Nipha virus targeting the travel and tourism sector of Kerala

 

The months of May, June, and July are all vaccinations for kids and this was one main reason for me to plan a family trip to the south so that we could get a break from the tiring workaholic life and spend some time with each other. Family time is always important for kids as it is one thing that contributes greatly to their emotional and mental development. It was on the 13th of many that we planned the trip to explore some of the best travel destinations to the north of Kerala. My first preference to travel to was to the Kozhikode district of Kerala which is said to be one fascinating destination for families with a number of attractions and special flavors. On the 14th of the same month, I booked my family tour package that was organized by Gogeo Holidays a travel operator in Kerala who offered us with one of the cheapest packages including all the best attraction in the land. One main reason for us to choose to travel to the north of Kerala was that the place had a number of unexplored destinations, hill stations and forest destinations that are yet to be explored to its best. After complete planning and packing, we reached the Mumbai airport to start our holiday trip on the 21st of May. After a flight of about 3 hrs, we reached the Kochi international airport which was one of the closest airports to our destination. It was after reaching the airport that we came to know of the deadly virus that was spreading in the northern districts of Kerala with the name, Nipha virus. According to the news and the stories of the virus, it is spread by some fruit bats. The virus is said to have no cure and is highly infective that it keeps spreading from the infected to the others through the air or even touch. According to the information spread about the virus, it is first reported in Kozhikode and is spreading towards the north of Kerala.  We were at a stage where we were not even able to get back as the flight tickets were not available and traveling through other means could be dangerous.

The safety of my family was one thing that I was more concerned about that the trip and the travel plans. All we could do was to change the destination of the travel and to cut short the days to a minimum. After referring with the travel operators we change the travel destination from Kozhikode and decided to stay at Kochi for the day and then return back home safe on the next flight. To keep the kids calm, we choose not to tell them about the infection in detail as it could make them more restless. It was after researching and collecting more of the disease that we understood that most of the stories spread were wrong it has been only reported in very few numbers. We also came to know the virus till now have not spread to Kochi and other destinations like Munnar which means we are safe from the virus as if for now. Still, to be more careful of the condition we decided to maintain more cleanliness by avoiding fruits and more vegetables from the diet. We also got some mask for extra safety. Our ticket back to Mumbai was scheduled for the next day by evening and as we were not ready to spoil the vacation we choose to stick on with the new plan.

Even though the complete trip was reshuffled the travel operators with no time organized us a room within Kochi were we could stay for the day. Traveling from the airport for about 30 min we finally reached the hotel which was located in Ernakulam district which was not too far from the airport. We checked in at the hotel after completing the formalities by 12 pm and decided to have the lunch from the hotel by avoiding fruits and much of vegetable thus we decided to have just cereal, bread, jam, and butter. After reaching the room the first thing that I did was to search of the virus and to get more information of the happenings at Kozhikode so as to get a clear idea o the viruses and its danger. To make the say in the hotel a bit entertaining for the kids they were allowed to spend their noon in the closed pool that was available in the hotel and the play area. According to the report of Hindustan Times, the number of death reported due to the virus was 10 but the numbers change from 5 to 12 in different news channels and papers which clearly showed the propaganda that was set against Kerala. The state health department confirmed only four death is due to Nipha virus whereas 25 people who have been diagnosed with similar symptoms have been hospitalized

  The disease was said to be under control and the spreading could be avoided by being careful and cautious. The government of the state has advised a number of safety methods by which one could stay away from the virus which, mainly include avoiding fruits as the virus is spread by fruit bat. By using a face mask and by being clean one could avoid being affected by the virus. According to me, the disease was not at a critical stage as it is been shown by the news and the media.

According to the travel and tourism department of the state, The news that is exaggerated and spread is believed to be a deliberate attempt to destroy Kerala tourism sector. With the emergence of such news, the panic spreads not only in local people but also in national level. In addition the Tamilnadu Govt. has given strict guidelines to avoid traveling to Kerala. It was mainly the tourism department of the state that was affected by the news that the human race. By the time I finished collecting information about the happenings, it was 2 pm and we decided to move out of the hotel and explore some of the destinations in Kochi worth exploring. As it was noon with the sun shining right above the head we decided to explore the Hill Palace Museum at Thripoonithura which was the best place that one could explore under hot climate. Traveling for about an hour from the hotel we finally reached the museum which was one best place filled with nature, trees, and shelters. Located at a distance of about 10 km from Kochi the museum was once the official residence of the rulers of Kochi. The palace housed a number of best attractions and artifacts from the past which was exhibited in the area.  Oil-paintings, murals, sculptures, manuscripts, Antique ceramics from the Far East, tombstone, hood stone, laterite memorials and wooden memorials were all some of the best attractions found in the palace. The beauty of the ancient architecture fascinated me the most in the place. After being in the palace for a while we decided to visit the marine drive located close to our hotel where we could enjoy the sunset. Traveling for another 1-hour we reached the drive by around 5.30 which was the perfect time for sunset. Facing the sea the drive was a perfect spot in Kochi where we could enjoy a facilitated sunset. After being in the drive for an hour we moved back to the hotel by 6.45 and reached back to the room by 7.30 pm. Without wasting much time we got freshened up and had the breakfast calling the day off.

The next day we got up by 11 am. After refreshing and having the breakfast we rushed to the airport as we were not ready to miss the flight. We met with the travel operators at the airport who was ready to offer us another tour package to some safer destinations in Kerala but we chose to travel back home as our flight tickets were booked. With the spread of the virus, the tourism department of the state was most affected. Even though the reports say that the over exaggeration of news was to target travel and tourism department of the state all that I was concerned of was my family and their safety which was the only reason for us to fly back home.

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The Paradise of Hills Unleashed at Munnar

Let's go on an adventure

Travelling has always been the spirit that has kept me awake where it has indeed been the key to my happiness. I have been my happy self after each journey which has indeed provoked me to move further with my life. No matter who accompanied me on the journey, I have always had the zest of enjoying the journey by myself. The different perspective of a journey is hence a factor that has put me on journeys, back to back. I made my way through the state of Kerala where I had been looking out to enjoy a nature hub and its beauty for few days. The journey had been booked through Go-Geo Holidays where there were a group of other people for the journey as well. On reaching Kerala in the train, I had been picked by the driver who had been sent to me by the travel planners where I was shifted in a room in the hotel. In the same place, The rest of the travelers in the bus had arrived where most of them had been families. The driver had told me that we would be heading out by 10 am due to which I decided to sleep for some time. The Kerala tour packages had one major destination which was Munnar.

Days spent at Munnar.

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The first place of our visit was the finest hill station of Munnar where we reached on a 5-hour journey from Cochin. The long drive had been the best where I had been exposed to an entirely different place from my hometown. The place was serene and calm where the driver stopped at just one place before we headed for our night stay. The destination for our visit was the Echo point. we had crossed the Mattupetty Dam where we viewed the place through the scrolled down windows. On reaching the place, with all sort of excitement, we got down where we had been looking forward to walking up to the place. The place was a perfect mixture of the lake, the sky, and the hills.  All of us were in awe where I took some pictures of the place that had been beautified by nature. It was what one could refer to as being absolutely beautiful. After striding around the place for some time, I began taking some good pictures or the families on their request. We proceeded for the night stay and the second day we got up in the morning to head off to the Top station. On reaching the place I walked asap to the counter where I did not want to be with a flock of people. We had been told a particular time to return back and hence the planning had been made appropriately.

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I walked down the stairs to reach the mighty viewpoint that made a place in my heart. It was serene, it was calm, it was just the place that the people had to reach up to, in order to enjoy the purest form of nature. I spend some time there and got back to the top when the rest of the people reached back. I had some food from the place as well before heading back to the bus. All the families reached back on the time where we headed to the next place which was the Eravikulam national park. It was more of a good place that had been sending all sort of forest vibes. It was indeed a good place where we were into sight the Nilgiri Thars. And on walking a small distance, we got to sight the animals that had been striding on the grasslands. The journey became way more exciting as we walked further to sight deer and other small animals. When it was late noon, we got out. We reached the next destination where we had been looking for a place to eat. There were small shops that had been selling food like Maggi and egg rice which indeed became our food for the lunch. And after it, along with some kids who belonged to the families, I got into the Lakkam waterfalls premises where we walked along the steps to a tiny waterfall that had been brimming with ice cold water.

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The place was simply beautiful where we had been walking along the water streams. I held the hands of the kids and slowly we reached to the tiny falls. The kids were all super excited while the parents sat on the rocks surrounding the falls from where they kept a sight of us. The place was simply beautiful that I did not really want to move out of the place. But then it was time that we head back where in between the driver stopped at a street that had an array of shops. There was some sort of happiness as I had been spending it with the kids. The families walked along as well, but it was a newer experience for me. After having some good hot bhajjis we got back to the bus that dropped us at the resort for the stay. The best thing was the campfire and the buffet food that had been arranged there. The night got slightly musical after which I went to sleep.

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The next day I vacated the room with the others as we were heading back today. There was just one activity that was on the list where we had been on our way to Mattupetty dam. The first day we had just seen the place through the windows but today we were in for a boat journey. On reaching the place, the families began heading out on the journey where everyone returned and the rest of the took the cruise. There was a couple who had been there who asked me to join them on the cruise. As a favor, I clicked them some good pictures. And that was about the journey where we had been more than happy in being at the place. The place had been instilled in my memory as the most beautiful place a person can ever visit, n case beauty in their terms is pure undestroyed nature. It was just another must visit the place. On reaching back to Kochi  I bod bye to those who had come on a Kerala tour package with family. A driver picked me up from there where we spoke as we drove to the airport. He said that Kerala still had a lot of other places with brimming nature which are all untouched by modernization. And those words of his have the power of getting m,e back to the land for umpteen visits.

A Royal Family Traverse Through The Lush Green Kerala.

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Walking through the roads less taken along with our own family is always a good memory. And it is to be a part of this that we always see to it that we find enough time every year to travel to someplace new. Life every other time, the very previous weekend, dad decided on few places we could be visiting and the final draft was decided the very same night where instead of us planning, we handled the job to Gogeo Holidays who did the rest of the planning for us. After all the planning was over we boarded the flight to Kerala where we were dropped at Cochin International airport. We had actually traveled one day ahead in order to avoid last minute hassle. Our family friends who resided at Cochin picked us up from the airport who hosted us for the whole day. After some rest at their residence, we spent the evening at Subash Park which is a very famous park of the city. Walking along the Marine drive we also got some beautiful pictures captured. And the very next day began our tour where we had asked the driver to pick us up from the residence instead of the airport. It made our whole day ahead by one hour. The actual Kerala tour package hence began the same day.

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The driver said that we could be catching some major sights of Kochi and would be forwarding the journey to Munnar for our night stay. It was just 7:30 in the morning and we had been heading to Fort Cochin. The beach there with the Chinese fishing nets has always been a major attraction to the tourists which was what I had read from most of the travel sites. We got out and the first thing that we did was to grab a cup of chai from the shop that had been there. We walked along the walkway for the view had been tremendously beautiful and worth staring at. Sitting on one of the benches we watched few ships arriving while the others had been by the shore and when it was almost half an hour, we decided to get back into the car that took us to the front of the St Francis Church. We did not get down at the destination but saw it from outside and proceeded to the Jew Town. The people had been setting up their stalls and we were among the first visitors to the place. We walked through seeing the shopkeepers setting up the things for sale and we walked along the shops. As we reached the end we got to see the Jew Synagogue thereby, unfortunately, it would open only at 10 am and we could not wait until then.

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The driver had told us that what we would be seeing in the synagogue and also gave us a slight outlook of its history. The driver finally dropped us at the Thattekad bird sanctuary. We took the entry tickets and got inside which is where dad got the best place to click the best pictures of few of the most colorful birds we had ever seen. We have been to a lot of places that have had bird sanctuaries and have also explored most of the places but never had been to a natural place like this which is being maintained in the best possible manner. We walked around quietly, not disturbing the birds there. And after some good time of bird watching, we got out and walked back to where the car was parked. The driver told us we could visit a place that was not on our itinerary. In fact, it was at Kothamangalam itself and on our way. After walking for a short distance we walked and got to find a stream of water which was probably from a river or something. The coconut trees around made it look extremely beautiful. People had tied their cows and goats for grazing on the grass in the region. This again was something that was naturally beautiful in the place.

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The journey proceeded for longer hours which finally dropped us at Munnar. In the midway, we also gulped some good food as well. It was 8pm when we reached. The weather was colder and different from how it had been at Cochin. We freshened up and headed down for our buffet dinner. They also had offered us campfire night. The campfire was a common one for all the residents in the accommodation but the best thing was that my siblings made friends with the other kids who had been there and I got along with others. This was the best part of being on tours where we get to see and meet other people from various parts of the world. We met another bunch of happy families and had a good time there and thus went by the night. The next day we were to visit some of the most beautiful places in Munnar. Rising up to the sun, we got to see the beauty of the place where we had been reading through the balcony. We got ready, had some good breakfast and headed out to natures real magnificence that had been held in the arms of Munnar. The sightseeing began from Mattupetty Dam and then the driver dropped us at a beautiful place where the lake, the hills, and the sky made the place look exotic.

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There were a number of freelance photographers there by whom we got some good family pictures printed into our hands. My siblings also got a horse ride for themselves after which we proceeded to the next place which was the Eravikulam National Park. The one thing that made this place famous was the Nilgiri Thars. But personally, I felt like the real beauty of the place was the nature itself. We walked and got to spot few birds and animals like deer and monkeys. The Nilgiri Thars were all around as well. In some time, we walked out and decided to visit the next place after hogging some egg rice for lunch. The next was the Lakkam waterfalls. Now this place was again one in a million destinations. It would lure anyone to spend some extra time inside. The falls were small and we held each other’s hand walking into the water. After some splendid hour, we decided to get back. And the last place we decided to visit was the trekking place at Lakkam itself. The best thing we got to enjoy at the end of the trek was the beautiful view of Munnar.

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And that was our last sightseeing destination where we returned back to the car and it was already 7 pm. The drive took us to the hotel for our stay. We were pretty tired that after having the buffet dinner, we slept off. Mom called us all up as we had a flight to catch in the evening and had to reach back all the way to Cochin. We thanked the driver who had literally been a part of our Kerala tour package for family. Another 6 hours of traveling took us back to the airport from where we flew back home from a beautiful destination.

Kinsfolk journey: the once in a lifetime traverse together

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Most of us are very often family bound people but we do not always have enough time to spend together. And that is probably one reason that we always look out on the requirement of setting off on a journey where you finally get to spend some quality time with them. My look out on this had finally become true where I could make my way to my hometown at Kerala and could take my family and siblings off on a journey to Pathanamthitta which we had been looking forward too since a pretty long time. Since I had been short in time to plan all by myself, I decided to give that job to Go Geo Holidays who basically did everything we were supposed to do and on reaching to my residence, I and my family packed our tiny baggage from Cochin and made way to the less famous destination, but incredibly beautiful destination of Pathanamthitta in Kerala. The Tour packages included an extra comfortable vehicle which rode us all the way to the destination where a travel duration of 4 hours was required.
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The road journey is often the best with the family where you can be as comfortable as ever and talk to each other and enjoy it all the way without getting bored. We took refreshments stop in between and finally when we reached, the location was Konni. The speciality of the destination is that you get to be at a destination where the mammals, Elephants get trained in this place where the wild ones from the forests are being trained. It was undoubtedly amidst the forests where we could be at the original residence of the being. We walked in to find the Aanakoodu or rather the wooden house-like structure that had been made in order to house them. There were a number of them who were of varied sizes. The guide took us around where the main task he had been looking out for was feeding us with information while all that I had been looking out was the sort of comfort the animals had been having residing at Konni. We walked as the guide took us in and that way we just got to be together with the elephants who had been listening to the instructions. Both I and my sister decided to be on an elephant safari as this is a one time experience. We climbed up as per the instructions and was pretty astonished at how different everything looked from the top of the mammal. We went on a short ride and after some point, both of us got down. After feeding them with some food, we decided to get started to the next destination.
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We had lunch on the midway to the next spot which was to Aruvikuzhy Waterfalls. The gem of a place had a number of streams that made the water flow forming a small waterfall. We walked through the stream,s for some time and sat on the rocks talking to each other and holding on to mother and she had a constant feeling of slipping and falling. We were totally indulged in the power that nature had in making all of us blink at its marvel. We walked all the back to the driver where the driver took us to the Aranmula Temple next. The way from Aruvikuzhy had been filled with rubber plantations which indeed added beauty to the place where we could be on a smooth ride with a view.  We were pure vegetarians and so we took the advantage of always remaining pure to enter a temple. After seeking the blessings of Lord Parthasarathy we were driven to the place where we would be having our night stay which was at Gavi. The place has been forever famous after a movie was released with the location of Gavi while we had always been in look out of the place for a long time even before the movie released.
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We reached where the sun had already set. The booking for a homestay had been made where we walked into the rooms that were nature-friendly. The best had been the beautiful dinner amidst nature where they had made a space for us with a huge wooden umbrella shade.  The coolness of nature was more like air conditioners. We were served with good hot food that made a good way to the stomach and the soul at the same time. We sat and spoke to the couple who had been running the homestay. They said that we could go on a nature walk in case we get up early in the morning. We rose up and wore our sweaters to take the walk. The owner then took us on a walk where almost all kinds of plants and trees had been by our sides. Each house had a small poultry as well. The best that we got to see is that the owner stopped at a house for milk where they had been instant getting it out of the cow and giving it. How much freshness could you have gained more than the places like these, I wondered.   The whole family had breakfast after coming back and thanked them for the wonderful stay they offered. Voting was on our cards next where we decided to go to the Reservoir located close by in Gavi itself. We felt even more blissful with the whole family when we had pedalled around the waters and got back where the rain started to sprinkle. The drive back began as we had come a long way into the woods.
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A memorable journey had hence been made where we were more than happy of having been together with the whole family after a pretty long time. the family is often the strongest pillar that stays along with you through the thick and thin and how can there be better companions to travel when they are waiting for you. And that was the whole Holiday packages Kerala where I and my family got back to Kochi by 10 in the night.My return from Kerala was bound tomorrow and  I could not have thanked the team enough for taking us all safe and getting us back home in the same way. To plan another trip would be a hard job where all 5 of us will have to find time from our respective job life.

Kerala a paradise for family holidays to the south

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Family time is something very important in this developing world, where no one has enough time to spare. One of the best ways to spend time with family is by tripping to some beautiful destination filled with natural beauty and peacefulness. Kerala to the southernmost tip of India is one such destination which is considered as the best for family holidays by traveler from around the world. One of the main reasons for the families to love touring in Kerala is due to the fact that the place holds in a number of destinations with gleaming beauty and peacefulness that would be refreshing and entirely different from that in business cities like Bangalore. The state is one of the best family tourist destinations to the south houses a number of tour operators like Gogeo holidays which offers attractive and Fascinating tour packages exclusively for families. Most of the tourist destinations in Kerala fascinate families with its natural beauty and adventurous destinations that children would love. The climatic condition persisting in most of the tourist destination of the land adds up to the facts that attract the travelers to the land. Some of the most prominent destinations in Kerala visited and explored by families are listed below.

Munnar

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Located to the Western Ghats the misty hills of Munnar is one of the best and most visited destinations in Kerala. Most of the families visit the place to enjoy the climatic condition of the place which is mostly cold at daytime and freezing as night falls. Apart from the climatic condition of the place, the scenic destinations of the misty hills are one thing that would attract travelers mainly families to the land. The mist hills being one of the best tourist destination in the land houses a number of hotels, resorts, villas and home stays which offers the best-facilitated and safe stay that adds up to the reasons that attract families to the land.

Best destinations: Known as one of the well-known tourist destination the place houses a number of attractive and fascinating tourist destinations in the land. Some of the must visit tourist destinations in the land includes Top Station, Eco-Point, Chinnakanal, Anayirangal dam, Marayoor, Eravikulam National Park, Lakkom Waterfalls, Anamudi Peak and much more.

Activities: As a most visited hill station to the Western Ghats the place offers a number of adventurous activities which is one main thing that attracts travelers and families to the land. Some of the best activities offered in the hills include Hiking, Trekking, and Boating, Mountain Climbing, Rock Climbing, Horse riding and more.

Thekkady

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Being one of the most beautiful wildlife destinations, Thekkady is mostly explored by families. Unlike the hill stations, in Kerala, the wildlife destinations in the land are blessed with a wide verity of plant and animal forms. Most of the families visit the place to enjoy a jungle holiday in the lap of nature and vegetation. One of the main elements that attract the travelers to the land is the wide verity of animals in the land. Travelers from around the world visit Thekkady to explore its rich wilderness. Families visiting the place mostly chose to stay in the tree houses which would provide you with the best view of the forest, you could also spot wild animal from a safe distance.

Best destinations: The place being one of the best wildlife destinations to the south houses a number of well-known tourist attractions like the Periyar National Park, Thekkady or Periyar Lake, Mangla Devi temple, Chellar Kovil and many more. One of the most visited destinations in Thekkady is the Periyar National Park which fascinated the travelers and families visiting the place.

Activities: Thekkady is a destination which is known for its wilderness, being a destination known for its vegetation and the wild the place offers a number of adventure activities to entertain the travelers. Some such activities offered in the land include river rafting, bamboo rafting, boating, trekking, hiking, nature walk and much more. Families mainly visit the place to enjoy a night stay in the forest.

 Alleppey

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One of the most beautiful backwater destinations, Alleppey is visited and explored mostly by families. One of the main elements that attract the families to the place is the houseboat services provided in the land. Apart from the houseboat the place also offers a lot more to the travelers visiting the land. The cuisine of the place is very famous for its flavours and taste among the travelers from around the world. Alleppey being a destination with the most complex backwaters stretches facilitates the growth of Ayurvedic herbs and plants of medicinal quality this makes the place one of the best spots for Ayurvedic tourism. The high mineral content of the soil in the waters promote and facilitate the growth of rare plants and herbs in the place. Most of the families visiting the place make use of this Ayurvedic heritage of the land.

Best destinations: Alleppey being a place known for its backwater stretches has a number of destinations other than the complex waters. Some of such destinations in the land which are mostly visited by families are Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Alleppey beach, Vembanad Lake, Pallippuram, Krishnapuram Palace, Bay Island Driftwood Museum, Kuttanad Lake, Chettikulangara Devi Temple and more.

Activities: Being one of the best and well-known backwater destinations the place offers a number of entertainment activities to the travelers visiting the land. Some of such activities are boat rides, houseboat stays, boat race, Ayurvedic treatments and much more.

With all these destinations and more Kerala is now one of the most visited destinations to the south by families. It is mostly the beauty and the natural elements of the state that attracts families to the land. With an aim to promote family tourism, the Kerala tourism department is now introducing attractive and entertaining Holiday packages to Kerala. For travelers and families who wish to explore the richness of vegetation and natural beauty, Kerala to the south of the country is one of the best and most prominent destinations.

Redefining faith and dependence in the spiritual centres of Kerala

Two major places that are most sorted for pilgrim traveling in the south zone of India is Kerala and Chennai. Innumerable temples, churches and mosques are located in the state of Kerala where the believers come in search of peace and tranquility. The inhabitants of Tamil Nadu often visit the pilgrim sites in Kerala which are famous for the beliefs that reside in the pilgrim. A lot of families also follow it on a tradition basis that happens to be the customs of both the places. Hence most of the families residing in Chennai visit the sites in Kerala where they get to enhance their faith in the mythical stories relating to the temples. A Kerala family tour package would let the people move on a journey that lets them walk through traditions that are similar to those that are being followed by them.

Guruvayoor Temple

Location: Thrissur

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Guruvayoor

Guruvayoor temple, which is situated at Thrissur is a place of worship for believers. The deity here is Lord Krishna who is referred to as Guruvayoorappan. A number of rituals are followed here and thousands of people visit the temple to do the rituals on a daily basis. The Prasadam which is provided to the people in the temple in the form of Payasam and Butter are also famous to the people. The believers who visit Kerala during the Sabarimala season visit Guruvayoor as it is a tradition followed by the people to visit maximum temples on their route to Sabari Mala. The temple which is 5000 years old also has a dress code which is to be followed by the believers to enter the temple.

Aanakotta is also located in the temple premises where the elephants that belong to the temple are taken care of. 

Malayatoor Church

Location: Ernakulam

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Malayatoor Church

Malayatoor Church which is located at Ernakulam is a major place of visit by the believers of Christianity.

It is situated on a hilltop where the pilgrims reach to heal themselves through the environment in the place.

It is a Catholic church and the footprints of St Thomas can be found on the hills. A statue of St Thomas is also there on the premises of the church. Malayatoor Perunal which is the church festival is celebrated during the months of March and April. The cultural bond between Chennai and Kerala is prevalent here where the families travelling to the destination also visit Kurisumudy at Tamil Nadu when visiting Malayatoor church. The believers visiting the church are also fond of the architecture of the Church.

Cheramaan Juma Masjid

 Location: Kodungallur

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Cheraman Juma Masjid

Famous as the first mosque built in India, Cheramaan Juma Masjid has a lot of religious significance as the King of Kodungallur, Cheraman Perumal, who was from the Cheras Dynasty who is believed to have travelled to Madina in order to meet the Prophet. but on his way back, he passed away. His travel companions came back to Kodungallur where the mosque was built in his name. As it is the first place where the significance of Islam started n India, a lot of people travel to the destination from various parts of the world. Even though the mosque has been renovated, the hall and internal structure have been preserved in its natural form.

Cheraman Parambu, where the Palace of the Cheras Dynasty is located is also often visited by the people reaching to the mosque. 

Believers also come here from places like Chennai where they visit several other mosques located in Kerala but only men from the families enter as women are denied entrance into the Masjid.

Sabarimala

Location: Pathanamthitta

Cheap Kerala Family Tour Packages
Sabarimala Temple

One of the most visited temples in Kerala, the major deity of Sabarimala is Lord Ayyappa. 50 million pilgrims visit the temple every month where the significance of the temple becomes evident.

The pilgrims have to climb up the hills barefoot to reach the temple. The believers travelling to the temple have to take a Vritham of 41 days.

Certain pilgrims walk all the way from their residence to the temple, barefoot.  The temple opens during the Mandalapooja, the first 5 days of every month in the Malayalam calendar, Maha Vishuva Sankranti and on Makara Vilaku which is when the believers can visit the temple. Women who are aged between 10-50 cannot visit the temple as per the rules and regulations of the temple. People come in lakhs all the way from Chennai to visit this temple which is located in the mountain ranges of Western Ghats.   Makara Vilaku is an auspicious day at Sabari Mala to witness which a lot of pilgrims reach to the temple.

Arthunkal Church

Location: Alleppey

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Arthunkal Church

St. Andrew’s Basilica, which is a Roman Catholic church is located in Arthunkal at Alleppey. It was originally built by Portuguese missionaries and was rebuilt twice. The believers who visit the place of significance often reach the place during Thanksgiving. The people who had been affected by diseases often reach up to the church to seek blessings and to give offerings for the wellness they have been granted by God.

The history revoked that men from Hindu religion had also been helpful in building the Church which shows to the people, the respect the people living in Kerala provide to all the religions.

Thousands of devotees reach up to the church where extended families join together for pilgrim purpose to seek the blessings from the church.

The pilgrims from all the religions visit Kerala where they get to indulge in peace by seeking the blessings from the pilgrim sites. Despite any climate, the travellers coming all the way from Chennai get to the Gods own country where they also get to go to so many other tourist destinations that are located close to the sites. Families also visit during the auspicious festive period where the temples, mosques and Church celebrate various festivities. All the people devoid of religion become a part of it. Pilgrim tours to Kerala have become very prevalent and whenever a tour package from Chennai is planned, the travellers make sure that they visit one place that had temple significance where they seek blessings for their journey.

 

Explore The Land Where Once The Footprints Of A Great Theologist Was Marked

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There was an 8 Th century Indian philosopher, a great thinker and a theologist who gave immense contributions to the present Indian philosophy and Vedas. To get the clear, picture of the personality, the mention of Advaita Vedanta will helpful. Yes, it is the great spiritual knowledge seeker, Adi Shankaracharya who has devoted his entire life teaching the realm of life to the disciples in various parts of India. He travelled to various parts of India in an effort to spread his philosophy and teachings by adopting the methodology of involving in discourses and debates with other philosophers and thinkers. It is the contribution of his works, the present Hindulogy is based upon. India can take pride in giving birth to a personality like Adi Shankaracharya, he who had divine powers too.There was a concept of Brahma Sutra and on his travels, his main aim was to spread the teachings so that humans understand what the life is about and the ways of leading a meaningful life. Sri Sringeri Mutt is famous in India and its branch in Bangalore is considered to be the holy abode of Adi Shankaracharya, and goddess Sharadamba. He during his travel has decided to establish a mutt which is the current Sringeri Mutt. Worshippers coming there used to participate in prayers and used to read the books in the stall. Interested by the preachings of the great philosopher, the natives of Bangalore has the desire to reach Kerala. The reason why Kerala is, the Gods own country is known to be the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya and people consider visiting his birthplace as sacred and pleasing. For this reason, Tour packages to Kerala from Bangalore will be added with a visit to the birthplace of Shankaracharya, which is Kallady. His life and decision to adopt a unique life are quoted in his biography and the mention of Kallady is present. Natives find it interesting to behold the locations where his life was nurtured.

 

His birth

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Sringeri Mutt in Bangalore is perfect for spiritual awareness and the temple has three parts comprising Adi Shankaracharya temple, Sri Sharadamaba temple and a prayer hall. A guest house and book stall is running inside it. Once you explore the temple gopura you will find that the carvings exhibit the life of Shankaracharya. His life unfolds in Kerala where two Brahmin couples were not blessed with children for a long time and sought refuge to Lord Shiva in Vadakkunatha temple in Thrissur. Pleased in their worship, the Lord himself came into the dream of the couples and conveyed them a boy as his incarnation will be born to them. The boy when born was given the name of Shankara who started showing penchant towards spiritual knowledge and could easily recite difficult prayers, Vedas and Puranas. Slowly, he mastered Vedas. His life took a different turn when he decided to adopt Ascetic life which meant detaching from all worldly pleasures. He lost his father in early age itself and his mother was against his decision to adopt a sanyasi life.

 

The story behind the crocodile bite

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The worshippers in Bangalore were embarrassed to read the story of crocodile bite and while on their tour, the spot presently famous as crocodile Ghat was visited. The story unfolds when, one day Shankara was ready to bath at the shores of Poorna river, the current Periyar while offering prayers to sun God, a crocodile bite him on his legs. After hearing the cries, his mother came at the shore who was reluctant in giving permission to Shankara’s ascetic life. He soon pleaded his mother to give permission for leading an ascetic life then only the crocodile will leave him. At last, his helpless mother had no other option than to sanction permission. Soon after that, the crocodile left him. Thus this places has utter significance in the life of Adi Shankara.

His Ascetic life

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After getting the permission, he soon left Kerala and travelled to various parts of India to learn Vedas and at last on the banks of Narmada river, he met his guru, Govinda Bhagavadpadam, who was a great teacher, Under his tutelage, Shankara attained supreme knowledge of Brahma. He mastered Vedas and its meanings. From then, his name came to be known as Adi Shankaracharya. He wrote commentaries on various Puranas, Vedas even Bhagavat Gita. After travelling Gujarat and Kollur Mookambika temple, he reached Sringeri in present Bangalore and established mutt and Sharada Peetam. The mutt conducted teachings on various aspects to pupils and gained a lot of respect from pilgrims. He again travelled and established the branches at Gujarat, Hyderabad and so forth. He is known to the world as who has achieved doctrine in the Advaita vendetta, a sub-school of Vedanta. It is quite significant to understand the Vedas and our children must be impaired the knowledge of life which they cannot get from any schooling. Still, now, various mutt is working and providing teachings on Vedas, Braham sutras to children. It is the responsibility of parents to lead their children through right ways. Realising this, the followers of Adi Shankaracharya and believers of Sringeri Mutt used to visit Kerala with their families. All members of families must witness the Kallady land, which is his birthplace.

His freedom from the embodiment

After his fulfilment and great contributions to Indian philosophy and the present day Hinduism we follow, he gained supreme knowledge. The 6 Hindu religious sects were his contributions for which he debated with many Brahmins, Buddhists and thinkers. Brahma Sutra was something he wished to propagate in India. After 32 years of leading a meaningful, enlightenment and ascetic life, he freed from the embodiment. Still, now, debates are going on regarding his place of departure to heaven. The books say that it was at the holy land of Kedarnath, the famous pilgrimage of Lord Shiva while some say it was at Vadakunnatha temple in Thrissur, Kerala. One may get surprised how he died at tender age. The reason is given in one of the traditional sources of his accounts of his life, Shankara Vijayami which is a hagiography. When the parents of Adi Shankara, Shivaguru and Aryamaba worshipped Lord Shiva for a son, the Lord gave them two choices, a son who is a mediocre child living for long years or an extraordinary son having a short span of life. The couples had chosen the latter one.

 

Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Shankara still nurturing his wisdom

Kalady is presently a renowned pilgrimage centre in Kerala nurtured by the banks of Periyar river in Ernakulam district. The etymology itself narrates a story revolving around the innocent devotion of Adi Shankaracharya’s’ mother to Lord Shiva.  The place was rediscovered by the saint of Sringeri Mutt, and a temple for Adi Shankara was consecrated. Following that various mutt and Ashramam was laid. People from far away places and locations of Sringeri Mutt like those in Bangalore visits Kalady to pay respect to the great philosopher. They come with their families on holidays and advice their kids about the significance of the place and his teachings. Some who come to Kerala as a part of Holiday packages of families in Kerala, would spend one or two days at the location and will devote their mind and body to the ashram environment. Children and youth in that families can lead a positive life if they are ready to understand the teachings.

Some of the structures at Kalady withholding the significance of Adi Shankaracharya are

RAMAKRISHNA ADVAITA ASHRAMAM– This Ashramam runs a school, a library and a charitable dispensary and is a part of Ramakrishna Mutt and Belur Mutt equipped with spacious prayer hall.

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SRI ADI SHANKARA KEERTHI STHAMBA MANDAPAM – This shrine is open to people from different religions and there is a stupa which is a must to see making it a must to be visited historical treasure in Kerala. This eight-storeyed structure portrays the life of Adi Shankaracharya on the walls as paintings. This was built by Kanchi Kamakotti Mutt and the entrance is guarded by two elephants and also, there are silver knobs of wooden sandals.

TEMPLE OF SHANKARA– The temple was built in paying respect to Adi Shankaracharya and it houses the samadhi of his mother, Aryamba. The temple is a large structure and is built on the bank of Periyar which is run by Sringeri Mutt.

India and Kerala equally can take pride in giving birth to a great philosopher and thinker, Adi Shankaracharya and still, people, devotees follow his teachings and they come to Kerala to watch the land where his existence was started.