Munnar – Fight Club, India

After driving through a plethora of tea plantations and estates, we were natured out and wanted to experience the night life. Embraced by the mist, we snaked through the narrow wet roads to learn a little about what goes on up in tea leaves. We stopped by the cultural center, located on the edge of a hill up a hundred feet and off the main road. In addition to the exotic cultural shows, we experienced the slant of living.

Cultural Center Entrance

Cultural Center Entrance

The hospitable Malayali People are determined to preserve their culture and so here we were. The first was a 500 year old dance drama , Kathakali, a UNESCO Human Heritage Art. An unique ancient drama act, artists paint their faces to the point of horror, dress in eccentric outfits, and non-verbally enact folk tales with facial and hand gestures, rhythmic martial arts  and abrupt wails that knocked us off our seats. These guys go on for hours, accompanied by topless male drummers playing chenda that step up the drama, like the nine facial expressions weren’t good enough to freak us out.

And then there was Kalarippayattu, a Keralite form of Martial arts that’s experiencing a strong come back in rural areas after the British Colonial authorities put it down when firearms were introduced in the 19th Century. Nevertheless, we were inadvertently supporting the comeback and its supplementary danger.
Roundhouse kick?

Roundhouse kick?

Increasing battle awareness

Increasing battle awareness – Meipayattu

Yah!

Yah!

So it was time to put our lives back in danger and head up to our resort an hour away. Were these guys worth it? A new experience always is.
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