Kathakali face cutouts hung on display at the LuLu Mall in Ernakulam (Kochi), Kerala during the Onam festival season like all mall interiors are decorated. Along with Onam, Snake Boats etc., Kathakali and its faces are among the strongest cultural synonyms and representative images (and tourist attractions) of Kerala. Kathakali is a world-famous art form that originated and is practiced in Kerala, a kind of dramatized dancing usually depicting stories from the Mahabharata performed by actors wearing highly stylized makeup, elaborate headgear, and costumes that are often a riot of colors. The end result of this makeup generally looks like the faces in this picture.
Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) is a newly formed subsidiary corporation of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to run city and moffussil bus services throughtout Kerala. For this a large number of buses were acquired under the JnNURM scheme, including a sizable number of Volvos. Here are seen two of them, Volvo B7RLE built city buses at the Vyttila Mobiliy Hub at Ernakulam at 2030 hours at night, running services to Kottayam and Alappuzha respectively. JN337 was running Ernakulam – Kottayam and JN369 was running Ernalkulam – Alappuzha (Alleppy). It was raining heavily providing a nice touch to the buses.
RA102 is one of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s (KSRTC) three old Volvo B7Rs bought to run Bangalore – Thiruavanathapuram services in October 2008. After running on and off for six years, they were replaced by brand new Volvo B9R multi axle buses in 2014. RA102 was then assigned to run special services in a new “Kerala Tourism” livery featuring a Mohiniattam dancer, a “Chundan vallom (snakeboat), half of a Kathakali face and a houseboat. Brilliantly designed. After hunting around for quite some time, I finally caught the elusive bus running a Guruvayur – Alappuzha special service at the Ernakulam Vyttila Mobility Hub one fine evening. You can see KSRTC’s other two old Volvo B7Rs also here: RA100 and RA101.
Erode Electric Loco shed’s freshly POH’ed and painted electric engine WAP4 #22388 hauled 16301 Shoranur – Trivandrum Venad Express stretches out between Ernakulam Town (North) and Ernakulam Junction (South) at ERS home signal on a very wet day among blooming greenery waiting for the all-clear for it to enter Ernakulam Jn. The blue-blue livery of the train is broken by the AC Chair Car coach which was covered in dirty and peeling flex advertisements.
Ernakulam Diesel Loco shed’s (ERS) WDG3A #14835 diesel locomotive rushes towards Idapalli with the Ernakulam – Nilambur passenger in tow. Behind the peeling and flaking paint of ERS’s standard beautiful orange and cream livery can be seen the old paint of her previous green and cream livery of the Golden Rock (Ponmalai) Diesel Loco Shed, Trichy, the shed it belong to before it was transferred to ERS. The WDG3A is a specialized goods engine but shortage of locos forces these to be used for passenger services too. This full-length photo was taken with quite a bit of difficulty at a tight angle from another train.
Four of Kochi’s JnNURM Volvo “Low Floor” City buses (B7RLE chassis) take rest standing next to each other in a row at the Ernakulam depot (bus station) on a pleasant evening. The buses are JNK3, JNK6, JNK8 and JNK25. I had taken a ride in JNK25 earlier in the day from South to Vyttila. It definitely pleasing to the eye seeing the bright orange livery of Kerala KSRTC Volvos, or as they say, in the colors of the Netherlands (Holland) football team! 🙂 And they are much better maintained than most of BMTC’s Volvo city buses!