Journeying back down the lake you pass communities living as they have done for generations, and the glimpse into this alternative lifestyle confirms how lucky we are to be able to visit and experience, if only briefly, such a diverse and at times confusing country. Waiting for what seemed like an age for one of the many trains at the level crossing turned into a social occasion. There is always someone who did , or knew someone, who worked on the railways in some capacity. It unites this huge country and operates in a seemingly parlous condition.
We were greeted like old friends at The Marari Beach, Alapuzha, and shown our cabin a short walk from the shore of the Arabian Sea which was as warm as the swimming pool. The hotel site is very green, both in colour and in the way it operates. Surrounded by trees, every growing plant or tree seemed to be edible. We were guided through a large coriander plantation, the growth so huge you could get lost. The bird life was teeming and if you stood still and listened they fluttered down to forage. We watched a rat snake slide across our path, one of seven venomous types in India.
There is also a large farm kitchen garden, where you can experience making, and tasting of course, authentic curry using the freshly picked herbs from the garden. Attached to the farm garden is the cow shed! Rare breed cattle are tethered around the site keeping the grass down and preserving the species. They are a very small breed and very pretty.
During our stay here we found time, after all the swimming walking and just plain lazing about, to take a trip back to Alleppey and visit a Jain Temple.
Alleppey Jain Temple
There are sadly only a few worshippers remaining but the sacred place was carefully tended by those few. Our visit was really special as it was by invitation only and our visit meant a lot to the lady in attendance. The building was beautifully ornate and was flanked by large stone elephants at either side.
Alleppey itself, must have at one time been very grand and glamorous. The canals are now getting overgrown, but we visited at the end of the season before the monsoons began. We were assured the canals would be cleared of weed by the start of next year. But ignoring this the town was a delight, lots happening and plenty to see and do. Our visit there took us back to the water, it always does in Kerala. We walked on the beach and wondered at the rusty old pier jutting out into the sea. It looked rather at odds with camels and not donkeys on the sand. A legacy of the British history in the country.
I was again allowed some more fabric shopping time, which I made the most of. But space being at a premium I am going to return with an empty case to fill. My sewing output will need to improve to make space in my stash too!
But shopping can always wait, the amazing experience of traveling to India and the joy at being there will make us return. I realise we were very lucky to have stayed in such sumptuous surroundings but we shall return, and soon.