Sunday, May 11, 2014


I've been on blog hiatus while I've been traveling, working like a fiend, and visiting America, but I'm back and have lots to catch up… First and foremost, there is a MANGO FESTIVAL across the street at the palace grounds!!!! There's always some cacophony and crowd there for some exhibition or other, so I don't usually pay much attention, but when I saw the giant mango at the entrance, all I could think was "Oh yeah, baby, that's what I'm talking about!" and I made a bee line for the ticket counter.
At first it reminded us a bit of a state fair atmosphere with the informational pavilions, but the mango hawkers' pavilion was pure India:  loud, messy, crowded, colorful, and delicious.  I thought I had more than my share before I happened on the sales pavilion, but I guess I was wrong, because about 30 mangoes later I emerged with full bags.  These are by far the most delicious mangoes I have ever eaten, and so far, the Alphonsa is still the queen of them all.  A couple of hawkers insisted yesterday that their "rare" variety was sweeter than the Alphonsa, so I bought a kilo, but I've yet to taste them, as they are still ripening.  I'll believe it when I eat it.  Last night we had mango lassis made from 8 Alphonsa mangoes and some yogurt, and I'm sure a sweeter drink has never passed my lips.  I did indeed swoon.

And, as if the mangoes weren't enough to get my heart going, there was a drum group at the bottom of the hill, but not just any drum corp.
 It's normal to hear drums around the city about every day, because they are employed to "drum up" business for any new opening of a store, exhibit, or just because.  But these drummers were on fire with the beat, and I capture some footage I'll try to upload for your enjoyment.  Not sure this bandwidth can handle it, though... They were incredible, really, as good as any drum group I've heard, and they had great stage presence.  One drummer would subtly announce a shift by bending forward over his drum, or something I couldn't ascertain, and then they were off.  Sometimes they would gather in a circle and try to outbeat each other, and sometimes they got so loud I had to back up.  Notice the curved drum sticks, by the way, and also the ages of some of the drummers.  I guess they are getting better with age like some of us!

All in all a great experience.  This is some of the best of what Kerala has to offer, and I was loving it!  I've been waiting all year for mango season in Kerala, and it has not disappointed.  I'll be "putting up" some mangoes in the freezer with some lemon juice and a very small dash of sugar, blended, to use as a sauce for yogurt or ice cream, or just to take a direct hit from.  I don't want to be caught without mango goodness during the monsoon season, in case the mangoes stop coming…  Enjoy the photos below, sorry, I know it will make you quite hungry for the mango nectar….
Alphonsas….Export Quality but I snagged them before they got out of the country!

Entrance to Exhibit

Exhibition Hall

Luscious mango ice crew

Humble beginning for the fruit

a few varieties: sugar babies in the middle!

bounty spilling over

"rare" Tamil Nadu variety I was overcharged for

Gets the "great shape" award

a mound of sugar baby goodness

Hawkers plying their trade

Hawker who asked me to take his photo


drummers in action

Tree in park at Sunset

Sun sets on the mango festival


  1. Wish that Mango Festival was closer... That looked huge and fun. The ice cream looks divine. Great job showing the varieties.

  2. That's what I call a great festival! More people would eat healthy if a festival was dedicated to the best of every fruit and vegetable. I think I'll write a grant for a berry festival here in I.C.