Being Indian, I've always wished to see more of India. Having moved to Dubai at a very young age, I haven't had the chance to explore India as much as I'd have liked. This year, I took a trip to Kerala, the southernmost state of India.
Situated on the southwest coast of India, Kerala is popularly knows as "God's own country" because of its stunning natural beauty.
Being a coastal state, Kerala boasts of some of the South Asian region's most beautiful beaches.
I visited the coastal town of Kovalam, which is about 30 minutes south of Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital.
The water here is a gorgeous deep blue. The beaches are pristine and the coconut trees are so lush you just want to dive into them!
Emirates has very convenient routes to Kerala from both Dallas and Houston international airports. I also enjoyed my layover at Dubai airport. The Marhaba lounge is a great way to freshen up after a 13 hour flight.
Kovalam is located about 30 minutes south of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. Hotels usually provide airport transfers.
Where to stay
While Kerala's coastline offers some beautiful beach towns, Kovalam is the southernmost and most tourist friendly.
The Leela, Kovalam
The Leela is a gorgeous resort. Situated right off the cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea, it offers some breathtaking views of the sun, sand and sea.
I would recommend staying at the Club House rooms for a more niche experience (Approx. $225/night)
The Niramaaya Retreat
No trip to Kerala is complete without an Ayurvedic massage experience. The Niramaaya retreat is a cosy yet gorgeous property famous for its authentic ayurvedic massage offerings with private Kerala style cottages for accommodation (Approx. $285/night)
What to do while in Kovalam
Kerala is a uniquely relaxing, calming and rejuvenating experience. Most of my time was spent indulging in delightful culinary escapades by signature chefs at the Leela and Niramaaya. I also pampered myself with a few massages at the Niramaaya retreat which boasts of a wide bouquet of ayurvedic and western massages, baths and spa treatments.
Kerala is also famous for its natural backwaters and lagoons. These are water canals flanked by lush green coconut tree vegetation. I took a boat ride along the Poovar backwaters and saw a gorgeous sunset!
Renting a houseboat overnight while cruising on the backwaters is also a great option.
While the Niramaaya retreat would host cultural music and art programs in the evening, I did some fun archery training at The Leela.
All in all, if you're in the need of a refreshing vacation that leaves you rejuvenated and feeling amazing, Kerala needs to be on your list!