Rated by National Geographic Magazine as possessing one of the world's top five beaches on which to sling a hammock, it's no wonder that Mararikulam, a fishing village by the Arabian Sea in south west India, is a popular resort with visitors keen to combine exploration of the regions sublime natural beauty and historic towns with some serious relaxation.
Mararikulam is situated in the Alapphuza region of India, a flat, fertile area of land featuring numerous rivers and lakes which is not only renowned for its unspoilt scenery but also for its vast rice paddies. Settled since the first century BC, from the sixteenth century onward the town and villages along this area of coast were colonised successively by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. The chief industry of the Alapphuza region is the production of products made from coir, a coarse natural fibre harvested from the husks of coconuts which grow in abundance in the area.
When not enjoying a glorious Indian sunset, watching the fisherman bring home their catch or indulging in a little surfing or parasailing on Mararikulam's immaculate white sand beach, visitors can immerse themselves in village culture and way of life that has barely changed over the last century.
For many visitors Mararikulam's key attraction is the chance to escape and unwind in a beachside Indian village of unparalleled charm and warmth. But Mararikulam has more to offer visitors than the beach alone.
Nowhere better can the village's culture and atmosphere be better experienced than at the colourful market, whilst the Mararikulam Sree Madadeva Temple, dedicated to the supreme Hindu deity Shiva, is one of the most famous religious sites in the state of Kerala and is renowned for its beautiful architecture.
Fifteen kilometres to the south of Mararikulam, the pretty town of Alleppey was described by Lord Curzon as the "Venice of the East" for its network of canals and bridges, and is a gateway to exploring the tranquil and picturesque backwaters and lakes of the Alapphuza region.