Taken from a chalet facing the backwaters at Cherai Beach; a three-kilometer stretch of sand shoring the Arabian Sea on the northern tip of Vypeen island. Being quite isolated, it is a quiet getaway from the busy streets of Kochi.

The sea beckons visitors for a swim, while a handful of peddlers and hut eateries dotted the beachfront. In the morning, the fishermen got up early to cast their nets either on the backwaters side or by the Arabian Sea for a salted catch.

The usual scene at the ferry jetty at either side, whether at Kochi or Vypeen island. People rushed to get into the boat to get seated for the maybe half an hour ride. For shutterbugs, the ferry ride is a good investment to capture some photographs of the Chinese Nets offshore.

Vypeen island is a long stretch piece of land north of Kochi. The main attraction is the quite isolated Cherai Beach on it's northern tip, facing the Arabian Sea on the West. Chalets dotted along the beach catering to all budget range.

Kerala's Chinese Nets

in India
on 22 November 2012

The Chinese Nets are one of the iconic images of Kochi. The ancient technology is said to have been passed down by traders who came to Kochi and transferred the knowledge to the locals. Some of these contraptions are fixed along the shore of Fort Kochi and on the opposite shore of Vypeen Island.

Even today, similar contraptions are found in mainland China, where they originated.

Kochi was regarded as the spice capital of India. In the Jew Town area of Mattancherry, warehouses like the Ginger Palace still sell spices to visitors to the area. Pepper, ginger, turmeric and essential oils were traded for many centuries here.

Kochi is also the capital of Kerala. It serves as the gateway to the famous backwaters of Kerala, where multitudes of houseboats ply the waterways criss-crossing the patchwork of paddy fields found here.

One of the highlights in the Fort Kochi area, the Santa Cruz Basilica was commissioned by Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira in 1887. It replaced the one built by the Portuguese in 1558, which was later destroyed by the British when they took over Kochi in 1795.

The sanctuary features colourful and luxurious Indo-Romano-Rococo style of decoration. The wooden roof has vivid coloured frames of art depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On each pillar in the sanctuary, there are also smaller frames of art depicting the story of Jesus.

The sun was about to set as our houseboat entered into the Vembanad Lake for the final leg of our backwaters excursion for the day. Scores of houseboats were jetting in every direction as if they were hurrying home, wherever that was. The vast Vembanad Lake, the longest in India, was immense; one couldn't see the land on the other end.

It had been a wonderful sojourn; the romance of Kerala houseboats certainly lived up to its acclaim. Gliding ever so peacefully on the Kerala backwaters, one couldn't help but soak up the serenity of the rustic scenery of riverside villages, schools, churches and boatyards. Some of the places are only accessible by the waterways. There are no roads.

Have you ever heard of under sea-level paddy fields? In Kerala, India, apparently a vast amount of land has been reclaimed by erecting dykes. The backwaters of Kerala is a network of rivers, canals and lakes sandwiched between the hinterland and a narrow stretch of land running parallel to the Arabian Sea. In between these watery networks, lay miles and miles of paddy fields protected by dykes ranging from 1-2 meters high.

In the background of this photograph, the below sea-level paddy fields can be seen along with the dykes. On the right is one of the multitudes of houseboats found in the Kerala backwaters that has become a tourist industry in its own right.

Old City Market, Bangalore

in India
on 12 November 2012

The market was pulsating with buyers and sellers alike in the morning rush of Bangalore City; one of the IT hubs in India. The old Krishna Rajendra Market building, which was built in 1921, could not contain the growth of sellers inside after almost a century. The other sellers, like this one, spilled outside the building into the adjacent roads where peddlers sat on mats placed on the floor, selling their produce.

Bangalore's City Market is located at the junction of Mysore Road and Avenue Road. One of the city's busy bus stations is situated nearby, nestled underneath the highway flyover at the junction.

Anjaneya Hill marks the spot where the locals believe that Hanuman was born. Steps snaking up the hill were filled with pilgrims; some chanting repeatedly as they hiked up the stairs. The view is quite breathtaking, to say the least.

Once at the top, one can take in the 360 degrees view. The arid landscape strewn with giant boulders interspersed with green paddy fields stretched as far as the eyes can see. The other-worldly landscape actually provided the ancient Vijayanagara empire with the rocks needed to build the capital in Hampi. Ancient palatial ruins and temples still dot the UNESCO-listed area.

These stacks of rocks were found at the top of a hill mound at Anegondi. It was within the fortress compound. I wonder why this spot was chosen. Not far below the fortress is the Lakshmi Temple.

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Hello... I Am Josh

A Travel Writer & Photographer from South East Asia

A little about me

Josh For some, it's shopping therapy. Others, movie therapy. Yet more, reading therapy. For me, it's writing therapy.
Why writing? When I travel, I enjoy first-hand the experience like in shopping therapy. But when I write about my travels, I live vicariously the experience again, as if like a movie sequel (or more like GroundHog Day, except that this is fun!). Yes, writing evokes the memories, the fun and the not-so-fun but all-in-all it gives the satisfaction of reliving the sense of place once more.
With images, it enhances the experience down one's travel memory lane. With this in mind, I hope to share my travel stories in words and images with you. For your escape therapy! More...

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