Sunday, December 11, 2011

Green, greener, Kerala !

Kerala - God´s own country, Coconut garden and Garden Eden, as it is often and adequately called, wins one over with its tropical lushness.
Green is the defining color of Kerala - either in the backwaters lined with palm trees, the rice paddies, the slopes covered in thick tropical cloud forest calles shola, the dark green tea plantations or the beautiful flower garden of Kerala´s wealthy citizens.
Kerala at the Malabar coast of Southern India is the richest state in India, still profiting from the wealth the Portuguese and Dutch spice traders once brought to this place. In the cities of Kochi and Trivandrum, one still finds proof of the once flourishing spice trade the Europeans established after Vasco da Gamas landing in 1498. Thanks to enthusiastic missionary work of the Catholic church and almost constant Communist leadership of the state, Kerala enjoys the highest literacy rates and lowest poverty index of any Indian region.
Cardamon and pepper plantations are still covering the slopes of the Western Ghats, along with various other spices such as kurkuma and ginger. Those spices are also widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient tradition that survived time here and has its revival as an alternative medical treatment.

While travelling through Kerala, one indulges in the million shades of green, every once in a while topped with spots of color.

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