From the backwaters we took a train to Kannur. A very pleasant train ride, we were in an open air car so we could see the beautiful coastal landscape as we rode along. After arriving at our homestay, one of the first things I noticed was that there were Brahmin Kites flying EVERYWHERE in the palm forest that surrounded us. A 5 minute walk to the ocean, we enjoyed a tropical forest setting. The beach there was unbelievably beautiful and nearly deserted at most hours of the day.
The beach nearest to us had waves forcefully washing onto the shore and the beach next door, about a 15 minute walk, was relatively calm.
One morning I was there and I saw dolphins playing not to far from shore. It was a magical experience.
We saw a Theyyam which is a dance ritual that is done almost exclusively in Kannur and the surrounding areas. It dates to ancient, neolithic times. The drumming for it was loud but very cool.
We took a bus to our final destination.
There was very nice Indian music playing almost the entire time and created a nice atmosphere as we climbed and climbed up the Nilgiri hills, hairpin turns galore.
Aranyakam is nestled inside an organic coffee plantation. They also harvest rubber, tea, cardamom and pepper in the area. Our hosts, Neema and Rajesh were very special people and made sure that we were content in every way. The food was delicious and one of my favorites was a bean sprout, pineapple, pomegranate salad. The Aranyakam property has been in Rajesh’s family for at least a generation. Our tree house was built only a few years ago. There are two of them and they also have a lodge with six rooms.
There we met Pascalina and Paul from Lyon, France. Their property in Lyon has been in Paul’s family for many generations. I’ve decided that I must visit them there some day. They say there is a very famous jazz festival nearby and that jazz is very big in France. Sounds like my kind of place!
We mostly hung out at our homestay but one day we took a tour of a bamboo factory, a rice field village, a tea plantation and a waterfall.
This is my last entry in the blog. I was very fortunate to be able to be part of this wild adventure and I thank Rahul and all of the forces that enabled me to do so. May whatever knowledge and insight I gained from my experiences bring benefit to others. xo Anandi