Sultry, scintillating, spiritual, serene south India! I found this hidden gem of a place in Kerala; and on the drive to the hotel – The Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal (in case you’re curious), I realized what a different world it was!
India is a bit of a split personality, I feel. North India has its distinct culture, Mughal monuments and relics of the British Raj. The Dravidian south, on the other hand, is where the colonial powers had only a passing influence. People have darker complexions and speak the lilting, rhythmic languages of the south. Signboards use curling Tamil, Malayalam or Telugu script in place of the neat linear Sanskrit or Devnagari. In the cuisine, a variety of vegetables displace meat, and coconut milk and tamarind creep in as essential cooking ingredients; they even have a separate genre of music!
Southern India covers a rich geographic region that includes the entire Indian Peninsula. It consists of the four Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in addition to the union territories of Lakshadweep, Pondicherry and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Right from the iconic Charminar of Hyderabad, the imposing palaces of Mysore to the pristine Beaches of Kerala, and lush plantations of tea and coffee of Conoor – I was spoilt for choice! Ever floated on a cloud before? Spend a few days on a houseboat on the idyllic backwaters, and you’ll know what I mean. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an ornithologist’s paradise; and the confluence of the three seas at Kanya Kumari is a sight to behold! As if that wasn’t enough, nature to history, there are the impressively carved ancient South Indian Temples that dot every kilometer; not mention the ruins of Hampi.
If you do plan to visit, be prepared. Here even time stops for a breather! I think I will too… till Christmas! Ciao