In morning, I couldn’t resist to visit the beach market, and got some more conches. However, as we were going to carry them with us, I was bit resistant on myself, and bought those that could be taken on motorcycle only. Later, we visited Vivekanadapuram. I remembered they had a beach side to view sun rise. We went there at 10.00 A.M., by which time the road to beach was closed. I tried to sneak in from this way or another, and ended up landing in a school! It was surprising that the school was somehow operating on Sunday too. The atmosphere was very calm, with the children reciting some prayer inaudibly, the ground covered with sand, with Vesta sliding this way and that on the sand. Really envied the kids to learn in such beautiful atmosphere. It was not similar to those enviable Himalayan school, with the grand views of hills. But this school had a charm of its own. Something that is lost in urbanization. We visited the small shop there for buying of souvenirs. Later, to our dismay we found out that except for a few items, rest could be bought anywhere, including Pune!
Cows resting in the school at Vivekanandapuram
We left Kanyakumari at 11.00, planning to reach Thiruanantpuram in a good time for lunch. But Kanyakumari loved us too much. After travelling about 20 odd kilometers towards Kerala, the little voice in Nandinee’s head started talking, and she sensed she had left the camera cell charger in the hotel. A quick search and a phone call to the hotel proved it to be true. The hotel being a government one, was not ready to send the charger by bus or anything to Thiruanantpuram. There was no choice but to go back and collect it ourselves. I had travelled the same road so many times now, it seemed as if I belonged there. In hot weather with sun’s love increasing in intensity with each passing hour, it was no fun either. The only respite was such Taadgola stands on road side. The quick break for a glass of flavoured Taadgola was very refreshing.
After having the bitter experience of Manjalikulam at Thiruanantpuram, we still gave it one more chance this time, and it didn’t fail to disappoint us. All the self proclaimed culture protection hotels declined us, saying that they are full, magically so on an April Thursday. We consulted the guide book, and found a hotel named ‘Kukie’s Holiday Inn’ was nearby. That hotel did admit us without any fuss. It is a budget hotel. Let me rephrase that. It is a really truly absolutely a budget hotel. The room rent was lowest we paid on this trip, but so was the condition of the room. Kukie’s Holiday Inn is located at a nice place, very close to central area and yet very secluded. If the owners improve the hotel rooms, they can easily charge more, and would totally deserve it. The outer area is well maintained, with good private ground and all, but the rooms leave a lot to desire. As we had to spend just one night, we weren’t that picky about it, but if it were a 2 or more night’s stay, then we would not have selected it.
After refreshments, we went for local sightseeing. The Pazhavangadi Ganpati was nearby, and so was the Padmanabhaswamy temple. In Padmanabhaswamy temple, everything was chargeable. Vesthi, depositing your shirt and pant, depositing camera, everything had a price tag, and on a bit costlier side. More surprisingly and even shockingly, even ladies had to wear a veshti there! Didn’t understand the tradition, and don’t want to turn this log into a religious debate, but it was undoubtedly bit odd to see the rule, that ladies had to enter in Saris or Veshti. If a lady was wearing Salwar-kurta, still she had to wrap the dhoti around her in order to enter the temple. Curiously, girls with skirts were all right. Nandinee had a strong objection to this, and was even ready to stand outside while I take the darshan. I was not in any mood or with any energy to pacify her and make her mind to accompany me to the temple. I left the job for the next day, and we headed to Veli Tourist Park.
Veli Tourist Park is a specially developed tourist spot by Kerala government. It houses huge size murals and statues in abstract forms. We reached there at around 7, by the time it closes to visitors. There was not guard at the entrance, so we sneaked in anyway. Luckily, we happened to reach the shore line at the magical time, half hour after sunset. The photography opportunity that presented itself paid for the effort of coming this far.
Later, we went to a cyber café for searching for some hotels in Kumarakom, our tomorrow’s destination. We booked a room in ‘Tharavadu Heritage Home’ on phone, with good price, this being an off season. Dinner consisted of prawns, surprisingly our only good sea food in many days.
In night, we were strolling in the Kukie’s Holiday Inn ground for a long time, discussing the next plan. We were actually bit glad to get away from Thiruanantpuram. This was perhaps the only spot in the whole trip where we got bored, and wished to leave early.