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Kannyakumari-Varkhala, India

16 Mar
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Sunrise in Kanyakumari

The hotel proved to be decent in the end and I went to see the sunrise at the tip of India with the sun coming out of the Bay of Bengal with hundreds of Indian people. They were already on the tip of the jetty when I showed up and after the sunrise I walked in the fisherman’s area of town, an area of small houses polychrome painted that are dwarfed by the nearby hotels. Only in India you may still find waterfront property with majestic views kept in these dismal conditions. But for how long? Nearby is Our Lady of Ransom, an impressive catholic church, the number of churches being high in Kerala. For sure the missionaries made some inroads here. At the church and latter on the way I gave all my pens to kids who were so happy to receive them. You could see how they were beaming. Around 7:45 am I got in line for the ferry that crosses to the island (34R or special 169R both RT). The line was very long and I could not stop admiring the beautiful saris the women were wearing. The island has a mondop where is a footprint, considered to be of Sita, if I remember correctly and opposite it is the temple dedicated to swami Vivekananda, famous Indian philosopher and yogi, who is credited with the exposure of yoga and the Indian philosophy to the Western World by participating at the Religion Congress in 1913 in Chicago. The temple has a statue inside and underneath is a meditation chapel built on the location where Swami Vivekananda meditated. pilgrims stop to meditate here for a little bit under a constant sound of AUM.
The temple was full of pilgrims and lots of foreigners, mainly Russian these times, young people interested in Yoga who came with a guide that was explaining them about the place.

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Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kerala, India

At 10:30 am, after I bought my bananas for breakfast and a bag because I got luggage overflow from Sri Lanka, we left to Kovalam but we stopped on the way to Padmanabhapuram Palace (1 hour), the residence of the Maharajah of Travancore (200R). The palace built about 300 years ago is made out of wood sculpted in remarkable details. Each column capital is different and is covered in special lacquer to preserve it. What impresses the most is the technique they used to ventilate the palace. Even if they had long rooms with limited outside access, they made perforated panels that kept a constant air flow in the rooms. Besides, the rooms were getting in interior courtyards where the rain water was coming inside and draining on the basinet at the base keeping the atmosphere cool and pleasant. the palace is very large being added buildings in different stages by various Maharajas. They have a ridiculous fee to shoot video, 1500R, so I took some photos inside and I tried also video with my new small Canon. We’ll see if it did the trick or not.

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Kovalam

We got back in the car and after about 2 hours, during which I dozed a lot being too tired and hot, we were in Kovalam. It reminded me again that In India, even if you see a distance of 60 km that still may mean 2 hours, the traffic is horrific and the roads are small.We reached Kovalam around 2:15 pm and I went to walk on the beach. The town is very touristy, full of foreigners but as far as I could tell are all older people.It has two nice bays and in the middle it has a nice white-red painted light house that is worth a visit (25R) and the small fee they charge for the cameras (25R). The views from thew top are spectacular. The sand on the beach has a black tint on top.The beaches are guarded by hotels, cottages, cabanas, lots of restaurants all with free wi-fi so at least from this you could tell that is a foreigner’s hang out place. But it was just pretty and not much to see and at around 4:00 pm we left to Varkhala

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Sunset in Varkhala

…where we arrived in about 90 minutes with traffic and such and got a beautiful room in a hotel by the cliff. I went to shoot the sunset and right after that got into the water for a late day bath. The rip currents are strong and ported me a while so when I got out took me a while to locate my sandals…
The hotel has free wi-fi and latter, when I went for dinner on the cliff walk full of restaurants and beautiful shops, I noticed that all restaurants had free wi-fi also. No matter that I was very tired, dozing all day in the car, I went and did some shopping of music and pouches in a charming stores of the cliff before going to bed.

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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Blog, India

 

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