Gallery: a walk in a tea plantation
Kerala can be regarded as consisting of three parallel environments, running north to south down the state. There is the coastal strip and backwaters, where the emphasis is on fishing and trade; the slightly higher agricultural strip where pineapples, bananas and a variety of other crops are grown; and the so-called High Range, part of the Western Ghat, where tea, coffee and spices predominate.
Gallery: in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala
There’s a clue in the name! The Cardamom Hills in Kerala are famous for the growing of their namesake spice and many others besides. Peppercorns, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and more are grown on the small farms here. But also coffee and different fruits such as banana, avocado and jack fruit.
Gallery: a stroll through a Kerala village
Chowara is a small fishing community in Kerala. While tourism has come to the area, bringing visitors from elsewhere in India and further afield, it remains unspoiled and still focused on that traditional mainstay of its economy, the fish. Our hotel lay right next to the village, so it was easy one morning to forsake the lure of the pool and take a stroll with our cameras.
A walk in Fort Kochi, Kerala
On a chilly January day in London I am inevitably dreaming of warmer climes. A place where the sun is shining; where a stroll through city streets delivers colour, warmth, a bit of excitement and a lot of interest.
Periyar’s monkeys, elephants, bison and more
High in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala a national park has been created, to protect the flora and fauna of the forests that surround Periyar Lake. The aim was to stop the encroachment of tea and spice plantations; to leave enough land for the tigers, elephants and other wild creatures that call this region home.
Gallery: a traditional Keralan Kathakali performance
In a simple room in old Fort Kochi, Kerala, a young man is gradually transforming himself. In one hand he holds a small mirror; in the other the fine brush with which he applies paint to his face. An audience of tourists watches agog, cameras flashing, phones held aloft.
A dhobi wallah in Fort Cochi, Kerala
At the Dhobi Khana in Fort Cochi, Kerala, nothing much has changed since the first Tamil dhobis were brought in by the Dutch Army 300 years ago to wash their uniforms. Today it is still operated by descendants of those original families, who live and work here as they have done for generations.
The fishermen of Chowara, Kerala
One of the pleasures of a stay by the sea is an early morning walk on the beach. The waves lapping the shore, the sound of sea birds, a gentle breeze … a tranquil spot in which to recharge the batteries. But what most of us regard as a welcome break from our day to day lives is for others a place of work, and hard work at that.