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5 Beautiful Places You Don’t Want To Miss When Visiting Kerala

5 Beautiful Places You Don’t Want To Miss When Visiting Kerala

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide make the decision to visit Kerala each year, and the number continues to rise. Known as one of the most popular travel destinations by National Geographic, this paradise is without a doubt breathtaking and gives anyone a feeling of renewal and refreshment. Overlooking the Arabian Sea to the west and situated along the biodiverse Western Ghats mountain range in the east, Kerala is a rich and unique gem located in on the Indian coast. Traveling to this exotic and quintessentially advanced society must include visiting the following five hot spots:

1. Munnar

Mountain slopes are abound in this quaint, yet bustling hill station known as Munnar. This prevalent tourist destination is home to an organic farming culture surrounded by mountain slopes and dewy valleys. It boasts over 80,000 miles of lush green tea farmland, as the climate and topography provide the perfect climate for growth.

Visiting Munnar will give you a sense of relaxation as you feast your eyes on the tea gardens, waterfalls, emerald-green pastures, and eye-gazing mountains. The beauty of this town is accentuated with a colonial atmosphere complete with bungalows, streets lined with local shops, winding roads with breathtaking views, tea factories, and its own unique small-town culture.

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Tourist destinations for the adventure enthusiast, such as Eravikuam National Park, offer hiking trails, nature walks, and flora and fauna that will take your breath away. No wonder Munnar is the most popular resort town in southern India!

2. Kochi and Ernakulam

Kochi is the perfect place to begin your touring experience of Kerala, as this district is located at the beginning of many popular places to see. Also known as Cochin, this port destination is connected to the mainland district Ernakulam. For fast-paced tourists who love modern amenities, this is a mecca of individuals of many cultures and is commonly referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Commercialism abounds in Ernakulum, which is sometimes simply called Kochi, or Cochin.

Visiting this metropolis will most definitely be a modern-day experience with the hubs of technology, plenty of shopping, and a wide array of industry. Do to the busy atmosphere, Ernakulam is the place where business thrives and English is a popular language, especially within the business zones. It is a large city with plenty of resort hotels and a vast amount of restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife adventures. To get away from the hustle and bustle, visiting the quiet and scenic temples, churches, and white, sandy beaches in Kochi can give you an amazing amount of variety in this popular metropolitan city.

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3. Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala’s capital city of Thiruvananthapuram is the ideal combination of a peaceful atmosphere and full-on urban life. It is definitely one of the places you must visit when in India. Known as the City of Lord Anantha, this destination is rich in history with honorable temples and an extensive art culture. Many art lovers flock to Thiruvananthapuram to admire the museums, murals, and historical stone carvings.

Thiruvananthapuram is the largest city of Kerala, and even though it is so large, it is remarkable how all of the different types of individuals live amongst each other and work together. There are many different religions and cultures that are intertwined and, in fact, complement one another. A highly sophisticated amount of technology and modern-life are a key component of Thiruvananthapuram, with many businessmen and businesswomen making their mark in the world commerce market.

Being a large city does not keep the individuals seeking solitude at bay, as it also has many places to enjoy in terms of tourism, such as sightseeing heavenly museums like Kuthiramalika Palace and Napier Museums and temples, namely Thenmala Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Thiruvananthapuram also offers­­­­ cozy cottages and resort hotels with a plethora of lush amenities, as well as beachfront life on the coast.

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4. Allepuzha

Allepuzha, also known as Alleppey, is perfect for the backwater adventurist. Many tourists enjoy sightseeing serene landscape, waterfront attractions, and plenty of water life upon houseboats along the lagoons and canals. This Venice of the East is known for its gorgeous and peaceful chapels, mouthwatering cuisine, palaces and temples, such as the Arthunkal Church, Chettikulangara Bhagawathy Temple, and Krishnapuram Palace.

Vacationers enjoy this serene environment that envelops them as they find plenty of opportunities for meditation, rest, and simply getting away from their normal lifestyles. Touring the countryside on the old-world style houseboats is what many of the tourists long to do and do not hesitate to come back for, as the memories made in Allepey are one of a kind.

Allepey is well-known for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race on the famous Punnamada Lake, which occurs each year in August and is a highly sought-out boat race in the country of India. In December, for ten days, the Mullackal Chiraq, in celebration of the Mullackal Temple, draws visitors from afar to celebrate this season of festivity.

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5. Thekkady

Thekkady is one of the most amazing destinations in Kerala for water lovers. In addition to the boat rides on the enormous Thekkady Lake, this wildlife sanctuary will give you sights of animals like you have never seen before. The wildlife refuge boasts sambars, elephants, gaurs, lion-tailed macaques, and, of course, the Great Indian Tiger! This region welcomes a large amount of animal-loving tourists every year and the tourism department of Thekkady is top-notch in providing the best experiences for everyone.

With authentic cuisine, plenty of time for relaxing, and adventures for the outdoor enthusiasts, this popular spot is second to none. The forestry adorned with life is simply stunning and the cool climate makes it a comfortable place to be. Jeep safaris are quite popular, as nature is up-close and jaw-dropping with the animals of the wild nearby, as well as Jungle Patrols and hiking. Many people enjoy experiencing the lavish spice plantations, as they allow visitors to experience an aroma they will never forget. From waterfalls to elephant rides, travelers without hesitation make a repeat visit to this paradise.

When planning your next India getaway, considering the state of Kerala for your time away from your busy life. There are many places in this southern India state that will make every moment of your stay absolutely worth it. It will be a decision you won’t regret.

Featured photo credit: Silver Blue via flickr.com

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Beth Hedrick

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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