India is my all-time favourite country to travel to – the people, the sights, the fact that every time you turn a corner you’re faced with something new and fascinating… The food! I was so excited to bring Patrick to this wonderful country and to explore parts which I’ve never been to. First stop on our month in India was a trip from the North to the South of the Keralan coastline.
Here are our top highlights:
1. Watching the local tourists on Cherai Beach
Cherai Beach is a lesser-visited spot for international tourists but Indian visitors pour onto the beach every evening to fly kites, eat pickled fruit from huge colourful jars and to play in the water. Picking a spot on the sea wall and watching the world go by as the sun set felt so special. I loved seeing the groups of ladies in beautiful sarees and kurties nervously jumping over the waves as they held hands and the kids who had never seen the sea before arrive on school buses for the sunset.
2. Learning about Kathakali in Fort Kochi
Kathakali is a form of classical Indian dance which tells stories about Hindu Gods and folklore. It’s known for its elaborately colourful make-up, costumes and face-masks, as well as over-the-top facial expressions and reactions. We were taught about it and then watched a performance in Fort Kochi. The actors, make up artists and musicians must all train for six years and go to great lengths for their shows. For some characters, the actors even have to put spice seeds in their eyes before the show to irritate them and make them appear red under the lights!
3. Watching the fishermen on Marari Beach
We were lucky enough to see lots of fishermen going about their business throughout Kerala. There was something about getting to sit on the near-deserted Marari Beach and watching them bringing in their catch at the end of the day which just felt perfect.
4. Our day in the backwaters near Allepey
Kerala is famous for its backwater communities and we got to experience a lot of these throughout our trip there. However, our favourite day seeing them was when we got a ferry from Allepey to its nearby villages and then a canoe through the smaller canals. We got to meet lots of locals and loved seeing the hustle and bustle on the water. The little girls pictured above were fascinated by my camera and wanted me to take photos of them so they could see them on the screen. I wish we could speak some Hindi so we could have talked properly!
5. Trying yin yoga in Varkala
As yoga novices, we were a little nervous that we’d show ourselves up in the hippy haven of Varkala if we tried yoga. However, we were lucky enough that a lovely lady called Aileen ran classes on the roof of our small hotel – Arabian Soul. She was so encouraging and specialised in Yin Yoga, which focuses on holding the poses for longer, more intense periods. So although it’s still a lot of hard work, you have more time to figure out each pose. We spent three days taking her sunset classes with the sound of the waves in the background and we’re hooked! If anyone knows of any good yin yoga teachers back in the UK, let us know…
See all of our photos from Kerala below…