During the rains, god’s own country transforms into a veritable paradise with lush greenery gracing its backwaters and hills, cloudy sunsets, cool breeze and the cheerful fervour of an array of festivals. Intermittent showers heighten the romance of the season. It might not be the best time to hit the beaches, but here are five reasons why Kerala in the monsoon will leave you singin’ in the rain.
Snake boat races
The months between July and September are water sports season, with the backwaters around Alappuzha playing host to a series of snake boat races. The most famous of the lot is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, generally held on the second Saturday of August every year. The regatta takes place on the Punnamada Lake, and features ceremonial processions and magnificent floats. Its star attraction is the synchronised rowing of traditional 30-metre-long snake-boats or chudan valloms, which have a raised prow resembling a snake.
The Onam sadya feast
This ten-day harvest festival celebrates the homecoming of the mythical king Mahabali, but it’s also a good excuse to feast on some of Kerala’s most lip-smacking vegetarian fare. Traditionally served on palm leaves, the ninecourse banquet is held on the last or tenth day. It’s best savoured at a local home, but you don’t manage to get an invite then most local restaurants also offer these meals. The preceding days are filled with costume parades, boat races and shopping discounts.
Great hotel deals
Sandwiched between Kerala’s sweltering summers and its peak tourist season (November to March), the monsoon is a great time to snag deals at otherwise expensive hotels and resorts. If you’ve ever fantasised about an indulgent houseboat trawl through the backwaters, then this is the time to get the best bargains. To avail the best discounts, make sure you plan your visit before the end of September, after which tariffs being climbing up again.
Kerala is home to several excellent spas and wellness resorts, and there’s no better time to pamper yourself than the monsoon season. According to Ayurveda, the cool, pleasant weather is ideal for rejuvenation. Sign up for a week-long retreat at top-notch stays such as the Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village Health Resort in Palakkad or Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort in Kovalam with relaxing oil-based therapies, massages, yoga and a balanced diet that’ll cleanse your mind, body and soul.
Wayanad’s natural splendour
With virescent hills carpeted with plantations, rainforests and tumbling waterfalls, Wayanad is a photographer’s delight. After you’ve had your fill of its misty coffee, tea and spice plantations, head to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary that hosts numerous migrating birds in this period. Wayanad’s tourism department also holds an annual monsoon carnival in July with village excursions, rain treks as well as local sports such as mud football and archery.