South Kerala Visit – First Impressions
Just back after spending a week in South Kerala – Trivandrum, Kollam and a bit of Cochin. Here are the first impressions for you.
- Kerala is a Jal-Pradhan or water dominant region. You can never be too far from a water body. This is the same water that brings tourists from all over to the state. I do not know if they have yet created a deity to worship the same.
- Waterways are marked like highways on the map and used for transportation. There are ferries running between cities – though they take much longer than road travel. But they are still being used by the local people to travel. During the day waterways belong to the tourism and transportation industry. And at night to fishermen.
- Rail and road networks are excellent. You can reach most areas through public transport if you want.
- Always carry an umbrella with you in Kerala – you would need it for either sun or rain. My most imposing visual of Trivandrum remains a street full of primarily black umbrellas in the pouring rain.
- Always carry a white lungi with you if you want to visit the temples of the state – if you are a woman not in Sari. For men, you must remove your shirt – have a bare upper body and wear the same Lungi. This can be annoying but you really do not have a choice if you want to see those magnificent temples that are much better preserved than elsewhere.
- Autos in Kerala are better than the rest of the country, they charge reasonably. And do not try to fleece you just because you are a visitor. Since they quote reasonable, you waste no time and energy in negotiations.
- The sheer amount of dark wood in old structures here makes you think about the amount of wood they would have had. And the sheer longevity of the wood – some of them have been standing strong for many centuries. However, I found the dark interiors a bit depressing.
- Black or darkest shades of blue and green are the favorite color of women. All around on the roads, I could see women either in their traditional white Saris with a small golden or colored border or they were in black – as if other colors were not on the horizon.
- Kerala Railway stations still have old wooden Higgin Bothams bookshops, that if I am not wrong are extinct elsewhere – at least in their wooden avatar.
- Appam & Stew that is sold all around India as Kerala dish is hard to find in general eateries. They all have it on their menu but most would not serve it. I could get it only on the last day and that too on request.
- Water is always served hot here that I found strange given that it is such a hot and humid place. In some places, it was pink colored and I can only guess that it comes from Kokam like fruit.
- Finally, I think God has a certain shade of green reserved for Kerala – you see it only here.
Will write about the destination and experiences soon enough.
Recommend you to read the following travel blog on places to visit in Kerala.