Captivating Kerala

Tropical Kerala stretches along the coast in India’s south-western corner. With its golden beaches and serene backwaters, it’s worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of India’s north. But with local traditions alive and well, there’s still plenty to experience in this tranquil state.

 

Learn to cook like a local

Fresh and full of flavour, Kerala’s cuisine combines coconut and spices with chilli, vegetables and seafood. At the home of local chef Nimmy Paul, you’ll learn how to prepare a selection of traditional dishes and then sample some local specialities.

Visit a spice plantation

Kerala produces some of the finest spices in the world, including pepper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Head to one of the region’s many plantations to breathe in the heady aromas and learn how the spices are grown and harvested.

Watch a Kathakali dance performance

Kathakali is a classical fusion of dance, drama and music. Originating in Kerala in the 17th century, it’s a spectacular form of art which tells epic Indian tales. Wearing elaborate make-up, brightly-coloured costumes and ornamental headdresses, the dancers express themselves through movement, mesmerising audiences with their performance. Cochin is the perfect place to watch Kathakali, and at some venues you will even be able to watch the make-up being carefully applied.

Cruise the backwaters

The best way to discover Kerala’s famous backwaters is on an unforgettable boat trip. These shimmering waterways twist and turn through paddy fields, spice plantations and forests. As you meander slowly along the narrow canals, you’ll soak up all their tranquil charm and catch a glimpse of local people going about their everyday life.

Stay on a traditional houseboat

Beautiful Alleppey is at the heart of Kerala’s backwaters, so there’s really only one place you should stay – on a traditional wooden houseboat! Known as a kettuvallam, the boats were originally used to transport rice, but have today been transformed into comfortable floating hotels. With well-appointed bedrooms, a living room and sundeck, there’s plenty of space to relax as your onboard chef prepares delicious local dishes for dinner.