The Punkah

Most places in the middle-east region are air-conditioned. While central air-conditioning is seldom in such places a window AC is a minimum. Given the harsh heat during most part of the year, this would not be deemed as a luxury but a mere necessity.

Air-conditioning is not so popular in places of worships in India. Imagine the times before electricity. People might have used hand-held fans. Then there was the Punkah.

Punkah, similar to the one seen here inside the Saint Francis Church in Fort Kochi, India, were operated by dedicated punkah-pullers. Vasco da Gama, the first Portuguese sailor to reach the shores of Kerala, was initially buried inside this church. Old movies depicted them sleeping while still one of their hands pulled the punkah incessantly lest their master would feel the discomfort of sweat.

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In this case, the congregation could attend a sermon and listen to the word of God in full comfort. The electric ceiling fans came much later dealing away with the Punkah-pullers.

Fishing Port

Vizhinjam, a serene fishing village, lies about 2 km south of one of the most beautiful beaches, Kovalam.

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Vizhinjam Fishing Harbour is a natural port which is about to be developed as a major port for which spade work is already in progress. It is the busiest fishing harbour in Thiruvananthapuram district in Southern India humming with activities all the days. The sight of hundreds of fishing boats crowding on the harbour is delighting.

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The red and white striped, cylindrical shaped lighthouse maintains a towering structure. A destination for the international travellers, the lighthouse and the port has its own charm and splendour in the coast for its historical importance.

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Fishing from the land

Fishing

Freshly caught fish has become a rare commodity these days. Fishermen had complained about the polluted waters of the lake and the constant movement of international and naval vessels that disturb the fishes. But a few determined folks sure would ensure a decent catch using a ‘Cast net’ or ‘Throw net’. One can also see a Chinese net in the background…

Summer Palace

Kuthiramalika which means Horse Bungalow takes its name from the roof beams which are carved to resemble the faces of horses. It has on display ornaments, personal effects and weapons of the former Kings the erstwhile princely State of Travancore.

It is a true specimen of Kerala’s classical architecture. The palace with its excellent carvings and amazing architectural designs is itself a piece of heritage. The museum housed in it has a wide range of exhibits representing the erstwhile Travancore royal household.

This architectural delight was built during the reign of Swathi Thirunal (1813-1834 AD). Himself a musician and composer of eminence and a great contributor to Carnatic and Hindustani classical music he spent much of his time in this palace composing many of his musical pieces. A chamber with a view to the golden pots at the pinnacle of the temple is said to be the writing place. He spent his last days in this rambling bungalow.

Culture

Cultural events and ritual arts were the focus of the Tourism Week organised by the Kerala  Tourism department in September 2010. In this photo, the manager of such a group goes through printed media to quickly catch up with the current happenings or to while away the time.

Found in the same venue was this Ottamthullal artist, who was seen painting his face green all by himself. The costumes are not as prominent or heavy as Kathakali. Most of the artists said they could easily manage the make-up themselves.