Thursday, January 6, 2011

Padmanabhapuram Palace and Kanyakumari

From January 2nd to 3rd we travelled to Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, the city at the southernmost tip of India.


On the way to Kanyakumari, we visited Padmanabhapuram Palace, the former home of the Princely State of Travancore's royal family. The palace is a huge complex of buildings with striking examples of traditional south Indian architecture.

Virtually every architectural element of the palace is ornately detailed:

The shape of the palatial buildings is reminiscent of a pagoda, however I wonder if the shape is religious or practical (to keep out rain for example?)

More detailing; each of these 90 flowers is different:

Incredibly ornate exterior:

A view of the entrance to the palace:

Palace roofs:

Some rooms are under renovation:

A view of the dance hall from upstairs. Women would watch from this screened balcony to enjoy the show without drawing the attention of the audience below:

Other buildings in the palace complex:


Monday morning we woke early to catch the sunrise. The hotel was conveniently east-facing but the sky was inconveniently cloudy. Still it was satisfying to finally see the Indian Ocean in daylight. I can now claim to have seen three of the world's major oceans!

Fishermen on the beach at Kanyakumari:

We began the day with a journey to the southernmost point in India, the Vivekananda Memorial Island. The island contains several temples, as well as a memorial to one of India's most celebrated philosophers, Swami Vivekananda. Below is the memorial itself:

The rocky islet below is officially the southernmost point in India. Incredibly, the next landmass across the sea from here is Antarctica.

A view of the island:

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