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Thiruvananthapuram or Trivendram? : South India IX

The first day of the Year – It’s special right!! Who would not want to spend one in a way that is away from the monotonous way of life? We had similar plans and were touring God’s Own Country for our New Year Vacations. We had spent our New Year 2016 eve attending the Carnival on Kochi Beach. To mark the first day of the year 2016 we reached Trivandrum – the capital of this beautiful state by about 11 in the morning. Based on the first look of the city, we are assured of a modern city with a metropolitan look all around. Wide roads and contemporary outlook greeted us as we moved across the city from the Railway Station to our guest house.

Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station
Clean and green, Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Thiruvananthapuram, built on seven hills, has today grown out of hills into a sprawling metropolis; but thankfully the city still retains her past glory and charm, and in spite of the frenetic pace of modern life, perhaps it is the most sedate of the big cities of the State. What perhaps is special about the ambiance of Thiruvananthapuram is the wonderful blend of the strongly traditional, the nostalgically Colonial and the outright modern elements, be it in architecture, in food or in the dress and manners of her people. The wooded highlands of the Western Ghats in the eastern and northeastern borders give Thiruvananthapuram some of the most enchanting viewpoints and picturesque scenery.

After light snacks, we were presented with traditional Kerala dresses which were a must for our entry into Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The dress predominantly was a dhoti for men leaving us bare top and sarees for women. Many temples in South India impose strict entry conditions, especially with the dressing. Most temples would not allow jeans or denim while many may not even allow trousers, like the one which we were headed to. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a revered place of worship for devotees of Vishnu and is a blend of Kerala and Dravidian architecture. This is considered to be the richest planet in the world. The Temple has been a fascination in India for many years, and one shrouded in mystery and fear. Researchers believe that the temple owns over $1 trillion across its various vaults. Two enormous Cobras are rumored to be protecting the innermost hidden chamber. To make matters worse, legend has it that anyone who opens the vault will be met with disastrous results.

Beach with Golden Sand and Rising Waves

The Jungle Trails
Next on our list was the Napier’s Museum - named after the former Madras Governor-General, John Napier - also called Governmental Art Museum. Napier Museum was built in the 19th century and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot, and ivory carvings. The Japanese shadow plays leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting. Another interesting aspect is the natural air-conditioning that keeps the interiors of the building at moderate temperatures throughout the year. A visit to the Napier Museum complex reveals a glimpse of Kerala's rich cultural heritage. This was technically our last stop within the city limits. We had next location on our itinerary as Kanyakumari and we had decided to take this journey on-road. There were a couple of other destinations we had planned to cover on-route. We left for Kanyakumari by about 2 in the afternoon.

After about half an hour’s drive, we were standing at Kovalam Beach. This is a famous beach in South India which has its own identity of having black sand, giving way to golden expanse. It is a falcate-shaped beach bordered with coconut trees swaying gently in the soft breeze. The clean sands are ideal for a leisure walk in the evening and at the same time, the pristine clear water will hypnotize you to jump in for an enjoyable swimming session. We spent limited time there as we had been to plenty of beaches by then and plenty more awaited us ahead. However, the few moments we were there over tea and corn were really good.

Bird Sanctuary Alongside Pooval Islands
Distant View of Poovar Islands
Cottages on Shores
 Next stop of the road trip was Poovar Islands, an immaculate little land mass surrounded by water. Reaching the island is an experience in itself as one has to pass through a great backwater maze terraced using a small motor boat which takes to depths of Arabian Sea and lands us on an island which has nothing as it submerges into the water during high tides. The sand and water are perfectly clean owing to limited tourist activities. We had tender coconuts which are the only thing available there in the name of snacks. The views of the grand sea and horizons across the water were breathtaking. The boat ride to the islands took us through the bird sanctuary which brought us through many birds including water crow, snake bird, ducks of umpteen varieties and cranes. Through the ride mangrove forests of one side and plush resorts on other provide an interesting picture. We saw Elephant rock from a distance. Then, the boat took us through narrow canals with jungles on both sides which was a scene in itself giving thrills of a different kind. The 2-hour boat ride was definitely memorable and worth experiencing. It is hidden treasures like these which make our motherland – Incredible India!

From there we headed straight to our next destination – Kanyakumari. Meanwhile do send in your feedback on the article.

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