South India Mayhem – My Top 50 Photos

Hampi, Karnataka.

A few days after returning from India, here’s a little sample of what’s to come with my three New Zealand Herald travel articles and Flight Centre video blogs about my Intrepid adventure in India’s south.

India was mayhem. At no point boring, we had incidents involving jumping out of moving trains, rushing friends to hospital and being mobbed like we were One Direction or the Beatles due to our exciting skin colour. Amidst the dust and flurry of the cities, we also sought retreat in centuries old churches, colonial mansions and palaces, while peace was found in the famous backwaters of Kerala, the mountainous jungles of Periyar and the otherworldly boulder landscapes of Hampi.

There were also the games of cricket with kids, the backstreet meanderings around historic Fort Kochi and Old Goa and the discovery of middle-class India in Trivandrum. As for beaches, Kovalam, Varkala and Goa told a different story than what many of us may traditionally associate with India while the zoos of Trivandrum and Mysore surprised by being genuinely world-class. And there was the generosity of spirit of taxi drivers like Sanjay who gave nine hours of his time and knowledge for little more than $50.

While the pursuit of a semi-normal bowel motion may’ve proved elusive, this was an unforgettable adventure. Thanks once again to Intrepid Travel, Flight Centre, Student Flights and the New Zealand Herald. Out of the almost 500 photos I took, here are 50 of my favourites.

A tuk-tuk grave, Trivandrum.

Kovalam Beach, near Trivandrum.

North from the lighthouse, Kovalam.

South from the lighthouse, Kovalam.

Kids playing cricket, Trivandrum.

There are more than 400 branches of the Indian Coffee House across the country, this one in Trivandrum is one of the most photographed due to its architecture. 

The beach in Varkala.

An old rice-boat remodeled into a floating boutique hotel, the Kerala backwaters.

Kerala backwaters.

Kerala backwaters.

Kerala backwaters.

The oldest European church in India, St Francis Church, Fort Kochi (originally built in 1503).

The Spice Fort hotel, Fort Kochi.

The Chinese fishing nets of Fort Kochi.

A large colonial home, Fort Kochi.

A game of cricket, Fort Kochi.

Abraham of the frequently written about “Abraham’s Spice Garden” in the forest-clad hills near Periyar National Park. His garden is internationally acclaimed, as is his ear-hair.

Abraham’s massive lemons were alarming.

The 35 tigers and 750 elephants stayed hidden in the dense jungle, though not the leeches. The beautiful Periyar National Park.

Entering the jungle – leech-proof socks in place – on a bamboo raft.

Time for a quick selfie – Periyar National Park.

The sport of kabaddi is popular in southern India (and, indeed Nepal, Bangladesh and Iran) and is a bit like a game of rugby without a ball and played on a surface similar in size to a volleyball court. I told a local there’s a place in New Zealand north of Wellington called the Kabaddi Coast to a muted response.

One of my favourite views in southern India, a waterfall near Periyar National Park.

From the same lookout as above.

I swam and ate lunch at a 5-star hotel on the edge of Periyar National Park and saw a motley travel group of middle-aged people with various ailments. Overhearing they were there for some sort of wellness retreat, it soon became clear this man was their spiritual guru. He spoke with an Indian accent, but I had my suspicions he was a failed actor from New Jersey who’d been to a costume hire shop.

Waiting for a bus on the Kerala / Tamil Nadu border.

Dusty, ancient, holy and somewhat bleak, Madurai had the most thrilling tuk-tuk rides I’ve been on.

The Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, constructed between 1623 and 1655.

The view – with peacock – from the Gateway Hotel, Pasumalai, Madarai.

From the Gateway Hotel looking towards the Meenakshi Amman temple complex.

The lavish Mysore Palace (completed 1912).

One of the characters at the excellent Mysore Zoo, widely regarded as India’s finest zoo.

The grand dining hall (originally ballroom) of the Lalitha Mahal Palace in Mysore. Once the guesthouse for royalty visiting the Maharaj, it’s been a luxury hotel since 1974.

The most relaxed, uniquely beautiful place I saw in India, Hampi.

Monkeys at Hanuman Temple (also called Monkey Temple) in Hampi. Sitting atop Anjana Hill, these were some of Hampi’s best views.

From Anjana Hill.

Anjana Hill.

Anjana Hill.

Sunset, Anjana Hill.

A selfie with boulders and the Virupaksha Temple behind.

Near Virupaksha Temple.

Outside of the temple walls, it was OK to do a little sunbathing. 

A water buffalo in the river by our hotel, Hampi.

The mausoleum containing the centuries old body of St Francis Xavier,  inside the Basilica of Bom Jesus (completed 1605), Old Goa.

One of the most striking church interiors I’ve seen in Asia, the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Old Goa (completed 1661).

The view towards the Se Cathedral in Old Goa, taken from outside the Church of Our Lady of the Mount. The Se Cathedral (constructed over many decades from 1562) was reportedly once the largest church in Asia.

Same as above.

A small church in Anjuna, north Goa.

Anjuna Beach, Goa.
A tuk-tuk selfie with my old buddy Richard and some of our fellow travelers Grace, Jo and Jess.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mama_zee says:

    The beach in Varkala looks awesome. Great selection of images. Glad you made it home alive 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Loved your photos. Can I check what camera is it?

    1. timroxborogh says:

      Hi there, so pleased you enjoyed the photos. My camera is a Canon IXUS 1000 HS and I use the iPhoto program to make the colours as close to what they were in real life.

  3. Tim Rocks. Great. I am from Kerala.

    But when I see these pictures I really rethink the beauty of my place in a different color.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep coming to varkala. Love

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