Kerala in monsoon is an experience that I often recommend to my friends and family. This year I again found myself in the state during the monsoon when it was at its greenest and loveliest. After having explored parts of Kerala back in 2007, I went to Kochi and Calicut in 2014. I then grew keen to explore the lesser known gems that lay buried in North-Kasaragod, Wayanad and Kannur.
Experience Theyyam in a small gathering
Theyyam is traditionally performed in temples and if you want to catch the performance up close and personal, visit Charappuram Sree Muthappan Kshethram. The temple organises Theyyam every Tuesday and Friday all through the year. Call them at 0497-2729997 to confirm the day and time you want to be there. If you are upbeat about catching the famous midnight performance, then you can consider visiting the Muthappan Temple in Parassnikkadavu.
Visit a bidi making facility
It’s not often that one gets a chance to see a small co-operative manufacturing setup. So, when my host suggested the idea of visiting a local bidi factory, I jumped at the chance. Watching the frenetic pace and rhythm of women cutting and rolling bidis was an interesting experience. The women working here are quite friendly and do not be surprised if they offer you a few bidis to smoke
Try local delicacies and sea food
I had little doubt that Kerala was a treasure chest of unique delicacies and what I tasted in Kannur reaffirmed my belief. There was Pazhampuzha (ripe banana stir-fried in ghee and honey), the sweet jackfruit fry, Karayappam (the sweet ball-like Kannur appams) and best of all, tangy-sweet pickled pineapples and amla sold by street vendors.
Explore backwaters on a passenger boat
So here is a golden tip. If you want to navigate through the backwaters of Kannur, just hop onto a passenger boat (no, they are not at all crowded). The boat can be caught from the boat point under Valapattanam Bridge and depending on the time slot, you could choose to go in either direction. In just about `20, I got a glimpse into the daily lives of locals as the boat took me around the backwaters through small hamlets, islands and lakes.
Explore the past at the Arakkal museum
Arakkal Museum is dedicated to the royal family of Arakkals. The museum is very well-maintained and owned by the Arakkal Family Trust. The display includes furniture, vessels, weapons, artifacts and a glimpse into the history of a family that followed a matriarchal system. The unique architectural design of the museum with a generous use of wood, is also a delight.
Richa blogs at http://www.travelsandstories.com