LamandEgg on Walkabout! travel blog

On our way down to Kanyakumari, we stopped off at Padmanabhapuram Palace. It is a palace made of teak and granite. Its oldest section was constructed circa 1550. Detailed carvings of dragons and flowers lined the ceilings and cross beams. The architecture was a blend of Chinese and Keralan styles. For instance, the dragons (Chinese) had peacock tails for the Keralan touch. The wooden window screens also exhibited the Chinese style. The wooden floors were finished with a natural polish -crushed shells, coconuts, egg white, and the juices of local plants. The result was a very glossy finish.

The bed frame in the Queen's room was made of wood and it had inlays of a floral pattern that was all done in ivory. Very nice. The palace also had a banquet hall big enough to seat 2000 people on both floors, and a ballroom. From one of the upper floors, servants could peer into the banquet hall from behind a long, narrow wooden screen.

The next stop was the Suchindram Temple, a Hindu temple just outside of Kanyakumari. It is one of the few temples in India where the Trinities (Siva, Brahma, and Vishnu) are worshipped. The temple has a beautiful gopuram (temple tower), musical pillars that you can you can play a tune from by hitting them with your hands, and an excellent statue of the Hanuman (after a curse, he became Anjana, a monkey).

Just before lunch, we reached Kanyakumari, which is the southernmost point of the Indian subcontinent. It is also the place where the waters of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea meet. Apparently, the best time to watch the sunset and moonrise simultaneously is on the day of the April full moon (Chaitrapurnima). Kanyakumari is dedicated to the goddess Devi Kanya (incarnation of Parvati), and is essentially a pilgrimage town where people come to visit the temple and bathe in the waters.

After lunch, we went to visit the Vivekananda Memorial, located on a tiny island reached by ferry. Swami Vivekananda was one of India's most important religious crusaders, and he and a great social reformer.

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