#ComeToKerala - PALACE & TEMPLE

Turtle on the beach hotel
After a much needed rest at the Turtle on the Beach Hotel on Kovalam Beach, we hopped on our minibus for a day of cultural exploration in Tamil Nadu, Kerala's neighbouring state. Manoj, our guide, took us out to see the Padmanabhapuram Palace which is one of the biggest wooden palaces in India and explained the meaning behind the palace by breaking down its name. Padma = man with lotus; Nabha = flower in hand; Puram = land - one of the aspects of the Hindu deity, Vishnu. This day trip fell on a Sunday, so it was so interesting to see large groups of people pouring out of churches from Sunday mass. Prior to the trip, I had no idea that there was such a large community of christians in Kerala!

The walk around the palace was followed by lunch at the Travancore Heritage Hotel and a visit to the Padmanabhaswamy temple. We were of course not allowed to enter the temple, as we were not followers of the Hindu religion, but we were able to get up close to see the intricate details of the Gopuram (an ornate tower to signify the entrance of a temple).

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kerala tourism
The Man, the Manoj! Our trip to Kerala would not have been the same with this fellow. He is so incredibly knowledgeable and as a professional photographer, he was more than understanding and patient when we wanted to stop to take a multitude of photos from several angles.

padmanabhapuram palace
It is common courtesy to remove footwear when entering homes and religious places.
padmanabhapuram palace
It was interesting to see such a great amount of Chinese influence throughout the palace. Each of these lotus flowers on the ceiling here have been carved uniquely.

padmanabhapuram palace
I felt like I had been transported to another point in history when we were walking through this particular part of the palace.

padmanabhapuram palace
The king who lived in this palace was known to be a very generous man. He would host over 2000 people in these great halls and provide a sumptuous feast for them.

the travancore heritage
Roti - similar to a tortilla wrap - quickly became one of my favourite things to have with a meal

the travancore heritage
Exploring the gardens of the Travancore Heritage Hotel

Entrance of Padmanabhaswamy temple - photo by Kim Ekman 

padmanabhaswamy temple
Padmanabhaswamy temple