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Images of India

India is a developing country and some areas of the country are more develped than others.

The MV Explorer docked in Cochin, India, the largest city in the south of the country, in the State of Kerala.

India is divided into 29 states, some of them are larger and more diverse than countries in Europe.

rubber tree with active tap

By many measures, Kerala is the most developed State in India. It boasts the lowest levels of poverty, the highest levels of literacy. People of many ethnicities and religious traditions live peacefully and citizens are proud of the tolerance they model.  The images I had of India were dashed by a well-run state. I saw people struggling, for sure, but no poverty, no beggars, and most people seemed to be going about their business with determination.

Rubber Plantation Homestay

One highlight of our stay was a homestay with a family running a rubber plantation.  We got to stay in the home of Augustine and Tessy Iellicke and their extended family, sharing meals, church, and other apscets of their lives.  Plus we got to learn about the operations of their rubber plantation, seeing how rubber trees are tapped, the milk captured and processed into latex.  The plantation also cultivated pineapple, cashew nuts, jackfruit, and honey.

Saying goodbye to the homestay. We felt so welcomed.

Anna Beth with rubber after it has been smoked to kill any pests.

John with finished product’

Elephant Pass

Another highlight was an overnight at the Elephant Pass Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat  This is a lovely and intimate yoga retreat on the Periyar River and right next to a well-known elephant sanctuary. Twice a day the elephants are led down to the Periya River to bathe.  As the attendants wash the elephants on every part of their bodies, it’s a chance to see elephants in a whole new light.

processed rubber drying on clothesline

Here are some more images of Elephant Pass.

Detailing the Elephants

The attendants did a loving job of scrubbing the elephants. No spot was missed, including some places where the sun don’t shine. I likened it to detailing the elephants.

Elephants being escorted into the Periyar River.

attendants scrub every inch of the elephant.

The elephants ar trained to present every side of their bodies to be washed. First they lie down on one side almost completely submerged in the water. They have to use their trucks to breathe.

SAS students gathered at the Elephant Pass Yoga Retreat for a group photo.

Then they get up and lie down on their other side.

SAS students with bull elephant.

They are even taught to present their trunks for washing.

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