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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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      Liem Nguyen

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      Last Updated on August 20, 2019

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

      The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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      This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • They rile up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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      For example:

      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tension

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      For the Sleep Depriver

      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
      • Shut down your thinking.
      • Calm your feelings.
      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

      The Bottom Line

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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