Sadly, the Indian elephant is now an endangered species because the population has declined by half over the past three generations. The usual culprit is at play – habitat loss. But Kerala comes out well. There is still a considerable population in the wild and we, at Raheem Residency, can arrange for you to see them. There are also elephant ‘orphanages’ and we can arrange a trip to bring you on a visit. These elephants have been injured in the wild and are are homed in venues around the state.
If you take a tour of an elephant orphanage it’s possible that you can bathe them in the early morning, feed them and even ride them. But you need to check with Raheem Residency’s Front Office as naturally the elephant population changes in the ‘orphanage’ as rehabilitation is ongoing.
These glorious animals play a significant role at Hindu temple festivals too. One of Kerala’s best known temples at Guruvayur has an average sixty elephants and at the famous Thrissur Pooram (festival) the large collection of caparisoned (decorated) elephants is an unforgettable sight. The role of the elephants at temple festivals is to carry the deity in a procession where their mahout who guides them will be decked out with multi-coloured silk parasols, silky white tufts and ofttimes swaying peacock feather fans.
India knows how to create a spectacle. There’s no denying that.
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.
Lighthouse Beach, Kerala.
1. THE SUNSHINE
Who can resist 30C every day? In monsoon (June/July) the temperature ‘drops’ to 29C. You may hear our local staff remarking that it’s ‘cool’. If you’re a westerner you won’t agree and we don’t expect you to! This tropical climate is such a welcome escape from the dark cold days of a western winter. Dining al fresco, sunbathing by the pool, walking the beach, punting down the waterways – it’s all waiting for you in Kerala.
2. THE PEOPLE
Malayalees (the people of Kerala whose language is Malayalam) are well-known for their friendliness and gentleness. You can speak to our staff, all of whom are native to Kerala, and you are guaranteed a friendly response. But even a short walk outside our property will give you ample opportunity to befriend locals – many of whom will speak some English. And you won’t be disappointed. In fact you may end up with an invitation home which will give you an even deeper understanding of the local way of life. Don’t miss it!
3. THE BACKWATERS
Our area of Kerala, the Alleppey area, is renown for its wide expanse of waterways, an exquisite mish-mash of lakes, rivers and canals. You won’t want to miss a cruise or a punt amidst this serene scenery, showcasing local life on the river banks. The women doing their laundry, the men gliding past in small boats. As the saying goes, all human life is there. And it’s there for you to witness at first hand.
We would like to wish all our readers, guests past and present, a very happy Republic Day. And we hope the marching bands and all the pageantry which India does so well were thoroughly enjoyable.
Republic Day is a celebration of the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect in 1950. You will know a little of the history. India achieved independence from the British Raj in August 1947 following a movement led by Gandhi and noted for predominantly non-violent resistance. Adopting the Constitution completed the country’s shift to a democratic government system.
Although India’s other great holiday, Independence Day, celebrates freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution. Reading about the time factor in getting it ready has very familiar overtones that reflect Indian bureaucracy even today! Yes, the wheels grind slowly. The first draft was submitted to the Assembly in November 1947. But it took them 166 days, over two years, 11 months and 18 days to get agreement.
Sometimes you get the feeling that some things never change!
Three cheers for our beloved India.
We were delighted to refurbish the old Raheem Bungalow into the ‘new’ Raheem Residency some fifteen years ago.
The above photos show the Main Hall, now and then. At first glance it looks like a dramatic transformation. But in fact we stayed true, very largely, to the original structure. The old doors, windows and shutters remain. Even the gold decoration above the door. It simply had not been highlighted previously. Unfortunately we could not save the original floor because that stone could not be polished. However we carefully removed it and today you will find part of it outdoors. Look at the forecourt of the Nook room. It’s there.
We hope you will come and view it all personally. Contact our Front office for reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org There’s lots to see in this heritage hotel.
As we say in our slogan, ‘Raheem Residency, a gift from the past for the future.’
A Kerala breakfast Posted by RR staff
We all dread coming home from holiday with the pounds or kilograms piled on. But if we can’t treat ourselves when on holiday…….? Everything in moderation is good for the rest of the year but when in our beloved India with its scrumptious array of tasty regional cuisines maybe take a leaf out of Mark Twain’s (a great lover of all things Indian) book:
‘Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.’
I don’t think we would agree nowadays.
And it must be admitted that the ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda, wouldn’t agree. Ayurveda is big into food combining. But that’s a story for another day.
In the meantime, we say remember Mark Twain and have a culinary blast in India.
That’s what holidays are for. And you deserve it.
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!