|Coasta Malabari & Pchy Derm Palace|
COASTA MALABARI & PACHY DERM PALACE
North of Cochin, Kerala's golden beaches and coconut groves continue
for nearly 250 miles to the bordering state of Karnataka. One of the
great secrets yet to be discovered by American visitors is the
magnificent coastal area south of the town of Kannur, a six hour
journey by fast air conditioned parlour car train from Cochin.
The eco-friendly tourist lodge, Costa Malabari, situated a few km to
the south of the town, is the obvious place to stay, comprising half a
dozen rooms just three minutes from the beach, among the coconut palms.
Here you can enjoy an ancient and varied cuisine comprising seasonal
fruits and vegetables and rice, modified to western tastes by
eliminating the hotter chillies and reducing the amount of hot peppers.
It is particularly well suited to vegetarians who, in the space of a
few days, might get to taste more than 30 dishes. Among the
Keralan specialities are sambar, a sliced salad of potatoes, carrots,
yams, green bananas and papayas, boiled with salt a little tumeric and
chili powder to which is added fried coconut paste and coriander seeds;
ochra, eggplant and tomatoes with ginger, mixed with a batter of grated
coconut, yoghurt and salt, mango and cucumber boiled together and
cooked slowly with a paste of coconut and yoghurt; and among the
fish dishes, calamari marinated in tumeric, garlic and ginger. Local
desserts include tropical fruit salads and mango ice cream while coffee
is made from the owner's own organic coffee farm. What to do here?
There are several beaches to explore where you will be the only
foreigners and where local people are always friendly (as long as local
customs are respected) and begging unheard of. Swim and surf in water
that is nearly 90 degrees, observe Theyyam, the unique ritiualistic
dancing of the region, at local temples, visit a handloom weaving
centre and go bird watching where you will see species such as the
honey sucker, cormorands, cuckoos, wood peckers, egrets, Indian minas
and drongos. Room and all meals cost as little as $20 a day for two