Tuesday 6 March 2012

Kerala locks

Fort Cochi, Kerala, S India
Ornate lock rather well polished
We came across this very remarkable lock on the doors of Rossitta Wood Castle hotel when we were having lunch at their restaurant - in a very attractive courtyard and many rooms were around it. All of the rooms had the same locks on their doors.
I was impressed. The building was rather interesting too; apparently it is a 300 years old house now converted to a hotel, I was told at the reception.

Later, at the Indo-Portuguese Museum we saw another ornate lock and the person in charge explained to us that it had the meaning of the symbols for five faiths: Christianity, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Chinese. 
I got rather excited about it and he let me take a photo so that I could show it here; extremely generous. This was a very big exception and it helped that there was nobody around. Of course, photography was forbidden, but we had had a very lengthy conversation with him about the role of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the Portuguese arts and, above all, why Gulbekian had left his fortune to Portugal. So much so that he felt that he would like to visit Lisbon.   
Here it is!

Kerala lock with symbols for 5 faiths
With a stretch of imagination one can see the 7 Jewish candles, two overlap with the Hindu trident. But the most difficult faith to spot is the Chinese - look between the trident spears.  
The museum label informed us that it is painted iron Kerala lock (Manichitrathral) dated 19th-20th century.
Another blogger has commented on it too, no luck with a photo though. See http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/jackcaesar/1/1266087544/tpod.html
Now, if you compare both locks you can see that one faith is missing in the first one: Christianity. I wonder if the ones at the hotel were the originals? To me they all looked too shiny and unblemished to be 300 yeras old, but I might be wrong... 

Anyway, later in Munnar a new mosque had its own lock: just one faith.

Brand new mosque lock
A much simpler and humbler lock was on the door of a nearby dwelling.

Simple lock
 But the door had remains of previous locks...

Our last hotel room in Kerala, Tamarind Kalady, had a lock too. It was a charming budget hotel. 
An austere lock
As it happens we walked out with the key and managed to post it back from the Arrivals in the Mumbai international airport when we were ready to depart on on last flight back home. It took a lot of doing, but that is another story…
Guys, I've locked the blog with a Kerala lock! This is my last post about what it turned out to be a very exciting and rewarding 4 months trip! Thanks for visiting and your stimulating feedback.


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