KERALA, INDIA / WITH KUONI
Kerala, three syllables that sound very exotic to my ears! It's this beautiful region of Southern India that I visited mid-October, invited by Kuoni France, to discover this Indian territory in one week, accompanied by 4 other photographers and a local guide speaking perfectly French.
Are you ready to follow me in this adventure?
COCHIN / KOCHI
1st day: We arrived at 3.00 a.m. local time in Cochin, in full October, the contrast with the Paris weather was striking! 26° C, 80% humidity, quickley in the bus with aircon to reach the hotel and finish our night's sleep, started on the plane. In the early morning, we left to discover the port city Cochin, on foot, by boat, by bus. Reference to the fishermen who still use the Chinese square dipping nets!
The contrast is blatant between the luxurious hotels we are staying and have lunch, comparing to the rest of the city, in particular the old wash house, where these men and women have for larger customers ... the luxury hotels where we lodge !
A stroll through the streets with a pronounced colonial past, palace, temple, to end the day with a show of Kathakali dances, just the makeup and costumes are worth the detours!
2nd day: Towards Dewalokam, to discover the Keralais hinterland, in the middle of spice plantations! On the way I couldn't prevent myself to stop in front of this church, which by its colors and cleanliness did remind me of the ones of Santorini. Then next stop in the middle of a pineapple field! (I don't know you, but I don't see any every day at home!)
After a few hours we arrive at Dewalokam Resort (Farmstay Retreat). And there we take full eyes (or full nose I should say), this farm is a huge plantation of spices of all kinds: pepper, cinnamon among others, coconut, ginger, and also rubber, these famous trees that produce primery latex!
Also animals take part, and after this walk in the middle of all these condiments, it is time to test all this by a traditional lunch, the Sadya!
Then relax at the swimming pool and a dive into the river!
The kindness of the staff and owners of Dewalokam is exceptional! I rarely felt this during my travels, so it was quite difficult to leave after 24 hours on the spot.
ALLEPPEY, THE BACKWATERS
3rd day: Departure for Alleppey, and the famous Backwaters cruises! So yes, it is very touristy but it pleases everyone, so let enjoy ourselves too!
The trouble of the day ... the weather! It rains heavily non stop this day, it's a pity, but not enough to be demoralized either...
We all board on a houseboat, which is as the name suggests a house on the water! 2 bedrooms with bathroom, kitchen, WC and the front of the boat serves as living room.
We all passed a nice time, very pleasant, and once again the food very good. We even played Boat Captain!
DIWALI AT THURAVOOR, NARASIMHA TEMPLE
4th day: After a good night's sleep in the beautiful Vasundhara Sarovar hotel in Thuravoor, we are preparing to live a special day: this 18th of October 2017 is the day of Diwali! The famous festival of lights, one of the most important celebrations in India! For this purpose we head for the Temple of Narasimha. Shoes in the cloakroom, it's barefoot we enter to discover all these festivities.
Sacred procession of elephants, traditional musical spectacles, firecrackers, and noise, a lot of noise! Look at all these colors, all these people dressed for the occasion, it's really fabulous.
5th and last day: Last day, last long hours of road! (6h this time!) Towards the city of Trivandrum, famous in particulary for its temple, the one of Padmanabhaswamy. I explain below the peculiarity of this temple.
First of all let's start with the visit of the city, its streets full of people and colors!
Then place at the Temple :
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the richest religious monument of the world! Even richer than the Vatican! Why, how?! A treasure estimated at 22 billions US$ discovered in 2011 in the underground chambers of the temple. The treasure consists out of necklaces, precious stones, statues and gold coins. These offerings were dedicated to the god Vishnu. Unother chamber, the "B", has not yet been opened, while being sealed with an iron door, carrying a cobra pattern, which according to popular belief, is a sign of misfortune!
Back to the hotel to enjoy Ayurvedic massages and treatments, we really deserved them ^^
Many thanks to Kuoni for letting me discover this beautiful region of India, this trip has deeply marked me on several levels. As well at the tourist level of course, but especially for a cultural and traditional point of view, it was really very humanly enriching.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual trip, do not hesitate to discover my first article on this trip published a week ago (http://marcnouss.com/travels/people-of-kerala