Canal sights in India
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Trips through the backwaters cross shallow, palm-fringed lakes studded with cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, and travel along narrow, shady canals where coir (coconut fibre), copra (dried coconut meat) and cashews are loaded onto boats. Along the way are small villages with mosques, churches, temples and schools, villagers going about their daily chores, and tiny settlements where people live on narrow spits of reclaimed land only a few metres wide.
Travelling through the 900km network of waterways that fringe the coast and trickle far inland is the undisputed main attraction of a trip to Kerala. Long before the advent of roads these waterways were the slippery highways…
Har-ki-Pairi Ghat (The Footstep of God) is where Vishnu is said to have dropped some heavenly nectar and left a footprint behind. As such it is very sacred to Hindus and the place to wash away your sins. Pilgrims bathe here in its often fast currents and donate money to the priests and shrines.
The ghat sits on the western bank of the Ganges canal and every evening hundreds of worshippers gather for the ganga aarti (river worship ceremony). Officials in blue uniform collect donations (and give out receipts) and as the sun sets, bells ring out a rhythm, torches are lit, and leaf baskets with flower petals inside and a candle on top (Rs 5) are lit and put on the river to…