Southern India


For winter break in 2012, we decided to head to southern India and see a bunch of places we haven't made it to (or back to) since we've been living in India. It was nice to stay semi local for the holidays - no long flight! We did a big loop of southern India. We started in Goa and more or less followed the coast line around until we flew out of Chennai.

     4 days in Goa was a great way to decompress after the first half of the school year. We played a LOT of cards and dice with Zoë.
Hampi was awesome. Almost as impressive as places like Bagan or Angkor Wat, with about 1% of the tourists. The ruins of Hampi are spread out over a large area and have a beautiful setting amongst massive boulders spread as far as the eye can see.    
Zoë loves to make us take humiliating photos, this one in front of the elephant stables at Hampi.   Crossing the river at Hampi.
This temple at Hampi had several trees where pilgrims tied cloths containing a coconut to the trees.   The planetarium in Bangalore had a cool Science Park with all kinds of science experiments/play stations. This one demonstrated the use of pulleys to lift your own body weight.
A lattice crystal structure on the science playground.   The fishnets in Cochin. We had this exact picture from our previous visit 20 years earlier.
Crossing one of the waterways of the backwater to our home-stay (in the background) in Kerala. Most people do houseboat rides, but this homestay was recommenced to us. It was awesome!   The best part of the homestay was that the house (actually a compound of 3 houses) had 4 girls Zoë's age - Zoë was in heaven! They got along awesome!
Mostly we just sat around the homestay and watched the boats go by on the river. But we also did a couple long walks around the island we were on and took this boat ride around the canals. The walks were led by our hosts, who were super informative.   My morning run in Varnakala. A short distance from the crowded clifftop beach resorts of Varnakala, the resorts disappeared and were replaced by fishing villages. There were lots of these lines of fishermen pulling up nets from the sea. I stopped and helped one group for about 15 minutes. The day before they had spent 8 hours pulling in the nets and they turned out to be empty! :(
The biggest (?) temple in India at Trichy. This was another place that we have almost the exact same picture from 20 years earlier. Of course, we didn't quite look the same!   A shopping spree in Pondicherry to update my metro-sexual quotient!
Walking the shoreline in Pondicherry.   The food, bars and hotel in Pondicherry were awesome! Especially after a couple days in more off the beaten path parts of southern India.
A couple days on the beach near Chennai to end our vacation hit the spot! We couldn't believe how uncrowded the beach was - no resorts other than ours and just fishing boats as far as the eye could see. Not very typical of our beach experiences in India!