Sunday, January 28, 2018

Alleppey to Thekkady

We drove from the coconut palms and rice paddies of the west coast of South India today, up into mountains covered in rubber and tea plantations and then on to the spice gardens around Thekkady. It was only around 125klms but with a few stops and travelling at an average speed of about 50klms an hour it took us a good four hours on the road. On these narrow, mountainous roads we're very pleased our driver is so calm and skilled at what he does.

Of course there was another very ostentatious Catholic church along the way (one of MANY).
 .....but with a great view of these carefully manicured (plucked) tea plantations.
 We enjoyed our guided tour of the spice gardens just outside Thekkady. I did not know cardamom (The Queen of spices) grew from a flower at the base of the cardamom plant - like this ........
 We saw allspice, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla growing as well as a number of Ayurvedic plants for which this region is noted. No wonder the colonisers rubbed their hands together when they came across all this bounty! 

And we were all impressed with the apparent capacity of the plumbago plant to cure obesity!!!  and this Indian fig tree ........
 We were way overdue for our lunch by the time we arrived at our Spice Village Hotel in Thekkady, and by the time we'd eaten it was getting on for about 4.00pm. The hotel is very charming - we're all in  individual villas with thatched roofs of elephant grass, and it's set in 15 acres of spice gardens. The township of Thekkady is well geared up for tourists and supports a big colony of monkeys who seem to own the surrounding bamboo forests.

 I photographed this local beauty (with her husband's permission) this evening on our walk around town.
And we enjoyed the dance performance presented by the hotel in the early evening. It's so obvious to us now how Balinese dance has evolved from classical Indian dance! 
 That's a full pot of water this dancer is balancing on her head, as she balances her feet on that tray!

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