Photographing three generations at Bhoothathankettu, India

While staying with Binu’s family in India, his brother matthew did a wonderful job of showing me around. I loved traveling with the family to Bhoothathankettu. Bhoothathankettu is a dam and tourist spot in Kerala, India. It is situated outside the village of Pindimana, about 10 km away from the town of Kothamangalam and 50 km away from the main city of Kochi. Large blocks of unshaped stones are placed on both sides of the Periyar River to form the dam, making it look like a natural dam built by superhumans. The name Bhoothathan Kettu, means “monster fort”; past generations believed it was built by a Bhootham (monster).

Matthew is a master storyteller, so once the famliles and friends were gathered out on the boulders overlooking the Periyar River Matthew proceeded to tell us a story of Indian folklore about the origin of the massive boulders… monsters(Malayalam: Bhootham) planned to submerge the Trikkariyoor temple, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva by making a dam in the Periyar river and flooding the area. Suspecting trickery the omnipotent Lord Shiva, came up with a plan to deter them. He faked the approaching dawn by a rooster’s sound. The demons fearing the arrival of light fled the place. To this day there is a visible proof of their effort where you can see the boulders which the demons were supposed to have rolled onto the riverbed, the Old Bhothathankettu. The Periyar flows on through the narrow space which the demons did not quite manage to dam up. 

In reality Its been attributed to two great floods – one in the 4th century and the other in 1341, which threw open the port of Kochi. The massive landslides during the flood are believed to have caused gigantic rocks to roll down from the mountain and become entrenched in the Old Bhoothathankettu…. I like Matthews story better! 

My favorite memory of the day was photographing Binu’s mother and father who have been married 46 years. I managed to get big smiles out of them both when I said they looked like newlyweds! Priceless moment 

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