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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Monday, 20 Mar 2017

Location: Kerala, India

MapEarly morning yoga on the lake side this morning, was a real treat. It was a very special experience on a dais on the lake shore but one which Pete declined!

Later in the morning, we joined our group for a walk in the neighbouring village. It was supposed to be through the paddy fields but these had been harvested and were as dry as could be. Everyone is waiting for the rains and praying for a good monsoon, something which they have not had for some years. Nevertheless, the walk was very enjoyable and it gave us chance to meet the locals at first hand and again remarkied at how happy and free from temper and tantrums the children were.The houses, some small some palatial, were set amongst the coconut groves and paddy fields. In the centre was the small temple. There was even the tuk tuk laden with goods which was the mobile shop.

Every house has its canoe. Essential for transporting people and goods. Several locals undertake shell mining.......25000 tonnes of black clams are harvested each year from the lake. The contents are a speciality and eaten as a source of protein whilst the shells are sold for industrial use.

There is much activity reinforcing the canal and river sides in preparation for the monsoon, sometimes with concrete, other times with silt. We watched the grim task of the men diving down to the bottom of the canals to scrape up the silt with bare hands, bring it to the surface and pile it up on the side of the water to create a higher bank. It also helps to dredge the waterways.

We were also able to get a closer look at the Kerala house boats. Traditionally they are made from wood and coir rope and not a single nail is used in their construction. The finished boat is coated with a resin made from boiled cashew nut shells. Many are now motorised but it is still possible to find those powered by a skilful chappie equipped only with along and stout bamboo pole...and there is no shortage of bamboo.

It is certainly a lovely area. According to legend, Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu created Kerala by throwing his axe into the sea. The abundance of idyllic canals and lagoons and lakes in the state seem to reinforce this legend of land born from the sea.