For those of you new readers, My wife and I live in the UAE. We love it here for many reasons. Certainly not the least of them is the simple fact that travel to Asia, Africa and the sub-continent of India and Nepal is very inexpensive and quite easy.
Apologies to my long time readers are in order I guess.
This was our third trip to India. We kept seeing advertisements and reading other peoples blogs about the Indian state of Kerala. It is on the SW coast of India and it has the tourism tagline “God’s Own Country”.
OK, it does not have the Taj Mahal but it is without a doubt in my mind the prettiest part of India. Not that we “discovered” Kerala. In 2011, tourist inflow to Kerala crossed the 10-million mark.
Kerala, which is referred to being healthier than even many states of the United States, is a pioneer in implementing a universal health care program. Kerala is the cleanest and healthiest state in India. We are quite used to seeing massive amounts of litter all over India, but not Kerala.
Elephants have been an integral part of culture of the state. The elephant is the symbol of Kerala and is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala.
Later we saw something neither of us had ever seen before.
We started our trip by visiting the region of Kerala known as Munnar. This is inland, and mountainous. It is the tea producing area of the state.
We visited a tea plantation which was also a tea “factory”. I promise I did not stamp the tea dhool. If I knew what it was, I would have been tempted.
All the tea pickers are ladies. A week before we arrived they had went on strike for a reasonable wage, and POWER TO THE PICKERS, they won. The entire area is green with tea plants.
After enjoying Munnar, and buying too much tea, we headed off for the beach. We went to the Marari Beach Resort, which is situated on a very long stretch of white sand beach. The weather was perfect and the beach was empty.
The resort had a butterfly garden. I took many photos, and I cannot say “hey ya seen one butterfly…” but I am only going to share this one. The garden had a guide who showed us all the types of butterflies, which of course are attracted to different types of flowers. It was a marvelous experience.
The resort had a very nice gift shop. It was the only place in Kerala which was at all expensive. They had a Sari night, to allow women to try on this typical garb. Mary Ann looked great in it, but did not buy one.
Our last stop was in Kumarakom, where checked into a house boat for a cruise through the Kerala backwaters. This is something every visitor to Kerala should do. And judging by the fact that there are over 600 of these houseboats, I figure most people do. The backwaters of Kerala are fantastic. Calm, clean and green. There are numerous small fishing villages to see.
This was the “living room on our boat.
This was a typical meal we got served. The only complaint…too much food!
You pass many people working the waters for a living.
You see many examples of this “Chinese fishing” technique which uses nets on special rigs. They only use them at night when the can turn on the lights, which attract the fish.
You see many of these round boats which I think are used to collect plants to use as fertilizer.
The last place we visited in Kerala was a fabulous place called the Kerala Folklore Museum. It consisted of architectural, ethnographic and educational exhibits that give a person an excellent overview of the rich heritage of Kerala.
The museum was started by a couple. The husband was an art dealer and he obviously knew where to find things for this museum. They are not supported by the government and rely on entrance fees to survive. They also sell some of the collection. We bought a couple of things, as a thank you for their work. It is a truly excellent place to visit in the Thevara neighborhood of Kochi.
As I said, India is incredible, and Kerala is the best of it all. Be sure you visit when you get to the subcontinent.
Thank you for reading. Please share this with a friend. And oh yeah, I love comments!