Celebrating water over The Narmada

Prasad Siddhanthi/Prasiddhi Images_DSC7760The 3rd Jal Mahotsav on the banks of the Indira Sagar Reservoir over The Narmada  took off in a grand scale on the 15 of October, 2017.  The Mahotsav inaugurated by the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan began another grand eighty day festivities combined with adventure activities, vast food selection from the region, the rich cultural bonanza combined with well equipped tented accommodation provides much sought after holiday.

Prasad Siddhanthi/Prasiddhi Images_DSC7890The sunset behind the residential clusters 

I arrived at the swanky Devi Ahilyabai Holkar International Airport from Delhi which took about 0ne hour and twenty minutes.  The journey to Hanuwanthiya Tapu (tapu the Hindi word for an Island) took me roughly five hours to travel the 130 kms distance.  The drive was quite comfortable barring few rough patches.

Prasad Siddhanthi/Prasiddhi Images_DSC7664Early morning view from the banks of Hanuwanthiya tapu.

The Indira Sagar Reservoir is the one of the five largest reservoirs in the country.

Activities for all.

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Hot air Balloon rides

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Motor Para sailing

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speed boat, jet Ski, house boats para sailing, wind surfing, scuba diving.

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trekking on the island.

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Heavenly Resort on the Back Waters. Alleppey.

Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere

Let me take you around this fine classic property.

The Lobby.  The space has an ethnic feel to it.  The imagery brings about the flock of elephants, a symbol of Kerala in its festive finery.  The centre of attraction is this large granite block shaped as a coffee table with flowers adorning its centre.  The openness of the Lobby  brings the cool breeze from the Vembanand lake just across.

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View from the Lobby.  A man made pond which houses the floating cottages.

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This Tharavadu (traditional house in Kerala with an open to sky atrium in the centre of the house) was assembled to the detail across the pond.  It has luxurious bed rooms.

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The Verandah of the Tharavadu.

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The World in its own…….

 

Nearest Airport: Nedumbassery International, Kochi.  63 Kms from the resort

Nearest Railway Station: Cherthala . 6 Kms from the resort

Distance to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary from the resort: 18 Kms.

Distance to Alleppey town: 28 Kms.

Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere

VP II/326 B, Vayalar, Cherthala, Alleppey District. Kerala.

Telephone: +91 4786613000

Email: vsp@sarovarhotels.com

http://www.vasundhararesorts.in

KERALA, ALLEPPEY, BACK WATERS. HOUSE BOAT RIDE

The Kerala Back waters are formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouth of the many rivers flowing down from the Western ghats range

These backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes, and inlets; a system formed by more than 900 kms of waterways.

Lake Vembanad is the largest Lake covering an area of 2033 sq. Kms.

I had the fortune of riding on a luxurious house boat owned by the Sarovar Hotel Group moored at their finest Hotel Vasundhara.  The boat has a big lobby cum dining area and has two large bedrooms fully air conditioned with a full fledged kitchen attached.  The terrace on the roof is heavenly.

You pass by small islands with coconut trees.  Wherefrom the toddy is collected.  Toddy is sweet potion taken before sunrise and it soon transforms into arrack as the day grows.  Toddy is the most healthy concoction and it goes well with the Kari Meenu (the fish) and Kappa curry (tapioca).

 

The Deck

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The Toddy Shop

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Lake Vembanad

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Toddy is collected from the Coconut Palm Tree

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The Kitchen on the Island

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The Dining Room

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The Roof Terrace Garden on the Boat

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The Kitchen on the Boat

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The Bed Room

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THE CHINESE, THE PORTUGUESE, THE DUTCH, THE ENGLISH & THE JEWS: FORT KOCHI

DURING MY RECENT VISIT TO GOD’S OWN COUNTRY, I LANDED IN NADEMBESSERY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, KOCHI OR COCHIN. AND THE EXPLORATION BEGAN. 

Even before I start showing what this part of the country is all about, let me take you back to sometime before Christ, that means about 2000 years ago.  Around this time, the place we all know as Kerala was covered by mangrove woods. (I only found coconut trees). The rise in sea level created this most beautiful place.  And it came to be known as Cochin meaning like China (co-chin) when the Chinese landed during 14th century. and their fishing techniques gave birth to the now famously known as ‘Chinese fishing nets’.

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Neymeen, Karimeen Chemmeen, Kozhuva, Kakka and live crab are the hot sellers.

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I found this black granite plaque under total neglect of the authorities and left best for its preservation to the mother nature.  The information narrates the Milestones in the formation of Cochin from 1503 – 1920.13-_DSC2068

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The steam boilers used for repairs in the dry dock. With such a history, the Port Authorities have not used this as an opportunity to showcase the past.  Very sad.

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Lord Willingdon and Lady Willingdon are two dredgers brought from Scotland in 1938 had a colourful career upto 1979.  Sir Robert Bristow was responsible in commissioning these ships to make Cochin a world class Port.  Lord Willingdon met with sunk in an accident in the Arabian Sea in the year 1979.

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This is the first Anchor of Lord Willingdon, amazing engineering. 

The MARINA: Walking on the marina, the only place I can show with due respect to the history of the place is the following pictures.

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THE DUTCH & THE SPICY WARS OF MALABAR.

THE DUTCH COIN, 1744 OF  EAST INDIA COMPANY

Although it is believed the prime cause of any war is a woman, the Dutch thought differently.  The lucrative pepper trade on Malabar coast motivated The Dutch to many lengths to fight the Portuguese. Finally in 1663, Cochin came under The Dutch.  Their influence is shown by the architecture of building mostly Churches.  One such church is  St Francis Church. this beautiful Church has a very illustrious history.

 

St. Francis Church was the first European church to be built in India within the oldest European settlement of Fort Cochin.  Presumably it owes its origin to the Franciscan Friars who accompanied the Portuguese expeditions in 1500.

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Originally it was erected of wood, but later rebuilt in stone and roofed with tiles by 1516 and dedicated to St. Anthony.
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It remained in the order of St. Francis till 1663 when it came under the control of the Dutch who reconditioned and converted it into a protestant church.
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In 1779, the Church was renovated  but continued in the possession of the Dutch even after the British control over cochin in 1795.  Presumably it was renamed after the patron saint during the later half of 19th century. Please notice the huge arms which swing over the people sitting in the Church to provide cool breeze.
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The Church has the grave of Vasco Da Gama, the first European navigator from Portugal to India was laid to rest in 1524 until his remains were removed and taken to Portugal in 1538.
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The grave stones of the Portuguese and The Dutch that were removed from the floor and re fixed on the side of the Church.
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A few memorial brass plates erected in memory of important persons in service of the Church are later additions to the walls. The Church is under the control of the Church of South India.
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One other important influence and contribution of the Portuguese and the Dutch to Cochin is the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica. This is one of the eight Basilicas in India and considered as one of the important edifices of Kerala, the Basilica is the finest and most impressive Churches endowed with architectural and artistic grandeur of Gothic Style.
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The Basilica builkt originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. The British for they perhaps knew what they did demolished the structure and rebuilt a new building in 1887.  The new Structure was consecrated in 1905, Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

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Now let look at another dimension; The JEWS.

Cochin Jews are called Malabar Jews, perhaps the oldest group of jews in India and with possible roots claimed to date to the time of King Solomon.  St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus is believed to have visited India.  It is possible that many of the Jews who became Christians at that time were absorbed by what became the Nasrani or St.Thomas Christians.

 

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The Jewish Market, Fort Kochi

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Its time for a siesta after a good fish curry rice lunch. Local artist.

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While catching the winds in my sails……

Mark Twain once seriously quipped…

“twenty years from now”, he said, “you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.   So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour and catch the winds in your sails…..”

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The remnants of the iron Pier that was used to roll coir onboard the waiting ships.  Alaphuzha beach

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The power of the mighty sea taming the motley people on its way.  The in roads made by the sea waters creates a network of canals by mingling with the river waters.  The so called famous back waters of Alleppey and the innumerable houseboat dwellings ferrying tourists day after day.

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Guiding light since 1862.  Alappuzha light house, a 30feet high light house has a teak spiral staircase.  The coconut oil double wick lamp was the light source until 1952 when it was replaced by a 500 mm drum optic and DA gas flasher. The electrically operated revolving optic system replaced the old equipment in 1960.  Later in 1998 this equipment was replaced by a 230 v 150 w metal halide lamp. The light house was painted red and white in 2000 is still a manned station.

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Back Waters, Alleppey part of Vembanad Lake

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It was time to pull the sails down and move forward …..