I am born and brought up in Switzerland but I primarily hail from Kerala, and it was a sort of homecoming during my several visits to Kerala and i learnt to appreciate many ways Kerala manifests itself to visitors and local alike. I visited Kerala with my parents and cousins several times in last decade and if I look back then few experiences stand out and happy to share these with everyone, and hope you will enjoy it as much.
Kerala is as much about the pristine backwaters, beaches and nice cities as it is about the multitudes of religious and cultural experiences ‚ each very unique in itself.
While I have been around the cities and country sides by various means, I believe one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Kerala is through House boats that take you deep inside the backwaters. When I went Houseboating I was amazed at how people could actuallly live on a boat some boats even had a resaurant setup. We went to one of thes and ate some Fish wich was fisched just seconds before by the man on the boat it was delicious .The view from the boat was beautiful you could see other house boats and a very green and vegetated shore. My favorite thing was that there was an eagle (we called him Fredie) who was circling our boat.
Sabrimala is a mountain which is very important for the locals The God Ayyapa supposedly sits on the mountain waiting for the year on which no new pilgrims come, on that day he will get up and get married to hike the mountain you must fast for 40 days or more and do some rituals then you have to hike the mountain with two coconuts on your head an ordinary one and one filled with ghee We had hiked the mountain after fasting for 40 days it wasn’t to hard to hike but a big problem was we had to do it barefoot on top we saw the Idol of the God Ayyapa and then we hiked back down the whole process took about 3-4 hours.
Like Sabrimala, there is another very famous temple Guruvayur that we visited along my Family we traveled in a group we stayed there for one night then we visited the temple. The temple itself was filled with people and it was really crowded outside they had dances going on and they had setup tons of stalls selling all sorts of stuff. The Guruwayur temple is also very famous for Kerala Mural ‚ an ancient arm form that is practiced in original ways over there and is also painted on the walls of the temple. I missed taking a picture from there, but we were lucky that one of our Uncle gifted it to us and here is one from our living room
Tholpavakothu is a sort of Shadow puppetry which is done only in Kerala where you use a leather puppet this art form is 1700 years old it is performed in special theatres or temples : Once I went to a Shadow Puppetry Theatre in Kerala. There we saw a Professional who was very famous he even had a school where he would teach others how to work with such Puppets we got the chance to go see him and he even invited us to his house there he lived along with his wife he had a cupboard at home where he lined up all his Trophies he had at least 30 and even more medals
Theyyam are the closest people to God every once a year they perform rituals after which the God comes in them they are very respected people amongst the locals seeing a theyyam is a very exiting experience and I definitely recommend it. The theyyam performances can go from 7:00 in the evening to 3:00 in the morning non stop. Which is astonishing since they dance in outfits that weighed at least 10kg additionaly the main theyyam whore a crown that was made entirely out of wood and leaves it was definitely 10m tall he balanced it on his head and danced.
Kerala is a stunning place from the verdant forests to the Backwaters I think everyone should go to Kerala at least once just so that they don't miss out on such a beautiful state.