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Monday, 22 March 2010

Beaches, Ashrams, and Backwaters: Exploring Kerala (& Mumbai), India - Page 6

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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When we arrived at Thiruvananthapuram’s (also known as Trivandrum) airport near the southern tip of India our driver, Arun, was magically waiting for us even though we’d given him the wrong arrival time and flight number. Arun works for SITA and was very personable, spoke English well, and was the source of great conversation throughout the trip. I told him we wanted to do a bit of sightseeing in town before heading out to Varkala beach, so we stopped to look at Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple (non-Hindu’s cannot go inside) and then explored the city palace museum which had some beautiful ivory pieces including a basinet made entirely out of ivory, some nice paintings, and a large throne-like chair adorned with huge crystals from Slovakia.

Another popular tourist draw in Kochi are the Kathakali dance performances where the artists wear thick face paints and elaborate costumes and perform precise hand gestures and acrobatic movements. Traditional Kathakali lasts all night, so this may be one time you want to take in the one hour tourist version, but if you are up for the all night affair the Margi Theatre (http://www.margitheatre.org/) in Trivandrum is a school that teaches the traditional art and offers shows about once a month.

Beaches, Ashrams, and Backwaters: Exploring Kerala (& Mumbai), India, Arabian Soul, guest house in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandrum, Claufouty Café, Harmony Restaurant, travel kerala, Amritapuri, Amma ashram, houseboat cruise through the backwaters, Kumarakom, Cocobay Resort, Kochi, Cochin, Malabar House, Kathakali dance performances, Chinese fishing nets, yoga and Ayurvedic retreat centers, Mumbai travel, Bombay tours, SITA, sita tours, Christina Kay BoltonKerala’s population is laid back and friendly – and with palm trees everywhere it reminds one of a Caribbean island. It also has one of the highest rates of literacy in India and a communist government which is encouraging its residents to have smaller families to ease the overpopulation problem that exists throughout India. Overall, Kerala seems to be doing very well for itself. It has a bustling tourist industry, beautiful beaches, relaxing backwaters, delicious food, nice hotels, a multitude of yoga and Ayurvedic retreat centers, and fantastic traditional dance and music.

 

Mumbai (Bombay)

Due to flight schedules we left Kochi in the morning, flew to Mumbai (Bombay), and our international flight didn’t leave until evening, so we had quite a long stopover – enough for a half day tour which SITA arranged for us. A guide and driver picked us up and luckily since it was early afternoon there wasn’t much traffic to get downtown.

Beaches, Ashrams, and Backwaters: Exploring Kerala (& Mumbai), India, Arabian Soul, guest house in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandrum, Claufouty Café, Harmony Restaurant, travel kerala, Amritapuri, Amma ashram, houseboat cruise through the backwaters, Kumarakom, Cocobay Resort, Kochi, Cochin, Malabar House, Kathakali dance performances, Chinese fishing nets, yoga and Ayurvedic retreat centers, Mumbai travel, Bombay tours, SITA, sita tours, Christina Kay BoltonOur first stop were the famous laundry ghats where hundreds of thousands of clothes are washed, dried, and delivered every day without an item being lost. Everything is done by hand and the sight of the washer-wallah’s standing in vats of water beating the clothes and long rows of starched shirts drying in the sun have become a tourist attraction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaches, Ashrams, and Backwaters: Exploring Kerala (& Mumbai), India, Arabian Soul, guest house in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandrum, Claufouty Café, Harmony Restaurant, travel kerala, Amritapuri, Amma ashram, houseboat cruise through the backwaters, Kumarakom, Cocobay Resort, Kochi, Cochin, Malabar House, Kathakali dance performances, Chinese fishing nets, yoga and Ayurvedic retreat centers, Mumbai travel, Bombay tours, SITA, sita tours, Christina Kay BoltonNext we visited Ghandi’s house which is now a museum. It was very interesting to see where such an inspirational figure lived and worked. Many of his letters are on display, such as his letter to Hitler. We drove around the business district and drove past many of the old colonial structures as well – including the grand train station.

 

 

 

 

Beaches, Ashrams, and Backwaters: Exploring Kerala (& Mumbai), India, Arabian Soul, guest house in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Trivandrum, Claufouty Café, Harmony Restaurant, travel kerala, Amritapuri, Amma ashram, houseboat cruise through the backwaters, Kumarakom, Cocobay Resort, Kochi, Cochin, Malabar House, Kathakali dance performances, Chinese fishing nets, yoga and Ayurvedic retreat centers, Mumbai travel, Bombay tours, SITA, sita tours, Christina Kay Bolton

 

 

(Page 6 of 7)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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