Tuesday, February 8, 2011

25 February-18 March: Trivandrum, Kerala

Trivandrum, or Thiruvananthapuram (an official name that I still cannot memorize) is a capital of Kerala state in India.  It is within 37-km train ride from Varkala.
Even though Trivandrum is not a touristic city at all, there are a few things that are special and I should tell you about them.
It was the first city where I had seen a mosque, catholic and orthodox cathedrals and a temple to Lord Ganesh, all on the same street: Palayam Juma Masjid,  St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral, St. George’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, and a temple to Lord Ganesh. It is amazing that all these religions co-exist in the city so closely, and it is the perfect example of the religious tolerance in Kerala.
And for the first time here in India, we saw a street protest (unfortunately, I cannot tell you what it was against or for. Maybe someone will read this and tell us what it was about?). It seemed to be very well arranged and controlled as well: no signs of violence or riots.
There is an interesting stadium in the city centre, Chandrashekaran Nair Football Stadium. Hold on, it is not just the name that makes it interesting: it is semi-circle and host even international level matches.
People in the south of India, and in Kerala in particular, look so much different from those living on the north of the country. While Europeans go to solariums and stay on the beaches for hours to get tanned, people in Kerala protect their skin and walk with sun umbrellas. Women usually wear saris, while men may not wear trousers but dhoti, a rectangular piece of cloth, wrapped around and knotted at the waist. It must be the best clothing for a hot and humid weather!
We have visited a museum of science and technology, which was surprisingly good (it would give many points to the National Museum of India back in Delhi!), definitely a must-see if you are in Trivandrum. Give a miss to the 3D-movie theater close to the museum if you have ever seen any movie in 3D (read the sign: feel the effect of 3D, which you have heard but never experienced!).