Kerala, popularly known as God’s own country, is endowed with its own distinctive tradition and culture, always raising the inquisitive trait in visitors. People who visit Kerala come back for more; they are totally mesmerized by the tranquil backwaters, the lush tropical forests, the indigenous flora and fauna, the scintillating hill stations and so on.
If you are planning to visit Kerala in January, then it would be a great trip because that would be the peak season, and you can enjoy all the activities mentioned in the itinerary. Kerala looks stunning during the winter months, so have your share of experiences by indulging in the following activities.
Enjoy a House Boat Cruise in Alleppey
Embark on a houseboat tour along the dazzling backwaters of Alleppey and you would be able to enjoy the true beauty of Kerala from a different angle. There are different kinds of houseboats arranged for visitors and you can choose an all day tour or a tour that would combine nights as well. Either way, cruising along the backwaters in a houseboat is very memorable; cherish these memories for life.
These houseboats have all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay, and the most popular meal of the day – the traditional sadya as lunch, would be prepared with all the Kerala delicacies. As you cruise along, you can feast your eyes on the colorful life of the Keralites, the stunning greenery of the canopied trees and an active aviary life.
Traverse Sandalwood Forests at Marayoor
Image by bms990 via Flickr
Marayoor, known as the hub of sandalwood forests, is an incredible place that you must visit. You must also visit the ancient dolmens and the rock paintings that date back to the Stone Age. There are muniyaras or stone coffins that you can visit and get awed by the crudely made stone slabs. These stone coffins have underground tunnels where you can see the paintings depicting the scenes of Thretayug (Lord Ram) and Dwaparauyg (Krishna and the Pandavas).
You can reach Marayoor in Idukki district if you come from Munnar or Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. As you near Marayoor, you will be greeted by sandalwood trees one by one, and then soon it will get thicker and you can see the entire forest.
Sandalwood paste is highly demanded in India as they form an integral part of rituals, poojas and ceremonies. Sandalwood fragrance is unbeatable, and there is none like it. Sandal wood and oil are thus commercial viable and quite expensive.
There is a Rajiv Gandhi National Park for kids. The people who inhabit Marayoor are mostly tribals who are engaged in agriculture.
Watch the Adoor Gajamela
Gajamela at Adoor with nine caparisoned elephants is a major festival celebrated in Adoor in the district of Pathanamthitta towards the end of January. This ‘mela’ is held in connection with Sree Parthasarathy temple festival. Lord Krishna is also known as Parthasarathy (the charioteer of Parthan/Arjuna, the famous Pandava warrior). The galamela is an extravagant and gala affair and you shouldn’t miss it if you are visiting Idukki this January.
This a 10-day festival (the elephant fair is held on the last day) and other art forms celebrated during the time are Velakali – a dance symbolic of ancient warfare, Parichamuttukali, another dance form that resembles martial arts, and “mayooranritham” or- Peacock dance. Ashtamirohini, the birth of Lord Krishna is also celebrated in the temple. You can enjoy Ottanthullal on the last day of the festival. This year, the event is held from 20th January.
Experience Ernakulathappan Utsavom
Image by DileepKS69 via Flickr
Ernakulathappan Utsavom is celebrated with great vigor by the devotees of Lord Shiva. The Shiva temple is located at Ernakulam, India. The final day of the festival is known as “Araattu” and it falls on Thiruvathira, a day in the month of Makara. You can see 15 caparisoned elephants in the parade that follows. Folk dances, music performances and other art forms make this festival colorful and vibrant.
People look forward to the Kadina ceremony at 2 am. Kadina is one of the main events that marks the end of the festival; so treat yourself to an amazing visual splendor when the firecrackers burst. You can also visit the nearby attractions – Marine Drive, Broadway, Ernakulam Jain Temple, Parishath Thamburan Museum and Children’s Park.
Image by watchlist_in via Flickr
Kalamachal is a tiny hill station cloaked in mist and greenery. If you are visiting Thiruvananthapuram, you can visit Kalamachal, and enjoy a few hours in total silence and peace. As not many people visit here, it is not crowded and you can enjoy quiet moments with your family. Kalamachal is located 10 kilometers from Attingal and 3 kilometers from Vamanapuram, and you can easily reach it if you are traveling to Attingal Road, between NH47 & MC Road.
Participate in the Pongal Festival
Image by Sundaram + Annam via Flickr
The Pongal Festival is the harvest festival, and though it is mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, the people of Kerala celebrate it as well. Harvest festivals have been popular from the time people started farming and Pongal begins a new era of celebration for people because they have the riches they have secured from the harvest season. The Pongal Festival is a four-day festival and is celebrated in mid-January.
The festivities begin by offering obeisance to Lord Indra, the lord of rain, followed by preparing the “pongal” by boiling rice in milk and jaggery on the second day. This is done to please the goddess. On the third day of the festival, cattle are decorated, worshipped and fed. On the fourth day, the women of the family pray for the prosperity and health of the men in the household. Aarati is done with turmeric water, limestone and rice.
We hope this article has given you a glimpse of all that you can do in Kerala this month. Start off the New Year with a trip to Kerala and have the time of your life!
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