Kerala: God’s Own Country: Day 2

Kerala: God’s own country: Here are the other posts and pictures!
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While my friends Advait and Devendra were snoring sleeping peacefully, I went out for a little early morning walk. The streets were just waking up on this lazy Saturday morning. My first taste of coffee in Kerala was at the main junction, standing along with many lungi-clad people who were giving me strange look. (A lungi is a piece of thin fabric that’s wrapped around your waist, like one would wear a towel). I liked the coffee a lot – I think the guy was asking me how much milk I wanted, etc., but he gave up and gave me something default. These are pictures of M.G. Road, the central road of Trivandrum.

(Geek alert) We were intrigued by the design of the buses. They have no glass windows. Instead there is a thick sheet of cloth that is wrapped and fastened at the top. Simply pulling the lever will unwrap the sheet, so the window is either fully open or fully shut (0 or 1). The bus conductors have electronic machines, which produce electronic tickets. Hmmm.. certainly something that would ease the life of Mumbai’s BEST bus conductors!

We were skeptical about the monsoon, since it supposedly rains continuously during this time in Kerala. Fortunately, today the weather today was bright and after everyone awoke, we promptly decided to see the Kovallam and Kanyakumari beaches.

Breakfast and remote darshan of the Padmanabhaswamy temple lifted our spirits. I like the layout and towering architecture of south Indian temples. They also seem to have lots of sculptures of various godly figures all over.. I didn’t know about most of these chaps. It’s like how a Protestant Christian might find visiting an Russian Orthodox church.

A note for the tourists: the city bus station at Trivandrum is a kilometer away from the central bus station, but the walk is pleasurable anyway.

The crescent beaches

Kovalam has 3 main beaches – Hawa, Lighthouse and Ashoka beach. We landed at Hawa (or Eve’s) beach, which is crescent shaped and very beautiful. One can walk along the shore and the rocks to the adjoining Lighthouse beach. The beach is arguably Kerala’s most famous beach and charming place to see the sun dip into Arabian sea.

Instructions at Kovalam in English, Malayalam, Hindi and.. German!

Kovalam beach

Fishermen weaving their nets

Delicious Keralite food

Oh where do I begin! We had some lovely traditional Kerala lunch at Trivandrum. They served so many delicacies and rice that we were overwhelmed! Sambar, rasam, curd, daal, vegetables, payasam, papadam, and many more items we didn’t know the names of. It was tempting to taste fish curry too, but since it was rainy season, we restricted ourselves to vegetarian food.

Food… and this lavishness would be repeated over the next few days!

Padmanabhapuram – Palace of wood

Our next stop was the Padmanabhapuram palace in Tamil Nadu (the neighbouring Tamil speaking state), on our way to Kanyakumari. Built in 1601, this palace was the seat of the Travancore rulers. This is the largest wooden palace in India and is constructed with teak and granite. Guides at various places in the palace give details about various rooms and areas.

Padmanabhapuram wood palace and a shrine outside (I call these a ‘zip’ temple).

Kerala and Tamil Nadu

You will notice some difference in the cultures of the two states. People, clothing, language, courtesy and even the cleanliness levels of the cities vary. We were surprised to see 50% of seats in the front portion of the government-run buses in Tamil Nadu reserved for ladies. In the few trips we took in Tamil Nadu, we saw LOT of women… 🙂

Southernmost tip of Indian peninsula!

We hopped from Trivandrum to Thuckalay to Nagercoil and arrived at Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin), which was in neighboring state. The landscape was very pleasant!.

Zipping from one little town to the other, throw green rice fields, on a very efficient state bus system

It was evident that we would not be able to witness the sunset from the southernmost point of India. Too cloudy. We had no plans for overnight stay, hence could not see other places of tourist interest in the area. Nevertheless, the experience of being at the extreme point was a memorable enough.

Bay of Bengal – Indian Ocean – Arabian Sea

Journey from the deserted Kanya kumari bus terminal to Trivandrum took over 3 hours. We ate dinner at Trivandrum, quit the room and immediately boarded the next bus to Kottayam, which was a journey of another 3 hours.

In past 24 hours, we had flown from Mumbai (Maharashtra) over the Arabian sea, landed in Trivandrum (Kerala) and saw the sunset at Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu). Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Kerala: God’s own country: Here are the other posts and pictures!
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