The southern state of Kerala has a network of serene backwater canals that extend more than 550 miles (900 km) and offer a glimpse of an India that’s more relaxed than the India you’ll see in big cities. Here are some options for exploring them.
Kadathanadan Kalari & Navarasa Kathakali
Tiger Reserve, Thekkady, Kumily , Kerala, 685509
This performing arts center offers an excellent introduction to Kalaripayattu (aka Kalari) and Kathakali, and those enthusiastic to learn about both can sit in on two sessions in one night. It’s easy to access the center if you already happen to be in Thekkady, though most visitors stop here as part of a multi-day tour through Kerala, either before or after a visit to nearby Periyar National Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
The center is a must-visit for anyone interested in martial arts or Indian culture.
Children under age 5 can attend shows free of charge, but make sure to mention any kids that might be joining you when booking your tickets.
Come early, as there’s no assigned seating.
The venue is wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Kadathanadan Kalari & Navarasa Kathakali Centre is located just outside the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, on the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, about a 4-hour drive from Kochi. The venue is situated just south of the main road that runs through town, walking distance from many of the area's hotels and restaurants.
When to Get There
Kathakali shows are held twice per evening, while Kalaripayattu takes place once per evening between those performances; all shows last 60 minutes. While the box office is open during the day, including right before shows, you may want to prebook your seats to save time and avoid disappointment should the performances sell out.
Periyar National Park
On the edge of Thekkady, Periyar National Park is the area's main attraction and a popular spot for wildlife safaris. Resident creatures include Bengal tigers, elephants, and smaller mammals, including usual suspects such as mongooses and monkeys, along with sloth bears, flying squirrels, and a variety of birds.
- Things to do in Kochi
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- Things to do in Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand
- Kerala Backwaters
- Hill Palace Museum
- Wonderla Amusement Park Kochi
- Kerala Folklore Museum
- Mattancherry Palace
- Kochi Harbour
- Paradesi Synagogue and Jew Town
- Chinese Fishing Nets
- Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
- Indo-Portuguese Museum
- Fort Kochi (Fort Cochin)
- St. Francis Church
- Dutch Cemetery
- Magic Planet Theme Park