Kathakali Faces Hang Around at LuLu Mall, Ernakulam

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.

The Vyttila Mobility Transportation Hub, Ernakulam

Photo of the Vyttila Mobility Transportation Hub, Ernakulam-Kochi, Kerala. This state-of-the-art public transportation hub features seamless inter-connectivity between bus, rail and water transport, a real multi-modal transportation hub modeled on the great mobility hubs of Europe. The Kochi Metro is under construction and the station will be located at the Vyttila Hub itself, enhancing seamless public transport connectivity. Currently it is the only major bus station which allows entry for both KSRTC and private buses in Kerala. The station is very clean and has restaurants, toilets and all public amenities, and features spacious amenities previously unheard of in Kerala.

Interiors of the Kochi Central Mall, Ernakulam

How the new Kochi Central Mall on MG Road, Ernakulam looks like from the inside. The interiors are very upscale, very clean and well spaced out, in all very tastefully done with colors everywhere as you can see in this photo. This picture was taken from the first floor above the entrance. The foot court with its lighted roof is at the top. The interior layout of the mall vaguely reminds one of The Forum, Koramangala, Bangalore. A mall like would have been unimaginable in Kerala a decade back, when yours truly was strutting around the city, hoping there was something else than the Marine Drive and some juice parlors to hang out. Today’s kids are lucky.

Interiors of the Lulu Mall, Ernakulam.

A picture of the interiors of the Lulu International Shopping Mall at Idapalli, Ernakulam, Kerala, as seen towards the entrance. This is the second largest shopping mall in India by size. The mall is owned by the EMKE Group headquartered at Abu Dhabi, UAE. Lulu Mall Ernakulam is one of the most luxurious, appointed and well-laid out malls I have ever seen in India, with hardly any detail being left out. It is also the first “real” mall to open in Kerala, traditionally opposed to such shows of wealth, “modernity” and consumerism. But times are a changing.

God’s Own Sunset at Marine Drive Kochi Kerala

The sun has set over the sea but the last rays remain… This beautiful sunset was captured on a calm, lovely evening over the serene waters of the Vembanad lake at Kochi harbor with boats bobbing in the foreground at the Marine Drive promenade, Ernakulam, Kerala. And today is Thiruvonam. Wishing everyone a very Happy Onam!

Periyaare, Periyaare, Parvathanirayude Panineere…

The Periyar river flows around an island at Kalady in south-central Kerala. The rain is falling on the river and all around as the darkened skies clear the decks for another of the epic Kerala rains. It seems to be late in the evening even though it is only 1.45 pm. The photo was taken from the creaking Sree Sankaracharya bridge which carries the MC Road across the Periyar, looking east towards the far-away mountains where the river originates, in the remote reaches of the mountainous Idukki district of Kerala which lies across the Western Ghats. The white structure to the left of the picture is Sree Sankaracharya’s birth place.

The Periyar is the second longest river in Kerala after the Bharathapuzha and historically probably the single-most important entity in the history of the state. The Periyar formed and shaped the culture of South-Central Kerala. It created the ancient port of Muziris which attracted traders from Arabia to Rome to the shores of Kerala, and then destroyed it by flooding it in 1581. The result was Kochi. She held off Tipu’s armies from conquering Travancore and formed the boundary between the Kochi and Travancore states. The Idukki Hydroelectric project which supplies power to all of Kerala is located on the Periyar, as is the notorious Mullaperiyar dam.

The Periyar was once a powerful force of nature has been tamed to an extent and is today only a shadow of her former self. But she is only sleeping, and her fury as the port and city-destroyer will be unmatched if she decided to wake up.