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Kumarakom ~ January 4-6
On January 4 to 6 Kaliji and her students stayed two nights in tropical Kumarakom in the Indian state of Kerala at the luxurious Zuri Hotel.
On the eve of Kriyavati, Jan 4th (US time), the group attended a Kathakali performance appropriately entitled “Mudra. ” Kathakali, literally meaning “story-play”, is a dance drama that originated in the 17th century in Kerala.
In Kathakali, the themes are spiritual and it is a harmonious combination of five art forms – literature, music, painting (of face, etc), acting and dance. Dressed in elaborate costumes, the actors rely mostly on hand gesture or mudra to convey the story.
It takes the actors 5 to 10 years of study to achieve this degree of proficiency in Kathakali.
On January 5 (US time), the group took a five-hour day cruise on a charming, stitched-hull, domed mat-roof houseboat, traveling to the backwaters of Kerala and to Vembanad Lake. The lake is the second largest freshwater lake in India. This area has been recommended by National Geographic
as a must-see destination.
Cruising by Alleppey, known as the “Venice of the East,” one witnesses a never-ending panorama of lush green paddy fields, towering coconut trees and long canals.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is also situated at Kumarakom on the banks of Vembanad Lake. The bird sanctuary is an ornithologist’s paradise, and a favorite haunt of migratory birds which are best seen from November to February.