Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mattancherry - Kerala

On our last day in Kerala we took the ferry over again, but instead of turning towards Fort Cochin, we turned in the opposite direction towards Mattancherry.  This place, sometimes called "Jew Town" had a very different feel about it.  In Mattancherry we went around the Dutch Palace, which was actually built by the Portuguese but restored by the Dutch in the 17th century.  We were not allowed to take photos inside the palace.  There are many murals inside the palace that tell the story of the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.  These are in the style of Hindu temple art.

While in Mattancherry we also tried to go to the Jewish Synagogue, but unfortunately it was a Jewish holiday and so it was closed.

The Backwaters of Kerala

Jill, Evelyn, Lex and I went on a boat trip around the backwaters of Kerala.  We actually went on 2 boats - in the morning we were on a very small boat and travelled along small waterways, hopping off at various villages.

The first village we stopped at was where women made rope out of copra (the inside of coconut husks).  The women go through a long procedure of soaking the husks to make them usable, and then twisting the strands into rope - which is actually very strong.  This is used in a variety of ways, including something called geotex which is put alongside the banks to stop erosion.

Meanwhile the "flesh" of the coconut is dried in the sun and then send to a factory.  The coconut oil is removed, leaving dessicated coconut.  The brown outside of the coconut can be used as firewood and as a fertilizer.

Clothes are washed in the local waterway

After visiting the rope making village and another village where different spices were grown (pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg) we took another boat over to an island where we had a local lunch.

After lunch we set off on a larger boat down a river.  It was a slow, but very relaxing, journey.