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Kerala

It goes without saying, Kerala, India invites you to surrender, to let go of your ego and to be mesmerized by the beauty and variety of its culture. Modern comfort and ancient tradition: Unity in diversity.  Allow India to introduce you to a variety of yoga retreats, traditional ashrams, and picturesque yoga shalas. Mix yoga and Ayurvedic treatments for the ultimate holistic experience in India. Meditate, chant, breath and cleanse. Begin again, rebirth with a yoga retreat in magical India.

While discussing the weather might traditionally make for mundane small talk, it is an important factor when planning your trip to India. Scroll down to find out information regarding India’s currency, dominant languages, and national holidays. We also have you covered on the best times to visit, visa requirements and, of course, the weather.

India

Asia

Hindi and English

Indian Rupee

Important dates in India

  • January 26 – Republic Day when the Constitution of India was adopted
  • Diwali – the Festival of Light occurs in either October or November, on the 15th day of Kartika (the Hindu and Jain holy festival) and is determined by the position of the Moon. It celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
  • October 2 – Mahatma Ghandi’s Birthday
  • August 15 – Independence Day from the British Empire
  • Holi – the Festival of Color is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of Spring and good triumphing over evil. People gather in the streets and traditionally celebrate by throwing colored powder all over each other and the streets. The exact date changes each year.

Interesting Facts About Kerala

Population: Over 34.8 million over the 600 km (373 mile) span of the Arabian Sea shoreline

Languages: Around 90% of residents of Kerala speak Malayalam, which has 5 major dialects. The second most spoken language is English and many people also speak Hindi and Kannada.

Religions: 54% Hindus, 26% Muslims, 18% Christians according to the Census of India

Weather/When to go: December – February, one can find cool and dry weather, making it the peak season for tourism. From February – May, the weather is hot and humid, getting up to 35°C / 95°F. May – September is monsoon season when intermittent heavy rains can be expected. (One benefit of traveling during monsoon season is that one can find heavy discounts due to the off-season in addition to the heavy rains.) After the monsoon season, in November, everything is a beautiful emerald green. Dengue Fever is a reality in Kerala. Be sure to carry ample repellent and stay where mosquito nets are provided, especially during the monsoon season.

Kerala has the highest literacy rate in India, with around 93%, compared to 74% in the rest of India. After the end of WWII when India gained independence from the British, Kerala elected the Indian Communist Party to rule. It is the only communist state in India.

Good to know

Dengue Fever is a reality in Kerala. Be sure to carry ample repellent and stay where mosquito nets are provided, especially during the monsoon season.

As always in India, be sure to carry any medicine you will need and your own bottle of mineral water. Avoid eating fruits and vegetables and other foods from street vendors, unless you want to risk getting food poisoning, as the microbes in your gut are not acclimated to the specific microbes found in Kerala.

Culture and Etiquette in India

As a traditionally matriarchal society, women will have preference in lines, seating, etc. In public transportation, the front seats are for women, even if they are empty, men will not sit there. Drinking and smoking for women are still considered taboo, so if you are a woman and you would like to enjoy a drink or a smoke, consider doing so discreetly. Dress modestly and be sure to cover your legs.

Throw away any trash you create and leave the local ecosystem as it is. Conservation of nature is very important here.

Have respect and always ask before taking a photo of someone or inside a temple.

Men and women do not touch the opposite sex. When introducing yourself or meeting someone new, bring your hands to heart center and bow, you can even say Namaste, instead of shaking hands.

Avoid pointing with one or two fingers and instead use a fist or your chin, but do not point at an elder with a chin, it is considered very rude.

In restaurants, tip 10% for the service, the waiters make the equivalent of $3-4 euros a day otherwise.

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3 Days Yoga Retreat

Kottayam, Kerala, India

3 Days / 2 Nights

1,038.00€

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To really get to know  Kerala, India you have to become a part of it. Visit iconic points, meet the people, walk the streets, get a little lost, and let yourself experience the childlike wonder that comes with being somewhere new and unfamiliar. With so many fun things to do in Kerala, take advantage of your time between yoga classes and participate in one of the many interesting activities found throughout the city.

We have researched and reviewed the best places to visit and the top things to do in India. Whether you are a fan of the hustle and bustle of city life or prefer a calm park or garden, we have you covered. Read on for a guide of cool things to do in Kerala, India.

Festivals

Onam – a 10-day Hindu festival celebrated between August and September, involves Kathkali dance ritual and the Aranmula (Snake Boat Races).
Vishnu – the new year of the Malayi people, celebrated in April
Thrissur Pooram – Celebrated for over 200 years sometime in April, a 36 hour festival in honor of Shiva that involves over 50 elephants with drums, colors and offerings.
Attukal Pongala Festival – Holding one of the Guiness World Records for largest annual female crowd, this festival celebrates offerings to the Goddess Attukal Devi, the best place to take part is Trivandrum.
Kerala Boat Festival – Held between July and September, it is a unique festival

See a Kathakali Dance Ritual

Kathakali is a unique dance whose performers spend extreme practice time preparing for. With big masks and detailed movements, Hindu mythology comes to life. Check out the Cochin Cultural Center and Kerala Kathakali Center for performance times and additional information.

Take a cooking class with Nimi’s Culinary Ventures

Nimi’s book, Lip Smacking Dishes of Kerala, soared to the top of the International Local Cuisine Cookbook list and she offers cooking lessons from her own home. Plan to learn about how to use spices, begin cooking around 2 PM, and stay for dinner!

Get an Authentic Ayurvedic Massage

Ayur means ‘life’ and Veda means ‘knowledge’, so the ancient study of Ayurveda is the Indian knowledge of life, based on the elements of the seasons and your individual dosha. There are many places in Kerala to get an Ayurvedic massage, we’ll leave the decision up to you.

Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village

To partake in a local, self-sustaining village and eco-tourism, the Kumbalangi Village is well worth a trip. See first hand how the locals harvest coconuts, make pottery, catch crabs, make coconut husk rope and more. There is a gorgeous orchid garden and a garden-side lunch. Check the website for more information.

Athirapally Falls

Located near Kochi, this 80 foot (24 meter) tall waterfall is aptly nicknamed the ‘Niagra of India’ as it cascades down from the Chalakudy River. Many movies have been filmed here, and it is no wonder why once you hear the roar of the falls rushing down. During monsoon season the hike around the falls is extremely slippery. It is a picturesque scene with the Ghat mountains in the background and surrounded by lush trees and fauna. Plan to spend a half day to a full day here.

Mararikulam

A fishing village on the Marari beach, which has clean, white sands. There is also an organic farm, lily ponds, fruit trees, and coconut groves. Head here to chill out amidst Mother Earth’s beauty.

Varkala Beach

Ranked as one of India’s top beaches, Varkala hosts sweeping views of the Arabian Sea spanning over palm tree-lined cliffs. It is surprisingly calm for such a beautiful beach and the views at the top of the cliff are incredible! Pro Tip: stick around for sunset. There are a few great places to have a meal as well, including Mad About Coco’s Café and Darjeeling café (see the Yogi Eats tab for more info). The beach is mostly covered by the sea during monsoon season so best to come before or after.

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve

One of the homes of the Bengal Tiger, one can take part in a jeep safari, camp in the treetops or hike around the forest. The authorities maintain a beautiful reserve. If you would like to learn more about the organization or to plan a trip, click here.

Thalassery

Thalassery is located on the west side of Kerala. It is a coastal town protected by rock with a deep history that can be traced back to its proximity to a French fort. Today, there are many beaches, bungalows, cottages, and old monuments to explore.

Kerala Backwaters

A tranquil network of 1500 km (932 miles) of natural and manmade lakes and lagoons flowing in Kerala. There are various ways to explore this beautiful destination, including staying on a houseboat and taking a local or tourist ferry. The canals are lined with palm trees and the villages spread out around the waters are worth exploring as you take a step back into time to experience traditional life.

Munnar

A hilltop village located in Kerala, Munnar is known for its tea plantations. You can hire a tour of a tea plantation that will leave you with a deep sense of gratitude knowing the labor that went into your favorite cups of tea. Also, stop by the Munnar Tea Museum to learn about the industry that the area is famous for. You can read more about directions and information on visiting here.

Jatayu Earth’s Center

This is one of India’s most recent and innovative endeavors and just opened in August 2017. Situated on 65 acres of terrain, this houses a multidimensional theater, cave healing center adventure center, cable car, and more. In honor to the story of Ramanaya where Jatayu, a noble bird, tried to save Sita from an abductor, director and sculptor Mr. Rajiv Anchal and his team have built the world’s largest bird sculpture, sitting upright as a tribute to women’s safety and honor. Read more here.

Kannur

If you are looking for a rather unfrequented beach in North Kerala, this is your place. With beachfront eateries and coconut palm trees, it is a delight for foodies and beach lovers. From October until May you can get a dose of culture a Theyyam dance ceremony.

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Spread over 925 sq. km., this reserve is based on eco-tourism and forest conservation. There are many wild animals, and there are tigers but don’t go with the expectation to see them as they are wild and roaming around the forest (as they should be!). The knowledgeable tour guides will give a great tour, though, and nature’s sights and supporting a great effort are worth it in themselves. For information on how to visit, check out the website.

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For all of our food-lovin’ Yogis and Yoginis out there, whose expression gets a little far-away when thinking about what they are going to eat for lunch, and plan their next meal while they are still eating the current one, and what they ate is always the first thing they mention when telling friends about a trip, this page is for you.

A mecca for yoga and healthy eating, yogis traveling to Kerala, India are in for a treat!  Our recommendations below feature organic, sustainably-sourced, vegetarian, vegan, plant-based or dairy-free eating in Indian tiny cafes, crazy markets, small-scale coffee shops, and stunning institutions. Peruse the list, get inspired, and hit the street to find your next meal!

Darjeeling Café

Located in Varkala, this Cliffside café is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with dinnertime hosting up-tempo music and serving cocktails. The service can be spotty. Visit their Facebook page for daily information.

Dal Roti

For traditional North Indian food with a down-to-earth vibe, Dal Roti is a can’t-miss. There are options for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and the prices and the service are great! It tends to be busy in the evenings. Try the thick Kathi rolls, yum!

Ginger House Restaurant

For history buffs and ginger lovers, this restaurant is located in an antique shop. It has open walls that allow a fresh sea breeze. The ambiance is incredible. It faces the waterfront and there are beautiful statues dotting the premise. The kitchen is open-air as well so you can see your food being prepared before your eyes. Be prepared to pay a little more for the views, though. Check out their website for more information.

Kashi Art Café

Known more for its ambiance as an art gallery than for having amazing food, this café is located in Fort Kochi serves fresh juice, tea, snacks and showcases local artists.

Shala Restaurant

For a local food experience, head to Shala, located on the rooftop of Hotel Park Avenue. There are great views, but as it is situated right on the water, beware that there may be a lot of mosquitos at dusk. The food and service are both good!

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