Every face tells a story – from innocence to wisdom, from anger to joy, and everything else in-between. All the love, but also all the pain we experienced is captured. It´s shaping our view of the world, and part of that is being imprinted in our face. If you look carefully, you can read some of it all from the other person’s eyes.
Interested to experience luxury train ride across India? You should definitely try The Deccan Odyssey Train.
Taking photographs of people have the power to capture the moment of people’s lives. The way we feel in a particular moment, that is never coming back again. Photographs can capture so much more than words could.
Let me take you with me on a journey to Kerala, India. I witnessed how people live, how they work and what is particular for their society. These are 25 most thriling encounters from my trip.
Not sure where to go and what to buy on your trip? Check out this Mini Guide to Kerala.
01 | Village life
River is very important in the life of villagers in in Kumarakom. You will spot kids having their bath there and women doing their laundry.
Tilaka, ritual mark on the forehead, is applied during the welcoming ceremony as a sign of blessing. It’s applied between the eyebrows – this spot is considered the seat of latent wisdom and mental concentration, and is very important for worship.
03| Like at home
There is no better occasion to experience a way of life in a country better than staying at the local host. I spend two days at Pranavam Homestay , this picture shows Rema, my housemaster. She was little shy, I loved to watch her prepare the food. Once she prepared a lunch when all ingrediences were prepared on banana leaf!
04| Wrapped up
The first statues to depict sari-wearing women date back to 100 BC. This traditional dress worn by women in India, consisting of a single piece of fabric up to 8 meters long, is one of the oldest known items of clothing that is still in use.
05 | Energetic dancer
It’s realy interesting to watch the performances in Kerala. The dresses are always were colorful, the performer usually dances to the sounds of drums. This one put all his energy into it! I watched this show at Vythiri Village.
06 | Selfie time
People in Kerala (and many other parts of India), love to take selfies with the foreigners. It hapened nearly every day, that I was approached by locals and asked for a selfie. This one was taken at the beach in Kovalam.
07 | Ayurveda
For thousands of years, people in India have turned to the holistic, traditional system of Ayurveda for healing and relaxation. If you come to India to experience it, this is how your treatment rooms will look like.
08 | Traditional masks
This picture captures my first encounter with actors of Kathakali, traditional Indian dance drama. It was one of my first days in Kerala and this really caught my attention. I did not fidn the courrage to talk to the dancers, so I kept observing.
09| The red eyes
The make up fo Kathakali is very elaborate, it can take up to 3 hours to put it and has severals tages. The subtsances are all supposed to be made from herbs and natural resourses, yet, I noticed this actor’s eyes must have be really disturbed and possibly painful.
10| “Hi! What’s your name?”
How could’t I include this picture? Suddenly surrounded by cute school kids, I had to chance to keep shotoshooping:)
This picture was taken at Uravu, NGo that is helping women in the countryside to find a work. Inside this wokrshop, various items for decoration or daily needs are being produced (yoga mats, furniture, etc).
12| A welcome dance
Dancing few times separately, and then also together, these two women performed a welcome dance. After the performance, I asked for my photograph. Othersie being very shy, they made a pose and let me to take this shot.
13| Temple festival I.
14| Temple festival II.
The drummers are present at most of the festivals, and this wasn’t an exeption. Although having their serious face on during the performace, later this men came out of the temple and asked for selfies:)
15| Proud of her work
Local women from Kumarakom showes the result of her work. She made a mat out of bamboo leaves. I watched her doing it – it took her just few minutes!
People are very respectful when greting. There is special gesture: slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. Then they say: Namaste!
17| Educated nation
Did you know that Kerala has achieved the highest literacy rate among all Indian states? It’s 93 % according to census in 2011.
18| Dry state
Alcohol shop in Cochin, one of few places to get alcohol in the city. Kerala, as the state with India’s highest per capita alcohol consumption, stated to push harder against the acohol in the recent years. Alcohol is no longer easy to get, with exception with luxurious hotels (even not all of them can have license) and alcohol shops.
19| Encounter in Jew Town
Met this men in narrow lanes of Jew Town in Cochin. Although majority of locals are Hindu, the city also has Muslim, Christian and fast disappearing Jewish population. Picture is taken near the Paradesi Synagogue.
20| 93 years old
This is Cohen, one of sic Paradesi Jews still living in Jew Town of Cochin. In 1950’s, there were 250, and most of them had migrated to newly founded Israel.
21| The football game
While visiting Waynard, the least populous district of Kerala, there was spontaneous idea to attend a local football game. A group of childern was waiting there all the match, just so that they can spend the break time in beetween the game playing on the pitch. They were really exited about the unexpected presence of forreigners.
22| Going to the market
I met this vendor on the way to the market. His bicycle is like little portable farm – in the of the baskets there are fishes, the other basket contains a chicken (yes, that one is alive!).
23| Kerala Kalamandalam
During my trip I visited Kerala Kalamandalam, one of the main universities teaching Katathali. This form of arts has been practiced in Kerala since the 17th century, with the university running from 1930.
24| School boys
Learning dancing is very different from studying any other major. Students of Katathali are educated since 6 years old. They join boarding school and seldom meet their parents. The training lasts 8–10 years and is very demanding.
25| Masters of Katathali
Traditional stories in India were often passed through dance and drama from one generation to the next. In Kathakali, the story is narrated purely by the movements of the hands (called mudras or hand gestures) and by facial expressions (rasas) and bodily movements.
Note of the author
I was not sure what to expect from people in Kerala before coming. From the very first day, I realized they were at least as curious about me as I was about them. I loved their shyness and politeness. You should see them turning read when asking fro a selfie:0 I realy had easy time to move around, eventhough I am female traveler.
- If you are planning trip to India, check out post by fellow blogger who is experienced with backpacking India.
- When it comes to seaside, Goa offers undoubtedly the best experience in the country – Check out this guide to North Goa Beaches for sun seeker’s.
- Are you looking to improve your skills with DSLR? Check out this new website about travel photography.
- Stay connected during your trip: Check out this guide telling you how to get a sim card in India
- If you are into culture and traditions, make sure to attend Kolkata Christmas festival
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My trip to Kerala was in partnership with Kerala Tourism and Kerala Tour Package. All pictures of this photo essay were taken on OLYMPUS E-PL7, I really enjoyed giving this camera a try. I took nearly 4000 during the trip.