Meenachil river-Ravenous beauty in Kerala

Whoever has coined that phrase “God’s own country” must have experienced a bit of heaven on earth. The place that I am talking about is Kerala, a picturesque and lush green state  in southern India.

Whether traveling by road or train, you can feel the change in the clean air that you breath  as you enter Kerala. The stunning visual impact of the greenery hits you  as soon as you cross the border, not surprising, that no visit to India  is complete without a trip to Kerala, both for the  international and the domestic traveler.

Had been to Palai (one of the southern districts in Kerala) and was really charmed by the calm and quiet  atmosphere. Stayed at a relative’s place (lets call him Benny ) and they had this stream flowing right in front of their house.

They say that this stream called Meenachil never dries up and during the monsoons it is full and gushing. The water is so cool and clear and a dip in it is just what one needs to relax for the day (I was in the water for half an hour and wanted to spend more time there). The sound  of the gushing  water  is  pretty loud and the  people living near the stream tend to speak in a loud voice to be heard.

Benny is into cultivation and he has practically everything in his back yard. He showed me this Vanilla creeper and said that they start flowering only after three years of planting. He explained how he does the pollination himself as the bees that are supposed to do the pollination does not survive in India. (Natural pollination of Vanilla by the bees happen only in Mexico).
Kappa (Tapioca) is another item that does not need much maintenance.  A root starch, you have to just plant it and forget it. When it is about six to ten feet tall, you uproot it and the yield is anything between ten to fifteen kilos of Tapioca. After keeping aside a little for household use, Benny sells the rest in the market.

Pepper is a spice that grows wild in these areas. Just a little care in the initial years. Like the Vanilla, pepper too start bearing fruits after four or five years. Benny told me that the trick is to start plucking when one or two fruits at the bottom of the bunch starts turning red. (Yes pepper is a fruit). He says that if  it is  allowed  to mature on the plant , it looses its pungency and ultimately fetch less price in the market.

While Benny was showing us around his younger brother got some fresh toddy. Even though I am a teetotaler, I had to taste this and must say that it was not at all intoxicating. Probably because it was tapped fresh . (I had a hearty laugh when I saw the glass in which he served the toddy)

Toddy  is also an important  ingredient added to  some  of the steamed  sweet  dishes  that is served in Kerala. There were some string hoppers and Appam that were served on banana leaf, and I enjoyed the complete hospitality of Benny and his family.

Author: Joe

Born and bred in Bombay (now Mumbai) having spend the last 41 years in Pune (earlier Poona). Have been into photography for quite some time but got hold of a digital in 2003 and since then have been shooting away to glory. Hate posed photographs and like to shoot the daily life around us. Nothing like traveling and observing the local people and their culture.


  1. I never been to Kerala, after seeing your photos, I’d like to visit this place on my next trip to India. Couple of my friends visited some Ayurveda resorts in Kerala and they told lot of good things about Kerala

    • If you have never been to Kerala, then I suggest it should be on your list on your next visit to India. There are a lot of places to be seen (of which I will be writing more later)
      And Steve, the Ayurveda massage is something that you should experience.

  2. I visited this place several years back, your photos and the story bring back my old memories. You should also write other places in Kerala.

  3. Thanks Pari, and you are most welcome to visit this place 🙂

  4. Thanks Pari, and you are most welcome to visit this place 🙂


  1. Pari says:

    Interesting blog and nice photos, after reading your blog, I’d like to visit this place soon.

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