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Glimpses of Kerala

On a trip of a life time, the pictures you capture, the memories you take back home, are all special because each memory is linked to the people who were with you at the time. People are the soul of the Kerala cycling tours that are offered by Art of Bicycle Trips and there is no doubt that by cycling instead you can easily connect with the locals and their way of life at home.

What stands out for me personally is that the people we meet on the road are simple, warm and incredible! They are always happy to share their stories and will greet you with a smile even if they are busy, working hard. 

Meet the people who make our Kerala cycling tours picture perfect

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Seen here, a fisherman paddling his canoe in the backwaters of Kerala. He was gliding along purposefully to reach his destination quickly. With numerous waterways connecting many island villages, a canoe is common mode of transport here in the backwaters of Kerala.

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The women seen above, wearing colourful sarees, carrying religious yellow-white flags and decorated parasols, were all lined up for a procession as part Christian church festival in Kuttanad, Kerala.

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This enthusiastic group of school kids posed saying “Yo!” to one group of American cyclists as we cycled through a village on the second day of their Kerala cycling tour.

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Plenty of women work in the tea plantations of Kerala but this lady here was especially happy as she smiled for our cameras as we made our way to Munnar Top station during one of our Kerala cycling tours. Its not unusual for women here to stand and work in the outdoors for 8-12 hours a day as they move across hillsides cutting tea leaves with shears and collecting them in the baskets that are also supported with their heads. Cycling Kerala is a breeze compared to that!

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Girls taking a canoe transfer; they were happy and laughing out loud as they saw us. Those who live in the backwater regions in Kerala, use a canoe to go to work, to school, to grocery store and even to meet you friends the next door. Life here thrives along the water channels.

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A lady washing clothes in a Hindu temple pond. One would surely appreciate modern washing machines a lot more after watching someone wash clothes manually like this.

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Hello Kids! These lovely little girls are wearing little ear-rings and their eyebrows are beautifully done with ‘kohl’ a.k.a ‘kajal’ in India. Mothers in India draw black dots on forehead, chin, cheek, hands or feet of their young ones to protect them from the evil eye.

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A coconut tree climber is seen cycling to work here in Kerala. Take that, all of you people who do not cycle to work because you have things to carry! Here, this expert cyclist is riding his bicycle with a bamboo ladder on his shoulders. Have you seen a balancing act like this in traffic elsewhere? Have you?

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A lady walking up the hill with a bag full of tea leaves on her head. Life in the countryside still involves plenty of long arduous hikes yet, this lady was happy to meet us and have a quick chat as we passed through tea plantations on one of our Kerala cycling tours.

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Men drying coconuts under the sun. The dried coconut flesh is then taken to mills for extracting coconut oil. Coconut oil is an absolute essential in Kerala. It is used in food preparation, therapeutic ayurvedic massages and is even considered to have healing properties. Keralan ladies swear by coconut oil for their long, thick, black tresses.

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This lady here is a fisher-woman who sells freshly caught fish in the villages near the coast. Here she is returning after her morning rounds with the aluminium vessel, that is used to carry fish, on her head.

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Fisherman are seen visually inspecting and separating sardines here in this candid shot. Some fisherman who cannot afford to buy a boat improvise and venture out into sea on little more than Styrofoam boards that are held together with plastic sheets. On a good day, they might haul in large catches while at other times, they may not be so lucky. The realities of life here.

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Coir rope making is a part time job for many women in the backwater villages. Sheela here is showing us the traditional way of coir rope making using her hands. Nowadays, coir ropes are spun using mini motors too. The fibres extracted from of the husks of coconuts are available in abundance and this is the raw material for coir ropes. In this image, one can also see bundles of rope that have been made by Sheela in the background here.

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This friendly old woman was happy to shows us a door mat that is woven with a loom that uses coir ropes.

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Here the lady is shaving coconut leaves using a knife to take the stalks out. When she will have enough stalks ready, she will make a bundle and tie it at one end to make a hardy broom.  With coconut trees aplenty here, people have found innumerable ways to use the materials provided by this ‘life-giving tree.’

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A boatman steering a houseboat through the Vembanad lake in Alleppey – As captured by one of our guests during their Kerala cycling tour.

If you wish to go a cycling tour in India or Southeast Asia and meet and interact with locals along the way, then you are in the right place. Please have a look at the cycling tours offered by Art of Bicycle Trips and feel free to write to us classic at artofbicycletrips dot com so that we can get your dream holiday going.

Author: Dibin

Editor: Ashwini