A Taste Of India - Kerala
Now that one is more familiar with India as a whole, it is time to dissect it into smaller pieces. As I may have mentioned earlier, the relatively small area that constitutes the country is largely diverse when looked at regionally. Each region has its distinct values and traditions, and is also influenced by the regions around it. For this week, we start with the state forming a part of the tip of the country- Kerala. We call it ‘God’s Own Country’, and a look of it (including through the lens) will justify the name.
The emerald backwaters of Kerala reminds one of a dream in which one was floating in air (come on, we’ve all had that dream). Stretching over half the length of the state, the backwaters are created by a network of interconnected water bodies and run parallel to the coast. A trip across it on a spacious houseboat gives an opportunity to capture shots of the aquatic life, flora and fauna, landscapes and olden architecture.
Kerala is home to a number of performing arts, but the most popular of these is Kathakali. It is a form of classical dance with is known for the highly dramatic and colorful makeup and costumes. The dancers use exaggerated expressions and defined moves to follow the music and tell stories. So as can be imagined, the dance form is a treat to photograph!
Kalaripayattu is an Indian martial art form originating and practiced in Kerala. It is one of the oldest forms of defense in the world, and is still popular in the state. The form includes energetic leaps, kicks, somersaults, weaponry as well as alternative healing techniques. It is a treat to watch (and capture) mostly for the adrenalin rush experienced by witnessing its grandeur!
Ayurveda is a completely naturalistic approach to medicine, and probably one of the oldest healthcare systems in the world. Ayurveda looks to the body for a solution of its problems. The belief is that by maintaining a balance between the different points of the body, all ailments can be cured. It is a mainstream practice carried out in Kerala, and uses hundreds of different concoctions to soothe and heal the body.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The flora and fauna of Kerala has for long been a photographer’s paradise. The lush evergreen rainforests are home to about 4000 species of flowering plants and 900 species of medicinal ones. The fauna lives in harmony with the plethora of plant life; with the unique attractions being the Indian elephants, tigers, leopards as well as the reptilian population of giant cobras, pythons, vipers and crocodiles.
A photographer once said, “To call Kerala your home is a gaurentee that your camera never leaves your hands”. Well, if capturing the beauty of nature as well as art is your area of interest in photography, then you will definitely agree.