Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. National Geographic’s Traveller magazine names Kerala as one of the “ten paradises of the world”. Aptly named, the state can be visited at any time of the year. It is believed that December to February are the best months to visit. But the state blooms in monsoon too. It has two rainy seasons, the first starts in June and the second in mid October and finally ends around mid November. The Southwest Monsoon that arrives in the month of June is called Edavappathy, as it comes in the middle of the month of Edavam on the Malayalam Calendar. Mid October witnesses the arrival of the Northeast Monsoon. In the Malayalam calendar this month is called Thulam and hence the name Thulavarsham meaning the ‘The Rains in Thulam’.
The monsoons in Kerala are different from the other parts of the country in not taking the form of incessant rain over days and weeks. The typical pattern is that it rains for a few hours followed by golden interludes of soft sunshine through the wet palm fronds. The temperatures ranges from a maximum of 29 to 23 degrees centigrade.
According to Kerala Ayurveda, Monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation therapies. Kerala’s ancient traditional medicine can help treat anything from arthritis to insomnia through herbal medicines, massage and relaxing oil-based treatments. During the Monsoon season, the atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy. Also, herbs and medicinal plants are particularly profuse during monsoon.
On another note, Kerala is always green, but during the monsoon its greenery positively explodes, its mountains and watersides are lush with spices, grain and fruit: bananas (red, green and yellow varieties), pineapple, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, basil, turmeric, fringed fields of rice and spiky expanses of ginger. Waterfalls are heavy, the backwater levels rise, and the sea crashes, swallowing up the beach. Adding to it, you can just lie in bed all day and hear the rain pound a straw roof, when in the state during the splendid season.
It’s easy on your pockets too. When travelling in September, and even October, you find huge discounts on peak prices (high season runs from November to March), usually of at least a third, if not 50%, on rooms. And deals are even to be found on Kerala’s famous backwater houseboats. There are not many tourists about, and stately vessels galore; turn up and bargain, resulting in an unexpected advantage of travelling to the state at this time.
You get to explore the culture of the couth state along with the unmeasured beauty. Onam takes place around August to September. It celebrates the ancient homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali – who reigned over a golden age in Kerala – and lasts for 10 days. It’s a harvest festival where people lay intricate flower carpets, buy new clothes and dress up, and celebrate with snake boat races, costumed parades, and an elaborate nine-course banquet – visitors are usually welcomed to join in the party, or at least the feast.
If the thought strikes you, and you have the resources; pack your bags and get set go!