Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Padmanabhapuram Palace

Next morning Richard picked us up again and on we went for the Padmanabhapuram Palace, the former capital of Kingdom of Travancore until it was moved to Thiruvanantapuram (Trivandrum). This palace is now in Tamil Nadu but is being administered by the Government of Kerala. The Palace entrance was lined with the usual sellers peddling everything from postcards to wooden carvings.

Stopped on the way to get some palm fruit, there was no wine

Our Ambassador taxi

The Palace is a huge complex of different rooms and audience halls made out of wood as well as a stone temple. The route is set by arrows and in many places there are guides that will reply to queries. Not sure if they speak English though as I had Richard ask them in Tamil. The floors were still in original condition and fully made out of natural materials such as coconut, burnt coconut husks (for color), egg whites, sugar and whatnot.

We walked through reception hall, council chamber, Kings and Queen's bedroom, the Armory, Guest house for International guests (all doors were bigger here), Kitchen area, Temple.

Portrait of last King of Travancore

Kitchen building behind the washing fountain

The buildings had at ground level a special window made of slats where the royalty could see out but nobody could see in. All upper levels were made of wood that were covered with clay roof tiles. After walking through the Palace there was a small museum adjacent to it where old tools, weapons, wooden and stone carvings of deities and other utensils were on display.

Squirrel carved into a pillar

Lion carving at temple

Naughty carving

There were also several stone tablets in Tamil script from hundreds of years back and I was surprised that Richard could actually read them. It is interesting that Tamil is one the worlds oldest languages still in daily use and it was the same language that the ancient Romans heard when trading with the Tamils. Latin is only spoken in universities nowadays... 

I have often found Richard a great help as when we are visiting Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand we always meet local Indians there and they most likely speak Tamil as they are descendants of their Indian forefathers that have settled abroad for one reason or the other. This way we get local knowledge of how to find venues and where to get materials (without soliciting the help of an agent).

Kumbhakarna, the hungry and sleepy boy

Wooden birdlady, an avatar of Shiva (?)

I can also see that the Tamils are the ones that has been taking the Indian culture abroad for millennia, the Angkor Wat in Cambodia or even the Thai script is a good example of that.

Suit used for general punishment

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