The tranquilized environment of Kerala makes it one of the most exquisite tourist hotspots in India. Like Goa, Kerala too moves at a glacial pace. People love the serenity bestowed in the state, thus visit it because of its peaceful surroundings. Kerala has something for everyone. White sandy beaches, forts, harbours, wood lands, hill stations and more, together they whip out a memorable holiday. The lush greens of Kerala are to die for. Noted as India’s cleanest state, Kerala with a bounty of unearthly beauty is indeed ‘God’s Own Country’. If you are planning a trip to this ‘Venice of the East’, then here are some incredible places worth a visit.
1. Backwaters – The Lovely Green
The Backwaters were etched to perfection. It is a paradisiacal sight that cannot be equalled by any other. It is considered to be the highlight of Kerala. The serpentine emerald Backwaters pan out and connect Allapuzha (Alleppey), Kollam and Kottayam. As you slice the waters on a houseboat, you can sight tribal villages on the banks. Everything is vivid on this side of Kerala. The famous Nehru Trophy Snake Boat race takes place here on the second Saturday of August.
Planning a rejuvenating experience on houseboat sailing through the backwaters is one of the best experiences offered by Kerala tourism.
2. Fort Kochi – A jewel by the seaside
This part of the Cochin, takes you back to the colonial era. A lush Dutch and Portuguese architecture along with concepts of urban space, Fort Cochin is Kerala’s laid-back hotspot. Art Galleries, churches, bazaars, spice markets and deli’s conclude Fort Cochin. The boat jetty witnesses long queues. You can cruise on the Backwaters or just go on a long ride into the Arabian Sea, watch the enchanting and ensnaring sunset before you head back home. Kerala packages are sure incomplete if Fort Cochin is missing on the itinerary.
3. Kollam – White Noise
Kollam is the southern gateway to the Backwaters. It is considered as a quieter cousin of Alleppey. Although Alleppey is preferred for hiring a houseboat in Kerala, you will not witness hustles and bustles in Kollam. It has a calm and serene atmosphere and the locals see to it you are given your privacy. This small town has an authentic Indian feel to it. The small eateries in the market serve the best Keralite food.
4. Guruvayur – Spiritual Travel
Are you a pious person? Did you think a place often referred to as God’s Own country could possibly have no shrines built as an ode to the one above? Guruvayur, is one of the most visited pilgrimage destination in South India. Here you can visit the Guruvayur Ambalam, a shrine for Lord Krishna. At Guruvayur you can also visit the world’s largest sanctuary for elephants at Anakotta. Other places you must visit include Arattu, Kaladi, Chavakkad and Palayur.
5. Kozikhode or Calicut – Coastal Lovelies!
Kozikhode is a coastal town in Kerala flanked by pure beaches, stunning green landscapes and the fresh aromas of spices being brewed in its spice gardens. The town is also more famously known as Calicut named after Calico, a special hand woven cloth. While here you can learn about the rich history it attributes to while taking in an eyeful of the Kappad Beach and Beypore Fort. Bird watchers ahoy! A certain Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary homes over hundred distinct species of birds. The Thikoti Lighthouse off the coast of Velliyamkallu beach is another attraction which was built above the remains of a shipwreck from the past.
6. Kovalam – The Land of Coconut Trees and Palaces
A word that barely connotes to a knot of coconut trees sure has a world of tourism appeal to it. What used to be a tropical beach three decades ago is a traveler’s jackpot replete with pristine beaches, lighthouses, palaces and yes, loads and loads of towering coconut trees. While at Kovalam travelers always find themselves exploring the Padmanabhapuram Palace. The major attractions here include Kaudiar Palace, Anchutengu Fort and Koyikkal Palace.
7. Alleppey Beach, Kerala
The beautiful shoreline of the beach welcomes its visitors with an enjoyable retreat. It is among the most famous beaches of Kerala. The beach had enjoyed a unique time in the maritime history of Kerala. The gorgeous sandy shoreline goes well with the blaze of the water to create a relaxing ambience. The beach is very popular for picnics at weekend.
8. Cherai Beach, Kerala
Lies near Vypeen Islands, Cherai beach Kerala is a paradise for fun lovers. The sea on the western corner and the backwaters on the east add charm to the beach. Thick and dense coconut groves and some beautiful Chinese fishing nets are the highlights of the spot.
For a memorable trip to India, leave all your planning to expert travel agents in India
Off to the Exotica
This is probably the closest you will ever get to nature that is raw, yet so achingly beautiful that you can’t help but gaze in wonder! Such is the heartbreak a traveler feels when bidding farewell to God’s own country. I could only include some of the things that you can see and do in Kerala. Hope it helps! If I have missed out on some interesting things to see in Kerala, please add them in comments.
The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney returns in 2018 with a spectacular new precinct at Luna Park, the return of much-loved Customs House, and a fantastical blend of everyday objects and Australian-inspired motifs on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall said, “Vivid Sydney has delighted and inspired people from around Australia and the world. With the Festival now in its 10th year, visitors and locals alike can once again expect to be mesmerised by the Vivid Sydney program, with larger installations and a gripping Music and Ideas offering, so I encourage visitors to start planning their trip early to get the most out of this year’s exciting line-up.
“Over 23 nights from Friday 25 May to Saturday 16 June, Vivid Sydney will paint the Harbour City in the colour and spectacle of Vivid Light, take over Sydney stages with Vivid Music’s electric performances and collaborations, and provide a global forum for thought-provoking debate and creative discussion at Vivid Ideas.”
Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and in 2017, attracted a record-breaking 2.33 million attendees to Vivid Sydney, delivering an incredible $143 million of visitor expenditure into the NSW economy.
For the first time, Vivid Sydney’s dazzling Light Walk extends to new precinct Luna Park Sydney, where the iconic amusement park comes alive with a large-scale projection on the facade of Coney Island. The show celebrates the history, magic, creativity, engineering, fantasy and imagination that have come together to create millions of memories on this unique and special site. This year also marks the first time Luna Park’s iconic Ferris Wheel will be lit for the festival following an LED refit, which has included a massive boost in the number of lights adorning the wheel.
Vivid Sydney’s bright lights will illuminate the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney again in 2018, where visitors will follow a pathway that weaves through an exciting nocturnal environment inspired by nature. Here, Parrot Party inspired by the New Zealand Kea Parrot and the Australian Rainbow Lorikeet comes alive as people gather, breaking into song and radiating colourful light. Aqueous will dazzle with its interactive landscape of meandering pathways of light, which will flow and glow in full illuminated interactivity, engaging visitors in collaborative play. The Bloom, a giant electric, metallic flower with petals adorned with mirrors that refract and reflect light, puts you in the centre of the flower capturing the perfect photo moment, and He’e nalu gives the joyous sensation of surfing a wave.
In celebration of their 100 year anniversary, May Gibbs’ iconic and immortal characters, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and their stalwart companions come to life on the façade of Customs House, as they journey through the Australian Bush and encounter the weird, the wonderful, and things quite unknown altogether. This whimsical piece will be narrated by renowned Australian film and television actress Noni Hazlehurst AM, Patron of the Australian Children’s Laureate, and beloved by Play School devotees far and wide.
All eyes turn to the World-Heritage listed Sydney Opera House at the centre of the Vivid Light Walk for Lighting of the Sails, created in 2018 by award-winning Australian artist Jonathan Zawada. Visitors will be captivated by Metamathemagical, a bold and dynamic display of morphing digital sculptures inspired by recognisable Australian motifs across science, nature and culture.
Sydney’s iconic buildings will once again be transformed, including the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) with Virtual Vibration, a highly-collaborative creative work produced in conjunction with MCA Collection artist Jonny Niesche and composer Mark Pritchard. Interactive lighting display Skylark will let visitors put their own colourful mark on the city, stretching from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the skyscrapers of Circular Quay to the reaches of Sydney Harbour.
Network Ten and MasterChef Australia will bring a magical experience to the facade of the ASN Co. Building in The Rocks, in celebration of both Masterchef and Vivid Sydney’s 10th Birthday with Mystery Gateau. Mini construction-worker chefs will guide you on a journey of fun and wonderment, with the famous MasterChef clock ticking down to the final extraordinary surprise.
Popular precincts Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, Barangaroo and Kings Cross will return in 2018.
Festival favourites from last year are back along with a whole new mob of fierce, fantastic, quirky and endearing species for Taronga Zoo’s Lights for the Wild. Visitors will discover some new spectacular animal light sculptures, and learn how Taronga is working to help save 10 species from extinction over the next 10 years.
An art-meets-technology water fountain, light and laser experience takes Darling Harbour visitors into a dream-like dive under the ocean, while the iconic rooftop of the Australian National Maritime Museum will be projected with BBC Earth and Sir David Attenborough’sBlue Planet II, exploring the fascinating world beneath the waves.
A pop-up market inspired by the colourful neighbourhood street markets of Brazil, built from a scaffold and recycled materials and lit by lasers will transform the Chatswood CBD. The Concourse will take visitors on an immersive, deep dive into space featuring NASA’s amazing imagery and 360-degree projection.
Barangaroo glows under layers of light and sound that evoke the surrounding waterways, with the precinct coming to life through the magnificent art of puppetry with a breathtaking, giant luminescent creature venturing along the waterfront in a theatrical display of sound and light.
Precinct contributor Coca-Cola returns to light up the streets of Sydney’s iconic Kings Cross and to support another KX program in 2018. The colourful strip along Darlinghurst Road will be transformed with a spectacular display of light and life. The famous Coca-Cola sign comes alive again in 2018 with an array of flair and a creative colour show. Other Vivid KX transformations include the historic Victorian Terrace; World Bar, which will unfurl a multi-story house party, and the renowned Kings Cross Hotel, which will host cutting-edge artists curated by legendary party-crews.
Vivid Music ups the ante in 2018 with an electric line-up, from noise to jazz, sonic experimentation to the soul. Highlights include a one-night-only performance by Grammy award-winning rock-goddess St. Vincent, and the return of Curve Ball headlined by Alison Wonderland — a large-scale live music and art event created by the team behind Field Day, Harbourlife and Listen Out — both at Carriageworks.
The City Recital Hall returns to the program, tracking the extraordinary rise in jazz with the Innovators In Jazz series featuring the undisputed king, triple Grammy award-winner saxophonist Branford Marsalis. The world’s finest jazz vocalists including Kurt Elling and chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux will line up alongside Orange is the New Black star Lea Delaria in her musical comedy, jazz interpretation show.
Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House hosts a stellar line-up of Australian exclusives as part of Vivid Sydney, including several Opera House debuts. Highlights this year include American dream-pop icons Mazzy Star, the godfather of West Coast rap Ice Cube, acclaimed 90s indie rock singer/songwriter Cat Power, Grammy award-winning artist Solange, and the long-awaited collaboration between iconic Australian artistsDaniel JohnsandLuke Steele.
Now in its 4th year as part of Vivid Sydney, Heaps Gay struts uptown to Sydney Town Hall for an unmissable experience, the inaugural Queen’s Ball. Other not-to-be-missed events include Young Hearts Run Free and one of Australia’s most exciting breakthrough artists performing at the Enmore Theatre,Vera Blue.
Also returning to Vivid Music in 2018 is X|Celerate, a partnership between Vivid Sydney and the City of Sydney to enliven music venues across town. Showcasing grassroots and emerging local music talent, highlights will include Purple Sneakers 12th birthday at The Lansdowne, a fusion of food, wine and music at Cake Wines Cellar Door, and HAPPY and VISIONS at The Lady Hampshire.
As architects of the future, it’s time to join the masterminds and creative catalysts at Vivid Ideas for inspiration. Vivid Ideas provides a forum to workshop, collaborate and cultivate fresh thinking to drive the creative agenda across tech, design, entertainment and culture. Vivid Ideas returns in 2018 with some of the world’s greatest minds as we explore the future-shaping scenarios that will define our lives.
Vivid Ideas 2018 showcases those who are leading the way in technology, creativity and science. Game Changers and Creative Catalysts this year include film-maker, marine explorer and conservationist James Cameron. In a Vivid Sydney exclusive, James will explore his passion for science and technology, and how it has influenced his work as a film director and environmentalist. James will be joined in conversation by Adam Spencer, while in Sydney to open the James Cameron – Challenging the Deep exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Australian global success story Dare Jennings — founder of Mambo Clothing, Phantom Records and Deus ex Machina — joins his good friend James Valentineto discuss creating cult brands that cut across age and lifestyles as well the joys of throwing out the rulebook.
Futurist and game developer, Jane McGonigal can prove games have the power transform our real world lives. She and Artificial Intelligence expert Kriti Sharma join Vivid Ideas to explore the latest in AI, VR and gaming to ask what kind of society we can create with technology.
Visual strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-founder of the Museum of Awe, Dan Goods joins the Vivid Ideas Creative Catalysts line-up to explore how creativity and science interplay and why NASA has a virtual strategist.
The New Horizons series explores the mega-trends and micro-developments in technology and innovation and shines a light on experts tackling the biggest issues with creativity in a bid to make our future brighter. Topics include Future Fashion, Algae is the New Black, Blockchain Decoded and Evolving Democracy.
Over three successive Wednesdays, Vivid Sydney will take over the Art Gallery of NSW to create an intimate portrait of our better selves. Our special guests dare to ask if we can improve dying, how we can find common ground when and where there’s conflict, and why we should nudge perceptions around female sexuality. These events will be accompanied by curated music from Gold heist, Air Land Sea and Haiku Hands.
The Vivid Ideas Exchange at the Museum of Contemporary Art returns, boasting a diverse line-up of talks presented by creative experts covering topics including the future of work, the ethics of humanizing technology and how to become agents for change.
Vivid Sydney thanks its sponsors for their support of Vivid Sydney 2018. Partners include American Express returning for the second year of partnership, and introducing a new partner, Samsung. Supporters include City of Sydney, Oracle Liquid, Property NSW, Sydney Opera House, TAFE NSW, Technical Direction Company, Transgrid, Transport for NSW and 32 Hundred Lighting. For the second year, Vivid Sydney’s Access and Inclusion partner is Cushman and Wakefield, Coca-Cola returns as Kings Cross precinct contributor and the festival continues its sustainability partnership with the Banksia Foundation. Also new to Vivid Sydney are Vivid Collaborators, CSIRO, Gateway Sydney, Network 10, ATS Logistics, Kennards Hire and Red Balloon.