Friday, 29 January 2010

The Backwaters

The Backwaters is a huge network of rivers, canals and little islands a few kilometers from the coast. A boat trip on these waters is one of the Keralan touristic highlights and we were lucky enough to go there with a lovely local guy, Jayan. He owns our favorite homestay in Varkalla, the Shiva Garden where we were spending most of the time drinking chai, eating masala dosa and making friends with the personnel. So Jayan took us in his car to the place where he grew up, put us in a tiny fishing boat, gave each of us a branch of palm tree in the hands as a paddle and there we were paddling on the inland waters in the afternoon sun. All you can see here are the palm trees on the islands again, in between some local children playing (how different is the way they grow up!), some other boats crossing, birds, cows, water, water and silence. You cannot see the life behind the palm trees, you get only a glimpse of a burning fire or listen to the everlasting Indian chants breaking the silence of the waters. These chants which are literally rising to the sky are always present around this little traditional villages.
Than we stop at a temple island and in charge of 50 rupees admission we walk around the place were Shiva, Parvati and their son, Ganesh are worshiped. Cashew trees, banjan trees, bodhi trees and even more silence. The very strong energy of the island touches us immediately. The statues of the snake-god Naga are covered with the deep yellow turmeric and you do believe that your prayers on this place will come true. The presence of the gods is very sensible. After sunset the brahmin is performing his evening puja with the dancing candles around the god-statues and we paddle back to our car in the cooler breeze of the evening. Our boat is like floating now above the waters.

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