12 October 2013

Kumily and Thekkady, India (23)

On the way to Kumily - the ever present Tuk-Tuk!

Kumily has many hotels and home stays. A young chap started talking to me when I took a photo of the "Don't Throw Plastics into the Forest" sign. He said that people don't obey the rules here and throw litter around. He was also telling us that the home stays are very good - clean, basic rooms within a family home. Kumily is all about tourism now with the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. We visited a shop that sells all the Hindu gods and there are many of them - each one has a different purpose. Their 2 shops have been around and in the family for 25 years and were the only 2 shops originally plus a grocery store. The town has certainly grown since then with many tourist shops now. His shop has beautiful goods, but expensive so we only bought a small silk painting of an elephant which we will frame back home.

Unfortunately, there is alot of dust down this one road which has many lovely spice shops - the spice smells tantalize the taste buds! There are loads of spice plantations in this area. Down the road, all the shops have had to move backwards as they have encroached on the highway (!!) so much that it became about 7 metres wide instead of 10 metres. So there is dust and noise everywhere as they move themselves back and re-build their stores. Once that is done, the road will be repaired. At least these people have taken heed of the warning before being bulldozed into the ground!
In a lake near Alleppey, 2 resorts are having to bash down their buildings as they are on government land and illegal. That's loads of cash lost as the one has over 25 rooms plus it's public areas. Crazy tales. The government does not take no for an answer so destroy or be destroyed.

Martial Arts Show, Kumily, India
We are now off to watch the Kalaripayattu performance. This is the oldest form of martial arts and is known as the mother of martial arts. Originating in South India, training is holistic and aims at co-ordination and control over mind and body. Kung-Fu comes from this originally and draws its inspiration from the strength of  animals such as lion, tiger, elephant, wild boar, snake and crocodile. Although Kung-Fu originated in India, it sort of got claimed by China.
Originally, Kalaripayattu form of martial art was shrouded in mystery and was taught by the masters in total isolation and away from prying eyes.

This is one show that one simply cannot afford to miss if visited Kumily. The holy area where the performance takes place is below the seating of the spectators and I was totally riveted to my red plastic chair and totally enthralled by these 4 guys and their superb performance. When one sees sparks fly from daggers, it's scary! They are so flexible that some of the body positions shown are beyond my understanding and unfit limbs. The performances with fire were spell-binding - such total concentration and skill has to take years of practice and total concentration. My face was screwed up in terror most of the time - one slip and an arm or leg would have been sliced off. Simply mind-blowing.
Tomorrow we are eventually off to Munnar ......140 kms and most probably 5 hours or more......
© Judelle Drake

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