Tag Archives: snake

2012 (Part 2)

Kia Ora Fellow Gallopers,

Another year’s come and gone – a year that was packed with events ranging from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the London Olympics to the US Presidential election. The aftershocks of the economic crisis continued to rock the world economies and the world was to have ended this year.

While being a silent spectator to the atrocities that one fellow human inflicts on another, this beautiful planet that we call Home sent out very clear signals to us, by way of storms and super storms,  that we will have to bear the consequences of our bad and reckless stewardship of her.

Following on from yesterday’s post – 2012 (Part 1) – here are the rest of our most highly rated* images from the past 12 months. Hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed making them:

July 2012:





August 2012:




September 2012:




October 2012:





November 2012:





December 2012:





As we all ‘Gangnam Style’ our way into the Year of the Snake, here’s hoping that it’ll be a good one…

Thank You so much for your support in 2012. We’ve loved having you around in Black Stallion Country.

See you all in 2013.

Gallop Free.

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* – All the images in this post were showcased on our Facebook Page as part of our ‘Picture of the Day’ feature and were highly rated by the most important and valued viewer of all – You.

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The Year that was 2010 – Part 2

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

Continuing on from yesterday’s post, here are the images that I’ve selected for the months of July to December 2010.


This bird needs no introduction – the National Bird of India.



Took this image at the famous Snake Boat Race (Vallam Kali) held in Alleppey, Kerala, India during the Onam festival period.

All images in this set can be viewed here:





Took this image on a road in India – pushing both man and machine to the limit!!!



Traditional Oil Lamps that are lit during the Indian festival of lights – Diwali.



Captured this fishy image at a street market in India.

All images in this set can be viewed here:




The star of Bethlehem forms an integral part of the Christmas decorations in India and a star is hung outside the house at Christmas time.


Thank you for dropping by and hope you can keep visiting us at Black Stallion Country from time to time in 2011. We love to have you around.

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

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A ‘Water Bus’ Journey – Part 1

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

I was in Alleppey recently to see the famed Snake Boat Race (Vallam Kali) that is held every year on the second Saturday of August and when I was there I seized the opportunity to explore the intricate network of backwaters that flow in and around Alleppey.

Alleppey (Alappuzha – ആലപ്പുഴ) is a town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons in the Alappuzha district of Kerala State in South India. It is one of the places that is referred to as the Venice of the East and one realises how it got that title when one sees the myriad canals that meander  through Alleppey town.  Alleppey is bordered by Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts in the East, Kollam district in the South, Ernakulam district in the North and the Arabian Sea in the West. Alleppey is also said to have had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in the Middle Ages.

The best way of exploring the backwaters is by taking a boat ride and that is exactly what I did. One can easily hire a private boat for any period of time or one can take a government boat run by the Kerala State Water Transport Department from the many boat jetties (piers) just off the town High Street. Boats leave at regular intervals from Alleppey to various destinations and the one I took was from Alleppey to Kottayam. I like to think of the Government run boats as a ‘water bus’ of sorts as it is exactly that – chugging along the National Waterways (Backwater Motorways!!) and stopping at regular intervals at jetties (bus stops) that dot the route, these boats serve as the transportation lifeline for people living in small towns and villages along the backwaters – their only link between the serene backwaters they call home and the hustle and bustle of urban life.

In addition to being rewarded with spectacular and breath-taking views of the backwaters, you also get to meet people from a cross-section of society as well as folk from all over the world while on board the ‘water bus’. The young, the old, the farmer, the businessman, the clerk, the student, the person who gets on board with just a bag tucked under his arm to a person laden with sacks of provision. You find them all on the ‘water bus’ – a truly serene, slow and leisurely way of navigating through the backwaters in God’s Own Country.

To see all the images in this set, kindly click the link below:


Please do join me in a week’s time for the conclusion of this journey.

Till then, take care and gallop free.

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Snake Boat Race – Vallam Kali (വള്ളംകളി)

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

It’s been sometime since I’ve made an entry and that’s because I’ve been travelling quite a lot of late. I was in Alappuzha (Alleppey), a town and district in southern Kerala, India, where an annual traditional boat (paddled war canoe) race is held on the second Saturday of August during the season of the harvest festival of Onam. The traditional name for this boat race is Vallam Kali (വള്ളംകളി) in Malayalam.

“Thei thei thei thei thithai thakathaithaithom

Thithithara thithithara thithai thakathaithaithom”

goes the rhythmic tune of the boatmen’s song. The jewels in the crown of the Vallam Kali at Alleppey are the sixteen long wooden boats of serpentine appearance (Chundan Vallams – Snake Boats) that race for the coveted Nehru Trophy. As if carried on the wings of lightning and accompanied by the thunderous cheers from fans on both shores of the Punnamda backwaters, the snake boats epitomise sheer energy and team work.

The snake boat has the record of being the biggest water vessel used for sports purposes. It is the sporting event that has the highest number of members in a single team. Usually a snake boat is manned by 4 helmsmen, 25 cheerers / singers and 100-125 oarsmen who row in unison to the fast rhythm of the boatmen’s song. The 100 – 120 foot long snake boats are made of a forest wood locally called Aanjili. The Vallam (boat) is under the command of the captain called Karanaathan. Three hands under him control the pace and movement of the boat. All along the two sides of the boat, in two long rows, sit the oarsmen, 64 in number (supposed to represent the 64 shires). In their midst sit 25 singers with traditional accompaniments. They provide the rhythm which the rowers follow with their oars as they row in sync. In the second half of the boat there is a platform for eight singers – they represent the eight directions and regulate the pace and song.

This famed boat race in Kuttanad can be likened to the bull fights in Spain. The vigour of the Spanish matadors, who hail from various villages with their fighter bulls, is evident in the Vallam teams that hail from the surrounding Kerala countryside.

This sport belongs to an era when kings ruled Kerala. Boat racers are leftovers from the legacy of Chembakasseri kings who ruled Alappuzha about 400 years ago. The snake boats now bask in the grandeur that radiates from royalty. There existed the tradition of ushering in kings on the boat, making the boat really special.

In addition to the Chundan Vallams (Snake Boats) other categories of boats such as the Iruttukuthy Vallam, Odi Vallam, Veppu Vallam, Vadakkanody Vallam and Kochu Vallam also take part in these races in their respective categories. People from across the globe usually flock to Punnamada Lake to soak in the spirit of this exciting yet graceful boat race and is a prominent event on the tourism calendar of God’s Own Country.

To see all the images* in this set, please click the links below:



Till next time, take care and gallop free.

* – images taken with the Canon 50D.

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