Watering time for elephants
at the Periyar tiger reserve
The impressive interior of the
Jewish Synagogue at Cochin
Another indication of Masonic presence is to be found in the
tea museum. As well as outlining the history of the drink and
demonstrating how the leaf eventually becomes what we
drink, it also houses a plaque concerning Freemasonry in India.
Our next stop, Periyar Tiger Reserve, sprawling over 777
sq. km has a lake with boat rides, the most popular way of
seeing the wild animals. Unfortunately, the likelihood of
sighting a tiger is remote. However, we did see elephants,
Samba deer, wild boar and bison as well as a variety of birds.
Although I had hoped to participate on a trek, an
unexpected rainstorm made this impossible. Nearby, we
stayed at Spice Village in accommodation designed as tribal
huts, thatched with elephant grass. Its 14 acres of grounds
are laid out with specimens of the many different spice and
fruit trees to be found in Kerala.
A tour of this gives you an insight into the abundance of
food grown in the area. Guinea fowl, running around on the
lawns, add to the enchantment of the place. Of the many
activities available is a cookery demonstration of some of the
local dishes, with a cookbook available to purchase so that
you can experiment when you get home. All the spices you
need can be bought virtually anywhere at a very small cost.
With such a hectic itinerary, our stay at Coconut Lagoon was
a welcome reprieve. Situated on the banks of Lake Vembanad,
the only way to get there is by boat through Kerala’s backwaters.
Set within a coconut plantation, which is interspersed with
a network of canals, accommodation is in cottages called
tharawads, the traditional wooden house of the region.