I’m in God’s own country, tucked away in my adorable little cottage enjoying the sound of the waves crashing outside and I have to pinch myself to remember I’m not dreaming. The Kerala Blog express has kicked off in full speed and I’m soaking up everything that Kerala has to offer.
The last time I was in Kerala was when I was 13 yrs old and my memories are vague at best. The only thing that I distinctly remember is the amazing sambhar and chutney I ate in Cochin. Just goes to show you’re never too young to appreciate good food and that Bombay does lousy chutney. The sambhar and chutney in Trivandrum where I’ve been the past 2 days has been enjoyable but I’m still waiting for the ridiculously good stuff.
The exciting part of discovering Kerala is that I’m doing it with 25 other bloggers from all over the world because I enjoy meeting new people, especially like minded ones. These guys are awesome and let me tell you, they are all pros! Each one with their fancy pants cameras and their fingers flying with the constant tweeting and instagramming and I’m just about keeping up. This holiday is hard work ! They’re all so much fun but we’re still getting to know each other so I’ll introduce you to them towards the end of this trip.
In these two days I’ve discovered plenty. Kerala is obsessed with banana and coconut. I think they’d bathe in it if they could or don’t already. Everything on the menu has coconut( not that I’m complaining but at some point I’m going to stop enjoying the copious amounts of coconut).
They adore gold and are freakishly obsessed with it. I popped into a local,might I add slightly fancy gold shop and it was crowded. It’s not that they buy just one thing they do some serious gold shopping! I just sat in a corner politely smiling and saying ” oh no I’m just looking” and envied the ladies as they decorated themselves and discussed each item in a flurry of malayalam. It’s a sight to see a Malayali bride on her wedding day because she’s adorned in gold as they believe it’s a sign of wealth and success.
Kerala has some swanky hotels and some beautiful quaint ones like the one I’m lucky enough to stay in. Soma Manaltheeram is strategically located just off the beach and I’m lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful view from my window and little garden outside my room.
It’s the best thing to see every morning specially for a city slicker like myself who wakes up to the occasional honking! The resort I’m told is voted the best for Ayurvedic treatments and it’s obviously very popular judging by all the guests floating about in their massage robes and slick oiled hair. My room is old school not the fancy chic hotel rooms but it’s got plenty of wooden furniture a huge bed and a lot of character. It feels like I’m staying in a cottage in Kerala and not just any other hotel room. I’ve gotten quite use to my little nook and the delicious breakfast of appams and chutney and the sound of the ocean at night, so will miss it but on to greener pastures I imagine. After all the Kerala Blog Express is chugging along and we’ve got a lot of places to visit.
I managed to see the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple but sadly couldn’t enter as it’s only for Hindus and they observe a strict dress code of sari or then mundu for the men. The temple looks grand from outside and they recently counted the gold and money collected in the vaults and it’s not known as the riches temple in India, more than even Tirupathi surprisingly. Interestingly the temple is maintained by the Royal family who you can tell are deeply respected in Kerala and all their philanthropy over the years appreciated.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is located in Tamil Nadu just off the boarder but they credit the palace as being integral to Kerala’s history. This was the first capital till the King decided to shift it to Trivandrum. The entire palace is made of wood and doesn’t have any nails instead they use a wedge of wood to interlock panels. How it’s possible to construct a wooden palace so many centuries ago is beyond my comprehension.
The palace looks rather small from outside and not as grand as you expected maybe because I’m comparing it to forts in Rajasthan. However walking through from one room to another I soon realize first impressions are not everything. This palace is intricate with several rooms, chambers, stairways leading in and out and you what you miss in height gets made up in terms of how large it actually is. The place must have been spectacularly grand at one time and as I walk through the barren walls I can only imagine how people lived here.
My first impression is that Kerala is rather laid back and people are not as excited as the ones in Mumbai. Maybe it’s the beach effect and the lull of the oceans just mellows them but they are extremely polite and just incredibly relaxed. I’m use to such hustle bustle and a hectic pace that I secretly envy this calmness. The first few days have been eventfully and I’ve eaten quite a bit but it’s hard to go into detail, I’ll save that for when I have a traditional malyali meal. Till then I hope you enjoy these 🙂