Kerala with its beautiful landscape, lush green tea estates and farms, waterfalls, and backwaters, has succeeded in attracting a large number of tourists from all over the world. Situated in the Malabar Coast, with the majestic Arabian Sea in the west and the Western Ghats in the east, Kerala has a lot of people from Kolkata who travel to the state, either to relax at its comfortable beaches or, to explore its hills or, simply to enjoy the essence of Kerala.
If you are planning on booking Kerala tour packages from Kolkata, read on to know when is the best time to visit the state and what things you shouldn’t miss while vacationing in ‘God’s Own Country’.
1.Best time to book Kerala tour packages from Kolkata
Kerala’s beauty can be enjoyed in any season. All three seasons in Kerala has its own charm. Winter , also known as the Peak Season in Kerala, starts in September and ends in March. Tourists in large numbers flock to Kerala in these months. Summers in the month of April and May sees a lesser crowd of tourists and is also called the Off Season. Monsoon season which is considered suitable for Ayurvedic Treatments starts from June as soon as the monsoon hits the coast and ends in August.
The best time to visit Kerala often depends on what you seek to experience in Kerala. If you wish to have a beach vacation then you should definitely visit the state in the winter season which is also the time when a number of festivals take place in Kerala. However, if traveling from Kolkata monsoon will also be a good time to visit. Monsoons in Kerala is nothing like that in Kolkata, the greenery of the state makes it shines like an emerald. May and June, which is often the time for summer vacations in schools, might be a good time to visit Kerala from Kolkata.
2.How to travel to Kerala from Kolkata
A number of people travel to Kerala from Kolkata to enjoy a pleasant vacation. Kerala is well connected via road, rail and flights to other parts of the country.
Road– A road trip from Kolkata can take up to 42h but if you wish to have a road trip with your family or friends you can take drive through National Highway 16 which takes you through Orissa-Andhra Pradesh- Tamil Nadu before entering Kerala through Palakkad. The road is in fine condition and you will find a lot of eateries on your way to stack yourself up.
Rail– There are a number of trains that run between Kerala and Kolkata. The fastest being Howrah-Ernakulam Antyodaya Express(22877) which takes 37h 30m to reach Ernakulam Junction and runs on Saturdays.
Flights– There are non-stop flights available from Kolkata to Ernakulam in Kerala. Make sure to book your tickets in advance to book them at the lowest available prices. The travel time between the two places is about 3h via a non-stop flight.
3. Things to do in Kerala
Planning to visit ‘God’s Own Country’. Here is a list of things you must try when in Kerala.
Backwater cruising in houseboats– The most sought after experience in the Backwater Capital of India is hiring a traditional houseboat and exploring the backwater. A large number of resorts and hotels in Alleppey have their own houseboats with overnight trips and sunset cruises. The boats travel 40 to 50 km each day. The boats can either be booked for a round-trip or one-way trip. There are a number of routes you can take like Alleppey-Kottayam, Alleppey-Kuttanad, Alleppey-Kumarakom, or Alleppey-Alumkadavu. Overnight hire costs about Rs. 5,000 without air-conditioning and Rs. 10,000 or more for a deluxe air-conditioned houseboat for two. A luxury houseboat for a large family cost Rs. 18,000 or more. Kollam, Kumarakom, Kuttanad, and Kasaragod are also popular for this activity.
Village Tour– If you are a traveler who is always keen to see something different or experience something unconventional then you must visit Kovalam villages in Thiruvananthapuram or Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village in Kochi. These villages are famous for coir manufacturing, coconut leaf weaving, and fish markets. You can interact with the locals who still live a traditional style of life making a living out of cultivation and fishing. You can also experience the village life by staying in the home stays by coordinating with the homestay operators.
Shikara Ride– Backwater trails is an aspect of Kerala that one must explore but more often than not houseboats can prove to be a bit expensive for this activity. Shikara is a double-decker boat where you can sit and relax as you sail through the palm-lined backwater while admiring the surrounding beauty and watching the array of birds.
Spice Tour– Munnar, Thekkady, and Wayanad are the places where the famous Kerala spices are grown. When in the ‘Spice Garden of Kerala’ one must definitely visit the spice plantations to see how the authentic black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and the exotic vanilla are grown.
Visit a coffee plantation– Kerala produces 96.70% of Robusta coffee along with the 3.30% share of Arabica coffee. A special feature of the coffee plantation in Kerala is that the coffee plants here are grown under the shade of tall shady trees. Wayanad with its high hilly areas has more than 33% of its district’s under coffee plantation. Here you see the entire process of making coffee, from plucking to getting that amazing brew.
Visit Fort Kochi– This charming seaside area in Kochi has an air of history about it. One cannot stop him or herself from marveling at the eclectic monuments in the area that has a mixed influence of British, Dutch, and Portuguese Colonial architecture. You can marvel at the beautiful Chinese Fishing Nets from Vasco da Gama square or see the beautiful architecture of Mattancherry Palace,or visit the Jew Town, which is a narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Paradesi Synagogue, or can simply spend time in chic cafes or can browse through the vibrant local markets or can take a tour of the amazing sunset cruise. There is a lot to keep yourself engaged and your soul satisfied in Fort Kochi.
Kathakali Performance– Kathakali is a sort of a dance drama in Malayalam. Men and women paint their faces and dance to communicate stories from Indian Epics. The dance is performed using animated expressions and mime. The best place to catch a live Kathakali performance is either in temple festivals in Kochi during winters. However, there are also shorter tourist-oriented shows that take place all year round. Kerala Kathakali Center near Santa Cruz Basilica in Fort Kochi might be the best place to watch a Kathakali dance in its authentic form.
Watch Theyyam– Theyyam is a centuries-old ritual art that has about 400 different kinds. During the Theyyam season, in Northern Kerala, hundreds of Theyyam performances are hosted in front of the village shrine or small temples. The best time to catch a Theyyam performance is in November and December. In these months there are multiple performances a day in temples in districts of Kannur and Bekal. You can also visit the Kerala Museum at Kochi to see this dance in action but do not forget to look up the dates in the Theyyam calendar online to make sure when to visit at the right time.
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary– Located in Thekkady, about 16km from Kochi, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its elephant and tiger reserve. Pamba and Periyar the two rivers run through the park keeping the flora and fauna thriving. Tourists each year flock to the region for safari, bamboo rafting, and other activities. While riding through the sanctuary you also catch a glimpse of Idukki village and Mullaperiyar Dam.
4. Festivals to look forward to
Cultural fiesta in Kerala continue for the whole year, here is a list of festivals you can choose to attend.
Cochin Carnival (December-1st January)
Kumarakom Boat Race (September-October)
Aranmula Boat Race and Attachamayam( August-September)