A visit to India can be adventurous, fun and a trail of discovery! India has a varied climatic condition, from bitter cold to scorching heat. When you travel down south to Kerala you will find that it enjoys extreme temperature variations due to its 3 main geographical regions … highlands, midlands and lowlands. In the past, Kerala had torrid and long monsoon months across the State but these have depleted over the years due to the impact of climate change. Yet, the capital city, Trivandrum, which has been blessed with a unique combination of a breezy heat and refreshing burst of rain showers during the monsoon, can boast of providing a “holiday climate” almost throughout the year.
Given Trivandrum’s sunny, holiday climate, all you need is clothing that is 100% cotton, light and airy, allowing you to enjoy the heat without scorching your skin. It is wise to arm yourself with sunscreen lotions/sun tan lotions, as absorbing direct sunrays for prolonged periods of time is not advisable for a typical European skin. For your feet, sandals, flip flops or even light weight airy sneakers are most apt for our humid and sultry weather.
It’s best to avoid taking solitary walks along the beach away from the watchful eyes of our lifeguards, in just your beach wear. The local community is still rather conservative and minimum clothing encourages lewd remarks and unwanted behaviour. Dress code is essential while visiting our neighbouring temple, and other holy shrines in the city. It is important that you are fully covered and avoid exposing arms and legs.
While, in general, the local people are friendly and welcoming to travellers, there are a few youngsters who, for reasons known best to them, tend to pester tourists for money or articles. Kindly avoid conversations with such individuals. If you feel intimidated or pressured, feel free to take Nikki’s Nest’s phone numbers and contact the Reception in case of any emergency. Always carry our business card along with you; these are available at the Reception Desk.
While we encourage our guests to visit the elephant orphanage and sanctuary, we wish to draw attention to some critical information. Elephants that were rescued from their life of captivity and suffering and brought to the sanctuary, are still misused by mahouts for the purpose of receiving tips. For this they force the elephants to entertain tourists. Nikki’s Nest discourages elephant rides as this brings back terrible memories of their miserable days under captivity. Instead, we encourage guests to observe and study the behaviour and activities of this gentle giant. Apart from elephant issues, if there are any other sad animal related incidents you do come across, please contact the Reception Desk. Since Nikki’s Nest has connections with animal welfare and rescue organizations, the staff will be more than happy and willing to co-ordinate any possible rescues.
Despite the geographical, cultural and language differences between the various states of India, one quality that all Indians share in common is our enthusiasm for life which displays itself in loud conversations, blaring music through loudspeakers, colourful & enthusiastic festival celebrations and gatherings of people for no apparent reason. Seeing groups of people standing clustered on road sides is nothing to be worried about. These groups generally gather to hold heated and animated political discussions or to re-live and share events of the day, like the neighbourhood wedding, or the return of an NRI Gulf neighbour on vacation! So visits to India, should not be clouded with the perception of a “serene and calm” atmosphere. Although we try to create a soothing atmosphere at Nikki’s Nest, we also face the challenges of the local bus tumbling down to the temple bringing in devotees and the early morning temple bells waking up the faithful as a new day dawns.
The kitchen at Nikki’s Nest is very conscious about hygienic methods of food preparation. However, sometimes guests who wish to dine away from Nikki’s Nest for a change need to be cautious about what they are indulging in. Very often eating out to take a break from their Ayurveda therapeutic diet has resulted in guests experiencing stomach upsets and other related problems.
It is an internationally known fact that souvenir shops in and around tourist areas and resorts, sell products at a higher price. There is no harm in indulging in such shopping sprees. But always remember that a reasonable amount of bargaining, using a “give and take” approach between the buyer and seller, always works. Make sure you do so to avoid winding up with a feeling of having been cheated.
Along with this holiday mood and the tropical climate that everyone enjoys, one should also accept that the country is home to various bugs, beetles and insects. Most of them are harmless, enjoying nature’s paradise and our pesticide-free garden. We provide mosquito nets so that you can have a good night’s sleep but that is not the ultimate solution. Nikki’s Nest is NOT infested with mosquitoes but we do find on rare occasions certain people getting bitten more than others. Studies have revealed that it is something to do with composition of each one’s blood group that causes the attraction. We have also found that organic anti-repellent creams from the Indian market, mostly derived from lemon grass, to be much more effective than the creams and sprays brought from Europe.
Being a densely populated country, proper waste management is only gaining momentum now, and we hope to see a structured system functioning shortly. Travellers arriving in India, are always taken aback by the sight of garbage heaps littering the main highways. But this is now slowly being addressed and a beginning has been made by introducing plastic recycling ventures. All tourism stakeholders now actively participate with the government as part of their CSR agenda. The “Green Carpet Venture” introduced by Kerala Tourism (District Tourism Promotional Council) is generating positive enthusiasm and making constructive strides towards a cleaner Kerala.