The thought of traveling to India can be daunting. I won’t deny that when I finally decided to visit, four years ago now, I woke up in a sweat many times, asking myself whether this really was the right thing to do. Once I got off the plane and made it to the arrivals terminal, the smiles of the people around me and the way they carried themselves – humble, yet proud – made me understand I had done the right thing.
Yes: India is beautiful country, and Kerala is its jewel.
Its peaceful atmosphere; its deep cultural heritage and religious diversity; its tea plantations, backwaters and lush nature and wildlife; and the beautiful beaches make it a fantastic destination. Yet, it’s the people of Kerala that make this a truly special place, and the number one reason why you should visit.
That’s why I have decided to partner with Kerala Tourism Board to promote its “Human by Nature” campaign and do proper justice to its amazing people.
Continue reading to discover what makes the people in Kerala truly special, and “human by nature.”
Human By Nature: Why People Are Kerala’s Main Draw
People in Kerala are diverse
When it comes to its people, Kerala is one of the most diverse states in India.
Traditional economic activities such as tea picking, fishing, and even sailing the famous houseboats in the backwaters are all common here, but just as well you will experience a different, more modern lifestyle when you visit cities like Kochi.
The same applies to religion. Most people in Kerala are Hindus, but there is also a large percentage of Muslims and Christians. The best part of it is that they all live peacefully next to each other – sharing the same values, living by the “human by nature” motto every day.
If you visit Kerala at different times of years, you will really be able to notice its diversity in the festival offerings and cultural events too.
They are genuinely welcoming
Take a village walk anywhere in Kerala and you will realize that people really are welcoming – in a way that is genuine and not just meant for tourist purposes. You will never feel like a target just because you are a tourist. People have an interest in making you acquainted with their way of life – showing you where they live; sharing their secret recipes with you; offering you a taste of coconut toddy (a fermented coconut sup).
Obviously, village walks are usually organized tours and you need to have a guide – if anything, to act as a mediator. But in Kerala you will never leave with the sour feeling that a show has been put up for you.
While people are generally kind in India, as a traveler you inevitably end up feeling the target of business owners. Walk into a shop in Varanasi, and the sales assistants will be all over you to serve you and make sure you only walk out after having purchased something. Wonder around the streets of any city in Rajasthan, and you’ll get tired of hearing tuk tuk drivers calling for your attention.
That’s not the case in Kerala. People there are genuinely kind, willing to help and give you a hand – and they do so without any hidden aim.
But there’s more.
Kindness to travelers is usually a given in most countries. Most people feel the urge to show visitors only the best of their homeland, and usually go out of their way to help them have the best experience. If you want to know whether people really are kind, observe how locals behave towards each other!
Do this in Kerala, and all you will see is kindness – people smile, people help each other. And they do so all the time. Because they are “Human by Nature.”
Women are empowered
As a former human rights lawyer, one of the things that impresses me the most about Kerala is how local women are empowered compared to many other places in India.
Kerala is known to have one of the highest literacy rate in the country and its women are strong, opinionated, and deeply involved in local politics. Contrary to other places, the one in Kerala is a matrilineal society – by which ancestral descent is traced through maternal rather than paternal lines. The local word for it is Marumakkathayam. This really means a lot!
The Kerala Way of Life
“Human by Nature” also refers to Kerala way of life.
Life in Kerala is simpler and slower compared to the one we are accustomed to. People are connected to nature, and nature is part of their daily life. The intense, humid heat forces people to slow down. The presence of so much water – the famous Kerala backwaters – means that moving from one place to another takes longer than it would in other places. Make sure to embrace it when you visit!
Final Thoughts On Visiting Kerala
I truly hope I have convinced you to visit Kerala. If you do so, I recommend joining a village walk to observe the local way of life; and do so a homestay for a privileged peak into local life. You have can go from basic to fancy – and you will know that the money spent on your room will truly go to support a local family.
Finally, make sure to go on a backwaters cruise! Exploring this network of canals and lagoons close to the Arabian Sea is one of the ultimate things to do in Kerala. Houseboats are generally quite comfortable and all have a deck where you can relax while taking in the beautiful views.
Further readings about India
Make sure to check out my other posts about India:
- 28 Incredibly Beautiful Temples In India
- The 7 Best Cities In India
- 5 Reasons To Visit Madhya Pradesh
- 15 Beautiful Places To Visit In Jaisalmer
- A Step By Step Guide To Getting The Indian Visa On Arrival
- 14 Things To Know Before Visiting India
Legal Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with Kerala Tourism Board for the #humanbynature campaign. The views expressed in this post remain mine without any bias.