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Jenny  our hostess and travel agent in Cochin had arranged a car and driver to take us to Munnar to see the tea plantations, then on to Kerala where she had booked us an overnight trip on one of the converted rice barges which now ply the waterways with a new lucrative cargo - tourists.  On the way we visited the Hill Palace and stopped by the roadside to watch women collecting latex from rubber trees.  It reminded me of maple syrup time  in Canada


The Hill Palace

Built on the top of a hill by the Kochi Rajas as a home and administrative center in 1856.  It is a vast complex of 49 buildings over 54 acres of gardens and parkland.  There is a heritage museum,  a deer park a pre-historic i.e. concrete dinosaur park and a childrens park.   It was fairly rundown when we saw it but has had some refurbishment since.  It would take hours to see everything and we had only a short time on our way to Munnar.  There is no photography allowed inside and cameras and bags must be left at the entrance



Rubber Plantation and Production Line


Sheets of rubber hung on lines beside the road and when we stopped to look we were invited to tour a family rubber production operation

The latex is mixed with acid and water and left in shallow trays for three hours.  It emerges as a solid sheet which is then transferred to a wringer with a flat roller and on to another with a textured roller.  It is then hung out to dry before being smoked in an oven


Another Indian art form.....                                      

 the decorated truck
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