As one of the most striking coastal states in India's southern region, Kerala promises cool, picturesque respite from the country's bustling, overpopulated centers. 

Resting on India's tropical Malabar Coast, Kerala has approximately 360 miles of Arabian Sea and palm tree-filled beaches as its shoreline. Gifted with a temperate and pleasant climate year round, travelers can stray from the beach to visit the capital, Thiruvananthapuram, where traditional Hindu temples, cultural parades, and local street food markets are plentiful. For an authentic experience, the dosas (a crispy 'crepe' filled with potato, onions, or cheese) and sundal (chickpea salad) are a must-try. 

On the outskirts of the city, the Western Ghats mountain range protects a number of spice, tea, and coffee plantations, while the surrounding river network gives way to iconic backwaters such as Alapuzha and Kollam, where you can stay overnight on board gorgeous boathouses. 

You can also witness some of India's most iconic wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and langur monkeys, at many of Kerala's national parks and sanctuaries like Parambikulam, Eravikulam, Silent valley, and Peppara. Undeniably blessed by Mother Nature, this place promises a slice of India that's worth venturing out of the hustle and bustle for.