Kerala & Rameshwaram

14th Nov 2017
Day 1

This trip from Delhi to Kerala was long awaited. This was the second time I went to see oceans. Endless blue waters of Kerala are a sight to sour eyes. Mumbai was a fascinating place, but Kerala offers one long awaited peace and quite, with greenery that can take all pains away. The state is not backward; most of the areas are well maintained and proper facilities of commuting is available. And with all this, the development has not forced it to lose its charm.

We boarded the Air India flight on Children's day at around 8 P.M. through Terminal 3, Indira Gandhi International Airport. The 2.5-3 hours flight was comfortable, but sadly, the food was not as good. We landed at Trivendrum, and reached our hotel, Sun and Sea view resort at 12 A.M. Every eating place at the hour was close. Our information that Air India keeps serving food and refreshments throughout the flight, was simply obsolete. So, if you plan to reach late night, do not count on night time deliveries in a non-metro city. The hotel seemed fine and we had no view from the balcony as it was pitch black outside.

Day 2

The morning sun brought a completely new sight, however. Our room had big windows and a balcony. The moment I opened my eyes, I could see the entire earth covered with tall coconut trees. I had only ever pictured a few coconut trees at the beaches, like in the paintings. This was so much different than what I had witnessed in Mumbai as well. It took me a minute to realize that the blue beyond green, was not just sky, but it was the ocean which was not visible in the dark sky last night.

The PadmanabhaSwami Temple is one of the main tourist attraction. The temple is very old and rich, and sadly not as well maintained. There is a very large statue of Lord Vishnu in the main temple. It's hard to understand the figure through 3 tiny gates. From each gate, you can see the head, the torso, and the feet of the Lord Vishnu made from a black stone, which makes it even harder to recognize in the dark, at first. You need to be wearing either a saree, a lose long skirt/lehenga, or you will have to wrap around a dhoti over your clothes. For men, dhoti/lungi is compulsory too, and without any shirt on top. They sell those outside the temple as well.

Day 3

The Poovar island is a bit far from the Kovalam beach but is a must visit. You can find a big boat to take you on a ride in the backwaters for 1.5-2 hours. If you bargain well, they can take you to the ride for about 4-5,000 INR. We were a group of 9 people, and hired a 10 seater boat. The backwaters are wide and narrow at some areas. The driver of the boat guides you through the way, and shares information and tales of the local area. The end point where Kerala ends, and Tamil Nadu begins is the Golden Sand Beach. The view is mesmerizing, where you can see the backwaters meet the Arabian sea. It's not your typical beach, and you cannot have a bath there either. But various options such as horse riding, lunch at the floating restaurant, or simply having coconut water is a treat. The boat travels through the narrow lanes in water among the mangrove forests.

Photo of Poovar Golden Beach, Poovar, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria

This is where the sea meets the ocean!

Photo of Poovar Golden Beach, Poovar, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria

This horse had the most beautiful eyes

Photo of Poovar Golden Beach, Poovar, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria

Passing through the narrow backwaters in Poovar island.

Photo of Poovar Golden Beach, Poovar, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 2

View of Kovalam beach an coconut trees from my balcony

Photo of Kovalam, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 4
Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 5
Photo of Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 7

Showing off my photography skills.. but Backwaters are really just this mesmerizing!

Photo of Alleppey, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 2
Photo of Padmanabhaswamy Temple Road, Fort, Padma Nagar, Pazhavangadi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 6
Photo of Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Anshul Ghiloria

The rocks with which Ram Setu was built- the floating bridge

Photo of Ram Setu, Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi Road, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Day 8

Yes, this is Munnar. It's much prettier live *-*

Photo of Munnar, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria
Photo of Munnar, Kerala, India by Anshul Ghiloria

Trivendrum's Kovalam beach is the main beach. It has a wide horizon and is a playful beach. The entire beach walk has a long lane of restaurants, hotels facing beach, and shops. The sunset, sunrise and an evening walk is as much delightful. Our hotel was about 200-300 meters away from the beach, but you can find budget hotels facing the beach as well. If you are looking for a cheap place to eat, walk into the narrow lanes and you will find various restaurants offering cheap, delightful cuisines. The lust for sea food can be well satisfied at the restaurants. And this was the only place where we had a good noodle dish. To tell you the truth, it's hard for a vegetarian tourist to survive there , especially when you are not a big fan of South Indian food either. However, the hotels offer you buffet for breakfasts and freshly squeezed juice is refreshing!

The train from Trivendrum to Kanyakumari takes about 3 hours. Most of the tourist attractions are withing one-three kilometers distance from the station. We stayed at the Tamil Nadu tourism hotel, which was right in front of the Kanyakumari beach. You walk out the main gate, and you enter the market and the beach. People wake up at 5AM to watch the sunrise and the sunset. It was beautiful, sometimes cloudy so we missed it. The best sunrise was at Rameshwaram.

One time, we found a Peacock at the garden. My mum started filming it and it began to dance! It was amazing. I guess you never see that in Delhi because peacocks can't find such beauty and weather here in the metro cities.

There are some local museums and temples and you can reach Vivekananda Rocks via ferry. The sun shines at peak in November there, but cold breeze at evening is nice. Take loads of sunscreen with you, else you might burn! The Vivekananda rocks is where Swami vivekananda often came to meditate. It was one of his last places of rest.

Kanykumari to rameshwaram was an overnight journey. We slept through in the train, and stood in a big line for Rameshwaram darshan. Rameshwaram temple is one of the four dhams.

You first need to go pray at the ocean, that is where we saw this beautiful sunrise. after which you enter the temple, visit all the wells and have its holy water splashed on you by the priests. In the end, you visit the main temple. While the whole experience was beautiful, people of Tamil Nadu seemed a bit rude. Keralites were absolute delight. I have heard this from many people that southerners don't like northerners much. I chose to believe that I just found a few not so cool people, and that won't change the fact that my trip was amazing!

We dedicated that whole trip for visiting temples. There were many in Rameshwaram. We saw the end of India's border as well, after a while Sri Lanka's borders starts. The beach was beautiful there, we saw Ram Setu (The bridge lord Ram created to get to Sri Lanka). We saw a few white stones. They had small holes like structure, which probably lets some air in and helps the stone float in water. I assumed at first that it was a thermocol but it really was a a big white stone, and was rather heavy. But it floated in the ocean!

Alleppey beach must also be very nice. It was big is what I'm sure of. Since we reached there after dark, there were absolutely no lights to see the horizon. We could not see water 100 meters ahead, but could only hear.

The market is nice and you can find all local eateries. Chocolates, banana chips and what not.

Our final destination was to Munnar. While we, being Delhiites, have been to mountains a lot of times; Munnar was a different experience altogether. It has a lot of tea and coffee gardens and lakes and a dam in between. The weather was great, a bit chilly but bearable. We reached the highest point and couldn't see anything as it was all very foggy. We stayed at the 'Cool Resorts', which really meant cool as it was surrounded by big lush green trees and grass and surrounded by tea gardens!

Day 7

We took the train back to Kanyakumari the same night, slept through in train and spent the next day at Kanyakumari to relax. Kanyakumari was the link between Kerala and Rameshwaram for us. Its beach is peaceful, and has a lot of shells if you like to collect.

A 2-3 hours ride, and we reached Alleppy. This was a beautiful place. We took an auto and reached the backwaters. There were big patches of land in between backwaters, where people farmed and lived. There were house boats and resorts. The scene was mesmerizing and the weather was cool. The auto dropped us at the reception, behind it was the backwaters. To reach the resort, one needs a boat.

Day 9

The saddest thing is that you can't see anything once it's dark. We reached Munnar after dark and we had no idea what stood around us. But when dawn broke, it was so beautiful!

We went via Cochin to Munnar, and Kochi is totally different and not at all what I came to see. It's a metro city- beautiful and offers a lot of things to eat and places to visit, there is a port as well. But I met with the usual metro city traffic, malls, lights and the only city i saw traffic lights in :D

Our flight back home was from Cochin. We had an international flight connecting via Delhi. Flight was super comfortable and smooth. Food was better than the last time still it were small portions. Air India has a lot of leg space, and 2.5 hours just went by, and we were back to polluted Delhi that has awesome food!

The trip was costly! we were two families, and air tickets, stay and food was a bit much. But the per person cost always comes down in a big group. We used LTC as my mother is a government employee and that got our tickets reimbursed.

People also plan a week long trip, only to Kerala and they are able to cover up most of the best cities- Kovalam, Alleppey, Munnar, Kochi. Kerala really is the most beautiful city and people are just heart warming!

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