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Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II

By Raghavmodi @raghavmodi
Dell’s Honeymoon was not to be his last visit to India. He was back and this time he discovered “God’s Own Country”, Kerala.
Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II  On my third trip to India, we toured throughout southern India for 10 days. We took the train from Pune and traveled to Kerala to experience the back waters, the south Indian culture and their hospitality. Our first stop was in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). It was bright and colorful. They made it feel real hospitable. I read that in this part of India, tourism is the number one source of income for their economy. I also loved the famous Chicken 65 (which to this day I still buy in stores but which does not taste as good as it did in Kerela). I asked why they call it Chicken 65; the waiter (in perfect English) told us the stories of how in the city of Cochin there was a military base where the main chicken dish was number 65 on the menu. When the military moved out and it became a tourist destination, the name just stayed, “Chicken 65”.  
Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II
We traveled through Cochin where the architecture is very beautiful and everything is so well organized. That evening, we drove to the Neyyar Sanctuary for an overnight stay. In the morning we heard and saw a lot of the wildlife while on a river boat tour but we were not fortunate enough to see a tiger. Further on in our trip, our driver took us through beautiful tea gardens, stopping at roadside dabawalas (roadside eating joints) to have chai and coffee.
Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II  While we were in Munnar, we took a tour of the tea fields. The fields are spectacular, like a scene from “Dil Se”—or any other movie where the main characters are in the mountains in India. I wanted to climb up the beautiful mountain trails and cross back down the mountain, through the valley, up the other mountain to another set of tea gardens. It was interesting to learn about the aging of tea, how the leaves are processed to become white tea, red label tea, green tea and other various types of teas, which are use by Lipton, Snapple and even McDonald’s. Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II
When we left Munnar, we drove to Kumarakom where we took the houseboat tour on the backwaters. We took a 6 hour trip and every moment was breathtaking. The moments watching the guide row a boat with a stick taller than him was amazing. Throughout the tour we stopped to experience different aspects of what makes the backwaters, the backwaters. Our first stop was on an island to see the value of the coconut. I knew that coconuts could be used for food, hair oil and cooking oil, but here I learned that coconuts can also be used for carpets, doormats and, the one thing that surprised me, the boat we were on was being held together by the string produced from dried coconut shells.
Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II
Being married to a Bengali, I have tasted various types of fish. We stopped for lunch on another island where we had fish on a banana leaf with different type of Dal (Lentils) and chutney. I particularly loved the coconut chutney and idly. After lunch we headed back through the beautiful backwaters to our driver who took us to the hotel for the night. In the morning we left early and headed to the southernmost tip of India, the town of Vavathurai to see Vivekananda Rock. It was amazing, inside the memorial, built in honor of Sri Swami Vivekananda, you felt peace and calmness inspiring concentration that clears your mind of life’s worries. The outside was extremely beautiful, especially where you see the merging of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. The second amazing site was the Thiruvalluvar Statue. The inside had scripts of the great poet along the walls. I understand that it was built to welcome the 21st century. When I first saw it, I immediately thought of the Persian Empire and their conquest and ventures in the Arabian Sea between the Middle East and India.
Dell's Indian Adventure : Part II  
As was in the past, India can never be conquered. No matter how many times you visit India, you will never be able to say that you saw the same thing twice; whereas if you toured Germany you know that Kölner Dom and Schloss Neuswanstein will always be open at the same time and that there is a certain route and tour. In India, the Taj Mahal, Gateway of India and other sites are also typical tourist spots, but the uniqueness lies in the direction you take as the tour each time is never quite the same. This is what makes India so special, a country one will always want to revisit. 

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