kerala Photo Essay

While I feel the phrase “diet India” is a rather lazy way to describe Kerala, it at least highlights how different it feels. With a large Christian population and the world’s only democratically elected communist party governing the state, it is not hard to see what the differences are.

The standard of living is relatively high, the pace of life is slow, and it is nearly impossible to resist being sucked into this relaxed way of life when surrounded by the warm tropical air, lush green backwaters, and the beautiful vibrant fishing villages and beaches.

Staying in a homestay on an island in the backwaters, where there are no vehicles and only bicycles or kayaks to get around, days really do drift. Wonderful warm hosts show us all their home grown produce, teach us how to cook the coconut laden Keralan food, and then lead us on an evening stroll along the water. Things always take slightly longer in Kerala, but that is no bad thing. Our evening walks were frequently disrupted by a cricket and football matches squeezed in between the palm trees, which themselves were frequently disrupted by the balls landing in the water every few minutes.

I always look to experience the diversity of a country when I visit, and whether it is hugging the spiritual leader Amma, drifting in silence on a boat in the backwaters, or putting too much coconut chutney on each forkful of dinner, Kerala has this diversity in spades.