Kannur, the north Malabar district of Kerala is known as the land of looms and lores. For most Keralites, Kannur is famous for violence and bombs than a serene-beautiful place which offers lots of potentials to the tourism of Kerala.
Kannur in Kerala, is always famous with media for various happenings taking place. Its a place of strategic military importance and famous for its pristine beaches, Theyyam (the native performing art) and the handloom industry. Kannur has many tourist destinations like Moppila Bay, Payyambalam Beach Resort, St. Angelos Fort, Thalassery Fort, Gundert Bungalow, Ezhimala Naval Acadamy, Pythal Mala, Pazhassi Dam, Parassinikkadavu Snake Park and many others. The district is also blessed with hill stations, rivers, backwaters, historical monuments and religious centres.
Lately, Kannur has drawn attention of many tourists worldwide with the plans of setting up an International Airport here. The proposed Airport at Kannur is to have international standards of safety and comfort. If this will happen, Kannur can bring in many more developments and can draw more tourists which will in turn benefit the tourism industry of the State.
Another factor that will create more inflow of tourists to the state and district is “Ayurveda“. The Kerala unit of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the health department has entered into a partnership to set up an Ayurvedic Village in Kannur. The CII is planning to cultivate precious herbs and medicinal plants in the village with the help locals here.
Ayurveda and its treatments have gained great popularity among foreign tourists and, Kerala as a state with Ayurveda has lots of scope in this. Soon, the other districts of Kerala with tourist potentials can also expect a speedy development, as there is a master plan for cities in the state has been planned.
Fancy holidaying with the sun, sand, sea and surf? Kerala beaches bring out the best of what nature has to offer blending it with its splendid beauty. A land blessed with Golden beaches, crisscrossing backwaters, palm fringed canals, rich and versatile culture. Kerala is networked by 44 rivers and truly stands out as perhaps the most fascinating part of India, slowly being discovered and explored by the people of the country.
For those who seek refuge from the stress and pollution of modern life, Kerala beaches are havens of serenity and peace, making perfect vacations.
Kochi played hostess to the first ever Tibetan wedding in the city, which is home to a small community of 8 families of Tibetans. Both the groom and the bride owns businesses dealing in apparels, shoes and accessories near the Children’s park area and the Fashion Street respectively .
Typically Tibetan marriages are held in the Nyingmapa Tibetan monastery and Golden Temple at Kushalnagar, near the Coorg town of Madikeri in Karnataka. In this case also, the horoscopes were cleared by the priests at the Kushalnagar, where the sacred Golden temple of Tibetans is situated.
The wedding was conducted in the traditional custom and when the groom Tenzin Khando tied knot with Namgyal Thundue, it became a memorable moment for everyone around. The bride accompanied by her parents and relatives went to the groom, Tenzin Khando’s house where the groom’s mother welcomed the couple inside for a pooja seeking god’s blessings. Both the bride and the groom were dressed in traditional attire and the bride was welcomed with a funneled box containing barley and Tsambas, the principal cereal of Tibet.
After accepting the ‘khatag’ presented by the groom, the bride enters the house to receive good wishes and gifts from guests. The exchange of white shawls between the bride and the groom symbolises the culmination of the marriage ceremony. The marriage was attended by many Malayali friends and their well wishers in Kochi, a city these Tibetan families have made their second home since many years now!
Wishful thinking on a hartal day…
It was yesterday evening, when a colleague called up and asked me that I came to know that the LDF (Left Democratic Party), the ruling party in Kerala, had declared for today a dawn-to-dusk hartal against the hike in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. As I was already back home for the weekend, there was not much to worry about. Of course I do have plans for the weekend and go meet friends, watch movies, do some shopping and some little things that keep my mind free; but all those could be avoided. (Why should I bother about those people who had plans to do more important things, all of which were going to be upset by this sudden call for a hartal? None of my botheration! They should have kept their weekends free.)
So, another dawn-to-dusk hartal; and I spent the whole of my day either in front of my computer or in front of the television and sleeping for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Thanks to the LDF, I have saved on some money that would have been spent if I had ventured to go outdoors as I usually do on weekends.
I feel happy and proud when I think that all this has been done to achieve things bigger. Many of the examinations and interviews scheduled for the day by the State Government have been postponed. But many others scheduled by the Central government did take place and I am sure there have been many who could not make it to the exam centres. There were reports of stone pelting at places and of a bus driver being injured too. People who arrived at various places in Kerala from other states and from abroad would have been stranded for hours at railway stations and airports. The State would have incurred a loss amounting to lakhs of rupees. Why bother? The hartal is bound to fetch immediate results. The fuel prices will go down and so will the prices. Life would be easier for us commoners; these politicians plan and do it all for us after all.
It’s so good to understand that the State Government is only too eager to safeguard the interests of the LDF and supports the hartal (or for that matter any hartal) by keeping buses off the road and seeing to it that the hartal, which is an integral part of democracy, is complete in all ways. (The interests of the people at large, who cares?!) It’s good to hear on TV the opposition leader urging the State Govt to help the public by reducing sales tax and the State Finance Minister retorting by asking the Central Govt, led by the United Democratic Front (which is the opposition party in the State) to first cut down the fuel prices. It’s good to see buses off the road and shutters down even after 6 pm, when the hartal is supposed to end. It’s indeed good to have a day all for oneself.
I just wanted to make some suggestions that would make hartals more credible and easy to handle.
- First of all, the State Government could set apart certain days every month for hartals so that we could all make alternate plans and arrangements, well in advance.
- Secondly, the hartals could more conveniently be changed from dawn-to-dusk ones to full-day ones, as it is already in effect a day-long hartal.
- Thirdly, there could be some system in place as per which those people who earn their daily bread working in hotels, shops etc could be paid some allowance by their employers. (Hey, did anyone say something about the loss incurred by these employers? That nobody can help it.)
- Fourthly, the government or maybe some private agency could arrange for and set apart some brand new buses, newly furnished buildings etc to be plundered and burnt on such hartal days, since it’s all in the scheme of things and we should see to it that it’s all perfect.
- And lastly, I’d be happy to know the difference between a ‘Bandh’ and a ‘Hartal’; hope our politicians can give us a convincing reply. It was only a few years back that the Court had banned bandhs in the State and at that time a bandh was just what a hartal is today. So, has there been any change in the meanings of the two words afterwards? Could someone please make this clear to us, the citizens of the largest democracy in the world who pay taxes out of our pockets to see to it that the loss and damages done by way of hartals and strikes are recompensed?!
Long live, hartals!!
For an ordinary pair of eyes it might look like a paper back title or a corporate management manual. However, it is actually a passage from the blog of a self made man who rose to the annals of power in a foreign country before bowing out to the nepotism, pockets of political influence, lobbyists and ‘Yes’ men in his own land at Kerala !
This is the story of an extremely gifted prodigy who excelled in his studies since his childhood. With the coveted IAS degree under his belt he easily bagged a senior position in one of the biggest State Govt enterprises in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram . If you thought that the story is heading for a happy note, you would be caught unawares.
Like any other government office set up in Kerala or infact India, he was denied any creative outlets to express his views or make decisions, the powers of which were in the hands of a coterie of lobbyists who did nothing but put on the air of doing something BIG. As they say only empty vessels make most sound, these people talk big and do nothing but grab the credits of all the hard work put in by a handful of sincere and dedicated workers.
Days passed by without any meaning as he twiddled his thumbs in anguish and looked for a respite from haplessness and drudgery in the office, which appeared to be as distressing as a padded prison cell. When things got beyond the limit, he decided to put in his papers to the management, which failed to take off its blinkers and recognize the valuable potential that they were wasting by not giving the right opportunities to him.
He was a simple and unpretentious guy who wanted to give back his knowledge and expertise to his homeland, where he grew up. But even as the corporate honchos and the HRD ministry cry foul of brain drain and how it puts India back by many years in the economic field, the grim fact is that conditions are not conducive for the growth of dedicated and selfless professionals in this country. All you need is a big mouth and bigger attitude if not anything else to pull the wool over the power corridors and the corporate honchos here in this part of the world- he concludes!
At present he is a board member in a fortune 500 company in the US and enjoys multiple citizen ships, jet setting schedules and a plush life style. With a pledge never to return to his home land, which has given him only bitter memories and pain irrespective of all his skills, he concludes his blog with a snappy one liner- Nothing grows under a banyan tree – corporate or otherwise!!
PS: This is only one of the many stories of pain and frustration of professionals in India, There could be many more unknown Indians who are denied their well deserved recognition and appreciation. Just take a closer look at your office( no matter whether it is private, public, or MNC ) you would find at least a couple of ” empty vessels” that live off your sweat and blood. Single them out, they deserve nothing less than that!!
Rains in Kerala are always beautiful, especially the monsoon that’s lashing all across the State right now. Even now, as I am writing this article, sitting at my desk at
Karmakerala, it’s raining outside. Indeed, I love the rains…
Sharaz, our software programmer here at Karmakerala, who is also a popular television anchor too, was asking callers, all of them working abroad, in his TV show a few days back, “So, you like the summer or the rains?” The unanimous reply obviously was ‘The rains”.
Yes, we Keralites love the rains. With so much of greenery, paddy fields, rubber plantations, streams, rivulets, hills and hillocks etc, rains can’t be anything but beautiful in Kerala.
These days anyhow the scenario is different. Don’t we sometimes hear ourselves chanting away, like a mantra ‘Rain rain go away…’, trying to wish away something that keeps things ticking for us, something that keeps the bulbs burning and fans whirring and televisions blaring, something that provides us with the much needed water that we don’t know how to use judiciously and wisely.
Why such a sudden resentment? Wherefore this dislike? Every year as the rains set in, diseases like H1N1, Dengue etc too spread out, causing the loss of lives all over the state. This has been the case with us for the past few years, with the sway of these diseases and the death-toll too increasing rather than going down. The rains subside in a couple of months and the lives that have been lost, of course just statistics for our media and administrators, are forgotten. And forgotten is the fact that it’s we ourselves who are to blame. Is anyone doing anything? Discussions, debates and seminars take place; a big budget is outlayed and even spent (Don’t ask where and
on what!!). I remember a friend of mine making a documentary on one of these contagious diseases with alloted funds a few years back. I wouldn’t wish to reveal as to how he got to make it and all; I too got some money and of course credits too. But I just dont know what good that film did in containing and controlling the disease. The papers carry features, photographs, statistics, comments etc. And then, it’s all forgotten. We all sit back and let it happen, as if it’s all happening in some other world, in far away Mars or Pluto.
So, who’s to take the blame? The government? The politicians? The bureaucrats? Yes of course. All of them and all of us. No one is concerned and no one does anything. How many of us are repelled by the enormous amount of garbage that’s found heaped over? We avoid going to such places; but do we think of how to avoid such places coming to swallow us all? How many towns and cities in Kerala have waste management plans working properly? You won’t be surprised to find people in Kochi carrying bags with garbage and waste at night, only to be dumped in desolate places, drains and all. They can’t be blamed? “Where else can we put it all?- they’d ask. What do we do about canals and waterways dumped with natural and synthetic waste? These and many such questions face us as we still tend to love the rains that preserve us and all the other birds, animals, trees, plants, flowers and all those things that make this earth what it is. So, what’s the solution? Do we want a dictator who can command the rains to stop or a magician who can, with a flourish of his magic wand, make the rains stop? We’d even think on those lines..So selfish we have become that like Kalidasa in the story, we tend to cut the very same branch on which we are sitting.
Where there is a will, there is a way, says the adage. So, it’s the will that matters. As long as we are not bothered, we are not going to find a way, a solution to this menace, this real big menace.
Just remember…there were people who were living here, on the face of this beautiful planet when this monsoon began a few weeks back and who sadly aren’t there now, to enjoy the rest of the monsoon or the showers in the years to come. My heart goes out to them…Who killed them? All of us, perhaps…
So, now it’s time for atonement…Let’s pray for them and for their departed souls to rest in peace, let’s join hands to drive away this menace of contagious diseases that spreads as a result of our negligence. It’s not medicines and mosquito repellants and hollow shams of speeches and all that we need. It’s sanitation that matters. Each one of us has got to do our bit, each one of us. It’s awareness that matters; spread it the way you can. It’s sensitivity that matters; nurture it and care for others….
Hope Sharaz shares this concern with his callers and his viewers when he goes to host his popular show this week….
Farm Tourism is a new trend in Kerala’s tourism sector. Kerala, being an agriculture dominated state, has tremendous potential for developing Farm Tourism in a big way without much additional investment. Even though farm tourism is an integral part of Eco Tourism, there is a slight difference between both of them.While artificially created landscapes are part of Eco Tourism – gardens, pond etc, the goal of Farm Tourism is to show the curious tourist about Nature in her pristine purity.
Farm Tourism preserves the environment. Chemical Farming is also prohibited, as no processes which damage Nature is allowed. Organic Farming and its development give tremendous impetus to Farm Tourism. Reports state that Kerala has 30.22 lakhs hectares of gross cropped area which is 56.78% of the State’s total geographical area. More than 1/3rd of the cropped area contains plantations of Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Pepper, Cardamom and Ginger, and another 1/3rd of this area is covered by Coconut plantations. The State has about 350,000 lakhs hectares of land under paddy cultivation.
The tourists who come to Kerala expects to see the real beauty that lies in the rural part of the state. But what happens often is, they return without seeing it. They have read about Kerala as true traditional and cultural state with families based in love. But they don’t get the opportunity to experience the village life and to live within that atmosphere. Most tourists come from cultures which does not give much importance to family attachments & village or Rural Life. In villages people live in harmony with nature which is otherwise not possible in big cities where people are always business minded. You get fresh air & fresh water in villages in contrast to polluted air and polluted water in cities.
Farm tourism gives ample opportunity for tourists as well as locals, who wish to enjoy nature. The various schemes underway are intended to prepare the Farms/Plantations of Kerala to receive tourists by presenting a positive image of the farm and of agriculture as a whole, in view of revitalising the agriculture sector of Kerala through tourism.
Never been to God’s own country, Kerala? Or had visited but never tried an Ayurvedic massage, saving it for a rainy day? This is the right moment to treat your senses, enjoy a cool relaxation and watch the rain before you get in to do something else. The right season where the body makes best use of these massages, here is your chance to explore an exciting possibility. So stretch out your arms and here comes our specialists, using a series of techniques to purify your body, mind and soul.
The oldest surviving complete medical system in Kerala for almost 5000 years, Ayurveda is based on the application of various natural healing methods and the practices that emphasize extension of life span, prevention of diseases and rejuvenation of our body systems.
With the monsoon playing the cards,’doshas’ or the problems of the body surface, accumulating the body beyond the desirable limit and out of control. Once the body is weak, it needs rejuvenation and the only treatment is an Ayurvedic massage to detect these troubles and to make the body strong.
An infusion of herbs blended on the basis of ancient scriptures and modern science, Ayurvedic massage has been drawing tourists and has been a source of benefit to Kerala’s economy. Being the nerve center of medical tourism in India, Kerala has the privilege of being known as the land of the origin of Ayurveda, adding to the hospitality and warm heartedness of its people.
Though it might sound strange, weddings in Poonthura, a small fishing hamlet near the state capital Thiruvananthapuram have become exclusive affairs for only a handful of invitees. The hamlet is thickly populated and is dotted with closely packed fisherman’s cottages who sustain a hand to mouth existence.
Christian weddings in the Poonthura area have of late become less well attended family affairs even when both the bride and groom hail from the same place. Though it might sound surprising, a closer look will reveal a few unpleasant truths. On any wedding day you will see many people waiting outside the church where the wedding is being solemnized without actually attending the wedding mass. Guess why? Only those who have paid Rs. 300 to the bride’s family are entitled to participate in the wedding and the ensuing feast! The spiralling cost of gold, clothes and the wedding feast have made it very difficult to marry off their daughters without the financial help from the community. So, those who cannot afford to pay, will have to wait outside the church till the marriage function is over. All they can do is to shower the newly wedded couple with blessings once they come out of the aisle. They share jokes, smile and tease the groom and when the marriage party moves on to the auditorium for the wedding feast these hapless local men and women walk back to their crumbling seaside shacks!
It is sad to note that with the trawling ban-induced lean fishing period already on, these families may not be able to take part in any wedding at least for the next few months.
Rejoinder: Any marriage should be a memorable and joyous occasion instead of a debt ridden burden. Say ‘YES’ to dowry free weddings and make sure that it remains a happy moment for the family and local community. The religious institutions in Kerala can spearhead a movement to promote dowry free marriages to save the population from misery and debts. Remember, marriages are made in heaven and why should man make it a harrowing experience?
Does the title sounds a bit intriguing? But what you read is right; we needed a green thumped German from the other part of the world to do something noteworthy to preserve the ecosystem of the tropical haven of wayanad in Kerala ;while we preferred to stay aside and watch the plunder of nature! Shameful indeed:(
Though Wayand, the lush green, picturesque spot in the midst of the Western Ghats is in the news for all wrong reasons like encroachments by land mafias, unauthorized constructions and illegal logging activities, it is sad that most of us prefer to turn a blind eye towards all these illegal incidents. This is where the unconditional love of a foreigner for Wayanad and its diverse flora and fauna becomes all the more noteworthy!
The Gurukula Botanical sanctuary in the deep jungles of Wayanad was set up forty years back by a German, Wolfgang Theuerkauf, who was enamored by the bewitching beauty of this place. A haven for butterfly and bird watchers this botanical garden in Periya is a commendable contribution of a foreigner who made Wayanad his home. Way back in 1981, he bought a piece of land and set up this garden with the sole objective of protecting an propagating the native plants and the trees of the area. It is a rich genome of one of the best collections of native trees and plants. Of the 55 acre park, 10 acres is earmarked as nursery while the rest is restored forest land, fields and grazing areas.
Gurukula is home to over 2000 species of plants seen only in of western Ghats, many animals , birds and snakes. The Gurukula employs organic farming and alternate energy mechanisms. Apart from his personal funds, this farm is driven by the generous donations from various organizations. Many children and adults live and work in this sanctuary under the ‘school in the Forest Scheme’. In the year 2006, he won the Whitley Award, the biggest environment honour in Britain for the most effective conservation efforts across the world.
“ Today nature has become a commodity to be used and exploited, which has brought the fragile ecosystem on the verge of extinction” says Theuerkauf. Our very survival is dependent on nature conservation and biodiversity, as you can understand even from Kerala’s changing climate” he adds.
Is it not ironical that where we failed to act, a thoughtful foreigner stepped in to do his wee bit for Kerala and came out successful? So, next time, when you think of cutting down the native hibiscus plant to make room for an imported pine tree, remember that this mindless act might lead to the extinction of the native plants and trees, which creates the exceptionally vibrant and colorful landscape of Kerala and its spectacular beauty .