A cruise in the houseboats on the backwaters, the beauty of sunset over the Arabian Sea, boating in the Therapy lake and trekking the highlands of Kerala during winter are unforgettable experiences. And for those, who really want to enjoy dramatic, cloudy skies, and feel the energizing smell of wet earth, the monsoons are for you.
Towards the end of February temperatures start climbing and this heralds the beginning of summer in Kerala. Summer is a good time to explore the small towns and coastal villages, but don't stay out in the afternoon sun too long.
Lying on the windward side of the Western Ghats and being the first state to be hit by the monsoon winds, Kerala receives copious torrential rainfall. Heavy afternoon rains accompanied by thunder and lightning are the main characteristics of these two months.
The skies are open and sunny, the breeze is nice and cool and the air absolutely fresh after having been cleaned out by the long monsoon season preceding it. However, the best time to visit Kerala is the slightly cooler, dry season that runs from December through February.
It's really important to take the weather into account though, as the climate is a tropical one that receives rainfall from two monsoons. Rain from the southwest monsoon sometimes causes flooding, of varying degrees, from June to August.
Due to Kerala's location near the equator, there's very little variation in the length of days throughout the year. This traditional natural healing system is the medical side of yoga and has been practiced for thousands of years in India.
It's particularly widespread in Kerala, due to the climate and abundant supply of medicinal plants there. The cool, moist, and dust-free atmosphere during the monsoon helps the body's pores to open up, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.
Most hotels and homestays provide substantial discounts of 20-50%, with very attractive offers to draw tourists at this time of year. Kerala Tourism has special packages listed on its website too, for the accommodations it manages.
The districts of Kasaragod and Kanpur, in northern Kerala, are known for their mysterious costumed spirit-possession they yam rituals. The festivals feature large processions of bejeweled elephants, drummers and other musicians, colorful floats carrying gods and goddesses, and fireworks.
It is peak tourist season through, so you can expect to pay a premium for most accommodations up until mid January. It's an ideal time of year to visit Kerala, as there are fewer tourists compared to January but the weather is still comfortable.
The Kerala Unsaved Folklore Festival showcases more than 200 folk art forms. Manhattan Amalgam has a colorful procession of huge horse effigies that are offered to the temple deity.
Men wearing masks engage in mock fights at night during Hitter Konganpada, at Chitturkavu Bhagavan temple in Alaska district. Seven large golden elephant statues are carried in procession during Sahara Montana, at Ettumanoor Pasadena temple in Ottawa district.
Trivandrum goes up in smoke during Actual Pangaea, when the world's largest gathering of women for a religious activity cooks up a special offering for the goddess Attukalama. Partially Gaugamela in Dollar district is one of the state's most impressive temple festivals, with up to 50 elephants present.
Uthralikkavu Poo ram at Free Ruthie Mahakalikavu temple in Tissue District, also has a procession of elephants. Thousands of sword-wielding oracles in a trance swarm Kodungalloor Bhagavan temple in Tissue district.
Local villagers make 70-80 foot tall structures that are carried in procession, lead by percussion instruments, at Malinda Kettukazcha. The 10-day Painting Festival is celebrated by the royal family of Travencore at Free Padmanabha Swamp Temple in Trivandrum.
It features lofty fiberglass statues of the Pandas brothers (from the Hindu epic The Mahabharata) placed outside the temple to please the Rain God, Indra. Thirunakkara Pratt is another of Kerala's famous temple festivals with elephants and folk dances.
Denmark Village Vela at Nellikulangara Bhagavan temple in Alaska district offers some captivating performances of indigenous art forms and procession of elephants. Kerala's biggest temple and elephant festival, the Tissue Poo ram, usually takes place in late April (or May).
May is an avoidable time to visit Kerala due to the brutal energy-sapping humidity and summer school holidays in India. Indians are used to the weather conditions and the state attracts plenty of vacationing families.
The southwest monsoon arrives with a bang in Kerala in late May, providing much needed respite from the heat. Kannada Vela brings the summer temple festival season to a close in Kerala's Palakkad-Thrissur region.
It's a good time to visit Kerala, as the backwaters are clean and the landscape is invigorated. 28th Nam Gala Kept Festival is a unique harvest thanksgiving festival that involves gigantic idols of bulls, made out of straw and cloth by locals, being pulled on wheels to Parabrahma temple in China.
The northeast monsoon brings another lot of rain in October, with less frequent but more copious downpours. However, due to Diwali school holidays there's an influx of tourists from other parts of the country.
Massive chariots take to the streets around Free Viswanatha Swamp temple at the Karachi Ratholsavam festival in Alaska district. December is predominantly dry and sunny, with a slight drop in temperature and decreasing humidity as the climate transitions into winter.
Peak tourist season starts in mid December and prices jump accordingly. The 10-day Perumthitta Theravada Kottamkuzhy is the first major they yam festival of the season, with a wide variety of performances.
Anaphor Naval Bhoothasthanam, at the end of December, is another important they yam festival with about 400 different performances. Fish tops the list of offerings to the folk deity during the unusual Kulhari Thiruvappana festival at Free Uthappam temple in Parassinikadavu, Kanpur district.
Christmas is celebrated with enthusiasm across Kerala, as the state has a large Christian population. It takes place every second year in and around Koch, commencing in December and concluding in March.
September to February is the best time to visit Kerala when the weather is relatively cooler. While summers (March to May) make the state too hot and the monsoons (June – August) can receiver downpour that can heavier than imagined and is not entirely advisable to all tourists.
But for some, it can be a beautiful amalgamation of festivals, scenic views and the much talked about Ayurvedic treatments. The Koch Morris Biennale, a significant art exhibition of India, is set around different areas of Koch including galleries, heritage buildings, public parks, halls, and other spaces.
A mix of Indian as well as international artists, all with very different experiences in art, come together to present their artworks in the form of films, paintings, photographs sculptures, sketches, fashion exhibits, music, dance, drama and many more. Running for three months, every alternate year, Koch Biennale is now its fourth edition.
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