My mom doesn't speak English. She doesn't do parties and lacks adventurous travel experience since she spent most of her life in communist regime that prohibited traveling (except communistic destinations of course). Last year I took her to India and now she is a local hero at her work for surviving it :-)
Duh, why would I willingly take my parent on vacation, right? Well I was surprised how much could I learn from her, not the other way round!
Kathakali performance originated in Kerala in 17th century. These performances are very difficult, because actors don’t speak, but they express their mood with gestures - moving their face, and even special signs with hands. Their costumes are richly decorated and their make-up express their character – for example red/green means character with 2 faces (red for devil, green for hero). This performance took place in Kathakali Center, Fort Cochin, Kochi, Kerala, India. The actors spent one hour doing their make-up, another hour was spent with explanation of different face movements and signs and then the actual performance followed – the main character – evil army general is killed by princ in revenge. The whole show is with live music!
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Goa is the smallest Indian state, so one can easily travel from the northern border all the way south in just a day. However, if you want to stay at one place or don't have much time, you have to decide which part to choose. You can always settle in the center - Panaji (the capital) and explore the rest on daily trips. Where are the best beaches, wildest parties and hidden gems? One would say there can't be much difference in such a small place, but I disagree - from the texture of sand to kindness of people - North Goa and South Goa are like two cousins, not sisters. Read more!
Spot 5 differences:
Indian trains are probably the best way of transportation, as they are usually on time, comfy and cheap. And safer than buses that seem to crash pretty often in India. However, the problems begin when you want to book a ticket. So many different train classes, quotas for different parts of population (senior, women, tourists), so many information requested (name, age, passport number...) and so little information provided (like schedule). It's really hard to plan a trip in India when you can't rely on transportation. Indian railways network are third biggest in the world right after Russia and China.
What can you expect from Indian trains? What are the prices? What will you eat? Is it safe for solo traveller? Read more and find out.
Visiting India? Find out why is the little state at the south so interesting and worth visiting! The locals claim it to be God's own country and it's name means "The land of coconuts". There are probably hundreds other reasons why to visit this beautiful place, but I'm picking 15 top ones :-)
One can't visit India without seeing the elephants. Elephants are a huge part of the Indian culture and history. The beautiful strong creatures that were once used for wars by Emperor Mughal and others, symbolize also the Hindu divine Ganesh and are still part of weddings and festivals.
So naturally, when I visited India, I wanted to ride one. Or wash one. Or at least touch it. Unfortunately, not only didn't I get the chance, but I also witnessed the harsh treatment some elephants get. And sadly, I couldn't do anything about it.
Even worse is the fact that if there were no paying tourists, there wouldn't be any elephant camp and therefore any torture. So before you decide on going to see live Dumbo, read about my experience.
Just 130 km from Cochin, some 1500 meters above mean sea level, there is town of Munnar, famous for surrounding tea plantations and hill station. The stunning view and chilly weather showed me yet another face of India. Fancy a beef in Indian restaurant? Want to taste the popular Tata tea? Feed monkeys and ride elephant? You will find everything here, at the border with Tamil Nadu.
Kerala, little piece of land at the south of India. Kerala is famous for its art – art of Kathakali performance, the art of making chai on tea plantations, the art of ayurveda, the art of spice growing. Kerala means “The Land of Coconut” in local language. Coconut trees are everywhere – they are used for oil, milk, rope. Kerala is also called “The Venice of India” for its backwaters that I cruised. Communist country where men wear skirts and women used to walk around topless till the 19th Century. If you think of India as smelly dirty place, check out these pictures that will change your mind! ;-)
Little fishermen houses dotted the landscape and I couldn't believe my eyes - those were poor people, yet they took good care of the houses, painted them colorfully. Just-married couples were waving us from romantic houseboats and kingfishers and other birds surrounded the boat. The scenery was beautiful! I was really close to see how Kerala people live and work at backwaters - they bath in the river, visit neighbours by boats and live in total harmony with the nature. I totally understand why Kerala has the fastest growing tourism industry in India.