All posts filed under: India

Hitting Rock Bottom

After travelling for over a month on my own I was ready for some company, and with the indulgence of a house boat all to myself and some time relaxing on the beach in Varkala I was looking forward to the week ahead.  I had booked into Amrutham Ayurvedic Village Resort based near Kovalam.  It was a short taxi ride from Varkala to the retreat, and being slightly out-of-the-way, we were greeted at a junction by a resort escort to guide us to what was to be my home for the next week. After experiencing the five-star treatment at Shreya’s Retreat I knew it would be a tough act to follow, but I had searched for hours trying to find the perfect retreat that would suit what I was looking for.  It had to have yoga and meditation, I wanted to try ayurvedic treatments and it needed to offer the flexibility of free time by a pool and be close to a beach.  All was going well, I had made it safe and sound, I was blessed on …

Sweet Varkala

Varkala was an idyllic place to stay in Kerala. It was recommended to me by a friend and I wasn’t disappointed by adding it to my itinerary. My only regret was that I couldn’t stay longer due to a retreat I had booked near Kovalam.  I spent three nights in Varkala and I could easily have spent a week.  With its beautiful red cliffs, it’s long stretching beaches and the sound of breaking waves, Varkala had a vibe where you could park up and lose yourself day after day. Varkala was my first beach experience in India and having read about the warnings of some of their beaches, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being a beach lover, I was ready to enjoy sinking my toes into some sand and thankfully it was like spending time on any other beach I’d been too.  The water was clean and the beach was predominantly clear of rubbish. Sure there were roaming eyes and walkers, but there were patrols whistling them away and I was able to really relax …

Chasing Tona

I was buzzing when I discovered the graffiti artist Tona on arrival in India, it was an unexpected surprise.  My first glimpse of the artist was in Puducherry.  I was captivated by the images in front of me, hidden amongst the stunning architecture of the French Quarter.  So much so was my captivation that when I caught a glimpse of the artist again while on a tuk tuk in Bengaluru, I made my friend walk the streets at night in search of this mysterious artist. Sadly we didn’t have any luck that evening in finding Tona, but we did stumble across the Ritz Carlton! To my delight when I saw his art again in the Fort Cochin area I really got excited, they were everywhere. From there on in as I continued to travel through India I was on the look out for Tona.  I discovered more in Varkala (on a boat), and again in Cape Comorin.  From what I can find Tona is a stencil artist based in Hamburg. Sadly I didn’t find anymore …

The Backwaters Of Kerala

The serene backwaters of Kerala are now a distant memory for me, though every time I look at these images I’m taken back to India and wishing I could be there steering into the warm still air.  There’s something very mesmerising about the backwaters.  There is a state of calm and tranquility as the landscapes blend and reflect into the water, locals bathe and wash in the abundance of water surrounding them, children ride their bikes (which seems for miles) to get to school and farmers walk the rice paddy fields. Anyone who’s researched about visiting Kerala will know that the backwaters is a mandatory stop on the itinerary and I was not going to miss the chance to see these stunning landscapes. Travelling on your own has its disadvantages and I was about to experience it first hand when I went to book a house boat tour in Alleppey.  My only option to experience a night on the backwaters was to book an entire house boat to myself.  Surely there must be other people …

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

It was great to stumble across the Kochi-Muziris Biennale while visiting Fort Cochin. The event was hosted by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust who help promote art, culture and educational activities in India.  I had visited some poor representations of museums during my time in India and my expectations of the event were low, however I was pleasantly surprised and exposed to a great group of talented artists, all for the cost of 100 rupees. You needed a few days to get around to see everything and I managed to squeeze in a day and half of viewing, zig zagging my way through the streets visiting the various locations and exhibitions.  Here are my pics from who I managed to see, unfortunately there are a few I don’t have references for.  If you’re in Kochi around the same time next year it’s well worth staying an extra day to look at the vast variety on offer to view. Aram Saroyan Janine Antoni Hew Locke Pors & Rao If you have time watch …

Striking It Lucky

One of the most wonderful things about India is its diversity when it comes to it’s towns and cities.  Some are bustling cosmopolitan delights and some are not and have a long way to go. What I enjoyed most on my travels was discovering the quaint smaller towns mixed with history and an infusion of European-Indo culture. Fort Cochin and its surrounding areas was one of these. Mixed with Portuguese houses, ancient Chinese fishing nets and an old Jewish Town there was plenty to observe as you strolled through the village streets.  I spent three nights staying in Mattancherry staying at Sui House a boutique B&B and one night in Fort Cochin at Bernard Bungalow. Sui House is a tranquil retreat located away from the crowds, but easily accessible to explore the surrounding areas on foot or by tuk tuk. Owners Kumar and Pauline make you feel welcome in their home which is filled with antiques and religious relics from their prior antique business. They also own an additional property and restaurant Caza Maria in the Jewish Town. …

An Ancient Tradition In Modern Times

After being in Wayanad for a couple of days and taking some time to rest and relax, it was nice to be back by the water, this time the west coast of India enjoying my first views of the Arabian Sea.  I was in the Fort Cochin area for four days and on the must see list were the ancient Chinese fishing nets.  This ancient technique has been around since 1400AD.  At high tide it requires at least four people to pull up the nets which is was fascinating to watch. You can purchase seafood caught from the local fisherman at the numerous fish mongers located behind them.  The restaurants next to them will then cook the catch for you while you sit outside enjoying the warm weather.  I chose not to do this after seeing the abundance of rubbish that was collected in their nets.  With faster modern fishing techniques these fisherman are struggling financially and rely on tourists to help fund their living.  Judging by the small pathetic and polluted catches I saw, …