One of the southernmost states of India, Kerala truly is (in my own personal opinion, at least) the fairest of them all.
Affectionately known as “God’s Own Country” (also the official tourism slogan of the region), it is beautiful. Actually, it’s more than beautiful. The English language fails me when I’m trying to think up a word strong enough to describe the state but, if you’re mildly versed in Spanish, just imagine someone saying “increíble” with all the gusto and emphasis normally used. Then multiply it by 5000. And that is how I feel about Kerala.
Despite belonging to a country one typically associates with a sweltering hot climate, over-crowded streets and trains, and dusty streets that seem to have an incomprehensible dryness about them (thanks for that, TV), Kerala is actually very, very green.
One of the greenest places I’ve ever been, in fact, and you should all know that I come from a place which is luscious and green enough to serve as a pretty high benchmark in the “how green is my valley” stakes, so this is some pretty high praise I’m singing over here.
For the sake of having a statistical backup, I just did a wee bit of Googling, and Kerala is actually 45% green. That’s a lot, am I right or am I right? And in case anyone is wondering, India’s greenest state, with almost 90% of its surface area covered in forest is Mizoram, which I’d never heard of before today but now won’t ever forget.
At 38,863km², Kerala is only 18,000m² larger than Wales but has ten times the population, with more than 33 million people living there. That’s 2,200 people per square mile which is utter madness if you ask me. But it doesn’t even feel crowded; in comparison with other parts of India, you’re positively swimming in personal space!
Not only is it big and green and spacious (for India), but it’s also kind of super advanced when compared to many of India’s other states. It has the highest literacy rate, the highest life expectancy, and is paving the way when it comes to accepting and providing opportunity for the largely segregated and ostracised transgender community in India.
In short, Kerala is a pretty bloody fantastic place.
Although I spent the best part of four months living in and exploring Kerala last year, this site is suspiciously empty of any posts. With the exception of this little anecdote about my time exploring the Alleppey backwaters. The problem is that Kerala is such an incredibly beautiful, welcoming and overall amazing place that I fell into too much of a routine there. I forgot I was on holiday and felt at home.
So I took fewer photos. I let the extraordinary become ordinary and become incredibly lax in recording my life over there; incredibly lazy when it came to storing away memories and photographs to look back on in weeks (or years) to come. Because Kerala had become my home, I let my adventures in Rajasthan overpower my everyday life down South, and I just sort of forgot to share its beauty with the world (or, ya know, the 2.4 people who read this).
So, for this Sightseeing Sunday, I dug deep into the archives and came out with a little tiny handful of photos I did manage to snap over in Kerala. Photos which, while they admittedly don’t capture the full beauty of this wonderful state, will hopefully be enough to persuade at least one person out there to visit someday, and take it all in for themselves.
Not all photos are mine; a few were very kindly ‘donated’ by a very good friend, and these have been marked. Thanks G.