At the beginning of October we went on a vacation to Kerala! Our ultimate destination was the beach, but we wanted to check out the Capital as well, so we spent the first couple of days there (seen in the picture above). Our awesome friends Keith & Carie met us there! It was so awesome to see them! They are awesome friends :)
One of the first things we did was go to a famous palace and temple. The temple is very interesting!!!! Only Hindus are allowed entry, so we weren't allowed in, but just being outside of it was very interesting. Everyone that goes inside has to wear either a Sari or a Dhoti. A sari is what the women are wearing in this picture...a 6 meter piece of fabric wrapped around themselves. The men are wearing dhotis... A dhoti is a 4.5 meter unstiched piece of fabric that men wrap around themselves (in many different ways) and tie at the waist... There were stations at the temple where you could rent a Sari or a Dhoti if you didn't wear one.
In this picture in the distance you can see the temple. The line was SUPER long!!! It was a big holiday (Dusshera) and everyone was going to the temple for the holiday. On the left of this picture is part of the palace! We went on a tour of the palace. It was really neat! We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so I don't have any pictures, but they had a so many cool things - a crystal throne & and ivory throne and lots of other things! The royal family had tons and tons of jewels and wealth! One of the stories they told us in the palace was that the king would weigh himself every year and give his weight in gold to the people! They had a lot of gold (more on that to come...).
Here are more people in line :)
Here is the temple entrance (the temple is in the back). I wasn't supposed to take pictures up close, so I didn't really get any - the security was very tight here (more on that to come...)
OK, so here is the temple. It's called the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This is where it gets interesting... The temple and the assets inside below to "Lord Padmanabhaswamy" and are controlled by a trust that is run by the Royal family. In January the Kerala High Court ordered the temple and its assets be managed by the state. The Royal family have challenged that decision in the Supreme Court. This past June, the Supreme Court ordered that the secret chambers of the temple be open for inspection.
The temple has 6 vaults. Some have been opened from time to time, but two of them haven't been opened in a long time. They Supreme court directed that those vaults be opened for inventory of the articles inside. When they went inside they found gold and jewels. There were coins from Napoleon's era, golden statues, rubies, emeralds - all kinds of treasure!! ONE, just ONE of the precious stones inside of the vault was worth $10 million dollars!!! If you DON'T take into count the antique value of everything inside, the items in just that one vault are worth over $26.76 BILLION!!!!!!!!! If the antique value is taken into account then those assets could be worth ten times the current market price!!! WOW!!!!!
They have decided to postpone opening the last vault. The vault's chamber is sealed with an iron door with the image of a cobra on it. It hasn't been opened because there is the belief that opening it would result in much misfortune.... I wonder what is inside!!!!!!!!!
One thing that Kerala is famous for is it's "backwaters". We didn't end up going on a backwater tour, but we went on a speedboat tour - it was fun!
The driver guy kept swerving all around and freaked me out some :) haha! but it was fun :)
We saw a few houses and other interesting things on our tour.
After our tour we went to this beach area. There wasn't anyone there so it was a little weird. They were fixing things up and painting while we were there. Monsoon was just ending and they are preparing for the "on season" :)
These little table areas were cute :)
The sand at these beaches was orange. It was very interesting! We saw this old temple on the beach (at least that's what I think it is... maybe it's just a cool looking old shelter thing...I couldn't find any info on it). It looked cool!
The waves were pretty high!!! People were on the beach watching the waves - it was really fun to see!