Our route :

Bangalore - Ernakulam :

3:30 pm, Thursday to 12 noon friday : 20 hours of fight with space and time ! especially coz the two were the extremes of small and big. Just got off and stretched...that was such a relief. Reached Kallady after nearly a 2 km walk and all we needed was a place to shower, and we get a nice little room [wth attached bath] facing lots of greenary but then damn ! we just missed the lunch...huh..people!!

Lunch at "Lakshmi Bhavan" - very simple looking food place, we commented on the 'tables' as we sat down at one - vaayaadi pradeep :'Maybe they do not want people to talk' and the hunger in me 'Maybe they serve lotsa food in huge plates'. After the 'yellow,oily, fruity futile attempt at veg biriyani' and the 'barota and chapathi' that did nothing more than filling up the void in our stomachs !' , 'Maybe the tables did try to say something' ??

We set out on our mission, after the planned refreshing bath :), all happy, picked up some chikkis on our way... reached the 'Sri Shankaracharya University of Sanskrit' - very typical of Kerala the first thing we see are the 'Student's Union' posters all over the walls.

A very disappointing 'Sorry, the course of traditional architecture has been scrapped', walked out with a sad feeling, mostly coz such a novel thought of introducing 'Indian Traditional Architecture' was dismissed., vetoed against ! Politics !

Kallady : at the entrance - a small garden with atleast 5 different species of birds, all at a distance where we could clearly differentiate between who sounded like what. Bulbuls[red-throated], sunbird[maybe], a brown/black and white medium-sized bird, wagtail [black-white]. The garden was full of fruit bearing trees. The temple overlooking the 'Periyar' river - a huge balcony behind the temple where you could stand and just stare....Right next to this and below you'll see the temple care-takers having their 'snaanam' at 5 am., younger ones - really quick dip and the older ones with a big paunch.

Try talking to them in malayalam..no, tamil...no, english ??...NO., kannada -- howdhu !! Spoke to these really nice boys who were really excited talking to me in kannada even otherwise their faces were just beaming ..

The just ernakulam ! : We started off at around 4pm - hopeful of ??? , kallady-angamaly-aluvaa-ernakulam, a whole lot of hoardings - mostly 'Gaylord sanitaries, tiles, hardware etc.,' for some reason we thought we had to see the Khadi gramudyog and got off the bus, and 5 minutes later caught another bus - we had to get to ernakulam before 6 30 ['twas already 6]!! reached ernakulam at around 6 30 - cool ! walked across M G Road and caught the return bus to angamaly ! We had had enough of bus journey for the day, took a rick from angamaly to kallady. We were rushed into the dining room by the man who claimed to know all languages and spoke such a perfect blend of them all that we understood nothing of what he said and refused to believe he understood wht we said too, so we had almost finished a pack of really fresh and tasty tapioca chips[yea..we should have bought more !!], the temple dinner was just great.

Train to Kanniyakumari at 9:30 next day....

We were up at 5am, went to the banks of Periyar, tried some photography [ :(, the birds were not out yet], we got back to the room freshened up and i decided to do some birding while Pradeep stayed back. Amused by how the compund walls were so much a part of the greenary around and some unexplainable philosophy and mostly photos of compound walls ! Did spot quite a few birds, spoke to the locals - very clearly understood that the old lady demanded her photograph be taken.., it was nice 45 minute walk, my camera runs out of charge. Pradeep waiting for me at the balcony [oh yea, the room came with a nice balcony with a secret passage !!]..sure he was for atleast 20 minutes !

My second train journey in two weeks time ...wow ! Train to kanniyakumari during the day is just perfect [thanks to pradeep's thoughtful planning !..we did very little planning for the 5 day trip..so am going to mention the every little bit that we did] very picteresque and kept us awake all through, really enjoyed the heavily accented 'vada,chayaa,idli, kaapi, dosai' in the background. One good selling startegy - 'Free 5-minute reading' and you'll pay for it anyways - Book sellers on the train.

We decided to skip lunch, munched on the remaining chikkis and tapioca chips [really, we should have bought some more].
We thought the train was like home, people could just sit anywhere that they wanted to and thought their moms worked for the railways !
More greenary, purple lillies, cows, poodle huts :), lots of ponds and rivers, egrets, some clean but too many stops that smell, well...with or without the stench the stops were just too many.

Overall an awesome journey.

Reached Kanniyakumari just on time for the sunset, was an amazing scarlet with some surreal cloud formations. Too many people ! but the seas-rock combination took over - we just looked on. Had some 'yelanih' and then found out that Vivekananda ashram, TTDC was booked full, kaveri lodge would have been a good deal minus the bugs and noisy neighbours. Dinner at 'Saravana Bhavan' was good...we felt at home.

Next day we woke up early as thousands others to watch the sun rise, a 30 minute drama - amazing display of colours[Pradeep's defn for equivalent of GOD] - an old women bending over ..maybe. And then there was no sun...'oh...idhu sunset da' was a spontaneous comment from the guy standing next to us, lol.

We started walking towards 'Vivekananda Aashrama', again lotsa birds, the transmission wires were lined with 'green-bee' eaters - probably gave them their buzzz..! We saw a peacock in all its vigour showing-off to a nearby pea-hen., a few shots off Pradeep's camera. we followed the board 'Sunrise point' and this is where we had to be - it was beautiful, devoid of people.
Comments on the black crabs on the black sand below...

It was going to be 'the rock memorial' - windy queue to get the tickets and come to a conclusion that crow shit doesnt smell bad at all!, a push into the rusty ship and a push out of it to the rock - had to be ..., we stood there for quite some time holding on to a compund wall against the breeze from the seas. Was good.

Bus to Nagercoil[about 13 kms] and then change in the no plans, we took the next bus back towards kanniyakumari, decided to get off at Suchindrum and walk back to kanniyakumari.

Suchindrum - temple closed, started walking on the highway - dint like one bit, took the bunds in the fields , went all around the fields and got back to pretty much where we started. Back on the highways - atleast they move ! and just as we were thinking we are getting late..voila!! we find our bus-stop, 10 minutes later two guys on a bike get back only to tell us that the buses havent stopped there in the last ten years..wow! a rick to 'vatakottai', another three kms to the circular-fort[vatakottai] and we were desperately looking for any other mode of transposrt other than bus or rick. we asked about the tempos and the cycles that were parked close by, took a rick to 'vatakottai' - 'not very impressive' initially until we climbed up a few steps and then there was the vast expanse of the 'arabian sea' we were looking down at...quite a sight! the beach next doors was clean and calling...the first time in the last two days that we steeped into the sea-water, a small-time futile attempt at making sand-castles[caves rather].

The beach was fun, we headed back accompanied by the beach care-taker ...very lonely man seemed like coz he never stopped talking and repeated the same things over and over again. Well, rick again to kanniyakumari, a reluctant dinner at 'Saravana bhavan' and back to our rooms. Read a bit - The FZ5 manual, hitch-hikers and then crashed out.

Packed our bags and took the train to 'Trivandrum', about a 2 hour journey. What little we got to see of the city, we thought it was well planned with KTDC, the railway station and bus station - all one next to the other., a boon for backpackers. Marched up and down before we finally decided on 'potty's' for breakfast [its a mess ] and KTDC for 'vellam'. Back to business after brkfast the KTDC officer did a good job of a 'white collared travel guide'. We took the short walk to 'Padmanabahswamy' temple - and even before we realised we were all tied up in veshtys and had a basket of flowers and fruits in our hands, alog with some 'vezhakennai' to keep the diyas on !!

At the end of it all i totally enjoyed the experience of feeling like a 'dumb animal' [not given a chance to think or speak...!! :)] and ofcourse Pradeep cribbed. The temple architecture itself was peculiar - it wasn't the usual 'Kerala' temple architecture, it was a stout version of the kannada-tamil temples.

Veli Tourist village was next - this was a very typical tourist spot ,and we dint dare get close to the beach [knew would be full of people & so, dirty]. A bit of swinging and the 'ring the well..soaps and tiger-biscuits game ! and we were out of there.

[Revised(bettered)..included this bit much later]

Frogot about this ??!! - Maybe coz it was dream-like ...yea even with the salt-water on my face every 30 seconds[thts how long i could hold my breath].

One look at a part of the boat[which looked more like a fraction of what one would imagine of a boat] and you simply cant wait to get on to it. Well, what i first looked at was 1/3rd of the 'catamaran' - like kids we watched, the three-piece, very crude,precision[mostly experience] engineered, 'banana shaped' boat take shape [well, still didnt look like boat], in awe.

With some difficulty the two very-happy boatsmen thrusted the boat forward, it was 'wave,wave,bigwave...push' until finally the 'catamaran' was all set to take us out to the sea.

Within minutes we were at quite a distance from the shore and for anyone looking at us from there...we would have seemed like the enlightened ones simply floating on water !!! Tried a plunge into the 'super-salty' sea to check out the sea-bed. I got hold of some scuba-diving goggles[thanks to the boatsman] and from there on it was my body n the boat and head in water every few seconds. Caught a glimpse of a few exotic fishes - was really dream-like. :). One of the best pics of it in my mind "the straw coloured catamaran against the thick copper-sulphate colour sea" [a top view !!] - amazing, we just loved the colour of the sea.

Lunch at 'Potty's' again - good food absolutely ! Freshened up a little at the railway station., have to mention that it was a very nice and well-maintained 'waiting room' for first-class travellers only [not strictly]. Indian-coffee house - peculiar looking building..a swirled up brick coloured thing...we liked the place., rose-milk gheer was bad, had to wash it down with hot coffee from the 'perfect as a combo' snack that Pradeep had ordered. Out in the rains and the bus arrived on time [ waited for about 10 minutes...with the shrill-pitched 'nattheyattham,nattheyatham lottery' ringing in my ears for the next 30 minutes].

Long journey [but far far more comfortable than the initial journey from blore-ernakulam]. Misty hills [ if u wanted to jump off, u wudnt be scared at all !], magical !

Back in Mysore(!)...stretch, bus to bangalore and then after a lot of and till the last minute contemplation we got off at ramanagaram for lunch at the 'jaanapadha Loka' - perfect end to the 5 day road-trip !

And then Home. :) !


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