Kerala woos top Travel bloggers with seats aboard ‘Kerala Blog Express’

The FAM, your typical press jaunt, is so five years old. Seeing the merit in engaging global travel bloggers, Kerala Tourism is all set to flag them off on a high-on-experience road trip on March 10. Arguably, it's an innovative way for a state to reflect on itself. Here’s what to expect

Kathakali actor prepares for show

In a keenly fought online contest, 25 of the world’s top travel bloggers from as many as 13 countries have been selected for a trip on board the ‘Kerala Blog Express’ organized by the state tourism department.

The winners of the online voting were announced by Kerala Tourism Minister Shri A P Anil Kumar at a news conference in the state capital on Wednesday, February 26.


The minister will flag off ‘Kerala Blog Express’, a luxury bus carrying the winners of the competition, from Thiruvananthapuram on March 10. The bus will travel along the length of Kerala from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod in a road trip lasting two weeks.

The highest number (four) of winners is from the United States, followed by three each from Brazil and the Philippines and two each from Germany, Spain and Indonesia. The remaining eight are from Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Poland, Italy and Portugal, including four from India.

The selected bloggers are all internationally renowned with a reputation of swaying travellers’ choices of destination through accounts of their journeys around the world. During the two weeks on the ‘Kerala Blog Express’, the participants will be writing on their experiences of ‘God’s Own Country’, reaching an audience of millions of people.

Many of the bloggers such as Inma Gregorio (Spain), Nelson Carvalheiro (Germany), Oscar Augusto (Brazil) and Gael Hilton (Philippines) enjoy a worldwide following and have been featured on international travel magazines like the National Geographic Magazine and Lonely Planet.

The luxury bus, branded specially for the campaign, will take the participants from Thiruvananthapuram to Kovalam before going to Varkala. The bus will also travel to the Great Backwaters of Kerala in Alappuzha and in Kumarakom, where the visitors are expected to get a first-hand experience of village life.

The Responsible Tourism project of Kerala Tourism in Kumarakom had recently won the United Nations World Tourism Organization Ulysses Prize for Innovation and Excellence.

The bloggers will also visit Kerala Kalamandalam where they will be introduced to the classic art forms of the state. Other destinations on their itinerary include Thekkady, Bekal fort, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. They will also be introduced to the millennia-old traditional medicine of Ayurveda.

The bus will be equipped with cutting edge connectivity solutions throughout the journey to help them write and post about their experiences in real time.

The winners were chosen from over 600 entries from 80 countries. Netizens and fans of the contesting bloggers were given a chance to vote for their favourites on the www.keralablogexpress.com website. Since the launch of the competition last month, the website has had more than 200,000 visitors from about 150 countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Brazil, Malaysia, Denmark and France.

Rutavi Mehta is part of the Kerala Blog Express Lead Team and founder of PhotoKatha. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Enjoy more content from Kerala:

Sunset at Fort Kochi
By Hareesh Haridas
1 / 10
Yahoo Lifestyle | Photo by Hareesh Haridas / Flickr
Fri 7 Jun, 2013 1:30 PM IST

 

Text © Patricia Tusa Fels. Reproduced by permission of Mapin Publishing.

Cochin — the historic port-city on the Malabar coast in Kerala — has for centuries remained a centre of maritime trade along

... more 

Text © Patricia Tusa Fels. Reproduced by permission of Mapin Publishing.

Cochin — the historic port-city on the Malabar coast in Kerala — has for centuries remained a centre of maritime trade along the Indian Ocean. These commercial contacts brought with them the earliest influences of Christianity, Judaism and Islam to India, resulting in a cosmopolitan mosaic of people in the region. Against this backdrop, some of the very first Indian mosques were built, located in compounds replete with coconut palms. The tropical mosques reveal a distinctive legacy in form, acknowledging and celebrating the place, history, and building techniques of the region.

The unique architecture of the Indian Ocean trade settlements, reflecting common climate and building materials, forms its own subset of Islamic architecture. The mosques of Kerala are some of the few remaining examples of a typology that once appeared throughout the tropical Muslim world of South and Southeast Asia. The concentrations of the unique Malabar mosques can be found in the coastal cities of Cochin, Calicut and Ponnani. Most of these vernacular mosques were constructed by resident masons and carpenters who were well versed in local design idioms and methods. Many of them have recently been demolished or remodeled, and replaced by generic concrete structures.


less 
1 / 13
Yahoo Lifestyle | Photo by Courtesy Mapin Publishing
Fri 20 Apr, 2012 2:30 PM IST
Vembanad Kayal between Alappuzha and Kottayam districts of Kerala is the largest backwater in Kerala and the area surrounding it is called ‘Kuttanad’. Its history dates back to the Tamil Sangam ... more 
Vembanad Kayal between Alappuzha and Kottayam districts of Kerala is the largest backwater in Kerala and the area surrounding it is called ‘Kuttanad’. Its history dates back to the Tamil Sangam age (3rd century BC to 4th century AD). The early Cheras, who had their home in Kuttanad, were called ‘Kuttuvans’, taking their name after this place. One of the most powerful kings in the dynasty, Cheran Senkuttavan, is said to have ruled his vast kingdom covering Kuttanad.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER:
J MADHU RANTHAKAN is a software professional and a hobbyist photographer interested in sculptures and heritage temple architecture. He also loves photographing nature and children. He is a native of Pollachi in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. less 
1 / 19
Yahoo Lifestyle | Photo by J MADHU RANTHAKAN
Mon 18 Jun, 2012 2:30 PM IST

Join the Great East Coast Road Drive

1 / 60

Follow exclusive coverage of Jay's bike ride to Kashmir

Write for Traveler