Spice of life online dating

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Despite Kerala's willingness to embrace foreign cultures, it is also a deeply traditional place, home to some of the oldest human rituals, unbroken 5000-year-old traditions of classical learning ranging from theology to boat building to medicine to the fine arts.

Well before Yoga and ayurvedic medicine became popular in the West, a highly developed school of traditional healing remained a mainstay of Kerala culture—it now attracts visitors looking for alternatives to modern western medicine.

Although their arrival in India is something of a mystery (some claim to have arrived in India in the 2nd century BCE), members of this community adopted the occupation of oil pressing and became known as "shanwar telis" or "Sabbath-observing oilmen" because they didn't work on the Sabbath.

They were physically and linguistically indistinguishable to outsiders from the local population but had their own traditions, observed the Sabbath, circumcised their sons, and performed other rituals associated with Judaism.

When humans first migrated from Africa, 70,000 years ago, some settled on the lush Kerala coast.

Waves of migrants from North India added to the mix.

Later Greek and Roman traders made their way to the coast, calling at the port of Muziris, the most important of 20 ports on the west coast of India.

Demand for spices used in seasoning and preservation in the West spurred trade with India for cardamom, ginger, turmeric, saffron, nutmeg, and clove.

They remain a small but important presence in Kochi, a trading hub on the Kerala coast since ancient times.

Also existent are the Bene Israel, believed to have arrived some 2,100 years ago; they settled in and around Mumbai and in present day Pakistan.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama's sea route to India opened the spice trade to Europe, and for the next 200 years the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English would vie for control of the spice trade.

By the 19th century, the spread of spice plants to other areas of the world and the development of artificial refrigeration led to a decline in the overall need for India spices.

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