I was absolutely amazed at the ease with which the porters at Trivandrum station carried our heavy suitcases. Throwing them on to their heads as if they were made of feathers and rushing ahead at a pace which we had difficulty in following, these men made light work of getting our luggage to the compartment.
While staying at the Ambada guesthouse, we were invited into the kitchen to wathc Modun, the cook, prepare our dinner. As a keen cook and a lover of spices, I found it absolutely fascinating to see how he turned a few simple ingredients into a gourmet meal.
- Food and Dining
On arrival at the airport in Trivandrum, we were greeted by a Tour East representative, and given a flower garland each. I love these garlands, which seem to be a traditional greeting in many parts of the world. They emitted a beautiful aroma - it is such a shame that you can't retain smells for the future like you can with sight and sound!
- Arts and Culture
Pallivetta (Royal hunt) and Arattu (Holy bath) are two important rituals held as part of the festivals in some of the major temples in Kerala. The head of the royal family of the still escorts the idols during the procession. The Arattu at the temple would be held on October 22 this year.
The Pallivetta is held on the eve of Arattu.
The Arattu procession takes place in the late afternoon. Images of Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy, Lord Sree Krishna and Lord Sree Narasimha are carried along the three mile route to the shores of the Arabian Sea, at Shanghumukham. The images are given a ritual bath in the sea after the prescribed poojas. The purified idols back to the temple.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in the heart of the city. This was renovated in 1733. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu, sleeping on the serpent Anantha. The architecture is a mixture of Dravidian and Kerala . The entry to the shrine is restricted to Hindus only.
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram Central, about 1 km from the shrine.
Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 6 kms from the shrine.
Pattu means song and Thiruvathira Pattu has is sung by the Hindu women of Kerala. The celebration day falls on Thiruvathira in the month of December-January. As per tradition the day is observed as the birthday of Lord Siva. Also it is the day when God of Love Kamadeva was resurrected.
Thiruvathira songs are mostly narrative in nature. Rituals start with the early morning bath followed by visit to Siva temple, and observance of a special diet that forms part of fasting. The women folk stand in a circle and move around gracefully in a rhythm that is typified by clapping of hands.
Oppana dance, is performed as part of the wedding celebrations among the Muslims of Malabar region in Kerala. During Oppana, the bride in her wedding dress is surrounded by maidens and young female relatives. They will start clapping their hands, sing and dance. The songs of Oppana are first sung by the leader and are repeated by the chorus. The themes are often teasing comments and innuendoes about the bride's anticipated wedding and so on...This is a female dance and normally men are not a part of the function..
The Chakram (Wheel) made of wood is used to move water between paddy fields and water channels in the earlier days. This traditional method is a rare sight these days.
Usually operated by men by sitting on bamboo polls, the wheel is peddled to move the water.The farmers sing songs in a uniform rhythm filled with varying emotions of hard labour, hope, fortunes and the ups and downs . A true natural life of the not so rich Kerala farmers of the yester years.
Although auto rickshaws in Trivandrum has meters, Rs. 1, 2 more added to the meter price is always appreciated. If you fail to give this small tip, auto driver may insist. Don't be defensive - petrol cost is going up and the minimum fee for auto hasn't changed long since.
Indians are really tea fans, they drink it everyday several times a day. The way they have it here is hot with milk and sugar. At any street stall you can see the way they prepare it, pouring the liquid from one glass to another. Is pretty safe to drink, as it's boiled water. I did it daily and was OK all the trip.
The colourful festival of Kerala in the last week of August this year. The time to enjoy sing and dance.
In the Varkala beach (north of Trivandrum) you can still see these primitive boats made of trunks, in which local fishermen still do their work.