January 4 th : Our trip to India took off at 14.50 hrs flying Emirates EK0108 to Dubai. Slept the night in Dubai then proceeded to Kochi airport in Kerala. Thankachan was there to greet us. He lives in Kannur.
My encounter with THANKACHAN V P, Slideshare friend and a renowned Lawyer at Kuthuparamba
Stopping to tuck in some food on our way from airport. Almost mid-night.
On an auspicious day the elders of the groom's side go to bless the bride and vice versa, by sprinkling husked rice and trefoil on their heads and giving them gold ornaments. It is a kind of acceptance of the boy and the girl on both sides. Venue for the Wedding reception. My wife and I took turns to sprinkle rice on the Bridegroom < Gina & Suma, Thankachan’s wife.
The wedding ritual over the wedding ceremony begins. A banquet is held to treat the guests who lavish gifts on the new bride. MORE WEDDING PHOTOS The Bride and the Bridegroom. Posing with the couple. Preparing food for the Invited.
To commemorate the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, an article in the Malayalam newspaper Mathruboomi , examined the legacy of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler. It also brought out an important topic – Eurocentrism in history writing – due to which it delved into the work done on telescopes by Galileo, Hans Lippershey and Roger Bacon. Thankachan and his Astronomy class. In their propensity to solve astronomical problems, mathematicians of the Kerala school developed concepts like Gregory’s series and the Leibniz’s series. Thankachan is one of many that teach the natives of Kerala to understand further. Eager boys wanted to know about Malta. Ended up signing around 50 copybooks. Teaching the natives via a big screen. Invited to address the crowd. Malta was my topic. Open air gathering. All attentive, all digesting what Thankachan is saying.
A day out with Thankachan & Suma A sightseeing tour of the region proved interesting and exhilarating, especially driving through the forested narrow roads. Stopping at a Coconut stall with Gina quenching her thirst and later on selecting the fresh fish for the night’s dinner. Gina & Suma nibbling food offered freely at the Temple. Right on top is Kuttapu, T & S’s son. Below a visit to Paru’s (T & S’s daughter) school + teachers. With Thankachan & Suma at the foot of anotherTemple. The snake farm or rather Animal Farm
Thankachan organized for us a 2 day tour outside of Kannur. Riding in a comfortable car with 2 of his trusted friends, we ventured on to Ooty then on to Mysore. Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is the "Queen of hill stations" and the capital of Nilgiris district. It is one of the most popular tourist resorts in India. Nilgiris means "Blue Mountains". It is a land of picturesque picnic spots. Used to be popular summer and weekend getaway for the Britisher’s during the colonial days. It is situated at an altitude of 2,240 meters above sea level. Somewhat COLD A day’s visit to OOTY
Ooty has plenty of tourist attractions. The Botanical Gardens are full of shady trees, myriad ornamental plants and flowers. Another major tourist’s spot is Ooty Lake, which is at about 1-km of distance. It is an artificial lake constructed by John Suvillian, the first Collector and virtual founder of Ooty in 1824. Ooty organizes a number of carnivals all through the year. The most popular among them are the annual Tea and Tourism Festival in January, which we sorely missed. Driving to OOTY Stretching our legs amongst the Eucalyptus Trees….. and a tea plantation at our backs. The high altitude made us wear our jackets. A stop at a tea Factory was interesting and we ended coming out with small bags of varied tea Leaves. Along the road we encountered the odd monkey and the odd cow wandering the roads.
If you are in Ooty in the month of May, then you can also be a part of the summer festival, which is held there annually. More photos of OOTY Left to right……the lush greenery, the lake and our hotel (just kidding for in India, the word hotel also refers to restaurant). With Gina at the Botanical gardens, the open market and the vegetable stall . Another pose at the Botanical gardens and finally with our protégés at market.
Mysore is the second biggest City in the State of Karnataka. It lies 130 kms from the State Headquarters, Bangalore. It is the erstwhile capital of the Mysore Maharajas, who ruled Mysore State from this royal city. Mysore has still an old world charm which has not given way to modern amenities. In addition to its beautiful silk sarees and sandalwood oil, Mysore is also famous for its silk. Mysore is a city of palaces, gardens, shady avenues and sacred temples and retains some of the charm of the old world with its many institutions that propagate Carnatic Classical music and dance……. Next stop MYSORE Here we meet up with Slideshare friend N o 2… The carefree Avalok Sastri
Avalok took up my invitation to join us for a day in Mysore. It took him over 150mins to travel from Bangalore his home town. Worthwhile noting that Bangalore is India’s fifth largest and fastest growing city.
With Avalok at the Maharaja's Palace Drowning a shot of good whiskey Not trusting Avalok as he gestures with his fork! Yet another pose prior to entering the Palace A stop at a Hindu temple at the top of Chamundi Hill Just relaxing. Avolok managed to have lunch and a late dinner with us all prior to him heading home. Avolok is just fantastic, once you get to know him. A laid back person, if ever there was one.
Having been away for 2 days to OOTY & MYSORE, we returned for a final 2 day stay with Thankachan & family. Before proceeding to Thankachan’s house we were invited by Rajan for a family reunion….his wife, his son and daughter. On the way we even had time to visit Thankachan’s brother and his wife. That’s her with my wife Gina. In the meantime, back home Suma was preparing fresh home-made noodles for us and her adorable family.
A vast number of local Hindu Indian festivals revolve around the worship of gods at the neighborhood, or village nearby. We were present during one of these Festivals. Ordinary men are dressed up in the images of the gods. People flock to them for advice and consolation. I t is also a reason for music, dance, processions, and what have you.
Undecided whether to take a horse ride.
On the other hand the same Astrologer predicted I could be the next winner!
The Basilica of Bom Jesus
Sorry for the poor state of some photos, but shrinking the size and resolution lessens their quality profoundly. Music supplied by Thankachan. Song is in Hindi and it is called chupke chupke raat din