2013 saw us do a Kerala trip for a whole week of all offbeat places. But it didnt cover the places that was in my bucket list since the husband had already seen it – mainly Kanyakumari.
Kanyakumari is one place that I had dreamt of visiting every since class 10 when we had an english lesson on how the Kanya kumari place came to be and how she was waiting for her lord Shiva or the fact that its the very tip of our country. I had a fantasized notion about the place that I had to see it. I had been bugging the husband about it and finally once his
VISA formalities were through, he suddenly said – “Plan your Kanyakumari trip for your Bday – who knows when I might have to travel after that and we might not be able to do it for a couple more years.” Thats it! That was enough for me to plan.
Hubby, being him, loves to drive and insisted that we drive the 12hrs through Madurai to Kanyakumari. So that was the plan – Start early, drive to Madurai – reach Madurai by afternoon and then drive to Poovar island for 2 nights there. Then drive back to Kanyakumari, spend a night there and then back to Bengaluru. I did all the bookings accordingly.
As luck would have it, the previous week Ms. Jayalalitha was pronounced guilty in Bengaluru and we heard that there were some riots in Madurai – the parents insisted we drop the plan. 😦 When we spoke to hubby’s cousin B – yeah, the same who is the trip expert, he suggested
we start a day sooner and drive all the way through Kerala – totally avoiding Tamil Nadu.
But the journey would be another 12hrs longer. The plus point-we could see
Thiruvananthapuram too…Thats exactly what we did – started a day sooner and drove to Thrissur via Wayanad for night
halt. We stayed at a hotel where the Kerala football association players were staying-Sachin Tendulkar’s team which thrilled hubby 🙂 The nice play area was a disaster since it was raining continuously through out the evening. We promised Chutku that he can play the next morning as according to Ms. GPS the journey was a lot shorter.
The next morning post breakfast, we let Chutku play in the play area for sometime and then started towards Thiruvananthapuram. It was a 6hrs drive and the idea was to reach there by 4pm, visit the temple and drive to Poovar by 6-6:30pm since the distance was only 35kms.
Whew! Though we were told that the Kerala roads arent that wide and there would be a lot of lorry traffic – we really didnt imagine it to be that bad – it was like driving within the city limits through out and the hubby didnt enjoy the drive a single bit. Narrow 2 lane, 2- way traffic highways with really bad driving- worse we got stuck in Cochin traffic for nearly an hour. By the time we reached Thiruvananthapuram it was 4:45 which was still ok-but we hadnt stopped for lunch anywhere. So we took a quick pitstop at a coffee day and then drove to the temple.
The temple is beautiful. Spacious environment with sand everywhere-we saw kids playing on that beach sand though we didnt have the time to visit the beach. We had to buy our mundus
and wear them on our clothes-hubby and chutku being bare chested inside the temple :-).
There wasnt much crowd and it was an experience viewing the Sri Ranganatha in through 3 doors – starting from the right most where his Feet are, then the middle where his torso is and then the last where he is sleeping on the Adishesha. I think its a difference experience viewing in candle light, but I would still prefer to have better lighting and a couple of minutes to stand there and really *look* at the God than being hurried by the priests –
though there wasnt really any crowd. Within 1/2 hour we were done and we started from there by 6pm still thinking we could reach Poovar island by 7pm.
When we called the resort and told them that we are starting, the man who recieved categorically said that we would not be reaching sooner than 7:30 because of the traffic. We never expected “Traffic” to be that bad though! It was bumper and bumper and hardly moving in a narrow single lane! By the time we reached the ferry point for Poovar island there was lightning on the back waters and everything was pitch dark – it was 8pm 😦 Forget Chutku – I was a little scared myself. We waited for 1/2 hour for the ferry to come and by the time we
actually set foot on the resort, it was 8:45pm. It had been a horribly long day and we were just ready to crash. A quick dinner later we were taken to our floating cottage where all we did was hit the bed!
The entire next day was spent at the resort – beach first, then breakfast, play area where Chutku made friends with a girl and was busy playing while hubby and I just relaxed on a hammock each for sometime, swimming pool before lunch – this time around I bought a swimsuit and got into the water too which just thrilled Chutku who hung onto me inside the water like a little monkey 😀 No, I dont know swimming either, so I was petrified of moving away from the edges, lest I drown us both!! :-O The pool had a sunken bar where the little fellow did ample “shoki” and had a watermelon juice too, while the hubby had his holiday fix of
Coca Cola 🙂 Post lunch we all relaxed for a while and then went to see the evening program and Karoke with dinner. Chutku found his morning friend and decided to dance to Kolaveri and other such jhatak numbers while we sat and watched and made friends with the girl’s parents 😛 We decided to call it an early day since we wanted to go to the beach again in the morning the next day and then drive to Kanyakumari by lunch time. We had now realised how bad the traffic can be.
The next morning we went to the beach again where the hubby and Chutku went to see the fishermen in action and while we were playing in the water a snake went between my legs which totally put me off the beach after that. Got back to the resort and a quick breakfast later we checked out by 10:00 and drove to Kanyakumari by noon. It being Dussera period,there was a procession for the Goddess that we missed but we checked in after seeing Gandhi Samadhi,in time for lunch. Unfortunately, Vivekananda Rock memorial was closed for the procession that day so we couldnt take the ferry to the place though our hotel room had an uninterupted view of the place and the sea and we had an eye-full 🙂 We went to the Kanyakumari temple and to the edge of the waters where I took a deep breath and saw those vast waters and felt patriotic! A pleasant evening later, we sat at the restaurant looking at the lights on the rock memorial and had dinner. Again, since we wanted to wake up early the next morning to see the sunrise, we slept early.
The alarm rang at 5am the next day, I woke up, looked out and realised that it was still totally dark. Quickly had bath and came out and sat at the window overlooking the sea. Meanwhile hubby too woke up and got ready. We saw traces of the sunrise in the sky – the orange and pink hues and a little light but never actually got to see the sun ‘rise’ from the sea 😦 before we knew it, the sky had turned blue and the sun was up… However, I felt that joy in seeing a sunrise over the seas of Kanyakumari-the one it is so famous for. Quickly got Chutku ready while the restaurant sent us some packed breakfast that we had requested and we were on the road towards Madurai by 6:30am. Thankfully by this time we heard that all was quiet and peaceful in Madurai. While hubby drove, I ate and fed Chutku his breakfast of sandwiches and fruit and then for the first time, I took the steering while hubby could relax and have his breakfast – felt good to give the poor guy a break from the driving 🙂 We reached Madurai by 10:30 am and rushed to the temple. OMG! The temple complex is HUGE! If you dont know from where you entered you could get lost! We memorised our gate of entry and then spent the next 2hrs within the temple. Despite taking the 100rs coupons there were queues everywhere and we even didnt know which direction we should be going. We first stood in the wrong queue to see the God when the priest told us that we needed to see the Goddess first! Quickly we went in search of the Goddess and after her Darshanam we came back to see the God. The famous Madurai Meenakshi, decked in all finery because it was the last day of dussera. She looked beautiful and radiant and as luck would have it, we had to sit down and wait for the curtains to open while they decorated her and then until the Aarti was done – so it was a real blessing 🙂 that too, it being my birthday as per our hindu calendar.
We were out by 12:30pm – out in the sweltering hot sun that we were parched by the time we got to the car. The car and the water bottles were all heated up as well, it was THAT hot. We then put the GPS and went in search of a good hotel for lunch. Found a very good one (I forget the name now) and had yummy buffet lunch sitting in an AC room, which was a pleasure in itself! We started from Madurai at around 2:30pm and like always did a nonstop back to Bengaluru. Home in time for dinner by 8pm.
I can now tick Madurai, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram off my checklist.Thanks to hubby, it was a wonderful birthday present a girl could ask for 🙂