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Photographer's Note

Kerala is quite different than the rest of India for many reasons, and it is easy for a visitor to feel in a completely different country.

First, its economy depends significantly on remittances from a large expatriate community, working on the Persian Gulf countries. It is also the state in the nation with the highest growth in enterprises, and its Human Development Index rating is also the highest in India.

Another sign of distinction is its political structure, with a communist party that is strongly established (not in power right now), and as a result, a lot of communist flags and sculptures can be seen all across the state.

Kerala produces 97% of the national output of black pepper, while natural rubber, coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, and spices—including cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg—comprise a critical agricultural sector.

But the key agricultural staple is rice, with varieties grown in extensive paddy fields.

Other distinctive features:

• The cuisine! Although I am addicted to Punjabi cuisine, some Kerala dishes are hard to beat, with very different spices than the north, and an extensive usage of coconut cream and milk. One of the best Malabar dish is the Thalassery biriyani.

• The clothing is also very different from the north, particularly with men generally wear dhoti, mundu or a cotton lungi.

• Their is a lot of Christians in Kerala, and consequently, a lot of churches too.

• Kerala is home to the largest domesticated population of elephants in India, owned by temples as well as individuals.

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Additional Photos by Andre Roberge (InasiaJones) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1426 W: 152 N: 6229] (31448)
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