Blogs from Vagamon, Kerala, India, Asia


Asia » India » Kerala » Vagamon November 19th 2016

Our next stop was at Vanilla County, a farmstay in the hills near Vagamon. Vanilla County is owned and operated by a Christian family who, in order to maintain their parents' stately property, elected to transform it into a beautiful inn. The income from tourism supplements their income from agriculture and both work hand-in-hand. Most of the fantastic food we ate (even the spices) was grown on the estate. The home at Vanilla County was as gorgeous as its tropical grounds. We stayed in the two suites on the second floor and had more room than any of us needed. We had a balcony and a wonderul view of the hillsides filled with pineapple, coconut, and rubber trees. Vanilla County was a noticeably quiet and serene spot to relax. The meals were incredible and we often ... read more
Kyle and Dad Relaxing
The Beautiful Home
Entrance at Vanilla County

Asia » India » Kerala » Vagamon November 19th 2016

While we were in Kerala, we passed by many rubber trees and noticed the strange little collection cups and plastic wraps around the mature rubber trees. We decided we needed to learn more about the process of collecting and making rubber. Our time near the hill station of Vagamon proved the perfect time to do just that. We hired a guide from Vanilla County and took off for a local rubber tree plantation. We learned about rubber and may never look at the finished product the same way. The collection and production of rubber is extensive and labor intensive. It takes a rubber tree 7 years to mature, so the trees must be planted and then must grow for 7 years before they can provide any sort of profit. Once the tree matures, one side of ... read more
Squeezing Out the Water
Close-up Collection
Labor Intensive Process

Asia » India » Kerala » Vagamon November 19th 2016

We visited a monastary in the hill country where the monks live in silence and run a dairy. It is a self-sustaining facility where the monks raise all the vegetables they need to survive and live as strict vegetarians. Needless to say, the monks live a very modest life. The profits raised by the dairy business are given to charity. The grounds were gorgeous and the dairy was spotless. The cows were housed in fantastic old barns. The complex of barns and out buildings was charming and inviting. The monestary also had a beautiful botanical garden. With his midwest manners, dad walked around saying hello to each person we met until our guide politely informed him the monks were not allowed to speak! We acted interested in prayer time and going to the chapel, but it ... read more
Peeking into the Chapel
Cutting Fresh Food for Cattle
Complex of Barns

Asia » India » Kerala » Vagamon November 18th 2016

After relaxing on the houseboat near Aleppey, we traveled to the hill station of Vagamon. We spent several days here hiking, checking out the tea plantations, learning about the spices grown in the area and harvesting rubber from the rubber trees. We hiked to get out of the humidity one day and then hiked to a rock pool with a waterfall to manage the humidity. Kyle needed to swim the source of the waterfall and jump into the rock pool, but dad and I were contect to just soak our feet and cool off.... read more
Our Chariot
Above the Clouds
Perfect Weather

Asia » India » Kerala » Vagamon November 16th 2016

We were told India is the world's second largest producer of rice (after China). From the thousands of acres of rice we saw as we criss-crossed this country, that seems like a reasonable statement. As we travelled from location to location we saw rice being planted, rice growing and rice being harvested. Rice is an interesting crop in that fields right next to each other could be in any one of those growing stages despite the season or date on the calendar. On one of our days driving in southern India, we were lucky enough to happen upon a harvest crew just finishing up the harvest process. We stopped and and took some time to observe the process. We inspected the rice as the crew piled up bags of rice. The harvest crew was very welcoming ... read more
Harvest Wrap-Up
Harvest Overview
Kyle Checking on the Crop

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