Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweetest place in India-- Kanthaloor

Kanthaloor -- a village in Idukki district.

It is 7,000 feet above sea level.

Like any other village, it is green and lush.

A two hour bus journey will take you to Kanthaloor.
I call it the sweetest place in the country-- They make the best Jaggery here.

Jaggery is made out of sugar cane.

Which grows in abundance in Kanthaloor.
Kanthaloor also has a beautiful climate.

Sugar cane juice made first.

And it is boiled.

The residue is used as fuel in to boil the juice.

It is poured into this giant tava.

Where it is boiled for hours.

And hours...

And Hours...
More fuel is added to the boiler at times...

The Chimmeny lets out black smoke...

And more smoke...

The molten sugar cane juice coagulates after a while..

It is then poured into another container..

And poured..

And poured...

When it becomes a solid, the people make jaggery balls out of them...

More balls...

It is then weighed and packed in bags..

And weighed...

And packed...

Friday, July 24, 2009


July is not the right time to go to Nilambur forests. The rain is usually at its peak. Leeches and Elephants are not exactly in the best of their moods. The nature is shaky. Landslides are common. These are the factors that me into the forests. The rainy season, is like a festival-- I decided to celebrate in the dense forests of Nilambur. July it had to be.

Another purpose of the journey was to meet the CHOLANAICKERS a primitive tribe living in the Nilambur forests.

The Beginning..

We met some people on the way. Who offered to guide us through the forest.

Chollan, our guide likes to walk barefoot in the forests. It is as if he did not care about the leaches ..

The climb to Kannan's house (a Cholanaikan) is risky. One wrong step could leave you injured and unable to continue the journey.

A 50 meter (approx) bridge to cross the river takes en rout to Kannan's house.

Enikkal Chollan, another tribesman who tagged along.

The bridge is made of bamboo and tree fiber.



Kannan's house turned out to be a sheltered cave.

Kannan's family. He has four children. Two of them have not been named yet. Kannan's wife has been here three years without going down the hill.

The whole family lives in the small area shown in the frame.

Billy and Mr No Name (left)-- Kannan's children.

Prakash-- Kannan's eldest son.

Billy and two children who are yet to be named.

The man of the house with the family.

Off to work.

Kannan'n brother's family (next cave neighbor)

On the way back. The government has made houses for the tribesmen. Most of them do not live here as it is difficult for them to go into the forest every day to collect honey and other products. Most of them live in caves like Kannan.