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Old 14th December 2010, 23:27   #16
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Good start Star. I had completely missed your first story. So I have started reading that. I am also planning my own Christmas vacation. Will be coming to KA along with another friend's family. Hope you have a memorable holiday.
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Old 15th December 2010, 23:42   #17
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Default What we will get to eat in Kerala ?

@pjbiju
Thanks biju for your wishes. I also wish you a merry X mas and happy vacations.

What we will get to eat in Kerala ?
---------------------------------
One of the feedback i have heard from my friends who have been to Kerala is that It is excellent when it comes to the variety of non vegetarian choices one can enjoy. I have seen people often not speak about the vegetarian food choices except about Idly, Dosa and other items consumed during breakfast.

With our inhibitions about food choices (we are non-veg challenged !), i was interested to explore some options prior to we actually reaching there, so that i can sensitise my daughter about them.

When i did a quick internet search (thanks to the original contributors), i found this interesting chart which lists the MUST HAVE FOOD ITEMs from various regions of India.

019 Must Have Regional Food from India
Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Country-regional_indian_food.jpg

When i did some more search i found several items we must have during our trip to Kerala.

020 Kerala has several choices for vegetarians or non vegitarians alike.
Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Country-keral-food-choices.jpg

I am sure my friend and his family might simply love meen (=fish) curry and rice or chicken/mutton curry etc.

Ofcourse we would love to tryout appams, idiyappas, as well as vegetarian sadya,

021 Indians treat our land as our mother, I think mallus more so probably because of maternal dynastic nature of traditional society (picture found on internet)
Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Country-mother-kerala-1.jpg

We will not go hungry while in Kerala, because Mothers won't let the hungry kids go to sleep for sure. More about Kerala food later on in this thread as we experience it.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 15th December 2010 at 23:57.
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Old 16th December 2010, 00:58   #18
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Star, nice way this travelogue is shaping up. It's always a delight to see some one searching out the non - touristy spots and sights. And there are quite a few off the radar places in Kerala, believe me Will be following this thread closely.
Wishing you many more happy mile munching in the New Year!
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Old 16th December 2010, 11:21   #19
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Default Re: What we will get to eat in Kerala ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
...
We will not go hungry while in Kerala, because Mothers won't let the hungry kids go to sleep for sure. More about Kerala food later on in this thread as we experience it.
Veg items you should try - most of these are breakfast or evening snack items
  • Palappam & vegetable stew
  • Idiayappam & vegetable stew (or egg roast if you eat eggs)
  • Pathiri (a kind of rice pancake) with veg stew or green peas masala
  • Pazhampori (fried bananas)
  • Puttu and Kadala curry (you need to use a lot of gravy as this absorbs a lot of it. And difficult to eat it dry)
  • Kappa (Tapioca)
    • Boiled with green chilly/red chilly chutney
    • Masala kappa (cut into cubes, boiled and then mixed with coconut, green chillies, curry leaves etc.). You can use any pickle as accompaniment
    • Kappa Biriyani
  • Ada (if you can find it). This will have a sweet coconut filling like modak
Non-veg items
  • Palappam & mutton/beef stew
  • Idiayappam & egg roast/chicken roast
  • Pathiri (a kind of pan cake) with chicken roast
  • Kappa (Tapioca) with red fish curry
  • Kappa mixed with beef/mutton
  • Duck Mappas
  • Fish Molly
  • Karimeen Pollichathu
  • Squid preparations
  • Kerala/Malabar Porotta with beef roast/chicken roast
  • Kada (Quail) roast/fry
At some places many of these items may be prepared using coconut oil. You may need to check that, if you are not used to eating things cooked using coconut oil. But it gives these dishes an authentic feel and flavour.

Go to Fort Kochi, buy fresh fish and get it cooked over there. Sit on the beach and enjoy the food. Sorry no veg stuff over there - so you will have sit and watch your friend relishing their fish.

@star, the food of India picture is a nice find. I am saving that. I love cooking. I will try to find the recipes of some of them and try them at home.

Last edited by pjbiju : 16th December 2010 at 11:27.
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Old 16th December 2010, 12:26   #20
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

@Biju, do you realise what you have just done? My mouth just cant stop watering, and my stomach already started grumbling and craving.

I think I must head to Kerala...

@Star, now we will be looking at Kerala food photography and taste discussions too
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Old 16th December 2010, 21:19   #21
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Default Why Kerala is called God's Own Country ?

@nutty nair,
Thanks for your greetings. i also wish you seasons greetings and a very happy new year

@pjbiju
this is exactly what i wanted as inputs from friends like you. Thanks very much.

You already left even people like Lalu (a kerala origin person) hungry with your list. Now i can imagine what will happen, either poor civic or swift has to drive some 1500 KMs with short notice.

@laluks
We will get about 4 days x 3 times = 12 attempts to taste Kerala food. We will ofcourse make attempts to experience the authentic and traditional kerala cuisine. Will share some of our experiences once i return. Ofcourse we can have tasty discussions as well.

Why Kerala is called GOD's own country ?
------------------------------------------
Yesterday night, my daughter asked me these questions, Are other states does not belong to GOD ?
I was now prepared to answer that question. Google baba (who else ?) was approached and he suggested several answers.

022 I personally liked the one from the Yahoo answers
Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Country-why-kerala-known-gods-own-country.jpg

I also learnt that historically Kerala is divided into 6 regions. We will not be able to visit all 6 regions during this trip. I think we will be driving through some parts of Northern and Central Travancore and Central Kerala this time. I would be combining the drive to Malabar and Northern Malabar regions in one trip and Sourthern Travancore would be combined with drive through Madurai, Kanyakumari sometime in future.

Wiki baba also provided excellent information about Kerala. Good thing is that the information would remain the latest at any given time. I have added the link here as a resource for our reference. Kerala - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


One person who single handledly provided a sort of identity to the Kerala region is Raja Ravi Varma. Apart from Authentic Kerala food, i would also like to experience his paintings. I would like to buy some book of paintings for my records. I am not sure where i will be able to buy it.

023 About Raja Ravi Varma (as per wikipedia, my apologies for the quality of images)
Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Country-about-raja-ravi-varma.jpg

024. We had seen some of the painings which looks like that of Raja Ravi Varma recently
Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Country-paintings-kamath-honnavar.jpg

But i feel they may be duplicates based on his style of painting, but i enjoyed seeing them at Kamath Honnavar

Raja Ravi Varma had painted various Hindu godesses just like the South Indian Women. It is said that he thought south Indian women were very beautiful, this fact no south indian man can deny for sure.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 16th December 2010 at 21:35.
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Old 16th December 2010, 22:33   #22
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Star, If you are interested in seeing Raja Ravi Varma paintings, one of the best places will be the Sri Chitra Art Gallery at Trivandrum. I think some of his original paintings are displayed here. I don't know whether copies of his paintings are available for purchase here. Not far from Trivandrum on the MC Road is situated the Kilimanoor Palace, which houses the studio of this great artist. Copies of his paintings are available for sale here. Hope this helps.
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Old 17th December 2010, 02:03   #23
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Quite a few of Raja Ravi Varma's painiting are on display in Jaganmohan Art Gallery in Mysore, too. Not sure of availability of replica for sale, though.
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Old 18th December 2010, 13:16   #24
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

@Nutty Nair
Thanks, this time we are not plannign to visit TVM, so i will visit the place mentioned by you next time when i visit TVM+Kanyakumari+Poovar.

@Arindam
Yes, i did notice these pictures at Jaganmohan Art Galary in Mysore. But i do not have any pictures. The idea i have is not to buy duplicate/replica paintings. As it will be difficult for me to preserve these paintings. But i want to buy a book (A3/A4 size) which showcases these paintings and a brief review of the same inlcuding life and times of the great painter.

Moving forward with the planning...

Having listing the key goals like experiencing culture, dances, paintings, food etc, let me move to another very key task to be accomplished during this trip.

Ladies in India are said to be extreemly fond of the places like Banaras, Kanchipuram, Mysore, Paithan, Ahmedabad, Ilakal etc etc, and would not like to miss any opportunity to be there. This is basically becasue these places are heartlands for the different styles of sarees.

The two smart ones in our group are no different. My boss at home already "suggested" that "we could" go and checkout some "Kerala Traditional Sarees" with a standard disclaimer "we need not buy, but let us check anything interesting"

Most married men would understand what it means. I think, I do not need to explain. So we had to accomodate atleast 0.5 day to do this task. Some more research is in progress to identify some good location so that we do not annoy many Saree Shop keepers/sellers in Kerala while "checking out something interesting"

Some initial internet search threw up the below information

Quote:
Kerala, known as 'God's own country', has its own textile tradition. Kerala Sarees are symbolic of Kerala culture and tradition and is not seen anywhere else in India

The elegant Kerala Saree, off white with gold border is unique for their natural colour, texture and golden border. These sarees lend an extraordinary elegance to the person wearing it. Every Malayali woman possesses at least one Kerala sari in her wardrobe

Traditionally women in Kerala also wear a two piece cloth named 'settu mundu', also known as 'mundum neriyathum' with natural body colour and breathtaking border shades, which when worn, exactly look like a saree

The typical Kerala saree is hand woven and is 100 per cent unbleached cotton. It is known for its fineness of count in weaving. The traditional design of a Kerala saree had a 1 inch to 6-7 inch pallu while the body remained plain. But now the pallu goes up to one metre and the border and pallu is decorated with common designs of animals such as peacock and flowers. The sari is now available in checks, stripes and a wide variety of designs as well as in cotton mixed with silk

Men in Kerala wear Kasavu mundu or dhothies during festive occasions. In all places of worship, specially in temples, the most preferred dress is the dhoti. This light pure cotton handlooms edged with golden thread is some times touched with contrasting bright colours. Dhoti's are available in regular, large and extra large sizes

Balaramapuram in Thiruvanathapuram district, the capital of Kerala is the most historically important place for Handloom fabrics, especially the traditional wear. It follows a tradition about 150 years old. It was during the regime of His Highness Maharaja Balaramavarma, which dates back from 1798 to 1810, that handloom weaving was first introduced at Balaramapuram. The weavers here originally belonged to Saliyas community who migrated from Nagar coil and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. They used to produce super fine 'Mundum Neriyathu' for the need of the royal family. The tradition spread from them to the local weavers. The weavers use original type throw-shuttle pit looms for the production of exclusive cotton sarees with pure jari. Besides Sarees, 'Mundum Nereyathum', 'Mundu', 'Earezha thorthu' (bathing towel), 'Melmundu' etc. are woven here

Koothampalli in Thrissur district is also well known for its handloom fabric. Here a community of Devangas who immigrated from Karnataka are engaged in weaving. The 'Kasavu Sarees' which are being produced here is mostly with half fine jari and hence more economical. Koothampalli sarees are preferred by the middle class people for its comparative low prices

In Kerala, almost 2 lakh weavers are earning their livelihood from the handloom industry, 75% of them in the co-operative line
025 Mallu way of dressing (pictures found on internet)
Name:  Mallu Dressing.JPG
Views: 5811
Size:  41.9 KB

I already have couple of Mundu at home, so i do not have any aspiration to check out the same while in Kerala. But i need to be ready for the potential pocket emptying experience after the so called "checking out" session.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 18th December 2010 at 13:24.
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Old 18th December 2010, 15:01   #25
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

I guess this thread is turning out to be a mini wikipedia here covering geography, culture, food, people, dress etc etc ..
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Old 18th December 2010, 23:34   #26
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
@Arindam
Yes, i did notice these pictures at Jaganmohan Art Galary in Mysore. But i do not have any pictures. The idea i have is not to buy duplicate/replica paintings. As it will be difficult for me to preserve these paintings. But i want to buy a book (A3/A4 size) which showcases these paintings and a brief review of the same inlcuding life and times of the great painter.
Searching Flipkart.com: Buy Books Online @ Book Store in India: Online Bookstore for Raja Ravi Varma gave some interesting result - you may want to check the same.
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Old 19th December 2010, 01:29   #27
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Awesome start to your travelogue!!
Can't wait for it to unfold over the fortnight...

I completely subscribe to the same philosophy with respect to travel with children as you do.
All the best for the merry season and best wishes for the career ahead.

You trip might just provide me with the required impetus to do a coastal Kerala top-to-bottom trip, using what else but public transport.
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Old 19th December 2010, 22:23   #28
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Default some responses

@mohsinroadster
i was just penning down some planning aspects of the trip, ofcourse the detailed drive plan will follow before we start from Bangalore. One may feel that the details are already available in wikipedia, then why repeat them here ?.

Answer is simple, one of the main target reader for my thread is my daughter when she turns a teen. When i include the details it will help her to understand the context better when she reads this this thread

I fact, when i called home yesterday night, she was reading the last year's log for the first time. She is just 8+ years now, ofcourse she may not understand much now, but when she reads successive logs, then that becomes a habit to follow the process of planning. Afterall we learn from people around us, the stories we read and listen to.

My apologies, if these details tend to make few readers dis-interested. It is un-intentional.

@arindam
thanks, will check it out.

@aryasanyal
thanks for your greetings and good wishes. I also wish you a very happy new year.

My first couple of trips to Kerala were using public transport itself.
The very first one was to Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Trivendrum in 1996. I used to work in Pune at that time, i had come to Bagalore by Varun Travels Bus. It was an 18-20 hours journey (2PM to 11 AM) those days. Then i had been to Kalasipalyam to catch an private bus to Kochi. The bus was suppose to start at 8 PM, but started only by 10 PM, reached Kochi by 10 AM. Then i took a Kerala govt bus to reach trivendrum by 6 PM. It was probably my longest bus journey till date.

I did several such journeys to VSSC till 1998, couple of times by train as well. If well planned travel by public transport will be economically efficient.

Today i took a Jetlite flight from Delhi to Mumbai. Despite being sunday, the flight was full, with many families, kids in the flight most of them probably on their vacation trip. When booked in advance low cost airlines are much more economic than the bus/trains in a wholistic way.

This time we are not going to drive on the Kerala Coast. we might just cover Allepey and some parts of Kochi on the coast. Other parts of the coast would be done in due course.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 19th December 2010 at 22:30.
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Old 20th December 2010, 11:00   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
@mohsinroadster
i was just penning down some planning aspects of the trip, ofcourse the detailed drive plan will follow before we start from Bangalore. One may feel that the details are already available in wikipedia, then why repeat them here ?.

Answer is simple, one of the main target reader for my thread is my daughter when she turns a teen. When i include the details it will help her to understand the context better when she reads this this thread

I fact, when i called home yesterday night, she was reading the last year's log for the first time. She is just 8+ years now, ofcourse she may not understand much now, but when she reads successive logs, then that becomes a habit to follow the process of planning. Afterall we learn from people around us, the stories we read and listen to.

My apologies, if these details tend to make few readers dis-interested. It is un-intentional.
Your cause for penning down the details is just brilliant.
Honestly, I am very impressed.
Keep up the good work.
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Old 20th December 2010, 11:10   #30
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Default Re: Story of a Vacation II : A page out of Jungle Book & experiencing God's Own Count

Star,

As always you made a great start, waiting for the story especially since its written in Kerala. Hoping to see you and wifey in Mundu and Set saree and kiddy in set pavada .
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