Kollam

Whenever we write about a destination, we tell you about what can be done there and how to go about spending an active day doing something interesting and visiting something interest. The charm of a trip to India lies in it’s busy-ness and most places help you explore exactly this.

But Kollam is one of those towns that is exactly the opposite. A little distance from Alleppey, this old grand port has now retired and is enjoying retirement to. For you, this means a great break from your active journey to just soak in the surroundings.

A lazy cruise along the Ashtamudi Lake topped by a good book to read or doze off to, some idle splashing around and some great food, all make up Kollam. Travel with IndeBo and we’ll help you discover this hidden treasure. Stop by this town to recharge your batteries before continuing on with your Great Indian Tour.

Kozhikode

Kozhikode, is a city in the state of Kerala in southern India on the Malabar Coast. During classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikode was dubbed the “City of Spices” for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. It was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris in Middle Ages and later of the erstwhile Malabar district under British rule. Muslim Arab merchants traded with the region as early as 7th century, and Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Kozhikode in 1498. A Portuguese factory and fort was intact in Kozhikode for short period, the English landed in 1615, followed by the French (1698) and the Dutch (1752). In 1765, Mysore captured Kozhikode as part of its occupation of Malabar Coast. Recently, Kozhikode earned the tag of “City of Sculptures” because of the various architectural sculptures located in various parts of the city. Kozhikode, once a famous cotton-weaving center, gave name to the Calico cloth.

Thrissur

Better known as the “cultural capital” of Kerala or to some as a place to find elephant lovers, Thrissur has historically been a center of Hindu scholarship. Literally meaning – ‘the land with the name of Shiva’, it is home to a number of Hindu temples for the Shaivites. The city built around a hillock is said to have had Thomas the Apostle set foot in it, nearly 2000 years ago. A visit to nearby Kuttoor and Cherur will showcase some remains of the Stone age with megalithic monuments scattered around. There are also those interesting Dolmens to spot, stone cave like structures which were meant to be burial sites.

In around 16th century, the Portugese colonized the town, only to be captured by the Dutch in the next hundred years.

The main festival called ‘Thrissur pooram’ is celebrated every year during spring and witnesses large congregations from different parts of the country, of people and of grandly decorated elephants. Kavakli is another such festival where an array artists perform music and dance to entertain the masses on the occasion of the annual harvest season.

Temples, mosques and churches are in abundance and one mustn’t miss the chance to go and visit one. Most famous of them being the Vadakkunnathan temple and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Basilica. Also, the 200 year old rice market of Thrissur just hasn’t ceased to amaze…

Speaking of rice, Vellayappam, a kind of rice hopper is another dish which is special to the city apart from the popular snacks – Achappam and Kuzhalappam.


Tirunelli

This small town is at the foot of the Brahmagiri hill. The drive to Tirunelli is fascinating and through tea, coffee, rubber estates, elephant sanctuaries and bamboo forest. Tirunelli has a small population mostly of adi vasis (indigenous people) The temple dates back to perhaps the 9th/10th century, renovated over the ssubsequent centuries and is dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe.

The name of the temple is derived from the ` sacred gooseberry’   that was available to the tired pilgrims. Gooseberry in Ayurveda is considered a fruit with extraordinary medicinal qualities and literally `ambrosia’. There is a cave dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer for creation. Hence this place is twice blessed as the abode of Vishnu and Shiva.

Punnathoorkotta

Punnathoorkotta, the elephant camp of the Guruvayoor temple, has the maximum number of domesticated elephants in the State. Offering elephants to the deity was also a common practice. Today as part of the conservation programme, elephant capturing is banned in the state.

Parassinikadavu

At the village of Parassinikadavu, the head priest, or ‘madayan’, of the Parassini Madampura temple performs daily before assembled devotees. Elaborately dressed and accompanied by a traditional drum group, he becomes possessed by the temple’s presiding deity – Lord Muthappan, Shiva in the form of a ‘kiratha’, or hunter – and eacts a series of complex offerings. The two-hour ceremony culminates when the priest/deity ances forward to bless individual members of the congregation.

Munnar

Munnar is the highest town of Kerala, with a cool, bracing climate exuding an old-world charm. The atmosphere is fragrant with extensive tea and cardamom plantations. There are enchanting high ranges, lakes and streams and beautiful view of low-lying clouds and the mist filled valleys.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom is an idyllic floating island situated on Vembanad Lake. The adjoining bird sanctuary with a spectacular collection of resident and migratory birds can be viewed from here.

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    • “Coconut Lagoon was another fun stop. Again watching people washing their clothes or brushing their teeth in the river, washing their dishes, taking the water taxi to take their kids to school provided a window into this other live.” – Jan & Doug McGeorge, USA
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Kovalam

Kovalam is a sheltered bay endowed with unusual beauty, located on the magnificent Arabian sea coast. This natural bay is a safe sea-pool, free from high waves and surges. It is an ideal place to swim, sunbathe and perhaps enjoy the ancient rites of an Ayurvedic massage and oil bath.