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Album: By Country | By Date India | April 2001 < Prev: Bombay, now known officially as Mumbai | Next: Kathakali Dancing >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date India | April 2001  

April 2001 - Kochi

Boating around a lake and the "backwaters" in Kerala, a state in southwestern India. (The backwaters are a network of lagoons, lakes, rivers, and canals fringing the coast of Kerala.)

Puppets hanging in window Chinese fishing nets.  Called "chinese" because  some chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan supposedly introduced them.  The counterweighted nets are lowered into the water, a light suspended above them (these days electric), and prawns are collected. St Francis Church.  Supposedly India's oldest European-built church.  Originally constructed in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscans.  It changed hands a number of times - Dutch and British - and is presently used by the Church of South India.  Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochin, was buried here for 14 years before being repatriated to Lisbon Inside of St. Francis.  The white drape is a manually operated fan.  It was easy to imagine attending services during the colonial era with the sounds of exotic birds outside and the rustle of palm trees.  The memorials to British businessmen by their companies poignantly show that the British did not expect to leave.
Chinese nets   The net is in the water and the counterweights are dangling in the air  
Along the road outside Cochin On a trip through the "backwaters" by canoe.  Kerala, the name of this state, means place with lots of coconuts.  The favorite coconut palm.  The trip was quiet, peaceful, and fun. Some fishermen returning.
The backwaters cover only about a third fo the area they did in the mid-1800s.  Legal and illegal land reclamation projects reduced the area by about 20% between 1968 to 2000.  Pollution and fishing using dynamite, poison, and very fine nets have extirpated mangroves, crocodiles, and migratory fish.  In the foreground a woman is fishing by hand. Fish in the little market A cashew fruit and nut.  The top part is the fruit.  The bottom is shaped like a cashew, though you can't really tell that from the photo.  The nut we eat is inside the skin of the lower part.
Cows.  One marked for slaughter Our boat? Monica in her new shirt Stopping for toddy
Two men and a palm wine tapper.  Guess which one is the tapper.  He looks just the same as the tappers in Liberia. Maggie Ropemaking from coir - coconut fiber.  The hull is soaked and beaten.  The skin is pulled out of the smash, the fibers washed and fluffed.  The woman has a bundle of dried fibers which she feeds out to be twisted into a strand by the hand-operated machine When the strand got long enough to reach the far machine, she attached them to that one, detached them from the machine in the foreground and then twisted the two strands into a rope.
Kids Chinese fishing net in the backwaters Duncan and our boatman Our boatman