Celebrate Life! Everyday, Veena World travellers send through stories, poems, photos and a whole lot more. There are often days where we are just left wondering whether there really is anything else out there that makes us Celebrate Life more, than when we travel with our loved ones. You too can check these stories of Incredible India by scanning the QR code below:

So now that we are in the mood to Celebrate Life, I want to pick one incredible state of India and talk about it today. I want us to travel to the South of India to Kerala. Kerala is often described as 'God's own country,' and for a very good reason. Nestled between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Kerala is a tapestry of myriad hues, where emerald fields slope down into the deep blue sea and crystal-clear rivers weave a tale of their own. While Kerala's backwaters are synonymous with serenity, its beaches are the playgrounds of joy, laughter, and the occasional romantic sunset. What makes Kerala's beaches so special isn’t just their picture-perfect scenery but the harmonious blend of nature, culture, and warmth exuding from every grain of sand. As the crown jewel of India's south, Kerala's beaches hold a special place in the heart of anyone who has ever sought solace in the lap of nature's tranquility.

With over 550 kilometers of coastline, Kerala's beaches are not just a geographical feature; they are an integral part of the state's cultural identity and a significant contributor to its economy. They've served as a meeting point for various cultures throughout history and are now one of the leading tourist attractions in the state. The beaches have borne witness to the ancient spice trade, modern fishing endeavors, and the slow but steady rise of sustainable tourism.

Each beach has its own tale to tell—a legacy bequeathed by the waves that converge on these shores. Kerala beaches do not lend themselves to the infamy of party-centric haunts or the commercialism that plagues many other famous beaches around the world. Rather they exude a natural serenity that immerses visitors in an environment where each grain of sand seems sanctified by the calm of the Arabian Sea. These shores offer more than just a place to sunbathe; they are a reflection of Kerala's past, heart, and spirit. The key to understanding Kerala's beaches is to appreciate their diversity. Some are calm and ideal for solitude seekers, while others, like Kovalam, are for those who desire a bit of cosmopolitan beach culture. So lets start by exploring a few of them today...

Kovalam: The Classic Coastal Charm

Once a sleepy fishing village, Kovalam rose to international prominence in the 1930s when the likes of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bai, the Queen of Travancore, catered to its growing reputation as a beach destination. It's a beach that accommodates all—be it the solitary poet in search of inspiration, the holidaying family eager for adventure, or the gourmand in search for the famous Kerala curry. But Kovalam's true allure is its authenticity. Despite its growing popularity, there remains an intrinsic warmth that extends from its people to the radiant sunsets.

Varkala: The Sanctified Shore

The soul of Varkala Beach lies in its natural splendour and spiritual fervor that commands respect. As the beachgoer descends a series of rocky steps to reach the sands, they are greeted with a sweeping view of the Arabian Sea, the fabled red cliffs, and the numerous shrines and sanctuaries that don the landscape. Here, you are drawn to the sacred sands and therapeutic mineral springs.

Marari: The Timeless Tranquility

Marari, an idyllic little nook tucked away from the touristic hustle, showcases a gentle simplicity that's the hallmark of rural Kerala. A visit to Marari beach is akin to stepping back in time, where the day's rhythm is dictated by the sea. The beach at Marari is pure, unadulterated bliss—a place where one can rediscover the beauty of solitude or partake in the vibrant culture of the local community.

Now that we have spoken of the beaches, no mention of Kerala is complete without a mention of the serene backwaters. While Kerala’s beaches are a mix of action and adventure, the backwaters offer a subtle tranquility that is equally riveting. With a complex web of lagoons and canals, the backwaters are a lifeline for the locals, a source of sustenance that contrasts with the vibrancy of the coastal beaches.

Picture a labyrinth of canals, lagoons, lakes, and rivers spreading over 900 kilometers like the blue-green fingertips of a verdant hand. It's an ecosystem teeming with life, a lifeline for those who dwell along its banks. The backwaters offer a unique experience that's distinctly Keralan, where boats become homes, and floatels host travellers amidst scenes that seem plucked from a wandering dream.

While the backwaters whisper tales of tradition and coastal livelihood, the beaches offer a direct communion with nature's expanse. The backwaters are a slow-moving symphony, a languid water ballet that contrasts starkly with the rhythmic roll of the waves. To experience one without the other is to observe Kerala with one eye closed. Each demands its appreciation and rewards it manifold, but together, they lay bare the essence of Kerala.

And in the midst of these meandering backwaters, one finds the islands of Kerala—an archipelago where time seems to suspend in the equatorial air. The interconnected lagoons and canals foster a lifestyle that revolves around water, where the pulse of the community aligns with the current. It is from these islands that Kerala's renowned festivals are born, and that their unique cuisine is perfected. The islands offer a sanctuary untouched by modernity, a place to witness the dawn of a new age in the cradle of antiquity.

Kerala takes pride in its efforts to preserve its coastal ecosystems, and the inhabitants of these waters—be it the playful dolphins, the regal turtles, or the abundant fish—are testaments to this conservation. It's not uncommon to catch a glimpse of a dolphin frolicking in the waves as you cruise along the coastline or witness the majestic march of a sea turtle hatchling making its maiden voyage to the Arabian expanse. To walk on the beaches of Kerala, or witness the backwaters, is to partake in ages of oral tradition whispered by the wind and waves.

For me, Kerala is more than a travel destination; it is a testament to the resilience of life, the coexistence of tradition and progression, and the enduring allure of nature's wonders. Kerala evokes a peculiar sense of belonging for all who encounter its coastlines. So, let me end with this. When you seek the beach or the backwaters, let it be Kerala's that you think about—not just for the beauty you'll find, but for the story you'll carry with you, in every grain of sand that journeys home in your shoes. So chill bag bharo nikal pado!

February 10, 2024

Author

Neil Patil
Neil Patil

Founder & Director, Veena World

More Blogs by Neil Patil

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