Friday, 27 June 2014
Kerala & Himanchal Reviews/dos and don'ts from parikshit (email)
Here are a few tips for kerala & himanchal pradesh & considering that Antilog arranges a lot of tours to these places
My experience: Stayed in kerala as part of a role for 3 months.
The trouble with Kerala is that there are only a few months when the weather is really tolerable. This would be Oct to Feb, as the rest of the year is too humid for any kind of relaxation.
Kerala being a very small state (you can go from the northernmost tip to the southernmost in less than 12 hours), travel time is hardly an issue. And there are certain things here you'll see nowhere else!
Places you must absolutely see:
Kumarakom in Kottayam district: For the backwaters. "God of Small Things" is based in this town!
Allepey/Allapuzha: Again for the backwaters, people use ferries and boats to go from one part of the town to another.
Kovalam beach: Near Trivandrum, one of the most sought after beach locations in the world. You'll see a large number of firangs here during the Dec-Jan season.
Varkala beach: 40kms from Trivandrum, but quieter, more serene and more beautiful (my perception!) than Kovalam. Also home to a 2000 yr old temple with a very interesting legend.
Munnar: The guided tour in the Tata Tea Estates is something you shouldn't miss.
Then there are the art forms - Kalaripayattu, Theyyam, etc. You can ask the hotel you might stay in to arrange some of these for you, or they'd atleast know where these events occur.
Places you can avoid:
Fort Kochi: purane zamane ke Dutch settlements and palaces blah blah etc
North Kerala: I found the northern parts extremely drab, boring and depressing at times.
My experience: Backpacked across the state solo, last summer
This is my favourite place in the country. Its amazingly beautiful with great, hospitable people. One of the best ways to stay here is to book with HTDC hotels, which are pocket friendly as well as clean and hygienic.
Places you absolutely must see:
McLeodganj: Don't think I have to elaborate on this. Great place. B-E-A-Utiful people. Fantastic vibe. Interesting culture. (Shamelessly plugging an answer on Quora - http://qr.ae/242Vr)
Spiti: One of the most pristine places in the country, alongside Sikkim and Ladakh. Some would argue its better than Ladakh!
Toy Train from Kalka to Shimla: One of the best train journeys you will ever take, ever!
Old Manali: Lot quieter than Manali, a couple of ancient temples with interesting legends, some really good cafes, and a small trail that leads you to the banks of the Beas, with no human around for atleast 8-10 kms - Bliss!
Paragliding at McGanj is amazing, you'll be hovering over the Dh'Sala cricket ground. There are a number of ancient, beautiful temples spread across the state, as there are equally enchanting monasteries.
In case you have any specific queries, just lemme know. Would love to help AV commuters from the experiences