Photos from India: Trivandrum

Note: This is an on-the-road photo journal. To find out more about why I am on this trip, please read Next book: From Kerala to Shaolin. Importantly, these are just some simple photos taken by yours truly. The really good photos on this trip are being taken by Kirit Kiran, a Delhi-based photographer and filmmaker (photo below). The best will appear in the actual book.



Vasantha, a helper, and amachi, Babu Uncle’s mum, world-renowned chef. They took good care of Kirit and I for a week.

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Two assistants at the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Travancore’s former capital


Two young filmmakers we met at the 6th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala


If these guys look fearsome, well, they should. Between them they hold 16 kalarippayattu national championships. Poonthura Soman, on the right, is one of kalarippayattu‘s leading cheerleaders, and founder of the Boddhidharma Institute of Martial Arts.


Kirit Kiran, who is accompanying me on this trip. Met him through Pearl Forss, our mutual friend. I have taken to calling him “The Rajput Philosopher”.



A Kerala church. Note the gender segregation. We followed the same practice at our Mar Thoma Church in Singapore when I was growing up, but then sometime in the 1990s, there was a successful push to allow free seating so that families could sit together.


On the drive from Trivandrum to Kanyakumari, you will pass by the tail end of the Western Ghats.





Padmanabhapuram Palace, Travancore’s former capital


“Char-ch” in a small town


Coffee house near Trivandrum’s train station

Food: Top 5

Figured I have to document only the Top 5 foods; this could easily be Top 20. Tough choices.


A traditional Kerala thalli. Put rice in the middle, whack.


Kerala rice is thick, tasty, and worthy of its own entry here.


One of the dishes from above, this is my favourite curry, kachamoru. Rice and this enough. (I won’t count this as one of the 5.)


Uttapam. Spicy.


You may wonder what the humble potato is doing here, but this masala preparation is divine. Crisp bits on the outside, mushy centre. Full flavour.


Kadu mangga, mango pickle. With every single meal. 🙂


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