Kanyakumari: where India ends or perhaps where it begins

Kanyakumari: where India ends or perhaps where it begins


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This journey across India in the #XploreBharat blog train is getting more and more exciting as the days go by. Yesterday we visited Lucknow in UP. I am very happy to receive the baton from Vartika to take us further. Today I take pleasure in introducing my fellow travellers to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

I have several travel memories etched in my mind but the one that has left the deepest impression on me is our family trip to the southern tip of the Indian peninsula; Kanyakumari. We took this trip in March 2013, nearly six years back over a period of 3 days. My sprightly twelve-year-old was just seven at that time and she made it a very memorable trip with her innocent chatter and never-ending antics.

My wife straight away warned the two of us that it would have to be a budget trip. She made it very clear to us that we could not expect any fancy hotels or restaurants and she would decide where we stayed and ate. Both my daughter and I have a penchant for luxury hotels and restaurants and love to travel everywhere by car and eat the best food. But I knew money was of the essence to us at that moment and agreed humbly to the rules laid down by my wife.

The last time I had visited Kanyakumari was nearly 40 years back when I was a kid of twelve. I was really thrilled about the forthcoming trip. A week before the journey, my wife told us that she had booked tickets by a train that left Kochi at 11.30 PM and arrived at Kanyakumari at around 7.00 AM in the morning. 

Immediately the two of us burst out, "Oh no, why can't we take a flight?" 

"Well guys," said my wife "I warned you this is going to be a budget trip, and Jai, you know as well as I do that we cannot afford to go gallivanting around the country at the moment throwing money at will. And anyway you guys ought to know that there is no airport in Kanyakumari and the nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram which is 90 kilometres away."   

I nodded my head and smiled but it was not so easy to convince my daughter. She was somewhat mollified when we told her we would be seeing a wonderful sunrise at Kanyakumari and we could have loads of fun at the Vivekananda rock. Well to make a long story short, we boarded the train on the scheduled day and finally reached the modest TTDC hotel where my wife had booked a comfortable A/C room. 


We unpacked as soon as we arrived and all of us got ready for the day ahead. My wife sent me to have a word with the manager of the hotel to inquire about the best time to visit the various attractions of Kanyakumari. He was very informative and told me that the motorboat service to the Vivekananda rock was available at regular intervals from 10 AM to 4 PM.

He also told me that the best time to visit the Kumari Amman temple would be the evening when there wouldn't be too much of a crowd. And to my great disappointment, he added that it would not be possible to visit the majestic Thiruvalluvar statue. This was because some repairs were underway and it was out of bounds at the moment. This was a blow to me as I was really keen on visiting the statue. For those who are not aware; Thiruvalluvar is the great Tamil poet who penned the epic Thirukkural, a set of 1332 poetic verses about the essence of life. 

After having breakfast we took an auto-rickshaw to the place where the tickets for the motorboat service to Vivekananda rock were being sold. There was a long queue but we eventually got our tickets. Our turn to board the motor boat came after a wait of half an hour. We were first told to wear orange coloured life jackets. My little one's eyes were twinkling with pleasure and I could see that she was thrilled at wearing this orange contraption around her shoulders. I did not know if she really understood what it was for.

Well, the boat started its journey. Unfortunately, we could not get corner seats. But anyway I managed to capture an image through the window. Here it is. You can see the Vivekananda rock at a distance.


In a matter of 6 or 7 minutes, we arrived at Vivekananda rock. The place was breathtaking in its magnificence. We visited the Dhyana mandapam, the meditation hall and the other structures in the memorial. There was an air of sanctity in every place we visited. There is a myth that Swami Vivekananda used to wake up in the morning at 5.30 AM and swim to this rock to meditate. But this has been proved to be nothing more than a rumour. Here are some more images.









In the image above you can see Thiruvalluvar's statue at a distance. It was under repairs. Even from this distance and in this state the statue was majestic to look at. It was more than 100 feet tall. When I was living in Chennai I used to travel quite often by local buses. And in every bus I climbed into, I always used to find a Kural (a poetic verse) from the Thirukkural put up on a small board just above the windshields. It used to make very interesting reading for people.

There is a myth about the Thirukkural too. It seems after Thiruvalluvar had penned down the 1332 Kurals he presented it to the King in a tablet. And out of dislike for the great poet, the king ordered that the tablets be thrown into the water tank of the royal temple. But it is believed that so great was the truth and essence behind the poetic verses that the tablets came floating up from the depths to the surface of the tank on a blooming lotus at the centre. And this made the king realize his folly and apologize.

Of course, this is obviously a myth but I just mention it to bring out the extent to which Thirukkural is respected in Tamil Nadu. Finally, after spending around one hour at the place we returned by the motorboat. In the evening we visited the Kumari Amman temple and had a great darshan. I only have one image of the temple and that too from a distance. You can see the gopuram.


And the next morning we woke up and went to watch the famed Kanyakumari sunrise. Here an incident occurred which I will never forget for the rest of my life. There is a particular place in Kanyakumari which is supposed to be ideal for watching the sunrise. We made a beeline to this point and found that it was already crowded with people armed with mobile phones to click images of the sunrise to proudly show their friends. 

As we were just getting ready to join the bandwagon, my wife suddenly pulled my arm and said, "Jai, look at that man." I looked in the direction of my wife's pointing finger and saw a man clothed in rags squatting on the floor right in the middle of the crowd and mumbling something inaudible. He had a small empty cloth spread in front of him and in that crowd of around 70 people, there was not a single soul who was paying any attention to him.

We went near him and realized that the man was probably mentally unsound. My wife told me, "Wait here Jai, I will be back in a minute" and left. She came back after some 10 minutes with a small packet of biscuits and she handed it over to the man. Her reason for not giving the man money, she told me, was that the man would probably be tempted to spend it on beedies. This is India folks! We enjoy watching a breathtaking sunrise when a fellow human being is suffering at our feet without a morsel of food.

This put a bad taste into our mouths. But anyways we clicked some images of the sunrise. Here they are.



After this incident, we went back, had breakfast and visited the lighthouse. We were not allowed to climb up to the top floor. Here are some images of the lighthouse.



While returning we visited the back side of our hotel by chance and had a very pleasant surprise. Here are two images of what we found.



The images are blurred but those are peacocks you are seeing. There were so many of them on that lawn in the backside of where we were staying and they looked so tame. It was breathtaking to see them running around here and there. My daughter was simply thrilled. 

We paid one more visit to the Kumari Amman temple on the morning of the next day. We were in two minds whether to visit Nagercoil which was 60 kilometres away. The Padmanabhapuram palace in Nagercoil is very famous. But we were a bit tired by then and gave up the idea. We went back to the hotel, rested till the evening and that night we caught the train back home. This trip was one of the most memorable and enjoyable trips I have ever had. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and so did my family.

And now I hand over the baton of the #XploreBharath blog train to Mayuri who will take us to Ranthambore.

Note: All the images used in this post are owned by me and captured using my camera.

This post is a part of the #XploreBharat Blog Train hosted by AditiEshaMaheshwaranPraGunPreetiSabaSanjotaSoniaSudipSuhasini, and Supriya

And finally a bit about FABZANIA and KAIV who are the sponsors of this wonderful #XploreBharat Blog Train.

FABZANIA

FabZania is an upcoming Food, Travel, Entertainment and Lifestyle web portal.




KAIV

KAIV is a personal grooming accessory and appliances brand offering a wide range of world-class products.



Comments

  1. Loved the title. Looks like you are a travel bee. I missed Kanyakumari trip due to some reasons. I initially thought Tablets as in today's touch screen tablet :D You have good narration skills. Indeed a beautiful place, thanks for taking me virtually to Kanyakumari :)
    https://hackytips.com

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    1. Thanks for visiting. Kanyakumari is a great place. Do visit sometime.

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  2. Am feeling so nostalgic right now. From Kovalam we had driven to Kanyakumari and stayed for two days in the seaside TTDC hotel that you did (am assuming). I also have lovely pictures of the peacocks and even a tiny video of them dancing, feathers in full bloom. We had to wait almost the entire day for the ferry because the authorities kept on canceling it due to strong winds that day. We visited Vivekanand memorial around 4 in the evening finally and had a beautiful experience. Thank you for the elaborate post.

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    1. Yes. It is quiet possible we stayed in the same hotel. Happy my post took you back in time and reminded you of your visit to Kanyakumari

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  3. So your wife's planning worked out well, after all!
    Beautiful trip to and through Kanyakumari, Jai. Enjoyed your easy, narrative writing style.

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    1. Yes, She had warned us that we cannot afford to spend much. We enjoyed thoroughly all the same.

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  4. A beautiful narrative with a personal touch.

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  5. Nice post, Jai...we also visited Kanyakumari about 2 years back and the Thiruvalluvar statue was under repairs then too.... but we did visit the Triveni Sangam in Kanyakumari - nice place but not maintained well...

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    1. Thiruvalluvar statue is difficult to maintain as it is 100 feet tall and is huge. I guess the engineers and workmen have their time cut out keeping it in good shape. :)

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  6. Your post evoked so many memories of the past, Jai. Been to Kanyakumari twice, once with my parents during my graduation years. It was few months after the Tsunami. How pitiful sight it was to see the shopkeepers selling their stuff even the beautiful silk sarees at a very minimal rate just to earn their bread. Even we could not teach the statue back then as it was half immersed in the water and visitors were not allowed. Second time when I went to Kerala on my honeymoon, this was our last spot and then we took the ride to the statue, temple, Gandhi museum and witnessed the breathtaking sunset too. Loved your post and your personal story so much.

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    1. Yes, things were in a sorry state in most of coastal Tamil nadu after the Tsunami but with time things have improved and now they are almost back to normal though of course for people who lost their near and dear ones in the Tsunami things will never be the same again.

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  7. Liked your clicks. Nice write-up too.

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  8. Nice post, you revived my memories of my trip to this beautiful tri sea confluence point. Truly for me it was beginning of my spiritual journey.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there is something about the place that speaks to the deeps. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. Loved reading your narrative, Jai. Your presentation is good and the virtual tour made me eager to visit Kanyakumari :)

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  10. Beautiful post j'ai. Budget trips are equally memorable aren't they. Your post reminded me of many budget trips that I had as a small child mostly to north or west India. No fancy hotels or air conditioned cars or trains. But we still had so much fun. I have never been to kanya Kumari but woukd like to visit this bottom most point of India. Also that lighthouse I have always seen cylindrical lighthouses this is the onky that's square.

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    1. Yes. Glad you noticed the peculiarity about the lighthouse. Do visit the place some time. It is a very beautiful place.

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  11. Beautiful post and well captured details of Kanyakumari. I have always fantasized going to the tip of India and now even more encouraged after reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Do visit Kanyakumari. I am sure you will enjoy it.

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  12. Not just the beautiful sea, sun and temple but vivekananda rock and Valluvar too ! And you bring them all to life with your words and pictures, Jai. Every reader will have kanyakumari on their list of must-visit places, after reading your article. Beautiful recount.

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  13. Lovely Detailed post sirji. Great work and great pics. Would love to visit someday.
    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

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  14. When I started reading this post, the budget trip story only felt like an intriguing aside to the actual post. A few lines later, it became clear that you've woven the trip into the story, or vice-versa.

    Wonderful description and lovely pics. Thank you for taking us on a trip to the southernmost tip of our country. ����

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    1. Thank you Ajit. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  15. Wives do make perfect trip plans. You shared a great trip covering all must visit places with a hint of much needed humanity

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    1. Thank you Prangnya. Yes, though we were slightly constrained for money we enjoyed the trip thoroughly.

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  16. I have heard alot about Kanyakumari and wud love to visit sometime.
    Your pictures are not very clear but its beauty is described in so many words.

    #xplorabharat #poseinstylereads

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    1. Thanks for visiting. Except for the images with the peacocks I don't see anything wrong with any of the other images. But still images being unclear is your opinion.

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  17. Nice writeup and loved the pics

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