Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kanyakumari and Trivandrum

Kanyakumari and Trivandrum I had visited long back, perhaps in year 2000. Friend Vikas had made this plan and we traveled by Bus to Trivandrum, then to Kanyakumari and from there to Rameshwaram before returning back to Bangalore.

It was a total 3 day trip, a little hectic but we had enjoyed our trip.

It was almost 14 years now and was planning to visit those places again with kids and wife now.

As Tuesday was holiday so taking Monday off, it was good to plan for long weekend trip to Kanyakumari and Trivandrum.

The plan that I made was as below:

Day 1 Friday: Take evening train to Kanyakumari (I got train till Nagercoil Junction, which is about 20 KMs north of Kanyakumari.)
Day 2 Saturday: Get down at Nagercoil, take bus/taxi to Kanyakumari. Night visit at Kanyakumari.
Day 3: Sunday: Start for Trivandrum via Shuchindram, Nagarcoil and Padmanabhapuram. Night stay at Trivandrum.
Day 4: Monday Morning visit to Kovalam. Evening train to Bangalore.

If time permitted one more day could have been added here, there are many more attractions in Trivandrum and surroundings.

Kids were quite excited to visit the southern most tip of Mainland India. Thiruvalluar statue was not yet constructed during my last visit, so I was also eager to refresh my memories.

One thing need to know here that Kanyakumari is southern most part of mainland India and not that of India. The southern extremity of India is Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island.

Kanyakumari was known as Cape Comorin by British.

We boarded the train at Bangalore, It was well on time. kids as usual were enjoying the train trip.

Kanyakumari is well connected to other parts of India. Nearest airport is at Trivandrum, about 90 KMs away. There are many direct trains to Kanyakumari. Otherwise it is easily accessible from Trivandrum and /or Nagercoil Junction.

Morning around 815, we reached Nagercoil. This area is on the edges of Cardamom Hills, which are an extension of Western and Eastern Ghats, which meet near Ooty.

The view from train was fascinating. The clouds were kissing the hill tops. The area has also many wind mills. These were also an attraction for kids.

Getting down at Nagercoil, we had to find a bus or taxi to go to Kanyakumari, about 20 KMs away. Bus stand is not very near. But if someone walks to nearby road. about 100 meters at left hand side, as one come out of railway station, one can find the buses going towards Kanyakumari at your left side direction.

We took an auto. He was demanding 400 bucks, but agreed for 250/- Finally as we reached hotel, he again started asking for 50 buck more, which after some argument, I agreed.

Auto walas are same throughout India!

We got a sea facing room at Hotel Seaview. From room we could sea the Indian Ocean roaring on the shores along with statue of Thiruvalluvar and Vivekananda Rock Memorial. We were at second floor, I wanted a higher floor, but hotel guys told that they are full.

From the window itself, I took a couple of snaps of statue of Thiruvalluar and of Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

Kanyakumari takes its name from the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari. The temple here is a Shakti Peetha, one of the holiest shrines of the Mother goddess.

The place was called Kanyashram of the Baalaambika, the deity of the temple.

Taking some rest, we all got refreshed to start our excursion. Every place in Kanyakumari can be visited by walk.

The first place that we visited was the Devi Kumari Temple.

This place, where the bay of Bengal, the Arabian sea and the mighty Indian Ocean meets, has been a chosen place for meditation and worship.

It is said the Mother Parvati meditated here to marry Lord Shiva. The temple here is a Shakti Peetha. It is said that the backbone area of Sati Devi’s corpse fell here. There is a shrine for Kalabhairava also in the temple.

The beach sands are multi-coloured and likened to a story.

According to one legend, Kanya Devi, an avatar of Parvati, meditated here to marry Siva, but as he failed to show up on his wedding day. The rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and remain unused thereafter. It is said that the uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. It is believed that the small stones on the shore today, which look like rice, are indeed grains from the wedding that was never solemnized. Devi Kumari is considered a virgin goddess, who blesses one and all.

According to another legend, Lord Hanuman dropped a piece of earth as he was carrying a mountain with life saving herb, Mrita Sanjivani, from the Himalayas to Lanka (Sri Lanka) during the Rama-Ravana war. This chunk of earth is called Marunthuvazh Malai, literally "hills where medicine lives". This is said to be the reason for the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area. Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Kottaram about 7 KMs from Kanyakumari town on the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil highway.

The sage Agasthya, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days.A nearby village is named Agastheeswaram after the sage. Today, there is a small ashram on the middle of the Maruthuvazh Malai hill, which tourists visit after a short trek from the base of the hill, both to visit the Ashram and also to take a glimpse of the sea near Kanyakumari a few kilometres away.

This was not in our itinerary for this trip.

The ablution in sea for Pitr Tarpan is done here at Kanyakumari. We reached Kanyakumari on Saturday morning and it was "Shani Amavasya", the auspicious day to do "Shraadh" for ancestors. We saw many people doing it at "Triveni Sangam" behind the Devi Kumari Temple as well as at Parashuram Temple at Trivandrum on Monday.

There was a little rush as we reached temple but the blessings of mother was felt everywhere. The smiling face of mother is just mesmerizing. The mother is in her child form with a beautiful smiling face.

At Mangala Devi Temple, Mangalore also the mother is in very smiling face.

We bowed to the mother of universe, who is the origin of one and all.

There is no big Gopuram here unlike other famous South Indian Temples.I am not sure the reason.

The next we walked towards "Gandhi Mandap". This is very close to the temple.

The Gandhi Memorial has been built on the spot where the urn containing the Mahatma's ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion into the Ocean. The memorial was designed in such a way that on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, the first rays of the sun, through a hole in the roof, fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.

This memorial was built in Kanyakumari in the year 1956. The mandapam of the memorial is built in Odishan style of architecture and designed in such a way that that from distance, from near by and from inside, it gives a glimpse of being a Temple, a Church and a mosque.

We touched the spot where the urn carrying the great son of mother India was kept and paid our respect.

It was time now to go to Vivekananda Memorial and Saint Thiruvalluar Statue.

We walked towards the Jetty to take steamer. The ticket inclodes the trip to both rock islands of Vivekananda Rock Memorial as well island of St Thiruvalluar.

On two small rocky islands just off the shore, behind the Kumari Amman temple, are the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, built in 1970 by Eknath Ranade, and the 133 feet tall statue of Saint–poet Thiruvalluvar. This statue is, one of the biggest in Asia, completed in 2000 by sculptor V. Ganapati Sthapati.

The steamer first drops the visitors to Vivekananda Memorial, then to St Thirualluar statue and then takes back to mainland. One single ticket suffice for this entire trip.

According to legend, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity.

In December 1892, Swami Vivekananda swam to this rock and meditated for three days. It is said that he attained enlightenment on the rock, and henceforth became a reformer and philosopher.

There were enough life jackets in the steamer. We all picked one, though did nit tied it. The total jouney time from mainland to Vivekananda Memorial rick is not more than 10 minutes.

As it was monsoon season, the Ocean was little violent. The mighty waves of the oceans were playing with steamer like a small toy. Once it pushed the steamer a little high and as the steamer came back, it send a chill through the spine.

The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

We all got alighted at Vivekananda Memorial and slowly walked towards the "Pada Mandapam" or "Padhaparai" and the Dhyaan Mandapam.

At the rock of Sri Padhaparai, there is a foot impression of mother goddess. We bowed with reverence.

It is said that Swami Vivekananda meditated on this rock for three days. By ascending a flight of stairs we rached where the statue of this great monk is installed. Below this is a "Dhyaan Mandapam", where people can sit silently and meditate.

There are also small shops to sell the literature and other articled from Swami Vivekananda and Ram Krishna Mutt.

We spent very good time there. The breeze was a bit strong and ocean waves were crashing with rock. A little drizzle made the environment even more lively.

I just saw the vastness of ocean and the universe. The mother is the ocean and beyond any boundries. The infinite one.

Behind this rock, is the sangam (confluence) of the three oceans.

It was time to go to the rock of Saint Thiruvalluar.

We went into the queue waiting for steamer to arrive. Then taking the life jacket, we boarded the steamer. It was just a couple of minutes journey and we were at the feet of St. Thiruvalluar, one of most famous saint poet. Saint Tiruvalluvar was the author of the famous epic Thirukkural.

The monument was opened on January 1, 2000. The statue has a height of 95 feet and stands upon a 38 foot pedestal that represents the 38 chapters of "virtue" in the Thirukkural.

The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 feet denoting the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural.

We took stairs to reach the platform, where the statue is installed. The view was simply superb. The breeze was quite strong but refreshing. we just moved around and captured the moments to our satisfaction.

The view of mainland was also fascinating. The temple of mother was visible from here as well as the light house behind it.

Time to go to mainland India.

We waited for steamer to come and then boarded it.

Getting alighted, we happily walked towards the "Triveni Sangam", the confluence of three Oceans.

My daughter was behind me to get Ice cream, so first we took cone Ice creams for both kids.

On triveni sangam, there was quite a rush. Many peole were doing "Tarpan" and "Pinda Daan" for their ancestors. We spent some time there and then moved back towads the Hotel for some quick rest.

It was about 330 PM, when we reached hotel, so decided to skip lunch. As we had taken very late breakfast, so did not felt to take it.

After some quick rest, we got ready for evening walk in Kanyakumari.

Kanyakumari is veru much associated with Swamy Vivekananda. Very near to Gandhi Mandapam, just before it and close to Government Museum, there is an impressive building, which was showcasing the life history of this great youth icon as an celibate (Sanyasi).

We visited the place and get to know more about his inspirational life journey depcted in pictures and in black and white. We also bought related books.

There is a Vivekananda Ashram, as one enters into the city. People can stay there also. One exhibition was going on there as well, but we could not go there, we just satisfied ourselves with related text, that we got from here.

Lord Anshumaan was going down on horizon, so it was time to go to Sun Set Point.

Nearby was the Government Museum. I was shocked to see that it was not in proper maintained state. It has the history of this place, consisting of many sculptures of rich history of bygone era.

The beautiful sculpture here gives the rich artistic vision of our ancestors.

On the way to Sun Set point, very close to Gandhi Mandapam, is the Kamraj Memorial.

From a very humble background he rose to become the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu through sheer hard work. As a tribute to the freedom fighter and great leader, this memorial was constructed where his ashes were kept for public to pay homage before immersion into the sea.

We took a battery driven vehicle to cover the next 2 KMs. One can easily walk on this beautiful beach road, but as we felt tired so excused with the taxi.

Weather was cloudy with strong breeze. So I was a bit disappointed that we may not be able to enjoy this beautiful moment, but the clouds gave some some reprieve to enjoy this.

We spend very good time there just doing nothing mesmerized by bounty of nature.

Nature is like mother, does it asks us for something in return for life that it gives us? We takes things for granted.

Sun was setting, the sky was full of his golden rays, breeze was strong and the strong ocean current were dashing with shores... we light hearts and thoughtless minds, we just enjoyed the beauty around us.

After spending more tahn an hour, as the darkness approached, we started back towards the town. There was a lot of rush now. We took again the battery operated taxi, which dropped us near Gandhi Mandapam.

There is a view point nearby to enjoy the vastness of ocean. But we did not went to it.

There were some people on this tower enjoying the sea and sun set. We walked slowly towards Triveni Sangam on way back to Hotel.

It was quite a rush there. Kids wanted to play with waters, so we went to shore and bowed to the mighty. Kids spent some time playing with waters. I filled a bottle with waters of three oceans.

Lights were on now and the islands of Vivekananda Memorial and Saint Thiruvalluar were looking extremely beautiful.

We took our dinner of Dosa in one of the many restaurants on Car street (near Temple). Also there are many Sari shops, from where my wife could not resist herself to buy a Sari.

Now we walked back to our Hotel to take a good rest in lap of mother sleep.

Sunday morning, we all woke up early to enjoy the beautiful Sun rise. It was cloudy, but we were hoping for some miracle. We went to the roof top of hotel and waited patiently for Lord Anshumaan to immerse the world with is golden rays.

But unlike the previous day evening, when we can get a good glimpse of sunset, this time we were a bit unlucky. The clouds kept us away from those golden moments and we could satisfy ourselves with the view of his rays only after sometime, when it was a little up on horizon.

But still the environment was very soothing and pleasant. The sweet cold breeze refreshed everyone. I took a lot of snaps of surroundings including the small rock islets.

A little unhappy that mother nature did not bestowed upon us the mesmerising Sunrise view, we returned back to our room. Plan was to get ready now to pack up for Trivandrum.

With a good breakfast we started from Kanyakumari. I had booked a taxi to drop us to Trivandrum with sight seeing en route.

The first place we stopped by was Suchindram. The famous temple here signifies the "Trimurti" of deities. The temple is known as Thanumalayan Temple or Sthanumalayan Temple.Stanumalaya denotes Trimurtis; "Stanu" means Siva; "Mal" means Vishnu; and the "Aya" means Brahma. The "linga" here represent Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.

Suchindram is on way to Nagercoil and is about 10 KMs from Kanyakumari

Driver Prem was quite good and he took us to temple street and guided us towards the temple.

The current temple was built in the 17th century and is famous for its sculptures. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma in a single form called Sthanumalyam. The seven-storey white Gopuram is visible from the distance. 

As per legends, king of devas, Indra got relieved of a curse at this temple. The term "Suchi" in Suchindrum is derived from the Sanskrit meaning "purify". It is said that Lord Indra visits the temple for performing worship, at midnight every day.

The temple is known for its quality of workmanship in stone. There are four musical pillars carved out of a single stone, and which stand at 18 feet in height; these are an architectural and design highlight of the temple grounds. They are in the Alankara Mandapam area, and they emit the sounds of various musical notes when struck.

We went in queue and paid our reverence to the Lord Almighty.

There is an idol of Lord Anjaneya, (Hanuman), which stands at 18 feet and is carved of a single granite block. It is one of the tallest statues of its type in India. It is said that this idol was buried in the temple fearring an attack by the army of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and was subsequently forgotten. It was rediscovered in 1930, and subsequently restored for worship.

There is also a Nandi statue, which is 13 feet tall and 21 feet long, it is one of the biggest Nandi statues in India.

There is also a big pond just outside the temple.

After worship at this sacred place, we proceeded towards the temple of Naga, from where the town of Nagercoil got its name.

It is about 13 KMs from Kanyakumari and 3 KMs from Suchindram.

Nagaraja Temple is dedicated to the god Nagaraja. The temple is full of images of snakes. In addition, the gatekeepers of the sanctums are two snakes.

The temple has two main deities Ananda Krishna and Nagaraja. The deities here are Mahadeva, Subrahmanya, Vighneshwara, Mother Goddess and Kshetrapal (temple guardian). The temple has a vast pond.

The temple is in two parts. The main entrance is on left side as entered. There are two "Vigraha", one is of Krishna and another of Nagaraj.

The second part of Temple is next to main sanctum. Which has other deities.

On front of the temple there are lot of Snake idols. People pour milk and turmeric powder in each and every Statues as the part of prayer.

Legends says that Nagas are children of Kashyapa and Kadru. Among the prominent Nagas are Manasa, Sesha, and Vasuki.

The Nagas carry the elixir of life and immortality. As per legends, Lord Garuda once brought and put a cup with elixir on the ground but it was taken away by Indra. However, few drops remained on the grass. The Nagas licked up the drops, but in doing so, cut their tongues on the grass, and since then their tongues have been forked.

Nagas are of great reverence because it is believed that they bring fertility and prosperity.

The worshippers come here to gain the fertility and prosperity. This is also proved from the fact that Nagaraja is here along with Krishna.

As per a local legend, one day when a girl was cutting grass, blood began to spurt from below. She discovered that the sickle had cut into the head of a five-headed serpent. Dazed with fear, the girl fled to the nearest village and reported what she had seen. People in large numbers flocked to the spot and witnessed the miracle with their own eyes. By the joint effort of the villagers, the place was cleared and preserved for the purpose of worship.

They built a small shrine in the locality and worshiped the five-headed serpent.

There is a pond just outside the temple. In ancient times, the pond were used for bath purpose but in modern times, they have lost this aspect of significance.

Once the King of Kalakkad, who was stricken with leprosy, came to the temple and did penance before the deity. He was cured of the disease. The king built the present temple in gratitude. On every Sunday during Tamil month of Avani (August/September) the king, accompanied by his wife and children, used to visit the temple and offer poojas. Ever since, the temple is visited on every Sunday in Avani by thousands of devotees and the serpent shrine is worshiped.

Now it was time to take road to Padmanabha Puram Palace.

Padmanabha Puram Palace is located at Padmanabha Puram Fort, in Padmanabha Puram about 32 KMs from Kanyakumari.

At around 11 AM, we reached Padmanabha Puram. The palace complex is inside a fort. The fort is located at the foot of the Veli Hills, which form a part of the Western Ghats.  It is said that the palace was constructed around 1601 AD by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled between 1592 and 1609 AD.

King Marthaanda Varma dedicated the kingdom to his family deity Sree Padmanabha, (Lord Vishnu) and ruled the kingdom as Padmanabha dasa or servant of Lord Padmanabha. In 1745 AD, the capital of Travancore was shifted from here to Thiruvananthapuram, and the place lost its former glory.

The palace complex continues to be one of the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture.

The complex is very vast and very well preserved.

We visited complex slowly appreciating the fine woodwork and grandeur. I was just thinking in early days of Kings, how this palace would have looked like.

There was kitchen complex, where more than four thousand people can eat at same time. Big halls, where King used to receive his guests and ministers.

The bed of King was made of 64 different kind of herbal woods.Nearby small table was used to keep his sword and crown, while he used to sleep.

The roof is also adorned with beautiful woodwork. The polish and finishing is just superb and looks like that they were placed just yesterday.

Tgere are special gusts rooms for Europeans. These rooms were made in European style.

The palace also has a big "Navratri Mandapam", to celebrate the 9 days of the auspicious time for worship and meditation.

The stone work at Navratri Mandap is just amazing.

It started raining as we were still inside the palace complex. Luckily for us it didnot last long, and after finishing our excursion of Palace, we proceeded towards the Palace Museum, which in a similar grand building just next to palace.

The museum has a lot of things of interest including the stone dictates, Wooden and stone sculptures, coins of that era as well as weapons.

It is said that the palace had a lot of weapons earlier, but all were seized and taken away by the British.

The thing which I found most interesting, unique and horrible was a "Iron dress", which was used for capital punishment.

I was just thinking that nature has given us so much, but we "Humans" have found so many things to torture and kill us. Sometime to gain wealth, land, women or for religion. How much a human lives? 60/70 or 80 years. For this tiny time, it does every negative thing that mind can dictate.

There were many more such weapons and sickles on display, but I got perturbed by my thoughts on these things and quickly moved out.

It was around 1215 midday, as we took road to Trivandrum.

About 20 KMs from Padmanabha Puram Palace and 30 KMs before Trivandrum, there is beautiful backwater of Poovar.

Poovar is a small coastal village in the Trivandrum district. This village is at the southern tip of Trivandrum and has a beautiful beach and backwater.

Initially I was not very interested but as my daughter was insisting, so I agreed. The cruise was of 90 minutes duration, but I asked the cruise operator to cut it to 30 minutes max. I did not wanted to miss the Napier Museum at Trivandrum, which is closed on Mondays, our next day of trip.

As we started in our motorboat, I thanked my daughter for her insistence. It was van excellent experience.

The shore line was dotted with dense shrubs and coconut trees. Many birds have made their homes in these places. There were many tiny island on the way.

Slowly we reached near the mouth at Arabian sea. There was a small island, which is famous as Golden sand beach.

There were a few rocky islands nearby. One looks like an elephant and other was having a statue of Mary.

 These stretch of backwaters are amazingly clean and unspoiled.

It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a port at Poovar in 1036 BC. The city was the trading post of spices, sandalwood and ivory.

We went till the island of Mary and then started our return journey.

There are a lot of resorts and hotels nearby. Also there are floating restaurants for delight of explorers and holidaymakers alike.

It was quite fun cruising in these beautuful backwaters. It was not in my plan, but thanks to Cab driver Prem and insistence of my daughter, we made it and enjoyed it a lot.

It was around 2 PM now and we moved towards the city of Trivandrum. Prem wanted to take us to Kovalam beach but I insisted to skip it for now, as I feared that I may miss the Napier Museum otherwise.

Mahatma Gandhi had referred this city as "Evergreen city of India". This is true as there is abundant greenery everywhere, not only at Trivandrum but all around in Kerala.

The city is famous as ThiruAnanthaPuram, meaning the "City of Lord Ananta". The name derives from the deity of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple at the centre of the city. Anantha is the serpent Shesha on whom Padmanabha or Vishnu reclines. This temple of Vishnu reclining on Anantha remains the iconic landmark of the city.

This temple was in news recently as in seven different closed rooms, a lot of wealth has been unearthed. It is estimated that the value of the monumental items and assets of the temple partially revealed are close to Indian Rupees One thousand billion.

The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore. 

We reached Hotel Capital at around 3 PM and after quick refreshment, took an auto to Napier Museum.

Napier Museum has 2-3 museums, which incldues the museums with Paintings of Raja Ravi Verma.

The Zoo is also in the same premises.

I was interested in Museums and not in Zoo!

The museum was established in 1855. In 1874, the old Museum Building was demolished and foundation for the new building was laid. The new building was named after Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras from 1866-1872.

As we walked in the lawns towards the Building, we were amazed by its architecture. This masterpiece was designed by Robert Chisholm, the consulting Architect of the Madras Government and the construction was completed in 1880. Napier Museum has its unique ornamentation and architectural style with gothic roof and minarets.

The museum houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, idols, ornaments and ivory carvings.

Close by is the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, which contains works from Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich. The most amazing one was "The Lady with Fan" which is so lively that it feels that it is staring at you where ever you move. Even her feet turns towards your direction as you move.It was just amazing and superb!!

The complex is very green with some beautiful trees around.

Sri Chitra Art Galley is at a little walk from Napier Building. I am a big fan of Raja Ravi Verma. His painiting are always so lively. Svetoslov Roerrich has used blue very beautifully.

At the entrance of Napier Museum and Zoo complex, there was a exhibition depicting the royal grandeur and history of Travancore kings.

Also there was an exhibition on modern painting. I am bit confused with them. Many were based on Mathematics. Different numerals were used to depict different figures of humans and animals.

Satisfied with my visit here, we took an auto to the icon of city, the PadmaNabhaSwamy Temple.

The eponymous Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple circled by the East Fort is at the center of a busy shopping hub of the city. The temple attracts millions of visitors every year. Visitors are required to adhere to special dress code before entering the temple. 

Unlike many other temples in Kerala, this temple was built in the Dravidian style, featuring high walls and a Gopuram.

I was carrying dhoti (Veshti) for me and Son. My wife was in sari, But daughter also had to use a dhoti as she was in jeans. I bought a dhoti for her.

We took the special entry ticket and also asked services of a priest. He explained us about temple and also the hidden chambers, where a lot of money is kept.

The principal deity PadmaNabha is enshrined in the "Anantha-Sayanam" posture – the eternal yogic sleep on the serpent Anantha.The titular Maharaja of Travancore is the trustee of the temple as Sree PadmaNabhadasa, the "Servant of Lord Padmanabha".

The Lord has to be seen from three doors. From first door, his head and hands are visible. One hand is stretched on a Shiva Linga. From second door, we see his abdomen with Brahma on Lotus from his "Naabhi". From third door, we can see his lotus feet.

Special festival happens here for 10 days starting Deepavali day. 

It is proclaimed that only those who profess the Hindu faith are permitted entry to the temple.

There was still a queue in special entry way. But patiently we got the "darshan" of the Lord of Universe.

We spend our time listening to different narrations by the priest on Lord.

At the exit we got a packed "Prasad", which is made of ghee and sweet.

I was happy as we came out of temple. The day was hectic but I was satisfied how it went. I wanted to have a walk on busy MG Road market, but owing to tiredness, we retired to our hotel.

A cup of hot tea and then an excellent dinner, we went to bed.

Monday was last day of our current trip. I asked hotel receptionist to book a taxi for us to visit Kovalam Beach. Initially I wanted to visit by auto, but as it started raining, we opted for cab.

On way to Kovalam, we visited the ancient Parashuram Temple. It was not in my itinerary, but my brother suggested to cover it as well. This temple was on way to Kovalam.

It is situated on the banks of Karamana River near town of Thiruvallam. It is the only temple in Kerala dedicated to Lord Parasurama. It is said that the temple was built during the 12th century.

The temple is in Kerala style of architecture. There is main temple of Lord Parashuram as well as other shrines.

There was not much crowd inside and we had very good "darshan" of the warrior Lord.

There were many people doing "Pinda Daan" for their ancestors. The temple is famous for Balitharpanam (a tribute to ancestors). Legend has it that Lord Parasurama is the creator of Kerala and the temple dedicated to him is considered as a holy place for his devotees. During some specific auspecious days as per malyalam calender, devotees pay homage to the departed souls of forefathers.

Now it was time to go to the famous Kovalam beach about 16 KMs south of city of Trivandrum..

Kovalam first received attention when the Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bai of Travancore constructed her beach resort, Halcyon Castle, here towards the end of the 1920s. However, Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies on their way to Ceylon in the Hippie Trail.

Kovalam beach has three different beaches. The Lighthouse beach, the "Hawa" beach and the "Samudra" beach. We headed towards the "Hawa" beach.

The sand was black here and I am not sure the reason, but anyway it is always pleasant to be at a beach. The breeze as well as the ocean currents were very strong. Kids got busy with sand and waters and I just roamed around and captured the moments in my Canon.

 A little problem that I faced here (as well as on other beaches, if breeze is strong), that my glasses as well as camera lense were getting deposited with moisture and salt very frequently and so I had to clean them often.

Spending some time there, we walked slowly towards the Lighthouse beach.

On way there were many small shops and also a small island. We went there. A very small strip of water had made that piece of land an island.

We spend some time on that rocky island just watching around and clicking.

The monsoon sea and waves were dashing strongly against the rocks and shore. It was like one entity attacking the other, but the other is standing still, smiling that life is stronger than death.

Spending a couple of hours there, we returned back to our hotel and packed quickly for the return journey to Bangalore. Our train was from Kochuveli station. This is avery small station, where one will not find any good amenities yet.

Tuesday morning we were at Bangalore, Happy and satisfied with little excursion!


  1. Lovely post!! Trivandrum is a best place to visit in Kerala. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with more information. Loved reading this post. It helps people to plan for their trips. Plan your trip in Universal Travels .

  2. Lovely post!! Trivandrum is a best place to visit in Kerala. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with more information. Loved reading this post.
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    Kanyakumari is a coastal town in the state of Tamil Nadu on India's southern tip. Jutting into the Laccadive Sea, the town was known as Cape Comorin during British rule and is popular for watching sunrise and sunset over the ocean. It's also a noted pilgrimage site thanks to its Bagavathi Amman Temple, dedicated to a consort of Shiva, and its Our Lady of Ransom Church, a center of Indian Catholicism.

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