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: email@example.com 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!
Believe 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?!
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.
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!
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.