to be discovered . . .
God's Own Country has established its place on the world tourism
map as one of the most exotic destinations. Close on the heels of
Kerala being extolled as a "Paradise Found" - one of the
50 destinations of a lifetime - by the "National Geographic
Traveller", the destinations of the palm-fringed State have found
place in another prestigious international magazine.
"A Passage to
Kerala", a vivid travel feature on the "green,
somnolent, watery State down on the south-western coast" has
appeared as the cover story in January issue of "How to spend
it" magazine. Published along with the "Weekend
Financial Times" from London, it hits the stand on the first
Saturday of every month.
Written by Ms. Lucia van
der Post, after her vacation in the "land of coconut
tree", it is a recognition of the spotlight acquired by
Kerala over the years as a destination. Along with a photograph of
a fisherman throwing his net, the cover has the blurb
"Catching the drift-WHy travellers are captured by
Noting the state as another
India entirely, where you still have an almost tangible sense that
little has changed since the time of the Raj. "It appeals to
those looking for places which chic little boutiques and five star
hotels haven't yet reached but which nevertheless has more than
enough to seduce and attract".
It is a green Venice, but
unlike Venice, where man as created most of the glory, in Kerala
nature rules. Everything from the hectic south-west monsoon,
dreamy lagoons, curving waterways, damp paddy fields, swaying
greenery, scents of cloves, pepper, ginger, tamarind, cinnamon and
nutmeg to cruise along the backwaters and Ayurvedic therapy has
been featured vividly.
A trip along the backwaters
is unmissable, not just for the natural beauty but for the
fascinating insight they offer into the life of a typical "Keralan
It is fascinating, ever
busy scene, yet one imbued with great serenity!
Is there another side to
explore? Aim for Thekkady, up amomg the trees and mists and the
groves of cardamom and cinnamon, and you are in another world.
Cars and drivers are cheap in the country. "So hire a
Hindustan Ambassador and head into the Hills-it will allow you
abundant opportunity to research Gandhi's view that the real India
is to be found in villages".
Photographs of the Chinese
fishing nets introduced on the waterway at Kochi 2,000 years ago,
the Jewish Synagogue, the fishermen at Ashok Beach, a resort at
Kumarakom, a cathedral at Thrissur, Turmeric Warehouse, eerie
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and a beach trader of Kovalam have
found place in the magazine.
Kerala, too, is the
"great home of Ayurvedic treatments" as every hotel and
village offers some version of ancient remedies. Advising not to
spent too much time on the treatment table, it concludes
"there is always something more to see: there are mountain
retreats, spice plantations and jingle walks, temples, mosques and
churches. Above all, there is real India, still a little ingenue,
still a little green, waiting to be discovered".