No matter how little or how deeply traveling interests you, the southern part of India is one of those places, that can’t be missed. From carefully watching locals getting hold of their lungis to discovering a culturally intriguing way of life, the southern part of India is where you will never find yourself getting short of most expected, and a little stereotyped, Indian experiences.
But to tell you the truth, I was a wee bit unsure about my survival here, given all the distinctions between the India I was familiar to, living in New Delhi. But when an invitation landed in my inbox, from a friend living in Kerala I’d long known, I knew I had to go there and test the waters. Though I was only staying at his place for a couple of nights, but it came out as a security that I’d, at least, survive my arrival, and it seemed enough for the moment.
Thanks to that friend and to many other I met on the way, here are some incredible moments I had:
Tasting The Traditional Banana Leaf Munchies
….and learning related mannerisms, which go from getting hold of the basic ergonomics to carefully learning the art of folding the plate, as you finish your business.
Witnessing The Cultural Celebration Of Theyyam
An 800-year-old mythological stage play (in the form of different dance performances by maskmen, something familiar to Kathakali in a broad sense) which, still today, has its own importance in the society. It is believed that these performances would remove the perils and bring fortune to the people. And the energy local people conduct this religious festivity with, makes you want to believe that too.
Befriending The Tribal Pania People, In Wayanad
A vast majority of tribes in Kerala state hail from the Paniya tribal sect. And as the ‘Paniyaan’ (which literally means ‘’worker’), they were supposed to be the workers of non – tribes. They inhabit in the regions of Wayanad and the neighboring parts of Kannur and Malappuram. Very shy to the camera and in talking to strangers, I found Paniya people as very hospitable and affable in nature, once shared a few words.
Cruising Along The Backwaters
The beauty of backwaters, accompanied by the charming company of local people and all those occasional local coconut beers; need I say more?
Visiting The Blessed Vivekananda Rock Memorial In Knayakumari
…which on one side is surrounded by the never ending blueness of the ocean, and on the other – overlooked by the fading hills. The rock, where the great Indian teacher Swami Vivekananda had once meditated for three long days, before his realization, makes you too, feel the energy that Swami Vivekananda might have felt the time he meditated on the rock.
Experiencing The Majestic Oceans In Rameshwaram
This is where the perfect blue waters of Bay of Bangal and India Ocean meet each other, making it no less than a place for a ritual bath, for Hindus. When I was here, I remember feeling like an explorer, beckoning myself at the unknown, never ending vastness of the sea.
Visiting Namdroling Monastery, in Bylakuppe
Bylakuppe is a small settlement, surrounded by the native Kannadigas, and among them are living a few thousand Tibetan immigrants, trying to rebuild their own Tibet. Namdroling Monastery, the common prayer-ground in Bylakuppe for all Tibetans to practice their religious teachings, is Southern India’s largest monastery having a capacity for 3000 monks. during my visit to Karnataka I happened to attend a special prayers organised on the arrival of revered Yantha Rinpoche (a very renowned and respected Rinpoche from Assam).
Experiencing The Ruins Of Hampi
A world away from where you are, Hampi welcomes you to a totally different atmosphere. Its beautiful but wasted monuments, lying still from centuries, is definitely a must visit destination if you’re visiting the state of Karnataka.
Meeting Indigenous People And Learning New Cultures
Meeting new people and learning their philosophies always remain, for me, one of the most sought after experiences. This trip was no different. But many places do not offer conditions favorable in their nature to do so, however, when in Southern India you don’t feel that. Here people are more social, having a fairly good command on basic English making it a lot more easier for you, to talk to them.
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