Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Periyar - Day 9

We woke to rain. With the air conditioning pumped up in the room and the heat and the rain outside the world looked like it was about ten shades of grey. While we slept the colours of the backwaters had washed away.  A strange feeling.

Life continues here as in most places of the world when it rains, the people of the backwaters could be seen moving along the shore heading to where their day would take them and we would be doing the same. Our driver was waiting for us at the prescribed meeting place so breakfast was served, our luggage collected and we left our boat for our journey to Periyar.

I wasn't pleased about this move as I was looking forward to the two nights and days on the backwaters. It is a magical place. Even though the weather was not our reason for leaving the rain helped us feel that moving on was a good idea.

Our van climbed up, around and through, switching back and forth as it followed the roads. The view out the window continued to be more expansive as we climbed and the valleys became further away. The trees along the road changed from a forest of palms to organized plantations of mango, banana and cashew trees.  The hill were planted (stepped) with neat rows of tea.

Periyar, our destination, is in the middle of a mountainous area of the Cardamom Hills. Elevation 2000 ft. The sun was shining and the heat of the lowlands was left behind. Our accommodation was an ecolodge called Spice Village. Our accommodation a thatched cottage in a garden. Perfect.

Our driver had pointed out as we passed through the village an opportunity to experience Kerala's martial-arts, Kalaripayattu.

From Kadathanadan Kalari Centre, Thekkady: "Kalaripayattu - the oldest of martial arts - is a gift to the modern world and known as the mother of all martial arts. Legend traces the 3000-year old art form to sage Parasurama, the master of all martial art forms and credited to be the re-claimer of Kerala from the Arabian Sea. Kalaripayattu originated in ancient South India. Kung-fu, popularized by the monks of the shaoline temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma - an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master."

It was an amazing performance. If you are travelling in Kerala and have this opportunity, don't pass it up. I almost did as I try to stay away from anything I feel is promoting fighting. This would have been a mistake on my part. The presentation was a beautiful dance.

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