ISSUE 17, April 2006
Editorial
Historic: The Brother who designed the Spitfire
Travel: The charm of Kerala
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Public Relations: Hottest spot in town
International: Emulation in Bulgaria and Mauritius takes a leap forward and Hungary's Royal Arch library
Library & Museum: Recent acquisitions
Masonic Bibles: Lodges and their Bibles
    Royal Masonic Girls' School: My thanks to the Freemasons
Holocaust: The Count of Auschwitz
Education: International conference on the history of Freemasonry and Events
Specialist Lodges: Masonry universal - via radio
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity continues to help those in need and New Masonic Samaritan Fund and Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
Grand Charity: The Tsunami - one year on and Important Gift Aid information
Letters, Book Reviews, and Gardening

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Getting from one place to another involves crossing several mini bridges. A truly romantic destination, some of the accommodation has its own private, small swimming pool, as well as facing the lake over which one can usually see the most beautiful sunset. Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the study of prolonging life’ is the traditional method of healing in India, and is used in many of the spa treatments.
    Some people come for help with their ailments, but the majority just enjoy the wonderful massages. The rejuvenation one I experienced was different to anything I had had previously. It is in various stages starting with the head then in a sitting position, after which two ladies in unison do a full body massage.
    Other activities in this paradise include bird and butterfly watching as well as being a spectator, while some of the staff practise martial arts. There are also yoga classes, which unlike the UK, emphasise the meditation aspect. The movements made are to make you breath correctly, and in doing so ensure that you concentrate on yourself rather than the outside world.
    What must be the most idyllic ending to a fascinating trip was in the final 24 hours, which were spent on a traditional backwater kettuvallam, on the 96 km lake. Designed to carry cargo, with its arched, palm-covered canopy that has a curved, double-ended prow, many of them have now been converted into comfortable houseboats complete with air-conditioning.
    With the boat entirely to myself and a lady companion, we were looked after by a cook and two boatmen.
    There is absolutely nothing to do but enjoy the beautiful scenery which includes pretty coloured flowers growing in clumps in the water. The boats come in various sizes, and I was fortunate enough to have one with its own en-suite shower room and excellent plumbing. Watching the sunset, and then waking to the sound of singing birds and also singing voices in the distance, part of the Hindu culture, is only a small part of what can only be described as magical.
    One of the ways of experiencing the nicer side of Indian life is to have a ‘homestay’. This is, as far as I am aware, mainly offered by the well-to-do families who have spare accommodation. Unfortunately, our itinerary did not include this, but we dined at the home of the Kurian family, who own the Kalaketty Estate, primarily a rubber plantation.


A Tettuvallan, a boat made of straw



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