We had modified the itinerary on the go, because of hectic rides. The final itinerary that we followed is this:
Day 1 – Ernakulam – Alapuzha
Day 2 -Alapuzha – Kollam
Day 3 – Kollam – Kanyakumari
Day 4 – Kanyakumari
Day 5 – Kanyakumari – Trivendrum – Veli – Shangumugham beach
Day 6 – Pazhavangadi Ganapathy – Padmabhaswamy temple – Trivendrum – Kumarakom
Day 7 – Kumarakom – Vagamon – Periyar
Day 8 – Periyar Sight seeing
Day 9 – Thekkady – Kodaikanal
Day 10 – Kodaikanal Sight seeing
Day 11 – Kodaikanal – Munnar
Day 12 – Munnar Sight seeing
Day 13 – Munnar – Kalady – Angamaly
Day 14 – Angamaly – Ernakulam
Day 15 – Ernakulam sight seeing
Day 16 – Catch morning train to Pune
As the Athirapally waterfalls were most probably dried out, the above itinerary suited us best. It even allowed us to add two off beat locations that are not usually on any travel companies itineraries; the beautiful Kollam and the elephant training center in Kodanad.
We toured the states Kerala and bits of Tamilnadu without any worry. Not knowing the language was a hindrance, but not so much as to take the fun away. A small state in this huge country, Kerala is making great progress. It has its share of industry, but it hasn’t lost its touch of nature. As mentioned before, the use of river as travelling option is something that should be learnt by other states, especially Maharashtra. A land of hard workers, with highest literacy rate in India, Kerala is not the perfect tourist state in India, but is taking great steps towards becoming one.
There are few negatives too. Anything with the word ‘tourist’ comes with a price tag of twice of more than what it is actually worth. Language barrier can be looked at as funny, but is a real pain in tight situations. The boards on roads written in local language do not aid to the image of tourist state. Some spots like Aleppy are already too much exploited and are fast losing their image of natural beauty, because of increasing numbers of boats in the small canals and the large infestation of water hyacinths. The rickshaw wallas needed to be humanized a lot, both for driving as well as for attitude.
But the positives overwhelm the negatives. The people are nice, and there is a tendency to attend the visitor well. The land itself, so fertile and beautiful, is very welcoming. We did not feel unsafe anywhere. When we visit Kerala again, may be after 5-10 years, it would have surely developed a lot. We only hope that the development doesn’t occur on the cost of nature, the way it had happened in Mumbai and is happening in Pune. In future, such spots will become rarer, and I really hope Kerala will still be there at the top of the list of ‘must visit places’.