Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Kerala, India

Dec 3, 2004 - Kerala backwaters

I met up with an English girl and an Irish girl in Varkala and organised an overnight houseboat trip on the Kerala backwaters - it was highly recommended as a great way to see the place and a very relaxing way to pass the time. The houseboats varied greatly in facilities from floating palaces with solar panels and all the mod-cons to the more basic model that we had. Our boat was still very comfortable though - two bedrooms and two bathrooms and power was available when we moored on the bank and hooked up. The backwaters stretch from Cochin...

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Dec 2, 2004 - Amma's Ashram

We've made our first visit to an ashram. We saw Amma, aka the "Hugging Saint." Little did we know we were to walk into a hage complex which host 3,000 people. , 2/3's of which live there full-time. Amma is South India's version of Mother Teresa. She builds hospitals, orphanages and schools. But she is also a guru to thousands world-wide. We had our first taste of ashran living. Photo soon to follow of our skinny matresses on a dusty floor with our cold water "shower." Attire is striclty regulated. I got an ashram dress down past my kness,...

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Dec 1, 2004 - Madurai

Hello Everyone, Thanks so much for your e-mail notes. Its great to hear from you. I wish I could do justice to a simple description of what its like to simply go down the street. First of all, there is noise; loudspeakers playing music, cars honking, people pulling on your elbow saying "Want postcard", lots of motor noises and the occasional animal sound. I hope we upload the pictures for you soon because the color is unbelievable. In the south, women wear sari's of bright colored silk with lots of woven gold brocade, gold jewelry on the...

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Dec 1, 2004 - Varkala

Today was my first experience of Indian trains and it was quick, efficient, easy and amazingly cheap. The four hour trip from Cochin to Varkala cost me 70 rupees for a second class ticket, which is about 2 AUD - very glad I didn't go third class, they really are packed in like sardines and I thought I could afford the additional cost. All the train stations are a real hive of activity and there are guys going up and down the carriages all the time selling chai, coffee and food. As I was absolutely starving I bought something that looked...

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Nov 30, 2004 - Kerala, India - Kochi to Kollam

We had an uneventful night train ride from Mangalore to Kochi, Kerala and arrived in the morning a bit weary but still in one piece. Kochi is an area of central Kerala that is pretty much just one large town that covers 3 islands that are located off the mainland and reached via bridges and ferries. We took a tuk-tuk (autorickshaw) to Fort Cochin (1 of the 3 islands) and spent the morning recuperating from the train trip. After a nap we hopped on the ferry to Vypeen Island in the afternoon to check out Cherrai beach. I have to say that the...

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Nov 29, 2004 - Cochin

After two nights in Calicut, we take a (reatively) pleasant 5 hour train ride south to Cochin. We're staying at Biju's Tourist Home ( www.bijustouristhome.com ). Tomorrow we're planning to take a seven hour Backwater tour. Hopefully, we'll have some more photos up soon.

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Nov 28, 2004 - Cochin

Well I finally made it - I knew I was in for four flights but I hadn't bargained on another two stop-overs. The first flight went from Sydney to Bangkok via Melbourne and Phuket - am not sure if the pilots had trouble reading the map or were simply trying to find the most indirect route possible! After that I stopped in Chennai, Calicut and finally Cochin some 30 hours after I started. My first impressions of India are not at all what I expected - everything I had heard and read prepared me to be overwhelmed. Cochin is a very tranquil,...

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Nov 27, 2004 - Bus ride from hell.

We changed our itenerary when we discovered that there is no train from Mysore to the west coast of India. Bus is the only way, so we decided to shoot for further south than originally planned. After a 90 minute wait at the bus station, having gotten wrong information from our hotel, and after asking numerous folks there, we finally board the right bus in a rush of hopeful riders. We, of course, aren't aggresive enough and end up standing for the first hour and a half of a five hour trip. What was a routine trip for this part of India was...

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Nov 22, 2004 - Cochin and the amazing Kathakali show

English puis francais Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world. Kathakali, literally meaning `story-play', is a dance-drama originated in the 17th century and it originated in the area of southwestern India now known as the state of Kerala. Kathakali is a group presentation, in which dancers take various roles in performances traditionally based on themes from Hindu mythology, especially the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. One of the most interesting aspects of Kathakali is its elaborate make-up code....

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Nov 5, 2004 - Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin Hey Yall... Here I am in Fort Cochin (Kochi) where Portugal began their trades with India in 1503. As you can imagine the town is truly Portuguese with its signature architecture of first floor verandas, high ceilings and red tiled rooftops. It has European feel as it brought me a lot of flashbacks of what I had seen in Lisbon in 1987. Dutch as well as English also influenced Fort Cochin as they subsequently took control from Portuguese in early seventeenth century. Wandering around this tree-laden town was a great respite...

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Nov 1, 2004 - Backwaters of Kerala.

Hey Yall! Oh boy...cruising around the backwaters in Alappuzha was something I truly cannot put into words as I felt as if I were transported into another realm! But let me get back to the beginning before I lost myself in the rapture of nature once again! After spending the night at an overpriced hotel in Kollam I was able to purchase a cruise ticket from Kollam to Alappuzha (8 hours trip) and secure a rental of kettuvallam (houseboat) for the following day/night after arriving at Alappuzha. The first day cruise was a bit too long but...

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Oct 28, 2004 - Train to Cochin

Sarita and I have spent the last few days at an Indian health resort recommended to us by friends. I've had two body massages, a steam bath and de-stressing oil treatment (has to do with my head so don't get any weird ideas). I must admit, that the first treatment was a little 'different' for me, getting butt naked in front of my two male therapists and then doning a small loin cloth and then lying down on a wooden palette and being covered in scented oil. It was fine though and was quite nice. We also had consultations with an ayurvedic...

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