Has traveling been your priority to relive and feel good about life? Yes! For me, it has been one of a roller coaster ride which helps me skip the hustle bustle of the traffic and take a leap from the monotonous life. I like to keep my itchy feet going to all kind of places and be able to interact with the locals and know about different customs and cultures that India has got to offer to us.
The south of India is famous for the Hindu mythology and it is said, that a Hindu should definitely visit The Rameshwaram and The Kanyakumari atleast once in their lifetime. I too had planned my trip with my friends to the south, covering The Madurai, The Rameshwaram, The Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and The Varkala and The Kottayam in Kerala. I was basically leaving behind a close friend to have a gala time of my life with another lot of friends and I knew it was a much-needed one with the traveler keeda in my head. So, I reached Bangalore in the afternoon and met few of my college and office friends and by night we were all set for the journey ahead, waiting for the bus at the stop in the cold chilling night.
Our first destination was Madurai and we reached there early morning at around 7:00am by an AC deluxe bus which left from Bangalore at around 12:30am from Bommenhalli. We had got the bus booked through SRS travels. Upon reaching Madurai, we freshened up in a hotel and then left for the famous Meenakshi temple at around 10:15am. We got our passes of Rs 100 each in order to avoid the rush and the long queue inside the temple to get the darshan and the aarti. The temple has four entrance gates and they are all centrally located from each other. We had entered from the North gate. The temple is huge and is famous for its architectural design and interiors. I wish I could take the pics.of the interiors and of the fine work done by our ancestors.
Next up on our visit list was Rameshwaram. We then rushed to the railway station and got our tickets booked for the very next train which was scheduled to depart at 12:40pm and we had just made it in time. (As far as I remember, there is a train which heads for the same even at around 4:30pm). The ticket was a nominal price of RS 35 per person. The 4 hr journey by the train was an amazing one and an experience which one should definitely experience as it crosses the famous Rameshwaram bridge and you can take a window seat or sit near the gate to enjoy the majestic view of the Indian ocean on one side and The Bay of Bengal on the other side. I was lost in my own thoughts as I watched the violent tides fight against those huge sturdy rocks which were like an obstacle in their motion. We had finally reached Rameshwaram and were kind of exhausted and keen on dumping our bags in the hotel room. After resting for about 2hrs, we stepped out to visit the famous Rameshwaram temple. We reached there at around 6:45pm and were told by the locals that the entrance to the temple is allowed only till 7pm. Upon hearing this and seeing a long queue outside the ticket counter, we realized that no matter what we did,we could not make it to the temple without going through our Jugaad and only way of catching hold of a priest who could help us get the tickets (Rs 25each) and charged an additional Rs 200 each for personally taking us to the 22kunds inside and showering the holy water of each upon us. These kunds are basically deep wells named behind Mahalaxmi, Savitri,Gayatri, Saraswati, Nal, Neel, Yamuna, Ganga, Bhramdosh, Sarvadham and so on ( could only remember these, and the story behind…U can all google 😛 ). I loved it when the water of each kund was poured upon me and the feeling of spirituality kept striking me harder and harder and frankly, at the same time I even felt embarrassed for knowing little about Indian mythology. After this, we changed to our dry and clean clothes and headed for the darshan of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. We headed out of the temple by 8:15pm . Outside the temple we could see lots of shops lined up with sea shells and souvenirs of all kinds. They were heavy on the pocket but worth getting them back home as a token and in memory of this holy place.
We then headed to the Rameshwaram beach where it looked amazing beneath the moonlight. The view was just like a beautiful painting to capture it forever in the eyes. The place had a cool breeze passing by and we felt the chill of it. We were so lost in our own emptiness and at the sound of the waves hitting past the rocks and wondering how mighty the waves were and about nature’s creation, that we sat in continuity till 11:45pm and it was my very first experience at the beach where I sat in peace all by myself for hours and till almost midnight.We then headed back to the hotel room for a sound and cozy sleep as we had to leave for Dhanushkodi the next morning at around 6:30 am which was around 20kms. from the hotel i.e around 45mins. drive. We had booked a personal cab from here all the way till Kanyakumari (it cost us a total of Rs 5000, on a decent bargain)
We had spent around 1 & a 1/2 hr at Dhanushkodi bridge and did some photo session at the famous spot which tops every travelers/tourists checklist- The Indian Ocean. It was a picturesque view and I wished I could spend more hours there but we still had miles to go before winding up the travel list. To head further to the old Dhanush Kodi point where one goes to get the view of Ram Setu bridge and the floating Ram stone.
This place was basically ruined by the cyclone that had taken place in the year 1964. One can now only get to see the ruins of the old post office, railway station, and church.
The entire village has been destroyed and there is no human settlement there.
We had reached this point by booking a bus which had accommodated 12 people and had charged Rs 150 each for about 20mins. drive through the backwaters which headed to the Bay of Bengal.
We even visited the Ram Teerthan and Laxman Teerthan. From there we headed to the Pamban bridge and stopped by for some scenic captures and to especially capture the bridge.
The drive to Kanyakumari was a hectic one and had a stretch of about 5 hours. We even dozed off inside the car for an hr. We reached Kanyakumari at around 5pm or around and managed to dump our bags in a hotel from where the view of the sunset was amazing enough to keep you spellbound.
We then visited the Swami Vivekananda museum and read about his journey. Honestly, I found this place a boring one as museums aren’t my kind where I can keep my feet glued for hours but somehow had to hop in because my friends were so interested in it.
Headed ahead for a good dinner and then went for a stroll in the local marketplace which headed ahead to the Kanyakumari Beach which is located at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Beauty oozes here in the form of soft golden sand that is overlapped by shimmering waters of the endless sea. We sat here from 8:30 pm right till 1am doing never endless talks, playing games and also sitting there in silence doing just nothing.We sat there for hours saying nothing but enjoying the music of the waves hitting past the rocks and going back and forth. The strong waves frequently striking the rocky shoreline of the beach was a sight to capture in the memory. The tides were at its peak and the mighty waves seemed to be hitting the rocks coming their way as a target.I literally wanted to dive into the mighty ocean, but, Life…Ahhh…and I wasn’t daring enough to turn my imagination into reality and nor was I a record holder swimmer to make it to such a stretch and survive such mighty tides. This night was the best night and I wish to go back there even today and live that moment….live that night to the fullest again…and enjoy the showers of the rain…
We finally headed back to our rooms for a good 3-4 hrs of sleep as we had to capture the sunrise at the Kanyakumari for which it really is famous. Tourists many a time, miss this sight which is a pleasure to the eye due to rainfall of cloudy days, but we did manage to capture it not just in the lens of the Camera but even our eyes. The sun came out for like a minute or 2 and then again hid behind the clouds. You have to really leave behind your lazy bump in order to get up early at around 5am in order to keep waiting to get a glimpse of the sunrise.
We even visited the Kanyakumari temple and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. There is a ferry which takes you to the rock memorial and you have to get your tickets booked as per the suitable timing.
Upon reaching there, they will give you a brief about the place and then you are free to enjoy the sight as its the meeting point of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. I definitely can’t pen down the feeling of being at this place as words will fall short and even photos will fail to justify the natural beauty of it. You will even get the sight of the Thiruvalluvar statue (which back then, I guess was being renovated).
We left the place at 3pm after spending good 3 hours there and then headed for a content lunch.However, on our way back from the memorial to the main marketplace, we even took a glimpse of the Tsunami Monument.
This was not the end of the trip, as we were still energetic enough to keep ourselves going. So, we headed for our final destination- Kerela.