Tranquil backwaters, lazy boat rides, refreshing mountains and traditional dancing: we’ve found a seriously chic and rejuvenating experience of India without actually avoiding what India is all about. So whether you’re a first timer or just looking to get away from it all, here’s an Indian experience that encapsulates the soul of the country.
God’s Own Country
Kerala is often referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’ and we can see why: serene landscapes, an intricate network of backwaters, abundance of wildlife and exotic plants, and a presence of something mystical that makes life slow down.
Begin your journey on the placid waters of Lake Vembanad where you’ll hole up in the luxurious Kumarakom Lake Resort. Let your stress levels slip away with a series of Ayurveda spa treatments and regular dips in the resort’s infinity pool where you can admire luscious mangrove forests, vibrant bird life and tiny islands sprinkled on the backwaters.
The Emerald Jewel
Step away from the sidelines and immerse yourself in India’s emerald jewel: the backwaters. The best way to explore these waters is overnight on one of Kerala’s houseboats. A converted traditional Kuttanadan Kettuvallam, these 80ft long hand-stitched boats somewhat resemble the Sydney Opera House on water. Powered by a gondola-like boatman and sail, you’ll float along the calm emerald waters as life passes by. Watch farmers pluck rice from paddy fields, locals bringing home their catch-of-the-day and wildlife frolicking in the waters. A truly blissful experience.
From the low plains, head up to the highlands. In your chauffered car, climb 6000ft to the rich green peaks of Munnar. Once a favourite summer retreat amongst the Colonial Brits, Munnar is a great place to cool off and enjoy some crisp mountain air with a hint of spice, literally. The mountains are exploding with not only tea plantations but also of cardamom, pepper, vanilla, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Staying at the Windermere Estate you’ll get an up close and personal insight into India’s most beloved spice, as the estate is part of a working cardamom plantation.
Gateway To Kerala
And finally, head into Kochi where you’ll get a authentic experience of this old Fort city staying at the Brunton Boatyard, a converted Victorian shipyard. There are hints all over the city that consistently remind us of India’s past. Portuguese built palaces, Syrian churches, Jewish synagogues, Arabic mosques, and Chinese fishing nets.
Walking around you’ll see locals playing cricket on any available space, rickshaws patrolling the street, colourful market stalls and tantalising local food. End your day with a traditional Kathakali performance, an exotic dance dating back from the 17th century elaborated with intricate masks and flamboyant costumes that brings life to the courtyards of Kerala’s temples. If you ask us, Kerala is the perfect destination for a luxurious Indian honeymoon. But, whatever your reason for visiting, you’re in for a fantastic and incredibly memorable trip.
October - March
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Kerala, Lake Vembanad, Munnar, Windermere Estate