On my month-long trip to South- India, I watched one of the most breathtaking sunsets of my life at the tip of India, on the last day. We (my cousins and I) only visited places in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. But I wished to take in the fresh air of God’s own country – Kerala once, before we returned North.
It was a trip I took some-9 years back when I had no clue what travelling or the world meant to me. I was literally enjoying the moments as they came.
Somehow my cousins agreed to travel to Trivandrum, commonly known as Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, which was just 100 km away. We quickly packed our stuff and hired a taxi. We had 24 hours in hand to return and take the train back home i.e. Delhi.
Yes, the flights were too expensive to afford back then. Lol.
As they say, the first impression is the most lasting! We were lucky to have found a Keralite taxi driver, and trust me he was so grounded and friendly.
He treated us like long-lost friends. 3 hours flew by like 15 minutes in the stories he narrated about how humans and nature co-exist in Kerala. Not only that, but he also helped us patiently in finding a good-reasonable guesthouse. Then, we bade him adieu.
While everyone settled down in the beautiful, cosy room, I looked out of the window and felt the air of this city. It was a summer night in July, not exactly an ideal time to visit Kerala. But I generously smiled, for it was like a dream to be here.
After spending some quality time with myself while everybody was freshening up, we went to a local restaurant for dinner, as suggested by the people at guesthouse.
Since it was a local restaurant and not a fancy one, it was slightly hard to communicate. Despite that, they tried to make us understand the specialities of Kerala.
We ordered Puttu and Kadala Curry, and what a delicious meal it was! What caught my attention the most was the female staff at the restaurant.
Women of Kerala
To be honest, having been born and living in the North, I was accustomed to seeing women work only at home in the male dominant society. I asked out of curiosity if it is a common practice, to which our female waiter said yes.
I couldn’t understand much but the gist of it was, yes, women work equally as men here. They co-exist in the state.
We returned to our guesthouse. I was confused and amazed, so I asked the receptionist about the status of women in Kerala. He told me that women in Kerala are valued, educated and they contribute in almost every field.
Strangely, as compared across India Kerala is one of the only two states to have a female-to-male ratio higher than 0.99. In easier terms, 1084 females per 1000 males – while the national figure is 0.940. Woah! I felt this trip was meant to happen, to tell us what we were never told and it was surely an eye-opening journey.
Since we were quite tired, we dozed off early and got up at dawn for a quick sightseeing tour of Trivandrum.
Just after a notably hearty breakfast of Karikku Dosa and Vattayappam at the guesthouse, we left to explore the city.
We didn’t book with any agent as we wanted to explore locally, unlike tourists. We took plenty of information about the routes, timings and places to be visited according to our interests.
The people at the guesthouse were so kind, respectful and helpful, they gave us all the info without even trying to sell us any package. I personally was more than happy to have such ‘humanscape’, beyond the stunning landscapes.
Quick sight-seeing in Trivandum
We took a local taxi and visited Kovalam Beach, Lighthouse and Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Our taxi driver was an old man with a striking charm on his face, who greeted us with a wide smile.
He charged us a very reasonable sum even though he knew we were outsiders. He first took us to one of the richest Hindu Temple in the world and even played the role of a guide without hesitation.
He told us, Padmanabhaswamy temple is not just a spiritual experience but also a unique architectural beauty. The huge idol of Lord Vishnu can be seen through three different doors of the temple.
Sunset by the Lighthouse at Kovalam Beach
We spent a good time in the temple before leaving for the Lighthouse and Kovalam Beach.
We reached there at around 3 PM. Vizhinjam Lighthouse at Kovalam is one of the oldest lighthouses in Kerala. The bad luck was, we couldn’t get a view of the sea from top of it, but it was still worth visiting.
We walked towards the beach to witness a breathtaking sunset, as told by our driver bhaiya. My heart was happy as the beach was clean, unlike most beaches in India. It was less crowded as well (thanks to off-season).
We sat there until the sun went down and had one of the best times in our month-long trip to South India. It is clear that the people of Kerala and its spellbinding natural beauty made me fall in love with it in less than a day. Keralites care for nature, they co-exist beautifully.
As the last rays vanished, we bade adieu to our driver bhaiya, got our luggage into another taxi & headed back to Kanyakumari to catch the train back home.
This was a very short trip, yet it was worth all the efforts. I yearn to visit Kerala again, to explore every nook and corner of it, to sink in with Keralites and their culture and to capture Kerala’s beauty.
No wonder, it is called God’s own country!
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