We visited the state of Kerala, located on the southwestern coast of India. We stayed near the city of Thiruvananthapuram. So, here are 8 things I find most interesting about this South Indian state and city:
1. Kerala is known as “God’s Own Country” because of its beauty.
2. Kerala is a communist state.
3. Thiruvananthapuram is the capitol of Kerala and the most populous city with 1 million people. That doesn’t sound like very many people since we live in a city of at least 22 million.
4. There is a famous temple in the city that made world news in June when they opened a sealed chamber to find jewels and gold that, when inventoried, equaled around $27 billion USD. This makes it the wealthiest temple in the world! There is another sealed chamber, still unopened, believed to have even more riches. At first that sounded really cool. Then it made me nauseous. How can there be so many living in poverty in the same nation where solid gold idols and jewels worth that much just sit in a room?
5. It’s believed that ships of King Solomon landed in the city in 1036 BC.
6. The city was hugely important in the spice trade as well as trading sandalwood and ivory. Because of the Arabian Sea, from as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had the busiest ports among all trade routes in the world and was therefore a huge driver of world economy. To this day, they are famous for their spices. So, of course, we bought some!
7. Kerala’s literacy rate is 95%. That’s high! Most people also speak some English.
8. There are 50 different types of bananas grown in Kerala! I LOVE bananas. Bryan has been known to call me “The Banana Monster.” Especially since I’ve cut refined sugars out of my diet, bananas have been a dear friend. Trying new types of bananas was fun! They do have distinctly different tastes.
9. Fishing is hard work. We stayed in a place right on the beach so each morning when our adorable little alarm (Lucy!) woke us up at 6 am, we took family walks on the beach. I was captivated by these lines of men spending hours pulling in nets from the sea.
Then they picked through the nets, finding mostly jellyfish and some small fish.
Finally, they waited until another net was ready to pull in.
The fishing boats were all wood. A man explained to Bryan that they carve nails out of wood to hold it all together.
Bryan jumped in one line to help the guys out and grab a memory while he was at it.
Lucy would watch the fishermen for a while, then move on to more interesting discoveries like coconuts and waves.
Probably the thing I loved the most about this trip is that it was the beach in the context of a culture we’ve grown to love and somewhat understand.
There’s more to say . . . tomorrow.