Seychelles


Seychelles2

It is not just a quiet beach destination.  From the ‘smallest’ to the ‘biggest’, ‘oldest’ to the ‘rarest’, Seychelles adds a lot of superlatives to your travel journal.

Think of turquoise water.  Put a million corals as underwater baubles.  Sprinkle silver dust as sand on the shore.  Imagine the swaying palms and a heavy seed, the COCO de MER, as an appetizer.  This seed is a coconut giant, an endemic coconut that takes 6-7yrs to mature and its seed weighs about 18 kg (the world’s largest).  You cannot hold it in your hand —— the largest recorded Coco de Mer weighed 42kg.  Its only natural habitat is the Vallee De Mai palm forest  in Praslin Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It costs roughly 50,000 Indian Rupees, so one would rather chew gold than drink from this nut.

Whale-shark-Seychelles


Seychelles is a county comprising 115 coralline islands that are considered one of the oldest on earth. ——— There is also a big, fat, brown Aldabra tortoise, the world’s largest land tortoise.  Their home : Aldabra Island, the world’s largest “raised coral atoll” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The biggest and fattest among them all is Esmeralda (it weighs 304kg).


Victoria-Streetscape


It might seem like an “oxymoron”, but all these large, big things live and grow in a small country.  A really small country.  At the last count, Seychelles has 90,000 inhabitants of which 90% live in Mahe —– the largest island.


seychelles_islands_africa_142841


However, nothing beats the “tininess of Victoria”, the capital.  Walk into the world’s smallest capital and before you know where to start sightseeing —— it ends.  You could walk it in 10mins and been-there-seen-it-all in another 15.  An old Church stands like a relic of the colonial age.  A Hindu Temple shimmers in vibrant colours by the arcade.  A cinema resembles a refurbished pigeon-hole.  The monotony broken by Victoria market, where the air is redolent with the whiff of fresh soursop, cassava, mangoes, vegetables, cinnamon, vanilla and a green leaf that carries the aroma of four spices in one.


Odyssey_Boy_and_Coco_de_Mer


The crown jewel is the Big Ben.  The Little Big Ben, actually.  A tiny silver replica of London’s Vauxhall Clock Tower that was erected in the central roundabout to mark Seychelles’ new status as the Crown Colony.


Aldabra giant tortoises


PARADISE is the permanent suffix of this island.  The superlatives —– smallest, largest, biggest, rarest and oldest certainly live here.

———Preeti Verma Lal.
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