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Why: The local slogan for Kerala is ‘God’s own country’. A big statement but, it’s very special. This is south India’s top destination for history, and for pampering and relaxation. The ancient healing art of Ayurveda is available here for devotees as well as stressed out travellers. A bit of pampering in India is a good idea as travelling here is full on and at times tiring.
Famous for: Kerala’s backwaters comprise a network of waterways that are the natural transport web. They stretch from Cochin, the northern gateway, to Kollam, the backwaters’ southernmost town. At the heart is Vembanad Lake, on the shores of which lie the top-shelf resorts of Kumarakom and nearby bird sanctuary.
Recommended activities: You must take a cruise on a houseboat through the backwaters. The beautifully crafted cargo boats (kettuvallum) have been turned into tourist vessels, with private bedrooms and bathrooms, a big outdoor deck for eating and relaxing and food cooked by your boats chef. Aimlessly drift past villages, farms and see up close the rural life being lived by the folk who live on the waters’ edge.
Insider information: Kettuvallum houseboats are available at various levels of luxury and may be rented for short trips or sleep-over journeys of several days. Try and spend at least one night onboard and watch the magnificent sunset and also get a glimpse at the lakeside activities f the households at dawn and dusk.