January 3, 2023: And we’re off! Day 1 of a four-day bike ride through Kerala with my sister @naomicb98 . This part of South India is lush, tropical, and steamy. It is, as the Kerala tourism bureau says, “God’s Own Country”. Perhaps it is because every mile or so there is a Hindu temple or mosque or Syrian Orthodox, or Jacobite or Roman Catholic Church— but few forts or palaces and grand structures as in the north. We crossed the Periyar River in a ferry that looked as if it had been crossing the river for centuries, cycling through bustling villages with names like Perumbavoor and Pukkattupady to a quiet resort on the banks of the river. #kerala #indiatravel #cyclingkerala #happytobehere @spiceroads
January 4, 2023.
Bike Ride Day 2. Traveling through Kerala is a reminder of Where Things Come From. Food and spices are growing abundantly – pineapples, bananas, papayas, guavas, mangos, ginger, turmeric, henna,tapioca, rambutan (a South Asian fruit, the translucent pink bell fruit, all manner of chilies. The word Kerala means Land of Coconuts and they are everywhere and form the basis of the food the way corn does in Mexico. And though not a food, rubber trees are ubiquitous—the tapped trunks are everywhere producing the latex sap. Hibiscus is bountiful and the leaves are used to make shampoo.The man pictured- George- has a delightful homestay on his family’s farm that is now in its fourth generation. He explained how over the generations they have rotated crops from coconuts to rubber to a mix of other fruits. We had dinner with his family- a traditional Kerala meal cooked by his vibrant 90-year old grandmother. For more about this most delightful and welcoming family, check out their website here. I love this comment from their website: The farm gets its name from Mr. Ulahannan Ouseph who strived hard to bring the family to its current status. Ulahannan, the Malayalam equivalent of John owes its origins to its Hebrew word Yochanan. #kerala#indiatravel#keralagram#happytobehere#traveling @farmnhome.
January 5, 2023. Bike Ride Day 3: I am continually struck by the new and the old—Kerala is one of the most progressive, educated states in India and we have seen far less of the extremes of poverty here. Yet it is devout and traditional- religious chapels every few feet, 80% of marriages are arranged. And one of the very few states that is crazy about fútbol, so lots of Messi billboards. We got off our bikes and spent the afternoon and night on a houseboat- a magical float through the Alleppy backwaters-one of the highlights of tourism here. And of course, we are very well fed-our Indian hosts everywhere have been extraordinarily gracious
January 6, 2023: Bike Ride Final Day 4: We made it back to Kochi over flat roads along the coast, passing through busy villages and many evangelical churches bursting with the music of ecstatic prayer. We stopped to visit a woman who weaves coconut mats, spinning each coir thread painstakingly by hand (see video). We stopped to visit a group of men who were making a paste of jaggery, which tastes like molasses and is from cane sugar boiled over an open flame, much as it has been done for centuries.
As always, a trip is made memorable by the people I meet. Abhilash, our guide, was ever-pleasant and patient, taking time to show us, plants and spices and churches and artisans along the way. Sekhar, our driver, the Keralan Henny Youngman, filled water bottles and fixed flats always with a wink and a smile. Thank you @spiceroads for giving us these two for four days and allowing us to see Kerala through their eyes.Now off to the mountains for two days, then home to snow! #keralatourism #kerala #indiatravel #travelgram #india #cyclingkerala
7 Replies to “Cycling Through Kerala: India Travels Part 4”
What a wonderful experience! Thanks for sharing it.
Love to read this again! Xo
The adventure that keeps giving! So astonishing.
Thanks for reading, Nancy. I had previously only posted on Facebook and wanted this to live in my blog too. Trying to get back into being a more regular blogger. Really appreciate your taking time to read and comment
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I like this venue better than FB, especially for travelogue and photos. Keep it up! I love hearing about your adventures.
Periyar River is not only a source of livelihood for many people living in its vicinity but also holds a significant place in the cultural history of the region. The river has been mentioned in many ancient texts and is believed to have played a significant role in the development of the region. The river is considered sacred by the people of Kerala, and many temples and shrines are situated along its banks.
Thank you so much for this. I was deeply moved by my visit there.
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