Pamper yourself with Ayurvedic massage
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian healthy lifestyle method, practiced in the country for more than 5,000 year. Incidentally, Kerala has one too many Ayurvedic centres and resorts as well as standalone outlets offering Ayurvedic massages. These centers offer holistic treatments – a mix of Ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga, mantra and de-addiction treatments – to make you forget about the grey weather. Those looking for a high-end massage can make their way over to Ayurvedic resorts like Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Retreat or Kalari Kovilakom, but plenty of Ayurvedic resorts and centres are very affordable, such as Sarovaram Ayurvedic Health Center, Ideal Ayurvedic Resort and Shinshiva Ayurvedic Resort.
Relax on a backwater houseboat
Rain or shine, a trip to this emerald land is incomplete without riding the backwaters, and the rains just add to their charm and beauty amidst verdant greenery (making it an Instagram-ready locale). Opt for a traditional houseboat and cruise through the 900 kilometres (559 miles) of tranquil waters – enjoy picturesque views, feast on authentic cuisine, spot aquatic life, admire the palm-fringed landscape and paddy fields and gaze on as locals performing everyday chores. Plus, its a perfect environment to have a romantic moment or two with a significant other amidst such a gorgeous setting. Book a houseboat by contacting the Houseboat pre-paid counter.
Go museum hopping
Rainy days are perfect excuses to spend hours digging into the history and heritage at the museums, and there is no dearth of cultural sites and museums depicting the state’s rich past. Our top picks are the Hill Palace Museum, where visitors can catch a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle of the royal families of Kerala along with 19th-century paintings and sculptures; the other one is Napier Museum, where visitors can discover Kerala’s cultural heritage through historical artefacts and ancient ornaments. But don’t limit yourself – a plethora of other museums are available, such as Natural History Museum in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Folklore Museum in Ernakulum and many more.
Kerala has abundant art galleries to satiate your inner artist, so grab a cup o’ joe and marvel at the contemporary artwork at the David Art Gallery. Or try Sri Chitra Art Gallery, which houses impressive work by well-known artists, including Rabindranath Tagore, Nicholas Roerich and Raja Ravi Verma.
Catch a performance art show
Watching a performance art show in Kerala is an absolute must as its martial, folk and classical art forms have enthralled the people world over. And what better way to spend a rainy day than catching one of these shows, held across the state. Watch Kathakali (17th-century classic dance form) at the Kerala Kathakali Center or Cochin Cultural Center every evening, or watch Kalaripayattu (ancient martial art form) at Kadathanadan Kalari Center.
Take shelter in Paradesi Synagogue
Why not head to a peaceful place instead? Built in 1958, Paradesi Synagogue is the one of the oldest synagogues in the Commonwealth of Nations. Marvel at interesting and rare antiques such as gold and silver crowns, a clock tower, Belgian glass chandeliers, hand-woven carpets, and four Torah scrolls encased in gold and silver. Bonus: entry is free.
Paradesi Synagogue, Synagogue Ln, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India, +91 1800 425 4747
Take refuge behind the Dutch Palace walls
Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, is a beautiful blend of European and traditional architectural styles. Its central courtyard houses a temple dedicated to the Kochi deity, and two more temples on the premises are dedicated to Lords Shiva and Krishna. In addition to a gallery featuring weapons, coins, furnishings and other artefacts of the royal family of Kochi, the highlight of this palace is its stunning colorful mural collection, spanning 28 m² (300 square feet) and showcasing scenes from Hindu epic Ramayana. Note that the palace closes at 5pm.
Mattancherry Palace, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India, +91 48460 68716
Go underground at Eddakal Caves
Hide away from the moody weather by going underground. Descend into the Eddakal Caves, natural caves with Stone Age drawings. The entry fee is ₹20 (£0.23/$0.31) for Indians, ₹40 (£0.47/$0.62) for foreign nationals; plus an additional ₹25 (£0.30/$0.40) for the camera. Note that the caves close at 5pm.
Eddakal Caves, Wayanad, Nenmeni, Kerala, India, +91 94460 52134
Awaken your inner chef
Kerala’s vibrant cuisine is rich with French, Malabari, British and Arabian influences, giving it a coastal flavour. Apart from feasting on the local cuisine, take a cooking class and learn about authentic Kerala culinary styles with access to a variety of ingredients and spices that may be unavailable back home. Numerous options are available, from casual cooking classes to extended residential cooking programmes – check out Philipkutty’s Farm and Leelu Homestay.
Get some retail therapy
Rain offers a perfect shopping opportunity, so fill your bags to the brim with authentic souvenirs and other items at Kerala’s markets, handicraft showrooms or shopping malls. For name brands, head to one of the many malls, such as LuLu Mall or Centre Square Mall. For souvenir shopping, visit Pulickattil Handicrafts to find reasonably priced metal and wooden artifacts and souvenirs. Looking for local spices instead? Head to Hindustan Spices & Herbals to find all kinds of medicinal herbs and spices.