A Travellerspoint blog

Much Ado About Very Little

Kathakali - Shakespeare it ain't.

sunny 32 °C

After a week of lounging about on the beach we thought it was time to take in some local culture. Where better to find it than at the Varkala Cultural Centre where, according to a flyer headed, “This is a truthful information,” we would experience, (quote): “ A DAILY KATHAKALI IS THE REALLY ONE. It is not a CD player programme. This is doing daily in our theatre. Doing like in real temples.” We couldn’t resist such a compellingly penned invitation. However, finding the cultural centre was an art in itself. We could tell you that it’s just a tumble-down tin shack at the end of a dingy, garbage strewn alley – but that wouldn’t help you here. We found it – eventually, but should have run when we saw the empty rows of plastic lawn chairs and the bare electric lightbulb hanging over the concrete stage. But we were stuck. The cast of thousands, (eight actually, including the orchestra and doorman who doubled as the MC), were about to perform the Kathakali, a classical Keralan dance drama that was created during Shakespeare’s time, and we didn’t have the heart to abandon Chuck , (the only other audience member).
Here’s the full cast with part of the orchestra…
And here’s the full orchestra…
And here’s the fish we had for dinner afterwards…

Yes… after watching a couple of heavily made up actors pulling faces at each other for more than an hour, we too found the dead swordfish more exiting. But then, the next day, we continued our cultural enlightenment with a trip to a temple festival and what a difference. There were ten gaily adorned elephants…
Numerous decorated floats… (This one looked like a Hindu Santa's Rudolph)
Dozens of musicians and dancers…
And hordes of happy people…
We had a great time.

Christmas is just around the corner and northerners lucky enough to escape the snow are finally beginning to arrive at the beach. So we are heading back to the little cottage we found on the banks of the Pampa River for a peaceful holiday among the villagers of Champakulam. No turkey or Christmas pud, but we know that we will enjoy ourselves with these kind, generous people of the Keralan backwaters.

Posted by Hawkson 23:30 Archived in India

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Have a truly unique Christmas, Sheila and Jim. We will drink a toast to you and your adventures.

Love from your Victoria kin.

by Terri and Paul

Dear Sheila and Jim you are in my thoughts and on my computer screen. Sending you big hugs and joyful holiday wishes from the land of rain. The annual lantern parade went past my window in False Creek last night. Beautiful lights. Lots to be thankful for.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Off to get my second cataract done this morning and looking forward to reading your blog without closing one eye. Add B and my best wishes to the many directed your way for the holidays.

by R and B

Hi Sheila and Jim, my best wishes to you and wish I was there too. But today is quite nice and there is a bit of sun right now. Laura is off walking the 4 dogs at Drumbeg. We had a beautiful Winter Solstice gathering at the Rose Crystal Studio on Sunday and all is well. Went to Hank Sirlins Celebration of Life on Monday (he passed over on Dec 13 and no one let the book club know. Alison is going to Ontario on Christmas Day with her sister. Book Club is at my place on Jan 2. Happy New Year to you both...love Jean

by Jean McLaren

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