THE CITIES OF THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE is a living microcosm of India, where multiple religions and faiths co-exist. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Muslims still follow ancient ways of life, celebrating festivals and fairs as their forefathers did. Traditional artisans and craftsmen still work in guilds, creating both the mundane and the beautiful. The bazaars are teeming with spices, fruits, vegetables, colourful fabrics, jewellery and household wares. Vendors serve up a wide range of spicy street food, confectioners cook up traditional delicacies, and yes, cows do wander about the streets! Hailing from a land of 44 rivers, innumerable lakes and 1,500km of ‘backwaters’, the people of Kerala are chivalrous and dress immaculately in white. Kerala’s women are usually simple and unadorned. But they float on a riot of colour: the voluptuous green of the lush Kerala foliage, the rich red of the fecund earth, the brilliant blue of the life-giving waters, the shimmering gold of the beaches and riverbanks. Yet there is much more to the Kerala experience than natural beauty. One should not miss the backwaters; or going backstage at Kathakali performance, for the thiranottam (the prelude in which the dancer emerges from behind a hand-held curtain). One should also see the state’s myriad places of worship—Orthodox Christian cathedrals and the exquisite synagogue in Kochi’s Jew Town. See students learning the ancient martial art of Kalaripayattu and experience the holistic ayurvedic treatments offered.