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Six Exciting Attractions and Activities to Enjoy in Kerala

Six Exciting Attractions and Activities to Enjoy in Kerala

Kerala is a very picturesque town in South India with much to see, do, and experience. Whether you’re interested in beautiful scenic views, wildlife and nature, walking and trekking, photography, experiencing true Indian culture and tradition, food and drink, water-parks, or architecture, there’s something for everyone of all ages. Here are six places we recommend you visit when on holiday in Kerala:

1. Bekal Fort

Located in Kasaragod, Bekal Fort is the largest fort in Kerala. Built in 1650, it has beautiful architecture and is a setting which has been used in a number of films. It’s been suggested that it’s shaped like a large keyhole. It is stunning to see the sun setting over the Arabian sea. You can look out from its observation towers where when it was used by military it would have had cannons placed. Near the beach, it has wonderful views of the sea and a coastline with coconut trees and other plants. You can see fishermen at the beach with their freshly-caught fish and seafood. It’s a perfect place to take lots of memorable photos and is ideal for families. It’s very relaxing to visit because it’s so spacious that it never seems over-crowded with tourists. The fort is surrounded by gardens that contain two sculptures of Theyyam. It’s recommended that you have at least one hour to walk around the fort.

Nearby you can find stalls selling ice cream and drinks. The ice cream in particular has been praised by a number of visitors.

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2. Kodanad Elephant Sanctuary

Approximately 42 kilometres away from Kochi is a lovely sanctuary for elephants. The Kodanad Elephant Sanctuary is situated in the village of Ernakulam by the side of the Periyar River. While there you can see how the elephants are bathed and massaged with small flat stones or coconut husks under the supervision of experienced Mahouts. It’s possible to go on an elephant safari. There’s a chance to see kraal’s which house up to four elephants. You can see the elephants feeding which is how they spend 80% of their day. You will get to see baby elephants too, as the rescue centre usually has between four to six baby elephants per year. Elephants are a key part of Indian culture, tradition, and mythology; almost all Indian celebrations and festivals are rich in elephant imagery. A mini zoo is based there with rescued rare species including elephants. These rescued elephants are trained, and many eventually go on to work loading timber, moving wood, or as religious temple elephants for Hindu events and festivals.

Here there is also access to boats which allow people to get to Malayattoor Church where many go for a pilgrimage.

3. Wonderla Amusement Park

Wonderla Amusement Park is located in Kochi (also known as Cochin) at the top of a hill in Pallikkara. It’s a very affordable, clean, and safe amusement park- ideal for the family as well as thrill-seekers. The park contains lots of rides, with new rides being added yearly. Wonderla Amusement Park has a wide variety of amazing water-slides, wave pools, a log-flume, rapids, and rides including the Twin Flip Monster and Vintage Tornado. Two of the newest rides are Equinox 360 that has twists and turns and has a 360-degree view of the park, and Flash Tower which is 37 metres high and drops rapidly in a thrilling descent. Some rides give a 3D experience in an air-conditioned cinema setting. Another ride is Rockin’ Tug boat which rocks and whirls the entire family. Balarama Cave is sure to get you shrieking delightedly as it’s full of witches, wizards, and evil spirits. Two different types of dodgems exist at the park: a traditional one for crashes and another for gliding to wonderful music. A big wheel offers an eagle-eye view of the park. A fountain and laser show will entertain the family with lights and water perfectly timed to music. Visitor reviews frequently comment on the friendliness and hospitality of the staff. The park has been well-designed to include lots of trees that provide shade from the heat. The food at the park is highly recommended.

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4. Snake Boat Races

Snake Boat Races in Kerala

    These boat races take place in Alappuzha. The boats are a long, traditional war-canoe design, usually black or brown, decorated with vibrantly colourful red, orange, and blue ties on the tail and coloured parasols. Each boat can fit up to 100 people. They are long and thin which makes the boat resemble a snake which is how they got their name. The boats are also called “Chundan Vallam“. The races occur between June and September, with four main snake boat races. The Champakkulam Moolam (June/July) represents when the Hindu god, Krishna, was installed in the Sree Krishna Temple and the idol stopped at Champakkulam on the way. Thousands of boats assembled outside. The Nehru Trophy is held on the second Saturday of August in honour of the late Prime Minister Nehru. The Payippad Jalotsavam is in September and the Aranmula Boat Race in August/September is a two-day religious event representing snakes that were taken to the Aranmula Parthasarthy Temple. If you choose to do so, it’s possible to hire a boat so that you can get closer to the action of the race.

    5. Abraham’s Spice Garden

    Abraham’s Spice Garden is located in Thekkady. It’s a wonderful place to get up close and personal with some of the spices used in cookery. Some of the spices included are fragrant and powerful, really adding to the flavour of meals. You can see and taste spices such as vanilla pods, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom. Other things to experience include coffee, black honey made from small bees, and jumbo-sized lemons grown there. The spices are organically grown. It’s possible to speak with agriculturalists as you walk about the spice gardens so that they can tell you more about how they grow and cultivate the spices, which spices are used in Ayurvedic medicine, and the health benefits of each spice. The agriculturalists, including Mr. Abraham himself are exceptionally knowledgeable and informative about each plant. For good reason The Spice Garden is featured in Monty Don’s book about gardens of the world to visit.

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    6. Echo Point

    Echo Point in Munnar

      Echo Point is on the way to Top Station, approximately 13 km away from the town of Munnar. It’s by the bank of a beautiful river, on a high point with scenic views of mountains and tea plantations. When you shout out a word there, it will indeed come echoing back to you across the water. If you time your visit right, you may see the rare Neelakurinji plants (Strobilanthus) which have a beautiful blue flower that only blooms every twelve years. (The next time they’re due to flower is in 2018.)

      Echo Point is an ideal location for families or the young at heart. It is a beautiful location to view some of the local wildlife or to go for a nature trek. It can also be nice to have a picnic there. The mountainous slopes surrounding Echo Point are green, filled with tea plantations, trees, and spice gardens. Photographers will be in their element, with beautiful natural views and fauna and flora to photograph. Because of its unique acoustics, it can be a wonderful place for keen birders to hear the crystal-clear chirps and calls of birds. Often the mountain tops are covered in mist, with a magically mysterious look. It’s very calm and relaxing to see. The river makes for an excellent place for water sports, with boats and pedalos. Make sure you know the visiting hours of Echo Point before going.

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      Visiting any one of these places would make your holiday to Kerala more memorable with sights, sounds, smells, and experiences to tantalize your senses and make lasting memories. Kerala offers so much to do that these are just a small sample of its wonders. Other things to do include visiting beautiful lakes and backwaters where you can travel on a houseboat, or a Shikara ride (a double-decker boat); you could even choose to stay in a tree house!

      Kerala has hundreds of tea plantations to visit, as well as some coffee plantations such as the resort in Wayanad. If you want to soak up some history you can visit forts. If you enjoy walking, you can find forests. If you want to experience Kerala culture there is a wide variety of performances to view. If you love wildlife there is plenty from tigers and elephants, to birds, butterflies, and insects. If you want to relax you have the choice of numerous beaches on which to sunbathe as well as waterfalls under which to bathe and the Arabian Sea for swimming. Kerala has something for everyone!

      Photo credit: Snake Boat Race at Alleppy, Kerala, India | Credit: Amitra Kar, Echo Point in Munnar | Source: munnar.holiday

      Featured photo credit: Amitra Kar via flickr.com

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      Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

      Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

      There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

      “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

      Primal Therapy

      Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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      How it Started

      “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

      It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

      “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

      Delving deeper

      Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

      Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

      Some Methods To Practice Screaming

      If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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      • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
      • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
      • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
      • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

      After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

      Scream Sing

      Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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      • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
      • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
      • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
      • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
      • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
      • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
      • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

      If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

      Scream into a pillow

      Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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      Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

      Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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