One day we were cavorting in the Bay of Bengal and enjoying the fairs of Pondicherry, the quiet, serenity of Auroville and the next we were taking a stroll along the cliffs of Varkala. Two different states(Tamil Nadu and Kerala), geographies, lingos, people and weathers. Pondicherry is bright, sunny, busy and noisy. Varkala is relaxed, cloudy, humid and very touristy. We have only two nights in Varkala and visit the Golden island temple and also take an elephant ride.
And of course countless hours in the slightly cooler Arabian Sea. I liked the Bay of Bengal a lot more, but only because we had 3 other loonies there to cavort with in the sea on some inner tubes and sometimes in the nude.
A day in Allepey takes us to the beautiful backwaters. We decided as a last minute detour to go there and catch our onward bus after a boat tour. A very nice tour guide, Mohan, takes us through the villages around the backwaters where the main work is growing rice. He takes us where no houseboat can go.
When it rains the houses are flooded but that’s just all in a day’s work for them. They know nothing else accept for this life of peace and tranquility. Years ago the rice fields belonged to one rich man but it has been systematically returned to the villagers who work in it daily. We stop off at Mohan’s (our guide) home that has been in his family for four generations. They live there and work in the rice fields.
A refreshing coconut water drink later, we walk to the edge of the rice fields. He owns his own house now but is still close to his family home where both parents are still living. The villages have everything they need including electricity, water and schools. However they wash and bathe in the backwaters and there is no shower curtain! And of course no roads because it’s only water everywhere you look.