Kerala, the large state hugging the southwest coastline, is known as India’s Spice Garden. You can find pretty much everything growing here – from rolling tea plantations to the biodiverse cacao and coffee farms spread throughout the Idukki hills.
Many of the spices grown in this region are collected in the busy port town of Kochi, where they are then shipped to kitchens around the world. But away from the hustle and bustle, the spice farms are rural, small, lush and peaceful. They grow cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla all together in colourful sub-tropical gardens and many farmers supplement their income by offering tranquil homestays on their farms.
As is tradition in Kerala, your meals will be home -cooked from the produce grown in the bountiful gardens that surround your lodgings. Tours and participation are usually relaxed and informal – your host will be happy to arrange anything you please, or have you accompany them on their daily tasks. You might choose to arrange for cooking classes, harvesting, discovery walks and tours, or perhaps ayurvedic massage using natural and local herbal preparations.
Must do: Hire a driver to take you on a scenic day trip through the Munnar tea plantations, the green and lush Cardamom Hills, and the spice gardens of Idukki where you can find organic spice farm tours and walks – pick your own fresh spices, taste nutmeg fruit and try fruity green pepper fresh from the vine! Some tour companies like Kerala Tours offer all inclusive agritourism packages, or rent a car and set your own route!