I reached Trivandrum after two nights of train travel, interspersed by a busy day travelling round visiting my final three Tamil Nadu temples. So this was intended as a recovery stop, with just one detour, to visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace before heading north.
Trivandrum is the capital of the state of Kerala, with a population of nearly a million. But somehow I had expected it to be quieter than the frenetic cities of Tamil Nadu. The road from the station up a hill to the YMCA, near the state parliament buildings, was the standard busy turmoil of traffic.
Yet, despite its reputation as a growing centre for technology and industrial development, it also managed to feel rather old fashioned, and after a day of (too much) walking up and down the main artery roads, it began to grow on me.
I was impressed by the state legislative assembly and Secretariat buildings and somewhat disappointed that my visit did not coincide with one of what are apparently frequent demos in front of the parliament. Still, I did get a sense of a state which still benefits from its democratic socialist traditions and has not yet descended too far down the road of liberalisation. (It was, for example, the only city in which I spotted refuse collection lorries.)
This is a city with a rich historical and cultural past and apart from my visit to Padmanabhapuram Palace, I did not do it justice.
The trip to the Palace. Ah… my memories are as much of the extremely taxing journey there and back (see my blog entry) as much as the beauty of the palace!