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Kerala FAQ

 
1. How to book a tour to Kerala ?
2. If I do not want the tour as mentioned in the website how do I make my own tour ?
3. I am visiting Kerala for the first time how should I prepare myself ?
4. How advance should be my travel booking ?
5. How to experience Kerala at it's best ?
6. Can I buy an Air Ticket through you also ?
7. How will I be picked up from the Airport or Railway Station in Kerala ?
8. Can I book the hotels only with you and not the complete tour ?
9. What to you recommend about hotel reservations. What else should I keep in mind while staying at the hotels in Kerala ?
10. If I only want to take the vehicle during my tour and not the complete tour, then what do you suggest ?
11. Which Vaccination is required before visiting Kerala in India ?
12. How do I get medication in Kerala in case of necessity ?
13. How can I come in contact with local people during our travel in Kerala ?
14. What is the best time to visit Kerala ?
15. Are the Visa and passports required before visiting Kerala ?
16. Which currency is used in Kerala ?
17. Can I pay in Euro, US Dollars or through credit cards in Kerala ?
18. What are the timings of the post office and other administrative offices in Kerala ?
19. Is there any thing important while visiting temples and mosques in Kerala ?
20. What should I wear while on my tour to Kerala ?
21. What is Saree and how to wear it ?
22. I want to visit the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala. Give me some information about them ?
23. Are there any restrictions for the Photography in Kerala ? Is there anything I need to consider while doing photography in Kerala ?
24. How safe is traveling in Kerala ?
25. How is shopping in Kerala ? Can you provide me some tips for safe and smart shopping in Kerala ?
26. What shopping I can do in Kerala ?
27. How much should I give as tipping while traveling in Kerala ?
28. Are there any restrictions on the export of articles from Kerala ?
29. I want to know more about Kerala Tours Why should I book the tour through Kerala Tours ?
30. What is the guarantee that I would be provided the services which I asked for during my tour ? Or how safe is my tour with Kerala Tours ?
31. Where is the office of Kerala Tours located ?
32. Does your company provide any sort of insurance ?
33. How do we settle the payment? Is there an advance deposit required ?
34. How can I make the payment ?
35. What type of information is required in order to confirm the booking ?
36. I want to learn the native language of Kerala. What do you advice ?
37. Do people understand English and other foreign languages in Kerala ?
38. I want to visit the tea and spice plantations in Kerala ? What do you advice ?
39. From where I could get information about the distances between the two cities ?
40. Can I drive in Kerala ?
41. What are the different greetings used in Kerala ?
42. What are the general do’s and don’ts for greeting in Kerala ?
43. How do Indians welcome their guests ?
44. How can I identify people from various religions ?
45. What about the public facilities in Kerala ?
46. What caution should one tourist take – when it comes to legal matter and safety ?
47. What precautions should I take regarding my health while in India?
48. What is the general meal plan in Kerala ? What kind of food is served in the restaurants in Kerala ?
49. What are the special dishes one should try on the trip to Kerala ?
50. What is advisable to eat and drink in Kerala ?
51. What is the special drink of Kerala ?
52. Give me general information about local transport available in Kerala ?
53. Can you tell me something about train journey in Kerala ? As a foreign traveler what should I do to make my rail journey in Kerala safe and comfortable ?
54. I want to spent my honeymoon in Kerala ? What are the various options ?
55. What is the major source of entertainment of people in Kerala ?
56. I want to learn the dances of Kerala. What are the different dances of Kerala ?
57. I want to take up an Ayurveda treatment in Kerala. What are the various Ayurveda treatments ?
58. I am an enthusiastic adventurous tourist ? What are the various options for me in Kerala ?
 

1. How to book a tour to Kerala ?
Firstly we suggest you to visit
"Kerala Tours" Page on the website, which include various tours of Kerala. Then select one of the tour. If you intend to make any changes like having a day more or less then in that case you need to inform us so that we make your itinerary accordingly. You can use our online tour booking form or send us an e mail at: [email protected]

 

2. If I do not want the tour as mentioned in the website how do I make my own tour ?
If you don’t want those tours which are mentioned on the website then in such a case you need to fill up the “Enquiry Form” mentioned on our website. In this form you have to specify the places you want to visit, date of arrival and departure, number of people who are traveling, the hotel category and any other special choice. After having these details from your end we will plan a tour for you and contact you very next day with all the details.

 

3. I am visiting Kerala for the first time how should I prepare myself ?
For the general information please visit the page “Kerala Information”. You may also put up your questions to us regarding any matter if you do not find the answers on our website. Apart from that we suggest you to do some background reading before visiting Kerala, so that your visit becomes a great experience. During your tour we will also provide you a tourist Guide at the different cities in the language of your choice who will let you know anything you want to know about Kerala.

 

4. How advance should be my travel booking ?
Your travel bookings should be made 8 months well in advance, especially if you are traveling between December to June and October to March (high tourist season). As Travel infrastructure in Kerala has its limitation in comparison to the high season demand therefore we highly recommend to book your tour in advance
.

 

5. How to experience Kerala at it's best ?
While planning your trip we suggest you to consider the festivals which would be taking place in Kerala during your trip. Upon receiving the information from you we will combine your trip with the Festivals in Kerala which will make your trip a great experience. For any further information on Festivals please visit our Kerala Festivals page. On this page you will find the dates of the festivals taking place in Kerala. Our guides will also tell you about the cultural activities that would be taking place during
the festivals.

6. Can I buy an Air Ticket through you also ?
Yes, you can buy an Air Ticket through us but to be fair we advice you to book your air ticket in your country as air tickets are normally expensive if booked in Kerala in India to be sent to your country. However even if Air tickets are cheaper here and you happen to change you schedule in that case it is better to have to tickets issued at the port of departure. After having booked your Air tickets you can inform us the arrival time and the flight Number to enable us to pick you up from the airport to start with the tour.

 

7. How will I be picked up from the Airport or Railway Station in Kerala ?
You will be picked up from the airport or railway station in Kerala wherever you arrive by Kerala Tours representative. Our representative will be holding a name board with your name written on it at the arrival hall of the airport or railway station. If you are coming as a group then the name of the group will be mentioned on the name board. On that name board the arrival date, time, place and flight or train number will also be mentioned. You are requested not to leave the airport or railway station until you meet our representative. If by chance you were not able to find each other then you would also be provided the mobile and telephone number of the representative so that you can find each other at the particular location at the airport.


8. Can I book the hotels only with you and not the complete tour ?

Yes, Kerala Tours is having special rates with many hotels all over the Kerala. We are sure that we will be able to offer you the hotels for your budget in the destination wanted by you. As far as the hotels are concerned we have hotels of every category in Kerala. Do inform us what kind of hotels you are looking for. We also make arrangements for big conferences and incentive spa and Ayurveda Packages. Some of the hotels in Kerala also organize theme evenings where centuries old art forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam are performed as well as explained. For more information on the hotels you can visit our website. This site provides information about various categories of hotels available in Kerala. All the hotels that we use in the tour itinerary are mentioned there. If you want to book a particular hotel then a booking form is supplied with the hotel details. You can fill up that particular booking form and send to us or email us at [email protected]

9. What to you recommend about hotel reservations. What else should I keep in mind while staying at the hotels in Kerala ?
It is advisable to reserve well in advance for the hotels in Kerala. All the hotels have air-conditioning and private baths and offer all the modern amenities like phone, computer, and fax machines. Pay your hotel bill either in cash (rupees) or with a credit card. If you are paying in cash, have with you the receipt of your foreign money into rupees. The hotel clerk may ask to see this to make sure that you haven’t changed money on the black market. Kerala Tours is specialized in hotel bookings which are very good value for your money. Contact us with dates, destinations and wished categories and our Team would be glad to help you.


10. If I only want to take the vehicle during my tour and not the complete tour, then what do you suggest ?

If you want to make arrangements only for the transport then we provide any type of vehicle you require for your tour. With the vehicle you would be provided one experienced and reliable English speaking driver. The car would be at your disposal throughout the tour. The cost of the vehicle includes all the expenses, fuel, driver’s fees, toll taxes and parking.

11. Which Vaccination is required before visiting Kerala in India ?

Before visiting Kerala in India, the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required if a tourist is coming from the Yellow Fever endemic countries. This certificate conforms to the International Health Regulation. The citizens and travelers coming from the United States, Canada or United Kingdom, do not require any vaccination certificate or inoculations. It is highly recommended to get a precautionary measure vaccination against Hepatitis B, if you plan to stay longer in Kerala. To avoid Malaria and Dengue, carry mosquito repellents, nets or take a course of anti Malaria tablets.

12. How do I get medication in Kerala in case of necessity ?
It is advised that you bring your own medicines. Most of the medications in Kerala are available but you may not find it under the same brand name as in your own country. If necessarily of consulting a doctor be assure that we will assist you in this matter. Private hospitals with high standard and qualified doctors are available in Kerala in India.

13. How can I come in contact with local people during our travel in Kerala ?

Indians are hospitable and friendly people, Do not consider staring at you as unfriendly. Most of the Indians have not been abroad and therefore foreign tourists are for them a subject of curiosity. Most of the people to whom you will talk will be friendly. Always speak to the people you feel like taking too. Avoid people who are too eager to help you or want you to buy something from them. If you want to enrich your visit to Kerala by visiting the South Indian Family or want to stay with the family, ask the team of Kerala Tours. We will be happy to make these arrangements for you.


14. What is the best time to visit Kerala ?

The best time to visit Kerala is from December to May. During monsoons, the Ayurveda rejuvenation programme can be taken up from June to November.

15. Are the Visa and passports required before visiting Kerala ?

All foreign nationals, including children, require a visa and passport before visiting Kerala. For visiting Kerala, please consult the concerned embassies in your area. For clarifications, please contact the Indian High Commission.

16. Which currency is used in Kerala ?
The units of Indian currency are the Rupee and Paisa (100 Paisa equal 1 Rupee). Paper money is in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupees 1, 2 and 5. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers’ checks that can be brought by the tourists in Kerala. However a Declaration form need to be filled (only for the amount which is more than USD 10,000) on the arrival at the Indian airport. By filling up this form you can also get your money exchanged back in the original currency without any problem. The Money should be exchanged only through authorized money changers. You may ask our guides and they will tell you the right center or place to get the money exchanged. Please note that no Indian currency can be imported or exported, except for travelers checks. Travelers checks can be changed into rupees at any bank in India. Be aware that it can take several hours to cash travelers checks in small towns. Try to deal with large banks in large cities. Don’t accept large denomination notes, because they will be difficult to change, and don’t accept damaged or torn notes, because merchants will refuse them, especially in small towns. Keep a supply of small change. Very often taxi drivers and vendors will say that they don’t have change.

17. Can I pay in Euro, US Dollars or through credit cards in Kerala ?

All the major currencies including Euro, US Dollars and Pounds are accepted in Kerala. All the major credit cards like Visa, Master Card and American Express are also accepted in the main hotels, restaurants and shopping centres in Kerala.

18. What are the timings of the post office and other administrative offices in Kerala ?
The post offices and banks are open from 1000 to 1630 hrs from Monday to Friday and from 0930 to 1230 hrs on Saturdays. The administrative offices are open from Monday to Friday from 0930 to 1700 hrs and 0930 to 1230 hrs on Saturdays. All the offices and banks are closed on holidays.

19. Is there any thing important while visiting temples and mosques in Kerala ?
Do remember to remove your shoes and sandals while visiting temple, mosques and churches. Also some temples do not allow leather shoes, belts or handbags in their premises. When visiting temples, women should cover their body with short or long sleeves tops and a long skirt or pants. Women should not wear sleeveless dresses or blouses. They need not cover their face or head. Men should wear long pants and a short-sleeved shirt. The people go to the temple to worship, doing offerings on the statues of the gods and receiving a blessing – sometimes a mark on the forehead. It is customary to leave a small amount of money for the priest after receiving a blessing. Hindu custom dictates that women should not go into temples if they are menstruating. Also be alert for signs indicating that non-Hindus may not visit the inner sanctum of the temple and may see only its outer precincts. If there is no sign, ask a priest. If you are visiting a temple and are offered a portion of sweet or fresh coconut or banana, it’s prasad or sacred food, offered to the gods. Since it’s a great honor to be offered, never refuse it, rather accept it and eat it. If you don’t want it, take it and give it to someone else. In Muslim mosques, do remember that men and women sit in separate areas. You need to cover your head while visiting the main chamber in the mosque. It is compulsory for both men and women to cover their head when visiting Sikh Gurudwaras. Before photographing the inner chamber of sacred temples, be sure to get permission. It is not permitted to have the picture of main deity in some temples. Kerala Tours Guides will assist you more on about the behaviour and general customs within the temple premises.

20. What should I wear while on my tour to Kerala ?

As a Westerner, feel free to wear anything, as long it is not very revealing like extremely tight jeans, low-cut blouses. It is extremely important for women to keep their legs covered as much as possible by wearing long skirts or pants. Shorts are never acceptable, except at beach resorts. Be sure to wear a hat. It is essential protection against the sun. Men should not, however, wear turbans. Cotton outfits, hats, sun glasses and sun screen lotion should be carried while on your tour to Kerala.

21. What is Saree and how to wear it ?
Saree is considered as most elegant Indian dress for women. In Kerala, most of the women wear a Kerala saree. It is a six feet long piece of material of fine white cotton edged with golden zari, tucked into a slip, pleated, and worn over a very short blouse. The saree tends to pull out of the slip, and the shawl part tends to fall. This saree lends an extraordinary elegance to the person wearing it. Each masterpiece is specially woven on a traditional handloom. The western women should feel free to wear saree, but be aware that they are difficult to put on. If you want to try wearing a saree, ask for the help of an woman, an acquaintance, a hotel chambermaid, or even a shopkeeper. They are usually happy to help for arranging sarees.

22. I want to visit the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala. Give me some information about them ?

The various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala are the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park. At the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady, you and your friends can ride majestically into the scenic jungle on an elephant. You can also watch the wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat at the Kumarakom and Periyar. Herds of wild elephants bathing in the lake, the Indian bison digging his horns into an unaffected tree, the cormorant darting into the waters are a treat for the amateur photographer. Half of the world population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr lives in the Eravikulam National Park in Munnar. Friendly as they are, you can also pat them or pose for pictures with them. In the bird sanctuaries, you can watch the egrets, herons, Siberian stork, darters, teals and hundreds of other migratory birds. The best time to visit the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala are from October to March. The best time to watch the wildlife is in the early morning and evening. For more information on the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala, please visit the "Kerala Wildlife" page on our website.

23. Are there any restrictions for the Photography in Kerala ? Is there anything I need to consider while doing photography in Kerala ?
Kerala offers you great photographing options and it is a great fun while photographing in Kerala as you will have enough sunlight most of the time. We suggest you to bring enough films with you to catch the endless beauty of Kerala. In some of the monuments and wildlife sanctuaries you have to pay the fees for the photography. Our guide will suggest you where it is worth to photograph and where not. At some of the locations photography is not allowed. Do not photograph these objects otherwise your film can be confiscated. Always take permission before photographing people. Lower class people are especially sensitive and suspicious as to why they are being photographed. Never photograph airports, railways, railway stations, big bridges, or a military area. It’s good not to photograph Muslim women, women bathing, cremations, slums, or beggars.

24. How safe is traveling in Kerala ?

Kerala is comparatively a safe state to travel. Crime rate against foreigners remain low. However specially to our female guests we recommend not be alone on the road after late evening just to be on the safer side. In case you need any help you can call the police at 100 and Ambulance at 102.

25. How is shopping in Kerala ? Can you provide me some tips for safe and smart shopping in Kerala ?

Kerala is a shoppers paradise. There are various shopping places in Kerala. However, we recommend you to shop from the government approved emporiums. You can bargain everywhere except in government craft emporiums, government textile shops, pharmacies, bookstores, or Western-style grocery stores. Even if a price is written on an object, ask the price and bargain from there. Decide what you are willing to spend for an item. Make this your last offer in a bargaining session. If the shop owner is willing to sell at your price, he will sell you the item without much argument. It is better to buy large and expensive items, such as rugs or jewellery, only from reputable dealers recommended by Indian acquaintances, hotels or your guide and driver. Most of the large stores also ship your purchase. Although, for convenience and to avoid postal delays, it is advisable to carry your purchased items with you or book it as baggage.

26. What shopping I can do in Kerala ?
Kerala's handicraft centres have an extraordinary collection of wood, coir, shell and sandalwood souvenirs, trinkets and jewellery. Wood carved Kathakali models, Kathakali masks, rosewood elephants, miniature models of snake boats, baskets, trays and furniture made of cane, coconut shell cups, vases, spoons, bead curtains, bell metal lamps, sculptures, jewellery boxes, incense burners, betel boxes, nut crackers, screw pine articles, lacquerware, terracotta, wooden toys, dolls and intricate gold jewellery are the perfect showpieces for your drawing rooms and ideal gifts for friends.

27. How much should I give as tipping while traveling in Kerala ?

Tipping is expected by most of the people involved in the tourism in Kerala. In big hotels service charges are included in the bills so tipping is not necessary otherwise 10% of the amount of the billing is normally provided as tipping. If you are traveling with a group the tipping can be reduced to 5% of the total bill. For the porters in the hotels Rs.20 for a single baggage and in the case of a group Rs.10 per baggage is customary. For tour guides and escorts we recommend 1 to 2 USD per day per person and same is also for the driver accompanying you during your Kerala tour. However the mentioned amounts are just to give travelers an idea. There is no “must” or “compulsion” of tipping in Kerala. We advice you to measure the quality of services of particular person or establishment before thinking of tipping !

28. Are there any restrictions on the export of articles from Kerala ?
The Government has put restrictions on the export of the wild animals from the country. It has also put ban on the export of the articles made from the wild animals like skins, belts, furs, ivory, rhino horns, trophies, etc. Except peacock feathers and handicrafts made from them and various items and shavings of Antler, Cheetals and Sambars are not banned, subject to conditions. Export of exotic birds is also not allowed. However, the items made exclusively out of imported timber are exempted subject to conditions. Also, export of sandalwood in any form like logs, timber, roots bark, chip, powder, dust flakes, pulp and charcoal, excluding finished handicrafts and machine-finished products is prohibited. Export of furs of domestic animals, hides and skins is also prohibited except the Lamb fur. Antiques which include sculpture, painting or other works of art and craft, illustrative works of science and religion and of historical interest which are more than hundred years old may not be exported from India. Manuscripts or other documents of scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic older than seventy five years also can not be exported out of India. Recently Airport taxes are being collected at the time of issuing the tickets to India. Please always confirm with your Airline if the taxes are to paid at the airport at the time of departure from India.

29. I want to know more about Kerala Tours ! Why should I book the tour through Kerala Tours ?

Kerala Tours is a recognized tour operator and holiday planner in Kerala. We not only organize tours in Kerala, but also in other parts of India, Nepal and Bhutan. We not only organize the tours as they are printed in the itinerary but also work out any special tailor made itinerary in any area of the Indian subcontinent. We also organize special Ayurveda rejuvenation packages, Yoga training camps in Kerala. We also organize special interest tours for women only. Kerala Tours is associated with a team of Tour Escorts and Guides who are fluent in different languages having long experience and are highly qualified and have also spent many years abroad. To know more about Kerala Tours and its team please refer to
About Us or email us at [email protected]

30. What is the guarantee that I would be provided the services which I asked for during my tour? Or how safe is my tour with Kerala Tours ?
Kerala Tours provide you a guarantee in the form of certificate which means that your traveling is safe with us. The certificate is attested by the Notary Public. In that certificate it is specified that Kerala Tours undertakes the guarantee that it would provide all the services as decided according to the mutual agreement between you and them.

31. Where is the office of Kerala Tours located ?

The central office of Kerala Tours is located in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur is located about 270 kms from Delhi. The office is located in the Raja Park area of Jaipur, which is the famous shopping area in Jaipur.

32. Does your company provide any sort of insurance ?

No, our company does not provide any sort of medical insurance. It is advisable that you get the insurance from your country only.

33. How do we settle the payment? Is there an advance deposit required ?

We need 10% of the total tour cost as an advance at the time of the confirmation of the tour. This is to be sure that your booking is genuine and we can go ahead with the reservations. The rest of the due amount can be paid before your arrival in Kerala. On special request you can also make the payment after your arrival. This can be agreed upon as per the type of tour and the amount we have to pay in advance to the hotels and our other associate offices for making the reservations.

34. How can I make the payment ?
There are various payment options by which you can make payment to Kerala Tours. You can make payment by cash, bank transfer, online credit card payment, Paypal, Cheque, Travelers checks and demand draft. If you have booked the tour through our associate offices then you can make the payment to them and get the confirmation from us. If you wish to use another option of payment suitable to you, then we would assist you. Please send us your queries and specify the country of your residence.

35. What type of information is required in order to confirm the booking ?

      In order to confirm the booking with us we require some of the information like
A. > Passport no.
B. > Date of passport issue
C. > Validity of passport
D. > Passport issued at
E. > Date of Birth
F. > Your complete name as in the passport
G. > Complete address
H. > Your Nationality
I.  > Your Visa Number, if you already have the visa
J. > Your telephone Number
K. > Your mobile number if any
L. > Your arrival Date, Airline number and time
M. > Your departure date, Airline number and time

You can fill up all these information and send it to us so that we will confirm your hotel booking. At the time of check in at the hotel, you need to please handover a copy of such details at the hotel reception so that you do not have to fill up the information forms of the hotel and it also saves the time.

36. I want to learn the native language of Kerala. What do you advice ?
The main language which is spoken in Kerala is Malayalam. If you want to learn Malayalam which is the native language of Kerala then we offer some special Malayalam courses in Kerala with the help of experienced teachers. The courses are of different time duration that can be designed as per your interest and availability of the teacher. The offered Malayalam Language lessons are given by private teachers thus making the course an individual course for you. Our teachers have experiences in teaching foreign students whose native language is not Malayalam. If you want to learn Malayalam or any other languages and want to have any further more information then please email us at
[email protected]

37. Do people understand English and other foreign languages in Kerala ?

English is widely spoken and understood at almost all tourist centers. But we highly recommend you to take qualified and government recognized guides during your sightseeing in Kerala. We are associated with Guides in Kerala who also speak German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian or Russian. Tour guides will help you not only in your sightseeing, but also help you understand Kerala better and give you useful tips for your Journey to Kerala !

38. I want to visit the tea and spice plantations in Kerala ? What do you advice ?

In Kerala, you can take a walk through the green carpeted tea hills and a strong aroma will lead you into tea factories over a hundred years old. Here you can also taste and pick up the finest tea in the country. Kerala is also known as the Spice Coast of India. Kerala is famous in the world due to total monopoly over spices. It is a matter of pride for the tiny state of Kerala that the bulk of this trade is still from Kerala. Some spices that have made Kerala a spice state are Pepper, Cardamom, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg. From Kerala, you can also buy the chest and special gift vouchers full of exotic spices. For more information about the spice plantations in Kerala, please visit the page
Kerala Spices on our website.

39. From where I could get information about the distances between the two cities ?
If you want to know about the distances between the two cities, then we have a Distance calculator on the different Kerala cities page on the website. With the distance calculator, you can know about the approximate distances between the two cities.

40. Can I drive in Kerala ?

Though it is permissible to drive in Kerala but we strongly recommend you not to drive as the condition of roads and traffic rules do not match with Western countries. Driving here is on the left, as in Japan, Hong Kong, and Britain. There are cyclists, buses, trucks, rickshaws, camels, cows, goats, pigs, countless pedestrians on roads. Chances are more to meet with an accident if you drive on your own. It is always advisable to hire a driver as they are trained and familiar with local traffic sense. For more information on hiring a driver contact our team of Kerala Tours.

41. What are the different greetings used in Kerala ?

Kerala is a land of diversity thus you will notice that different people use different greetings. Like, Hindus say “Namaskaram or Namasthe”, Muslims say, “Salaam al-eikum” (Sah-lahm ah-lay-kuhm) and the Sikhs say “Sat Sri Akal” (Saht shree ah-kahl).

42. What are the general do’s and don’ts for greeting in Kerala ?

The general greeting is “Namasthe” (nah-mahs-tay) or “Namaskaram”. You can do this for “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or “Good evening”. While saying Namasthe or Namaskaram hold your palms together at chin level and nod (never bow) your head. In major cities, men usually shake hands, while women use the more traditional greeting. In general, you can shake hands with men and can say Namaste to women. Ji is used following a name as a sign of respect, e.g., Gandhi-ji. Note that a Hindu may greet a man by adding “sahib” (“sir” or “master”) to the name (Mr.Jones-sahib) and woman by adding “ji”(Miss Jones-ji) as a sign of respect. Don’t use first names unless you know someone very well. Use “Mr.”, “Mrs.,” or “Miss". Use titles such as “Professor” and “Doctor,” and use “Sir” or “Madam” with a superior/elders. Only people of the same sex can hug one another.

43. How do Indians welcome their guests ?
Indians follow very traditional style to welcome their honored guests. The garlands of flowers are used in formal occasions, such as in the inauguration of building or company, in the receptions of a distinguished visitor, or at the end of a concert. The garlands are draped around the neck of the honored person. If you are a receiver of a garland, wear the flowers for a few minutes, then remove the garland and give it to someone else or else hold on to it. Never leave it behind, except at the foot of a statue in a temple.

44. How can I identify people from various religions ?

Kerala has people from varied religions it is sometimes difficult to tell Hindus from Muslims from Sikhs - with so many people in Western dress. You can identify them by their names like; Muslims have as part of their name “Muham-med”,“Ali”, “Khan” or “Hussein” Muslim women have “Jan” or “Begum” at the end of their name. Common Hindu names are “Krishna”, “Gopal”, “Vijay”, “Rajendra” and “Prakash”. Religious Sikhs can be identified by the turbans that they wear and their first name is usually followed by “Singh” if man and “Kaur” if woman.

45. What about the public facilities in Kerala ?

The public facilities are rarely good, including all the major cities. You will find Western style toilets in all the standard hotels and restaurants. Be prepared to find them not so clean as you are used to in your country. Indian trains usually have both Indian and Western-style toilets. You will find public bathrooms and toilets in hotels, restaurants, railway stations, bus stations and some shops in big cities. There is usually a picture on the door to indicate which bathroom is for which sex. In some places, there may be a row of stalls with Indian-style “squat” toilets and one that is Western – style. But in small cities or towns where the tourist flow is less facilities are rather poor. Keep toilet paper or tissues, paper soaps or liquid soaps with you for convenience.

46. What caution should one tourist take – when it comes to legal matter and safety ?
Don’t bring guns or pornography into India. Be prepared to declare radios, cameras, and other electronic equipment on a special form. Customs will check to make sure that you take those items out with you when you leave the country. Be aware that the police can be very arbitrary. In case of a small theft, it’s better to forget it than to go to the police. Report any significant theft to the police so that you can have a statement for your insurance company. It’s very unlikely that you will recover the stolen goods. To minimize the possible loss of money, never carry a large amount in cash wish you. ATM's, are meanwhile available in all big and small cities at the bank premises.


47. What precautions should I take regarding my health while in India?

Always take some toilet paper rolls with you since toilet paper may be difficult to obtain outside large cities. Soap, toothpaste, and toiletries are readily available. Tampons are more difficult to find than sanitary napkins, so women who use tampons should bring a supply. Wash you hand as often as you can, avoid eating uncooked and cold food, especially from the street vendors, drink only mineral water. One should take care that the bottles are sealed. Never buy ice cream from a street vendor as stomach may not like the water or milk used in making the ice cream. At the initial start of your tour for first few days avoid spicy food. You can always tell the waiters at the restaurants that you would like to have less spicy food. Avoid mild made drinks unless for first few days at least ! In case of any emergency ask your guide or driver to take you to a doctor. Indian doctors are well experienced and medicines are easily available.

48. What is the general meal plan in Kerala ? What kind of food is served in the restaurants in Kerala ?

The general meal plan in Kerala consist of three main meals in a day with one or two added tea-coffee breaks. The main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner. All standard restaurants and hotels in Kerala offer a variety of cuisines including Continental, Chinese, Indian and typical Kerala. Though the meal pattern is same, the food served in the meals varies in different regions of Kerala. Vallayappam, Upma, Iddli, Puttu, Masala dosas, appams are the different dishes in Kerala. The crisp lacy appam is served with meat or vegetable stew. Kerala has a wide range of crunchy snacks like Ethakka(banana) chips, Chakka Vattal(Jackfruit chips), Pappadam, Kuzhalappam, Achappam, Cheeda and Churuttu.

49. What are the special dishes one should try on the trip to Kerala ?
Kerala offers many palatable dishes like sambar (a lentil puree cooked with vegetable and spices), uttappam (a rice and coconut pancake fermented with toddy and baked in a clay pot), payasam (a sweet made from milk and cereals), boiled rice, hot red fish curry with steamed tapioca or boiled rice. Along the Malabar coast and in Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi, you can select your favourite from an inviting display of juicy sear fish, sardines, prawns, red snappers, etc. In Kerala, you can also taste the Sadhya. Sadhya is the multi-course feast of rice, 12-15 vegetarian dishes, spicy pickles, crunchy banana chips, crispy pappadams, plaintains and payasam, the dessert. This meal is served on a plaintain leaf and eaten with the fingers. For more information on the Kerala Cuisine, please visit the page
Kerala Cuisine on the website.

50. What is advisable to eat and drink in Kerala ?

We advice our guests to drink bottled water, bottled drinks. The water in the hotels can be used for cleaning the tooth and body but avoid drinking this water. The mineral water is available in sealed bottles which is purified and quite safe to drink. It is not advisable to drink water from slow moving streams, lakes or dams. Avoid eating spicy food. It is suggested to stick to only cooked foods and to eat fresh fruits after removing their skin. After taking the above precautions you will realize that Kerala has a wonderful cuisine and rarely any other place meet such varieties.

51. What is the special drink of Kerala ?
In Kerala, you can refresh yourself with a sip of cool tender coconut, the nature's refreshing nectar and a scoop of its soft white flesh. The fresh Madhura Kallu (sweet toddy extracted from the coconut palm) can also be taken in the Kerala way with exotic Karimeen Pollichathu (baked fresh water fish) or spicy pickles.

52. Give me general information about local transport available in Kerala ?
Various means of local transport in Kerala ranges from cycle-rickshaws to auto-rickshaws, taxis and buses. Local buses are usually over crowded and should be avoided. Auto-rickshaw and taxis are easily available and can be used if necessary. You can ask at information desks at the airport or in hotels to get an idea of the fare. At major airports, there are prepaid booths, where you can pay and then you will be given a receipt to be given to the driver. In small towns, you can look for a cycle-rickshaw, a three-wheel bicycle with seats for two passengers behind the driver. On a pleasant evening, traverse the scenic mud roads of Kerala at the unhurried pace of a bullock cart. The tinkling bells and roll-over-from-side-to-side motion of the cart will place you into a lazy environment.

53. Can you tell me something about train journey in Kerala ? As a foreign traveler what should I do to make my rail journey in Kerala safe and comfortable ?

A train journey is considered as an interesting way if you want to explore the natural beauty and village life in Kerala. From trains you can watch the landscape unfold like pages of a colourful picture book, or acquaint yourself with your fellow travelers who make interesting profiles. Rail journey in Kerala can be a memorable experience for you if you reserve your seat well in advance, to avoid any inconvenience later on. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance. Before getting in line to arrange for your sleeper, fill out a sleeper reservation form, which you will find in the counters around the reservation hall. Your ticket will indicate your compartment and berth seat number. Allow plenty of time before departing to find your seat. Sleeper and seat numbers are displayed on lists posted on the platform and outside each carriage, along with passenger's name. For further Information and booking contact the Team of Kerala Tours.

54. I want to spent my honeymoon in Kerala ? What are the various options ?
In Kerala, you can enjoy your honeymoon amidst the sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, sprawling beaches, cascading waterfalls and winding lanes of the mist clad hill stations in Kerala. The dense tropical jungles in the hill stations houses some of the most exotic bird and wildlife sanctuaries in the country. In Munnar also, you can enjoy your romantic evening beside the crystal clear lake. Here, you can go for a walk hand-in-hand, undisturbed or lie down on the most comfortable of grass beds. The crystal clear waters cascade down the mountains of Kerala, gurgling, whispering, laughing and cleansing everything in their way. You can also spend your honeymoon on the Kerala's islands or lagoons and experience special moments, spectacular sunsets, balmy backwaters, succulent seafood at Bolgatty, Pathiramanal, Poovar. These paradises can be reached only by a ferry or boat. During your honeymoon in Kerala, you can also stay in the exotic houseboat and embark on an enchanting journey across backwaters on a kettuvallom, fully furnished traditional house boats. While your eyes explore the rustic life that floats by, treat your palate to backwater delicacies prepared by your personal chef.

55. what is the major source of entertainment of people in Kerala ?

In Kerala, the people entertain themselves with the classical dance performances, music, plays and various cultural events which keeps them occupied in the evening. Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Thiruvathira are the major classical dances of Kerala. In these dances, a story is unveiled through the eyes, fingers, feet and myriad expressions of the artist. The Kerala's rich repertoire of percussion music and instruments is famous all over the world. Panchavadyam is an orchestra of 5 native instruments of Suddha Maddalam, Komb, Edakka, elathalam and Timila. This traditional temple music accompanying elephant pageants builds up the festive spirit and never fails to leave its listeners entranced. Yakshagana Bombeyattu (puppetry) is the art form of Kasaeagod. Colourful puppets in huge headgears, elaborate facial make-up and lud attires dancing to throbbing music will keep you entertained. The people find these things quite relaxing after a long days work. Kalaripayattu, the martial art form of Kerala, is the oldest and most scientific in the world. In this art, you can watch the agile bodies gleaming in oil and armed with weapons practise their feats - Chattam(jumping), Ottam(running), Marichil(sommersault) to stunning perfection.

56. I want to learn the dances of Kerala. What are the different dances of Kerala ?
Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Thiruvathira are the major classical dances of Kerala. Thiruvathira, a traditional dance performed by the women has simple steps and a single rule that the performers should be clad in a Kerala saree. You can also join them as they sing and move elegantly around a ceremonial lamp(vilakku) or a floral decoration(pookalam). Mohiniyattam or the dance of the enchantress reflects the graceful nature of the land. the sensuous, graceful movements of the dancer, clad in gold and off white costumes, will remind you of palms swaying in the gentle breeze and sweepin waves. Kathakali, the four centuries old classical art orm, is usually staged at night. Elaborate costumes, ornaments and multi-coloured facial amke up give the artists a super human appearance which leaves you spellbound. Theyyam is the oldest ritual art form of Kerala. Look on in awe as Theyyam performers invoke the temple deity Bhagavathy with their frenzied dancing and throbbing temple music in the countryards of the village temples. Thullal, an exotic art form, and the rhythmic sounds of music accompanying it will keep you in a constant state of merriment. Humour, satire and social criticism are its hallmarks. This art form was formulated overnight by the renowned poet, Kunjan Nambiar. For more information on Arts in Kerala, please visit the
Kerala Arts Page on the website.

57. I want to take up an Ayurveda treatment in Kerala. What are the various Ayurveda
      treatments ?

Kerala’s equable climate, natural forest wealth of herbs and medicinal plants, and the cool monsoon season from June to November are best suited for Ayurveda’s curative and restorative programmes. The Ayurvedic massage by specially trained masseurs, medicated baths, herbal diets, yoga and meditation can be done in the Ayurveda resorts in Kerala that will recharge, refresh, revitalise, replenish your health and body. The mud therapy can be taken at the Kavil Bhavan Yoga and Cultural Centre at Nileswaram, Kasaragod. You can also relax your mind with yoga at the special ashrams in Trivandrum and Nileswaram. Sessions are conducted by spiritual gurus and experts in the field. The Ayurveda Resorts have the finest Ayurveda Centre with a team of dedicated doctors and experienced men and women therapists. Some of the treatments which are provided in the Ayurveda Centre are Rasayana Chikitsa, Kayakalpa Chikitsa, Body Sudation, Body Slimming, Herbal Steam Bath, Beauty Care, Panchakarma treatment, Dhara, Sirodhara, Pizhichil, Najvarakizhi, Elakizhi, Shirovasthi, Kativasthi, Snehapanam, Udwarthanam and Tharpanam and yoga and meditation. For more information on Ayurveda treatments and resorts in Kerala, please visit the
Kerala Ayurveda Page on the website.

58. I am an enthusiastic adventurous tourist ? What are the various options for me in Kerala ?
An adventure sports lover will rarely find time to stay idle in Kerala. In Kerala, the beaches provide with unlimited water sporting options of wind surfing, rafting, sailing, power boating, swimming and a simple catamaran ride. In Thekkady, you can go for the tiger trail, which is an adventurous trek into the dense jungles with the expert guides. you can cook in the jungle, sleep in the tents and wake up to the sounds of wilderness. If you are a nature lover, then you can treat your eyes to exotic orchids, anthuria, sandalwood trees, etc. in the forests. One of the rare flower is the Neelakurinji, which bathes the mountains of Munnar in blue once every twelve years. It is expected to bloom next in 2006 AD.

 

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