Kerala has resilience!

You may have heard of the devastation in parts of Kerala caused by the incredibly strong monsoon of 2018.  We have lived through about seventeen monsoons here at Alleppey Beach. Bus this one was like no other. We remember when the monsoon used to make landfall around Trivandrum, our capital, precisely on June 1st. In latter years, this has changed. It has become unreliable, mostly starting a bit earlier but that doesn’t bother us as the month of May is our hottest month. It’s almost a bit of relief.

But not this year. Fortunately for our property and immediate surrounding areas we escaped. Others were not so lucky. We naturally have supported the Kerala government’s huge efforts to solve the problems and Kerala is hugely indebted to the outpourings of help from all around the state, all over India and from others in several countries abroad.

But the people of Kerala have huge powers of resistance and a great ability to pull together at a time of crisis. We have seen this all over the state in the last weeks and months. A massive clean-up and repair have shown us that we all work best when we all work together.

The tourist season was never strong during monsoon. Naturally, most people, especially westerners, want to escape rain. There’s enough of it in their native countries!

So we are open for business. And we know that Kerala in its entirety will soon be like us.

So we look forward to seeing you before long. Come enjoy! You will be supporting Kerala and its tourism business in the process. We thank you.

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Kerala Monsoon Myths

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Do you like to holiday when few tourists are around? When good quality accommodation is really cheap? Then come to Kerala during the monsoon.

No, it doesn’t rain all day every day. That’s the first myth about monsoon.

No, it isn’t cold. For those of us not born in a tropical climate, we WISH it would cool off. Sometimes the locals will say ‘It’s cool today.’ And yes indeed there was a temperature drop. Of one miserable degree celsius! The average daily temperature during monsoon is around 29C. Nice and warm.

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But what about the rain? Well, imagine a warm shower. Heavy at times, yes. But it tends to come in strong bursts rather than a continuous flow all day long. And no, we can’t predict it exactly at this stage. But at the end of May we can be sure that India will start to nuzzle up to two big arms of rain, one from the east and one from the west.

The monsoon hits the southern tip of Kerala first. It used to begin with great precision on June 1st. But with climate change allegedly it now starts before the end of May in Kerala and the two big arms meet together in central India sometime in July.

Local people don’t like rain. But then they haven’t experienced the pin prick sensation of cold, sharp rain clawing at your face. So everyone stays indoors. And as a tourist, you’ll have the place to yourself. Lovely.

Ayurvedic tradition has it that as the rain rejuvenates the earth so also are our bodies and minds more susceptible to rejuvenation at this time. So if you are serious about doing a week-long or more course in Ayurveda, you really should come to Kerala during the rainy season. That’s June and July.

Heavenly!

Check out our off-season rates through our Front Office contact@raheemresidency.com

A Quote for your trip to India

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Wise words from Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after the most significant event in modern Indian history – Independence. A popular figure, many Indian children used to call him Chacha Nehru, Uncle Nehru.

If you get to know Indian families on your holidays, and Indians are very welcoming and accessible, the chances are that you too will be called Uncle/Auntie. It’s a term of endearment and affection, not of gross familiarity. It can be difficult for guests who come from a more formalised society to interpret this correctly. So now you are prepared.

There are many social customs here in India which will surprise you. But then that’s when a holiday becomes an adventure. And as the quote above says: “There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Will you have your eyes open when you are with us in Kerala? We hope so because there’s a lot to see. And yes, you may also laze by the pool and do nothing!

We look forward to welcoming you to our heritage hotel, Raheem Residency.

Indian Wisdom 4 u.

 

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Many of our guests have commented on the fact that India is a place of great spirituality. It is. And much more too, not all so wholesome. However your holiday can be what you wish it to be because there is great scope in India, and Kerala is no exception, for you to pick ‘n mix.

We particularly like some aspects of the first female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. For all the talk about women’s rights in India and particularly the lack of them it is some how inspiring that her gender did not hold her back. There’s a lesson in that.

The word ‘duty’ in India is powerful. You may even hear it addressed to you as you holiday. If you give a hotel staff member a compliment for a job well done, the chances are you will be told that it is only his/her duty. The western world would re-act differently and perhaps say something like ‘Thank you for your kind words’. Duty is much stronger than a compliment. And therefore when you hear it, know that it is a gracious response.

How true the above quote is. It is a universal life-lesson, that we are much quicker to emphasise our human rights, our personal rights, than focus on our duties.

What a better world it would be, a fairer world, if we followed Indira Gandhi’s wisdom in the words above.

Come visit us and explore the strengths of Indian spirituality. And remember,  you can still have lots of fun!

 

Farming in Kerala!

P duck_farming_in_the_backwaters_20.jpgBelieve it or not, one of the popular types of farming near us is precisely what you see in the photo. But can you work out what it is?

It’s duck farming. Here in Raheem Residency we are fortunate enough to be close to some of nature’s treasures. We have a beach and the never-ending mix of canals and lakes known as the Backwaters around us.

The stretch of the Backwaters in the photo is no more than about 8kms from the hotel in a magnificent bundle of waterscapes. And it’s here that you will find farmers ‘herding’ their ducks across streams.

You will find duck sometimes on restaurant menus but it’s  more of a speciality food than fish and chicken. Also if you are a westerner you probably like duck roasted in an oven with a crispy skin. But standard ovens are not used in Kerala cuisine. All food is cooked on the hob. And so don’t be confused if you see ‘Duck Roast’ on a menu (it’s not on ours). Don’t expect to be served an over-roasted fowl. It will have been cooked in small sections, wrapped in spices, on the hob.

A very different culinary experience indeed from the traditional western Duck a l’Orange!

Still, you didn’t come on holiday to eat familiar food. Did you?!

Come Visit us for Onam Festival

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Flower petal decoration called Atthapookalam

Coming up in Kerala in September is one of the biggest events in our year. It’s Onam, a harvest festival, and it’s celebrated all over the state regardless of caste & creed during the month of Chingam (first month of the year in the Malayalam calendar).

In our homes, we Indians (Keralites) have a great feast like westerners have on Christmas day.  But the feast is different, as we have all vegetarian dishes rather than turkey.  The feast is called ‘Sadhya’, with a variety of about 16 dishes and then to top it all, we have the signature dish – the dessert called ‘payasam’ (3 types) also.

Most of the people (Hindus) go to the temple in the morning.  The kids go to pluck flowers from the surrounding areas near their homes and they make a flower carpet (Atthapookalam).  Children are very happy because they are the ones that benefit a lot by getting new clothes & gifts.

In Raheem Residency, we also celebrate Onam. The staff make the flower carpet & also a great feast is prepared with a variety of vegetarian dishes & payasam also. All the staff sit together, and enjoy the feast.

We include guests too in Chagara Restaurant but there is one golden rule: guests must eat like we do – that is, with no cutlery! We believe that the food tastes better when we quietly use our fingers. Our guests always enjoy the challenge.

So come visit us for Onam. Make your booking now!

In the meantime, expect lots more photos to show you how we celebrate this festival! See more on our Facebook page too: Raheem Residency – Heritage Hotel.

 

 

 

Our Snake Boat Race

 

We have taken a short break from blogging during the monsoon, our off-season time. What better day to resume than on the Annual Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race day. It’s a great day in Alleppey!

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The Snake Boat Race on the backwaters.  One of the great highlights of our year.

It’s said that this sport that has the highest number of members in a single team ever. So we always expect upwards of 100 men (and in recent years there have been some all-females teams too) rowing in unison to the rhythm of the boatman’s chants.
In recent years women have competed too. C’mon, the girls!
Steeped in the history of Kerala these boats were crafted originally by a Maharajah who was fighting from his boat in the canals of Alleppey. When he lost his battle he had a secret new boat design crafted for him.
India’s sacred texts were brought to bear and so gleaming historical information from the Sihapathya Veda the Snake Boat was born. To this day the construction remains over 100 feet long with the rear end rising up to a spectacular 20 feet.
The front of the boat then tapers to resemble a snake with its hood raised. Hence Snake boat.
When Jawaharlal Nehru visited Alleppey in 1952 he was so taken with the spectacle that he donated a trophy – hence this major event is known as the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race.
Enjoy!

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