South India is such a stark contrast to the north. English is known by 99% of people down here which makes things a bit easier. All states in India speak different languages making it impossible for people to understand one another if/when they travel outside of their comfort zone. Cows aren’t considered as holy down south. A lot of beef is consumed in Kerala, and Christmas is even celebrated. Seafood is plentiful. Palms trees are in abundance, which means coconuts rule the land 🙂 Every part of the fruit is utilized such as the fibers for ropes, milk for oil/cooking and shells for iron. Sarees are even worn differently here with a tube top addition. The higher the humidity, the less clothing. I support it.
Our first activity while in the south was a cooking class in a local’s home. I was EXTREMELY out of my element here since I haven’t had a kitchen in three years, but it was great to see what actually goes into creating these masterpieces.
In terms of flavors, I noticed that the meat or fish actually do the talking. They’re spiced just right without drowning in rich sauces. Flavors tend to be smoother here, not so much a northern hit-you-in-the-face kind of spice that’ll knock your tongue off. All in all, India loves its curry, an umbrella term used to describe foods with various spices usually prepared in a sauce. That’s a commonality amongst all states.
The lovely couple who welcomed us into their kitchen pretty much finished the cooking for us (I mean I had ZERO clue what I was doing in there besides wiping my sweat every 5 seconds with a tissue), and we ate and ate and ate like Indian princesses drenched in their own dried sweat, only ready to sweat some more because they couldn’y handle the teeniest ounce of spice to their bland AF palette. Feeling 6 months pregnant and ready for an ice bath, I rolled myself out the door, thanking the local couple kindly. Aren’t we quite the modern family?
Kerala seemed like one big giant retreat the entire week we explored. Out of the 10ish beds we slept in during our two weeks in India, some of my favorite hotels resided in the south.
The Best Vibe Award goes to Coconut Lagoon Hotel. Its coconut groves and backwater canals created a romantic element and laid back atmosphere that I adored.
Kumarakom Lake Resort gets my vote for Best Experience because there’s nothing more tranquil than spending three hours cruising through the backwaters of Kerala on your very own houseboat. Ahhhhhh.
Not all houseboats are created equal. One of the best parts was seeing all the shapes and sizes these things came in 🙂
We then drove 4 hours through small villages to a beautiful waterfront Relais & Châteaux property known as Niraamaya Retreats in Kovalam. This is where I did my one and only yoga class in all of India, and I couldn’t have asked for a better setting than overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Hannah, Trip Designer Extraordinaire from Curio Trips, planned North and South India perfectly. From authentic experiences mixed with luxurious settings in the north to ending in the most tranquil environment of the south, I know I barely scratched the surface in this magical country, giving us much to explore upon our return.
Further Reading on India: