Thank you for keeping your interest on the East cost trip, here is the story from Day two. In continuation from : http://www.ghumakkar.com/salem-madurai-kanyakumari-road-trip-sightseeing/
Day 3 | 6 March 2016 | Kanyakumari – Kovalam (Kerala) – Kanyakumari | 197.6 Km
Few days before starting for the trip I called Harpal for tips, he advised that you are going so far, do visit Kovalam beach of Keral, it is just 90km from Kanyakumari. That made me to explore google maps for that area. We chalked out a circuit, pick the beach road from Kanyakumari to Kovalam via Sangutharai beach, Thengapattinam, and then Kovalam, and come back through Adikesava Perumal Temple, Padmnabhapuram Palace, Thanumalayan Temple, Karamana River and back to Kanyakumari.
We started early in the morning at around 8am, it was 16km and we reached Sangutharai beach. Beautiful route of beach road, having breath taking view of Mangrove forest, sea and back water, finally a 2km stretch of coconut tree field before reaching sangutharai beach. One of the fine and neat beach, no commercial shacks, not even tea bandi. Beautiful place to make out the three different sea colors of Indian ocean, bay of Bengal and Pacific ocean. There is a big white conch-shaped structure that belongs to the Chola period that is a suitable subject for photography.
We spent 15minutes at sangutharai beach. We were not feeling like to move on, but we had to move on for our next destination, Thengapattinam beach. The day is slated for lot of destinations and we could not spend more time in once place. Started for the next 30 km stretch at 9:45am. We were following our printed map and GPS. We soon reached a junction for Nagercoil, where our prints was suggesting to go towards Nagercoil, but GPS was showing a shortcut.
We had to take decision in fraction of seconds and we decided to follow GPS. It did not take 10minutes to realize that it was rightly written on some blog on net that never take shortcuts. It was a day before shivaratri and soon there was a small road which was barricaded and police asked us to take a right turn. On day one on NH7 which was barricaded and we were asked by a police to turn left. We were anxious and was praying that hope this is not a start of another ordeal.
Anyways, we had no choice to follow GPS. This time when we asked people about route, unkile Kannada we were guided by tamil. Thankfully, we knew three words like, “po”, “tanni”, “vanakkam”, these along with gestures and few English common word like “Highway” and name of places, helped us to communicate. With lots of turns, some leading to same cut, some narrow one way, and some looking like never traversed road, we hit a narrow road beside a nallah.
We have to go straight as we cannot take even a U turn on that. We went on with assurance of our GPS and one young boy, dressed in modern jeans and shirt, unlike most of the men in half folded white dhoti’s or lungi’s. That was 1km road with prayers, before we hit another state highway. It was difficult to even gather courage to talk to police because of our day 1 experience. The Saffron clad people gathering and going some where was also looking like villagers who would stop us for agitation any time. Well, the state highway was also not too broad and had pot holes.
Finally, with an ordeal of 2hrs we reached Thengapattinam, as per our GPS, there was a mosque and lot of construction was going on, a pier was getting constructed, it was hot at 11:30pm. The sun started making outside temperature rise, though a small shop owner, near the old mosque adjacent the sea said that we can go further in the sand by car, but we did not have much courage to do further experiments and explore.
We clicked few pics, satisfied ourselves with what is visible and started soon for Kovalam from there. We took the U turn from the so called beach and hardly 50mtrs, police stopped us, one of them looked suspiciously to our AP number plate, one of them clicked a picture of the car. The first one looked inside and saw Payal on GPS, said, “tourista… ok ok po”, Thegnapattinam showed us real thenga. Without wasting time and even before thanking god, we moved on. On a side note, when I came back to Hyderabad, I studied more on Google maps about that place and realized if we would have climbed to the under construction pier, the real beach is to the other side with a river delta. Don’t know but may be scenic.
We continued our journey to Kovalam, Kerala, the state highway was really narrow and serpentine through the villages. The road was not very good and had potholes until we touched the National Highway from Nagercoil. We realized that that Highway is lot better and we have almost lost lot of time in vain to quench our thrust to explore. 1pm we reached Kovalam beach, lined up with rock and brown sand, against a mosque a neat place.
A vendor offering speed boat ride worth Rs1250/-, got tagged with us and it took a while to help him understand that we are not his prospect customer. The place is nicely bordered by coconut trees and a hillock with a hotel on top, there were few shaks and one Amul Icecream parlour. It was too hot under sun, we were sweating like anything. We relaxed ourselves a bit in the Bakery cum Icecream parlour.
In the parlour we asked the shopkeeper, more about the place. He told, adjacent to Kovalam beach is Hawa beach and Light house beach is there. We started back up-hill to explore further, we remember there was a board 2-3kms back, for a beach, but we saw a very steep downhill road. We reached there, and started thinking, walking down in this sun would not be a good idea, and was evaluating what to do, soon we saw few vehicles coming up from that narrow steep road. Upon asking, we learnt that there is ample parking down.
With the assurance we started descending, indeed an international standard beach was in front of us. No one can guess that there is a huge world, with ample parking down below that narrow road. The beach had lot of foreign visitors, shaks and hotels, spread of kerala food options, beach walk road which ending on stairs of light house. It was indeed something I was looking for, we parked our vehicle and walked down to the nearest restaurant with wonderful view of the sea. Soon we were served the Sea food for lunch. Utmost relaxing, watching the sea beside, and enjoying the food.
I was getting nostalgic and remembering my goa days. The hotel manager was very nice, I did speak to him to seek further guidance, he advised us to take car to the light house from other side and not to walk in the sun to take the stairs. He offered to stay for 1 night there. Indeed a good idea to spend one night in kovalam. However, we had our luggage in Kanyakumari so we cannot stay there. We had to move on.
Although, the heart was saying to go to the sea, try some water sports, scooter ride, but we had limited time and have to move on. We boarded our car and time to uphill, like the hotel manager advised, we tool the other route from main road to Light house, vehicles are allowed till the main door of light house. One who has time, can take the stirs from Hawa beach / Light house beach. A nominal ticket, and we started climbing the spiral stairs to the top, the four story light house.
Our little baby Duggu, no one can believe he is just 3.5years seeing his enthusiasm and excitement, he climbed the 4 story with ease where adults were stopping and catching breath. The final 15 was a ladder, and he climbed up on it, people stopped just to watch him how a little one climbing a straight steep ladder. I was worried as it was steep for him and the railing outside is risky for him. However, worth the effort, that is what you would realize when you pop out through the ladder to the top of the light house.
A 360 degree panoramic view. Crescent of three beaches are clearly visible, huge ocean is in front of you, navy blue Arabian Sea. We gasped all the view in our memories before we started back.
After the light house, near by on the way to Kanyakumari was, Rock Cut cave Temple, Vinzhinjam. Unique and an elaborate display of uninhibited talent, the Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple houses rock cut sculptures dating back to the 18th century. Although unfinished (perhaps that is the real charm!), the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi are the major attractions here. 1 Km away from Kovalam.
4 pm we started from Rock cut cave temple, the destination was Adikesava Perumal Temple and then Padmnabhapuram Palace. We knew that the palace is supposed to be closed at 4pm but still we would like to see its closed doors. Once again GPS lead us to short cut away from highway. One such deadly narrow village road and we had our final lesson that never follow GPS blindly, the moment it takes you away from highway, stick to highway, GPS would re-route itself.
Being the next day a shivaratri, the roads had diversion, and lot of people in saffron going towards a temple. We concluded that this time the temples would observe unusual rush and thus we decided to skip temples.
On the way we passed through Karamana river, a backwater river and you can spend your time here in Houseboat and have boating experience. In case you are planning leasure time in Kovalam with a night stay, the boating must be a good experience.
We continued our journey towards the Padmaabhapuram palace. Though the palace is open till 4:30pm but we thought lets see by when we can reach there. Thengapattinam is still hurting us. We reached Padmnabhapuram Palace at 6pm, the door was closed. This is the erstwhile palatial residence of the rulers of Travancore. It is made entirely of wood. It maintains 300 years old clock tower.
We know that Kanyakumar wax museum closes at 7pm and there is no way that we can reach there. Our Energy packed tourist, Payal once again said, that lets try that out, it’s Sunday and timings might be longer. We headed to Kanyakumari, reached Wax museum at 7:20pm to learn that the timing is 8 to 8. Glad that Payal thought of it.
Kanyakumari wax Museum: aka Mayapuri wonder wax, the first of its kind in the country, it was started in 2005 in Baywatch Amusement Park. A kind of Madame Tussaud’s, the wax figures in this museum include famous personalities like Dr. Manmohan Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Michael Jackson and Jackie Chan among others. Best place for fun photography and out of them the best is the 3D painting gallery to get your photo clicked.
We were returning form wonderwax, and saw the gate of Our lady of Ransom Church, 100 years old church. The evening view of the church against the crimson sky and the night view as it lights up are not to be missed. After paying a visit to the church, we spent some time at Kanyakumari beach, before we went back to the hotel.
We freshened up to come out in our night dress, and thought to have a good dinner in a nice place. Opposite to the Gopinivas was Sea Shore and Sea View hotel. Both adjacent to sea. We went up to the 6th floor of Hotel Sea View for dinner. We could see the lights of nuclear power plant and we could see the sea shore lined up with lights. Nice dinner in a relaxing hotel is what you need to call it a day.