Kapoors Year 1: India/S.E. Asia travel blog


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KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

The Lonely Planet says "come here with an open itinerary and the rest of your plans for India are in serious trouble". I can vouch for this statement; this is our second time in Kerala and we couldn't wait to return. It has taken us six years, but, all this time, I have been dreaming about the simple life here and it was a major motivator in making the decision to retire early....

The coastline of Kerala has had foreign visitors for centuries - the Phoenicians, the Arabs, and of course the Europeans. Traders have been looking for spices and ivory for at least three thousand years. Kerala was also a stopping off point for the spice trade with Indonesia. There is evidence of this trading influence everywhere - Christian churches, mosques, women in burqas, Dutch and Portuguese colonial homes, and even a 16th century synagogue.

The main language is Malayalam (pronounced Ma-lay-a-lam). For those of you with Anil's love of words, please note that Malayalam is a palindrome - the word can be spelled the same backwards and forwards! Another couple of interesting palindromes are "race car" and "Madam, I'm Adam" (without the punctuation!). But I digress...

Vasco de Gama arrived in 1498 and since that time Kerala has grown into one of the most progressive states in post-independence India. It has had a communist government since 1957; regular elections have taken place since that time and resulted in the equitable distribution of both land and income.

Please follow along with us as we journey northwards from the southern tip of Kerala through the fertile strip along the coast, visiting the famous "backwaters" and then inland to the cool climate of the Western Ghats (mountains). I will try to show you the beauty of this state - if you can ever get me off the beaches in Kovalam and Varkala.

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