Pani is the Hindi word for water, which I’ve used in this post’s title because it starts with a P, but I should be saying vellam, which is water in Malayalam. Malayalam is the language of Kerala, which is from where I’m writing this post.
I wondered why this hot water, served to everyone as they were eating their breakfast, was pink. I discovered that the water turns this colour when boiled with the heartwood of Pathimugam, the East Indian red wood tree, a tree indigenous to India. The wood is whitish in colour when freshly cut but turns red when exposed to air. The wood is thought to purify the water and help to prevent water-borne diseases, and is also thought to have many Ayurvedic properties, and so i Ayurveda medicine, now also practiced in the western world, originated in India over 3000 years ago and is one of the world’s oldest holistic (meaning ‘whole-body’) healing systems.
In my hotel’s restaurant, near the Cochin International Airport, Cochin, Kerala