Neeleshwar, Coorgh, Mysore in Kerala |4| India

Jan 22, 2010

The last leg of our trip was in North Kerala and the state adjacent, Karnataka. In India, you don’t need to take the children to the zoo to see elephants, you’ll find them everywhere…even on the highways.

We first headed north to the beach, to Neeleshwar Hermitage.
Stories of turtles nesting, canoe trips at sunset, Kingfisher birds (and Kingfisher beers), naan bread, ayurvedic massage, yoga class, long walks, grilled fish barefoot in the sand, traditional puppet and dance shows…
There weren’t that many young children, because the place is quite difficult to access (a long journey from Mangalore airport: 3.5 hours for 150 km. That’s how bad the roads are). But there were a few families, again, with children around 8 to 16 years old. The hotel is very spacious, peaceful and relaxing. What is most touching is the respect that Neeleshwar displays: Respectful to the local communities, to the environment, to the culture of Kerala. It’s just one of those incredibly special places. 16 cottages with outdoor bathrooms, very comfortable and nicely decorated. All within 5 min walk from a never-ending beach.

After a 5 hour drive, we reached the School Estate, a coffee plantation in the Coorgh region. A little Eden in the mountains where we stayed with the owners. We felt at home right away. Another perfect place to stay with children even though distances are long to get there. We got treated to a traditional village dance performance to thank the bountiful harvest season. I particularly loved the moustache of the dancer on the right.

Also, any child would LOVE the Dubare Elephant Training Camp where you can bathe them in the river, feed them and ride them. Bring changing clothes because you WILL get wet!

And our last day was spent in beautiful Mysore.

Mysore: the palace, the flower & vegetable market, the natural chaos of a large Indian city.

To finish on these India trip notes, some words of wisdom for our children, from the great yogi Swami Sivanada:

There is only one caste the caste of humanity.

There is only one language the language of heart or the language of silence.

There is only one religion, the religion of Love.

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