Published: November 4th 2006October 24th 2006
Kanyakumari..the southernmost tip of India. The only place in India where you can see both the sunrise and sunset. For me.. the land of Vivekanand Memorial
I went to Kanyakumari alone.
I am not a loner or something. Its just that I read about an article about backpackers somewhere and another article about travelling alone and I thought what the heck let me give both of them a try at one go.
It started like this..I started from Pune on impulse. I was working late night once and I just logged off from my computer, picked 2 jeans and a coupla t-shirts and took the first train to Bangalore ( 2.40 am ). I had a friend in Bangalore and after much convincing he got ready to go with me to Bandipur national park, Ooty and Kunnoor. It was fun. We returned to Bangalore and from there I picked the train to Kanyakumari on 23.10.06 9.30 pm kanyakumari express. Let me warn you here that these being the diwali and DP hols were the peak seasons for the railways and you have to be maniac like me to try something as stupid as just taking a general ticket and then trying your luck in the sleeper for a 20 hours journey.
Anyways that's a (mis)adventure of its own.l reached Kanyakumari at 6 pm the next day
Seat by the loo
Seat by the loo. If you are lucky This is what you get if you don't have reserved seat while travelling by the Indian railways
and the first thing that I did was to check places to visit in Kanyakumari (did I tell you that I had no plans whatsoever to come to Kanyakumari? ) What I did know was that there a Vivekananda ( A Indian religious crusader) Aashram ( monastery) just a coupla kilometers from the railway station that allowed visitors to stay. So I just asked for it and walked all the way down. They had some decent rooms but what I took was a 3 bed dormitory with a cupboard and without an attached bathroom. The rent? Now don't let your eyes pop out.. IT WAS ALL OF Rs. 15 PER DAY! kewl or wat? The dinner was also served in 1 big dining place and you could eat all that you want for as less as Rs 18.The food was not too bad either . I was loving it!
Kanyakumari is the land's end for India.Its a place where the Arabian sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian ocean meet up and due to this unique positioning you can watch the sunrise and sunset both from Kanyakumari. So the next morning I went to see the sunrise at a
Sea in my window
The journey from Banagalore to Kanyakumari is full of such sights where u can see the sea beside the railway track
point just next to the famous Kanyakumari ( which literally means a virgin girl) temple. Unfortunately it had rained the night before and we could not see the sun until it had risen well above the horizon. So I went to visit the Kanyakumari temple and to my utter amazement the priests started making all kinds of noises in Malayalam ( the native language) as soon as I tried entering the foyer. I was then told that in this temple a male is not allowed to enter without his shirt n vest on. (The first words that blabbered out of my mouth were "What abt the females?" ) So there I was semi-naked parading inside the temple. Apparently the rule applies to most of the temples in S. India. The temple true to its reputation turned out to be very old and peaceful.
By the time I got out I was kinda hungry. As soon as you get out there is a place called Idly house just outside the temple. Idly is a rice pancake served hot. Check out the Sambar wada and of course the Idly there. Cheap and very yummy.
The whole of city of Kanyakumari is based
Statue of Thiruvalluvar
This is how the statue looks from the shore.
in a longitudinal stretch of 4 kms or so with this temple being on one end and the Aashram being on the other. I went back to catch up with some sleep and then I came back around 9 am to go to Vivekanand Rock Memorial which is where vivekanand had meditated for some time. Its in the mid of sea and You can only reach there by a ferry which only moves when its full and charges you Rs 20 for going n coming back. The timings are 8 am to 4 pm.
After reaching I realised its probably one of the best places I have or wud ever see in India. Surrounded on all sides by water of different shades of blue and green, its wonderfully maintained and run. I was completely mesmerized by the place. There is a meditation hall there.Its a dark room in the centre of which there is a giant
illumined by a green light. Its a deeply pacifying experience just to sit there and meditate. Even if you don't know how to meditate just sit with your eyes closed. i spent an hour there and came out absolutely rejuvenated..
the ferry ( they keep coming, dropping and picking up passengers) took me to the Thiruvalluvar statue.Thiruvalluvar happened to be one of the greatest poets of South India. Its almost a 60 feet high statue and you have to climb quite a lot of stairs to come to the very top from where again the view is quite superb.
I returned at around 3.30 pm and then had a hearty lunch. In the evening I took a bus to the Shuchidrum ( Sanskrit word meaning pure Indra- the Mythological Indian lord of rains ) temple which is 13 kms from kanyakumari on the way to Nagercoil. The bus took around 40 minutes and after the tedious routine of taking off my tshirt, vest etc I visited the temple. This temple is quite a revelation. very old, it has 1000 nymph engraved pillars for holding the oil lamps. there are 2 pillars which give the sound of a musical instrument if you put your ear close enough and hit at different points on it. everything about the temple is big including an 18 feet statue of Hanuman ji and an equally big statue of Nandi- the bull.
I returned back to
Order for Sambar wada and idlies..yummy!
Aashram at around 8 pm for my sumptuous feast @ Rs. 18.
I had planned just 1 day for Kanyakumari and then moving on to Madurai and Rameshwaram but the lure of Vivekanand Rock memorial pulled me again the next day and I spent another 2 hours there. After that I went to see a wax museum built on the lines of Madam Tussaud in London. After there when I came back to the beach and in the distance I could see a ridge extending almost a half a kilometre into the sea. I don't know what was the purpose of that but it looked quite fascinating from a distance. It starts from a fisherman's village which i think you should avoid going at dusk or late in evening. Its a rock bridge and something that reminds you of that rock bridge made by Lord Ram's army of monkeys between India and Lanka ( now called Srilanka). I went to the very edge of it and spent quite some time just idling around.
In the evening I went to the sunset point but as my luck wud have it the clouds yet again played spoilsport.
So that was it, the
If you are hiking in the noon. Chances are this is the sight you will find. People are very fond of siesta here.
next day I was ready for my journey to Pune on unreserved seat in the Indian railways for 36 hours this time around.
I realised that its an amazing way of travelling..alone. You don't need to care about someone else's schedule or convenience. You can goof around or spend time to your heart's content and you can even live in a monastery @ Rs. 15 per day!
* Hope you liked the blog. Do drop in an odd comment if you wish. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
There are more photos below