Tuesday March 3rd
The tour was officially kicked off by the Kerala Minister of Tourism and then we were off to explore the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram (I dare you to try to learn that name!). Everyone’s been saying that Kerala is different from the rest of India – as I haven’t been to India before I cannot make a comparison, but I can say for sure that Kerala is beautiful, colourful – and full of happy and friendly people.
The key things to see in the capital include the Padmanabhaswamy temple, where inside access is restricted to hindu’s only. This ancient temple is famous for its treasures estimated being worth around US$19 billion due to its history of the Travanacore Royal Family maintaining a temple treasure – accumulating assets during the good times, and in return borrowing in poorer times. This exchanges continued until a few years ago when the state took over the assets.
The other must-see place lies right in front of the golden temple: Kuthira Malika, or Mansion of Horses – the royal palace built by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma (sadly no photography allowed inside this beautiful building). The palace was left empty for nearly a century following the demise of the Swathi Thirunal in 1846 and opened for visitors 20 years ago. Currently the guided tour covers 20 of the 80 rooms in the palace, and one can get a peek of those 122 famous carved wooden horses in the roof structure.
Food has an important part in the process of truly experiencing a new country and a new culture. Almost everyone’s tried the curries and dahls, however, Indian food back home is not quite the same as in India. First, it’s way spicier, no matter how mild locals are trying to make it for us novices. Secondly, the ingredients are of course fresher, which gives added flavour to every dish.
I was surprised by the wealth of desserts there are also: I might have been in India just two days by far, but I’ve managed to sample more than 20 different cakes and puddings and loved almost every single one of them. Milk pudding, delicate coconut biscuits, saffron, cinnamon, mango. I have fallen in love with local desserts!
Disclosure: This trip was sponsored and part of the Kerala Tourism #KeralaBlogExpress 2 -initiative. All opinion expressed here are my own and are based on my personal experiences in Kerala.