MALABAR PHOTOGRAPHY TRIP WRITE UP
Well , I Come from a background where a trip is synonymous with the definition of a pilgrimage and the sole aim of travelling several kilometers is to attain salvation . Now how can the scent of a photography trip be not enticing .So without a second thought i signed up. My image of Kerala was developed only through travel shows and pictures . I had seen the traditional dance forms and heard about the musicians from here but never stepped into north Kerala anytime .So here goes my experience
Day 1 …
I didn’t own a camera so this trip was purely to explore .So I set out hoping to get a feel of the life of a real traveler. ‘There was something different about this place i could not figure out when i stepped down the train ‘. After having refreshed in the waiting room at the station we had a cup of tea some energy kicked in .
Day one presented itself with an opportunity to taste Kerala cuisine in a traditional Kerala home. ‘The best way to understand any culture is to start from the roots and there we were ‘.
My first stint with Kerala began.
‘Kerala as such has still maintained its old world charm .It is naive and has not embraced modern style yet flamboyant in its own sense. I could say it’s an artist’s dream.’
The houses are built at an elevation with the balconies overlooking the fields .Surrounding almost every dwelling was vast expanse of banyan and coconut trees grown in the backyard.
I no doubt felt completely incongruous with the background clad in half pant and T shirt ,while dhoti and white sari seemed to the most favored outfit. Keralites are blessed with bright eyes and the traditional look which indeed added to the hues blending very well with the background .Their faces did reflect the pride in portraying their customs.
‘Coming from place where everything is covered in an artificial veil , where definition of beauty taking a whole new meaning is drowned midst umpteen coatings of unnatural colors , where beauty comes at an expense , Kerala is Unique. It on the other hand portrays effortless natural beauty.’
(pic taken by rekha (‘rays’))
Monkey temple here we come …..
After having parted from their home we drove along the country side to visit the monkey temple .Well If you ask me the exact significance of this place absolutely no idea !!!!
All i remember is that we walked midst rows of houses and adjoining fields and a turn to the left we suddenly encountered an army of monkeys .It lay atop a hill and there was water everywhere. The sound of water trickling down the hill ,chatter of monkeys , birds calling out :it was a beauty.
‘ Coming from a city where one wakes up only to be welcomed by cemented structures visiting such a place is like a free ticket to moon . 🙂 ‘
Having captured a few pics of those not so camera shy monkeys which were totally oblivious of the fact that they would be popular sensation in a couple of days kept giving random poses as we headed back.
We did get a glimpse of daily life of people living her . And hence some details were captured.
‘The people here project natural satin like skin tone and a well-kept natural curls perfectly complementing, while for the surroundings they have made conscious efforts not to meddle too much with the nature.’
Moving ahead …
We visited backwaters in koyillandi.The plan was to go boating .We reached the place and encountered a couple of fisherman preparing the boat by the draining out the water . While Kids enjoyed a bath in the water on the other side of the water.
‘ A common man here seemed to be in complete harmony with nature .
(pic by rakesh : )
Unlike the buzzing city life where everyone seems to competing against time but in vain ,this place seemed to have accepted the laws of nature and appeared to be in truce with it ‘ .
After the boat ride everyone began to experiment with their cameras , the subject was the fisherman .He willingly accepted to throw the fishing nets into water while most of them anxiously clicked hoping to have captured it exactly the same way they had pictured it to be . It was definitely a learning ground for many.
then we walked back along the fields back to the bus .By then Sun had been callous enough to burn my face but yeah what the heck !!!
In the Bus …….
Perhaps it was time for bonding intro session started with pun intended . It was time for ganga and vicky to show their natural talent to rag everyone 🙂 the bus ride turned out to be more lively ther after
Lunch Time …….
Had a Quick lunch then headed toward the largest drive in beach Muzhappilangad .It was perfect sunset was alluring and attracted some clicks .
At Muzhappilangad beach ….
With very few on the beach it was perfect setting for photography enthusiasts.It was time to try out silhouette photography which came naturally to rupesh .
Me being totally ‘vetti’ was given a job of being the subject.Now that dosn come easy for a camera shy girl. I guess i was fortunate enough to be clicked by professionals .
(pic by muthu )
‘ Now i can conclude without any doubt that i cant get enough of the sea . This particular setting is not something new isn’t it ? .We have come across umpteen times .Still every time i see the beach , the sun ,sky and the water closing in at the horizon i feel it tells something new .The tides kept splashing onto the feet as though welcoming us to dive into and explore a new unseen world .One can stand in the middle for hours and still never get bored .’
After a quick bath it was time for something i had never heard of We drove along Pazhayangadi .
THEYYAM TIME …….
Theyyam a traditional ritual of Kerala ended the day with utmost satisfaction . Well one can actually wiki about the dance style and get to know but the real thrill lies in watching it live like watching football match midst much uproar in the stadium
Well I couldn’t gather much about custom but for sure I was amazed by the intensity with which the drums were played by the village folk it took me on a high.It dragged me into the Theyyam spirit.All thanks to one specific drummer
The sheer detail in the make up caught my eye.The temple setting was a cynosure . It was dark outside but the temple was well lit with oil lamps hanging around the temple . One look around the temple, dancer’s bright red attire with wick lit around the palm leave gave it much more than a festive setting .His expressionless face, powerfully choreographed dance and sprint around the temple did convey something . Something for me that was less heavenly and more horrifying .
I got a feeling That I was witnessing a tribal ritual. The light around the temple glared on his face to give him a more ghastly and a bright look .
(pic by rekha again )
After the ritual in the temple covered in coconut leaves upto the chin he ran towards the blazing fire fell on top the fire face down and was pulled out. He did the customary 100 + jumps .
Perhaps was not satisfied that he didn’t show enough male prowess he went back and jumped again !!!For us it was like a deja vu . It looked like the dignity of the temple lay In his hands.
From the look of it the village folk looked at the dancer as messenger from heaven they seemed pretty satisfied that their lives no more coverd in gloom when he in person blessed them.
Well if his blessings do work then i am going back to attend the next theyyam wherever it may be.
Well not sure if i approve of the ritual but heck it doesn matter it was a sight to see..
It was close to 7 am when we realized a priya was missing. We had Waited for over an hour atlast we caught a glimpse of hers. Perhaps she was out there setting theyam s blessings .
After spending an entire day in waiting room refreshing when we stopped by a 3 star hotel my happiness knew no bounds. We took bath and dried out clothes in no time
OFF to MUTHAPPAN TEMPLE …..
Well After having seen theyyam that morning this came as no surprise .By then i had got a feel of kerala’s uncanny traditions.
This was a temple devoted to lord shiva .Temples in Kerala that we visited don’t have elaborate sculpture carvings of gods goddesses that one sees in Chennai .It is simple yet attracts a lot of devotees.
Many small idols of dogs were placed outside and worshiped here.
Lunch Time …..
Day 2 and 3 weren’t a rush affair. The schedule was well balanced yet there were times when we wore blank expressions as to what to do next.
‘Pulling each others leg being a favorite pass time we continued the tradition yet again. Focus would shift seamlessly to another person if the response from the current target got boring .’ Key target being priya took it very sportively.
I on the other hand enjoyed the most hilarious moments laughing almost 24/7 when around vicky , ganges and navnee…with comedy written all over their face never realized how time passed when around them 😛
Until someone hit upon the epiphany to go around and explore , tradition would continue…
At St Angeles Fort…
Fort was a place of a lot of activity .
Ranjini provided free entertainment to some blessed onlookers who otherise seemed to be wondering and puzzled why they chose to spend a Sunday under blazing sun going around some random rocky structure .
She hugged almost anything that came her way showing extreme symptoms of nostalgia and occasionally changing her profession to begging her way to earn some 10s of rupees offered by the very generous rupesh .
I on the other hand thought would fight the heat giving it a hard time to drive me away so went around looking for a place to settle . Being a hard core introvert kept looking for places where I don’t find a soul. Finally climbed a top the fort and sat overlooking the sea . Strained my eyes to spot the horizon it was blurred . This particular fort had a lot to offer to photography.
This particular fort was triangular and was built overlooking the bay. To the left of the fort was the harbor and occasionally I spotted a boat along the horizons of the sea . We spent quite a while there it was worth . It had a long tunnel kind of a structure that ran throughout the length of the fort with shadows of the pillars around being cast symmetrically on the ground perhaps this was the prison in olden days . A Good Spot for photography. It still has the old canyons placed around the fort pointing to the sea .
(pic by ranjani )
Payyambalam Beach for the Sunset
The next stop was payyambalam beach. Again the sunset was the attraction.
We had some serious sessions about the art with rupesh who i must mention had a lot of patience to explain even some trivial concepts. This trip not have been complete without him .
Ranjani and Arjun tried jumping at the shore to capture the plunge to the ground with high speed photography.
We headed back and drove towards kasargod which comes at the border of kerala and mangalore (karnataka).We found mostly tulu speaking folk here
At Karsargod …..
We had a quick dinner and found 3 rooms to spend the night .The rooms were quite comfortable. Here i got some time to bond with all the girls. I was fortunate enough not only to hear some haunting real life stories by darshini as bed time stories but also witness it as she recreated the scene of her rendezvous with ghosts and trust me she is good !!. Her expressions were indeed freaky………
In the morning we had water melons and tea for breakfast and headed to Bekal Fort
DAY 3 well spent At Bekal Fort ………
Now this was our last destination.
The melancholic song from bombay ‘Tu Hi Re ‘ was shot in this very destination. I could picture anrvind swami plunged in gloom for not having seen his lady love .Taking the riskier routes like the edge of the fort and the slippery rocks hoping to get washed into the sea while his lady love runs along the entire length of the fort hoping to find an entrance so that she could prevent any untoward incident with the lifeless hero cause apparently his life and death was in her hands !! Really !! (‘maut aur zindagi tere haathon mein dediya re ‘).
(pic by the ‘ganges ‘ )
That apart the fort was a scenic beauty .The fort was built very close to the sea with the waves constantly striking the walls with force . An extension of the fort lead to the sea . The holes to launch the missiles were almost everywhere and the protruding bastions provide a good location to capture some different angles of the sea .It was like St angels built with laterite rock. Standing a top the fort view remained exhilarating .The entrance to the fort opens up to a vast beautifully maintained garden and a long passage way leading to the walls opens up to the ever expanding sea.
oh almost forgot ! when you visit this fort don’t be surprised if you find a couple aping the khan and kajol jodi. Well this place apparently spurs up any residual feelings one has towards his lady .:P hmm wonder why this fort ?
Nonetheless i would recommend this place too. It was close to 3 pm by the time we headed back .Since the train was at 5 in the evening we had just enough time to have lunch.So we stopped by a restraint in kasragod .
It was time for the train we exchanged contact details. Well for the first time i felt slightly pained for having parted for i did establish some connection with the group in those 3 days.
At Maadur temple ……..
Karthik , Ranjni and I stayed back as we had to travel back to bangalore and coimbatore for our buses were scheduled late in the night .So we decided to visit the famous madur temple (It was close to 7 km from the kasargod station ).
Spotted some kingfishers around the stream which ran behind the temple premises. On the otherside was a well nourished field.
Temple itself was again devoted to Shiva. Its architecture for me resembled more of some Tibetan monastery.
(pic by karthik )
We sat behind the temple clicking pics and chatted for a while and returned back to the bus station where I took leave of them.
‘ This was the end of my malabar trip .It has left some indelible memories and also some temporary scars and burns on my face 😦 : courtesy the glaring sun. Being the subject number 2 comes with a price you see.’
‘Like a bride to be , Kerala is both demure and blushing yet has a welcoming feel inviting its visitors to feel its natural form .’
‘Photography another form of art. Although not into photography I can surely say a photographer is blessed with a different vision. A vision to turn even bland landscapes ,stoic faces and ghastly structures into breathtaking close to real life pic.where every detail otherwise oblivious to my eye is brought to life ‘
‘A camera is undoubtedly a traveller best friend for life .’
‘Overall I loved the portrait photography that captures a zillion emotions ,unaware subjects caught candid hence enhancing its beauty.’
After seeing all your pics bow down to all of you . A zillion thank yous to the Rakesh and everyone part of this journey will meet u soon 🙂