After an overnight train ride Tuesday in which I was lucky to be among 4 people in a 1st class cabin (most of the group was actually in 2nd class) we quickly de-boarded because the train just stops for a few minutes in Rajahmundry. Some of Abhi’s family members met the train to help with luggage and to get us to the hotel to freshen up. Porters carried 3-4 rolling suitcases on their heads and a smaller bag over each arm and we could barely keep up with them. Plus, they went up two flights of stairs and back down on the other side of the tracks to reach our rides.
The morning was relaxed; several of us lingered over breakfast to try to remember the chronology of the many temples and places we have visited. Then we took showers and got ready—for lunch! I tried the South India Thali, a traditional meal that claims to promote balance. At least the tray was balanced! Rice surrounded with small stainless steel cups of delicacies like vegetable curry and paneer. It was a great sampler—I tried some of everything though it was more than I could eat. Just after I announced that I must be balanced now, a cup of ice cream was delivered.
After lunch we visited Abhi’s cousin Krishna’s organic farm. We were greeted loudly by dalmatians from their enclosure. They would probably have loved to get at one of the chickens or turkeys! There were three calves, some cows, and some water buffalo. A three-week old calf was untied and jumped for joy—ran around friskily and also found its mother. The cowherd had to chase after the cow to get her back to the herd. The farm grows sugar cane and also has some coconut trees that produce water coconuts.
A worker with his machete and a rubber ring to hold him as he worked his way up a coconut tree, cut down a few for us. Then the tops were cut off until there was a small hole. A straw was inserted and each of us enjoyed refreshing coconut water. It is clear, and not strongly flavored like coconut, but it’s very good. We were served sweets made with cashews or dates. Delicious. So much good food on this trip!
The farm is right on the Godvari River. During last fall’s floods the river rose 50 feet! The farm was about 20 feet deep in water and sustained quite a bit of damage. The setting is absolutely beautiful and it was cool and breezy. Lovely hospitality.