If I have to describe this part of Kerala in one word, it would be ‘RICH’. Blessed with an abundance of natural resources this is the land of the kings that ruled forever without losing their glory and gold. The richness in the architecture, art, food is so evident that we can only envy them. Kerala for some people is just natural beauty or backwaters. Only if they take interest in the history of this land and admire the tastefulness in every form of their art.. only then they will realize why they call it God’s own country!
The Kingdom of Travancore, before it become a princely state during the British raj, was a powerful and prosperous kingdom in the southernmost part of India. The kingdom was dedicated to lord Padmanabhaswamy (Lord Vishnu) and the kings ruled as the servants of the deity thus calling the land as ‘God’s own country’. The kings were ardent Hindus however they also welcomed other religions with open arms. Today a considerable population of Muslims and Christians live in harmony in Kerala with the Hindus who are still extremely orthodox when it comes to practicing the religion. While traveling in Kerala we sensed this harmony and respect for each other’s religion strongly. For example, at Thiruvanantapuram, our driver was a Christian however he told us everything about the Padamanabhaswamy temple and it’s dress code. One would say it’s part of his job but from the way he told about all these things it was evident that he really respected and believed in those traditions.
Kerala takes its tourism seriously unlike many other states in India. A lot of employment here is generated through tourism thus the entries to the palaces or museums, activities in the national parks, houseboats, transport (except for the state buses), food etc are considerably expensive. But that doesn’t stop tourist from flooding the much popular places like Thekaddy or Munnar during the peak season. Thekaddy was one of the costliest places in Kerala. Right from the transport to spices to the jungle safaris everything here was inexplicably (or maybe purposefully?) expensive.
Kerala also takes its heritage seriously. This is not only from the tourism point of view. The people really take pride in their rich cultural, historical and natural heritage. They have preserved their historical sites very well. They strive to create high awareness about their arts, festivals, Ayurveda and Yoga through tourism and have been successfully able to generate business through that. They try to maintain the authenticity in their food, attire, architecture etc which is really commendable. It is one of the very few states in India which still communicates largely in its mother tongue.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is full of heavy timberwork.
An intricately carved wooden window door for the King’s bedroom
A lovely traditional wooden door
Padmanabhapuram Palace – a lovely window from the ladies room
Some detailed work from a window pane of a corridor
Padmanabhapuram Palace – an intertwining complex of buildings
Padmanabhapuram Palace – an amazing blend of stone and wood work can be seen in this verandah
A scrumptious lunch
Villa in kochi
Periyar national Park. This was clicked while taking a boat safari through the river.
Munnar tea estate
Elephants at Periyar national park
Kerala is for those who are open to explore cultures, traditions and history. It is for those who respect the nature and feel at home in its company. Kerala is about being connected to roots. It is about breathtaking views and scrumptious cuisine. It is about banana leaves, coconut trees and cardamom hills. It is about vivid colors and sweet smell of Jasmine.It is about magnificent temples and grand villas. It is about gold and spices.
As I said earlier, Kerala is rich. Literally and metaphorically.