June. It’s the month of eternal bliss for us Malayalees who are surviving farther north from where our parents learned to walk. The very air changes flavor as soon as the train enters Kerala borders. The tourist version of Kerala is something all have seen or read about. The Kerala my childhood had been to, is not for those who spend money just to get fancy pictures of their feet in the sea.
It’s a place that not everyone gets to see. It comes with the perks of being treated like tourists but somehow being expected to know it all, like a random spot behind the tallest coconut tree in town is where apparently my father once peed as a child. Since the pace of life is slow, it makes the perfect place for a leisurely vacation with your loved ones…
The magic of Pooram
The culturally rich city of Thrissur in Kerala is well known for its annual mega-festival of Pooram, which is the heart and soul of the place. People from all around the world join in during the month of May to witness the event first hand. It is held at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur every year. The numbers are so huge that if you’re one in the crowd, you’re sure to get lost more than once. So grab all your fellow vacationers really tight and beware of pickpockets. It’s an experience that you would probably add on to your bucket list just to strike it off.
Dolours Basilica Church
Places to see in my kind of Kerala include the massive heights of Dolours Basilica from the top of which one can see the entire city of Thrissur. The third tallest church in Asia, it is famous for its Gothic style architecture and the magical power of fulfilling our deepest prayers and wishes. Although, an incentive is very important to have the will to climb up all those stairs.
The village of Chengaloor
Chengaloor is yet another place you won’t find on your popular travel guide’s list. If you wish to write something different for your summer report, then it’s a great place to be. The lush green forests lined with rubber plantations are a sight for sore eyes. A barefoot walk through the paddy fields and streams that flow through it is something that can’t be put into words. Not to forget the beautiful backwaters and authentic paddle boats.
If you claim to be a big-time nature lover, then you can’t miss out on the bird watching and farm animal frenzy inside the village. Each street comes with its very own family of cows, and roosters, none of which mind tourist company.
Moving much further outside the city, the Athirapally waterfalls leaves all who visit stunned. It is the largest waterfall in Kerala which is why it’s nicknamed “The Niagara of India”. In the monsoon season, it’s found to be in its full might. But since it never dries out, it welcomes you with open arms all year.
A walk on the Beaches
Tourist or no tourist, beaches are a must. And one of the things that most tourists get wrong is visiting the beach during sunsets. Sunsets make beaches over-crowded and it ends up losing its essence. An early morning walk on the sand and a dip in the ocean is a great way to start to a day. Remember that even a sunrise is as beautiful as a sunset just like how sand angels are as beautiful as snow angels. The morning visit also offers a stunning view of the fishermen prepping for their day’s catch. Also, look out for baby crabs starting their day.
Kerala also offers a range of food items that are so mouth-watering that they seem to be cooked in truly God’s own kitchen! Food is but of course just another way of expressing your love towards your family. Even though, what it means is force feeding so much of this exquisite food to the paavam vacationers. It actually becomes overwhelming and there’s literally no space left for any kind of food ever. Seafood is obviously something one must try. And if your conscience is up for it, beef fry tops the cuisine list. It is followed by a range of breakfast dishes like idli, dosa, appam, idiyappam, puttu etc.
And after this “dear diary” experience, you’ll go back home and reminisce about the summer that was. You’ll think about how I’d get to do this all over again the following year with new places to be explored, new adventures ventured, and more food stuffed. All because a few of us have another home waiting in this beautiful land of coconuts.
About the author: Fiona Thomas can usually be found playing with a dog or watching dog videos. The writer spends most of her time reading horror stories or smart poetry. She is professionally trained in Bharatanatyam, bathroom singing and curly hair hacks. Her hope is to reach a much wider audience by penning down her over expressive thoughts in a sensible manner, instead of just talking non-stop which is something she’d win a gold medal for. When she’s not talking, writing, or petting an animal nearby, you can find her gobbing up a bar of chocolate. Follow her on Instagram: @fiona_kannath_thomas