Mysore, Wayand, Cochin, Allepey, Varkala

Trip Start Dec 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 03, 2013

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Thursday, January 24, 2013

We are now in Varkala in the State of Kerala, South India
Day 47

We left the state of Goa 6 days ago and entered the state of Karnataka. We spent 2 nights in the city of Mysore known for its production of premium silk, sandalwood, incense and the grand Maharajas Palace. With a population of approx 1 million, I would have to say that Mysore is very cosmopolitan and my favorite city so far. At the moment, I am reading the book 'The Life of Pi' where the story actually mentions the Mysore Zoo and then the city of Pondicherry where we will pass through and stay later on in the journey.

From Mysore we then travelled through the Western Ghats and a winding road south to the Hill Station of Wayanad. Wayanad encompasses part of a remote forest reserve where wild elephants, tigers and langur monkeys inhabit and roam. We actually saw some wild Elephants with a 2 wk old calf near the road while driving through.
Kerala is a communist state with socialist principles, there is no industry here, hence no pollution (hallelujah!) and yes, you can actually see blue sky! Apart from growing tea, coffee, spices and betel nut, tourism is emerging as the economy's future with Home-stays, Elephant Safari's, trekking to the peak of Mt. Chembra at 2100m, rafting and Caving.

From Wayanad we then had a long hot drive passing through fishing villages to Cochin (kochi) in the state of Kerala pop. approx 1.4 million.
Had our first true South Indian Kerala curry, a very small whole fish (by Australian standards) roasted/fried with a mild curry sauce.
Points of interest in Cochin:-
Ferry to Fort Cochin
St. Francis Church, India's oldest European built Church (by the Portuguese). The explorer/adventurer Vasco de Gama was buried here.
Jew Town - a Jewish community in 1000 AD
The huge spice ware-houses where the aromas of ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cumin and cloves still linger.
The Chinese fishing nets - gave us a demo, result- only old catfish, which they kept!
Ancient Mosques, old Synagogues, Portuguese houses and crumbling remains of the British Raj.
On the whole, a blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and English grafted onto the tropical coast of Malabar.

From Cochin, we had a short 4hr drive to Alleppey on the coast where we slowed down and took a blissed out overnight glide in a houseboat on Kerala's fabled backwaters.
The 600yr old rice/spice/produce boats have been converted into houseboats and is a major source of the tourism industry here in Kerala.
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