Vazhachal Forest

Vazhachal Forest

Perhaps we might not associate the south of India with dramatic landscapes, but the mountains that border Kerala and Tamil Nadu have some impressive peaks and river valleys, forest reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.

This is the Chalakkudy River Gorge in the Shoylar Reserve Forest. Just a short way downstream are the Athirappilly waterfalls which I would love to visit in the wet season.

 

Calm Kerala

Calm Kerala

Languid water and luminous sky come together one late afternoon on a fated boat trip on the backwaters of Kerala.

Fated for the two misadventures that befell our boatmen. Firstly when a boat pulled out into our path as we negotiated a narrow channel and we ran headlong into them. Then later when we ran over the nets of two fishermen. They were in tears but thankfully, due in no small part to the negotiating skills of our travelling companion Shyju, recompense was agreed for both mishaps and we concluded our much delayed boat trip by being able to capture this sunset scene.

 

Waterside, Kochi

Waterside, Kochi

The history of the trade that India had with the outside world is a long one and here in Kochi in Kerala and similarly in Goa, the architecture clearly shows the strong influence of Portugal in these former warehouses along the waterfront.

In my early visits to North India I was amazed to discover carved Roman swags decorating the architectural detail and later was intrigued to discover the Hellenistic drapery on carved figures that wouldn’t have been out of place in Greece. At one early stupa I suspected that the columns supporting the porch of a small temple shrine showed evidence of Egyptian influence but have never seen or read of this as a recognised architectural source in India. You never know what you might come across as you walk around a corner in this wonderful melting pot!

 

At Singapore Stores

At Singapore Stores

As a photographers we take our opportunities where we can and in India those opportunities are plentiful. Many shops and businesses are open to the street which has a number of benefits. The main one I suppose is access and the consequent lack of privacy. People working in these businesses are a part of the hurly burly of street life and are used to the potential for interaction with others on the street. The other benefit is that daylight streams into the premises which certainly helps to make the photography easier and more interesting.

This picture was taken in the town centre of Kannur in Kerala.

 

Two Men in a Crowd

Two Men in a Crowd

The Theyyum Festival at Kotalli near Kannur in Kerala was the highlight of our visit to the area and we spent an evening and most of a second day here photographing the people and the event. The temple was crowded and there were many keen candidates for a portrait.

A policeman wagged a finger at me. “No photographs of women,” he insisted several times, but the women were just as happy as the men to pose for their picture, and I soon lost the policeman in the crowd!