Kanyakumari – Courtallam – Rameshwaram Travelogue

September 5, 2012 13 comments

Been a long time, since we had family trip. Independence day and  Ramzan holidays  & weekend excited me to plan for some long trip.Took off from office  on 16th & 17th Aug, and we had an entire week to plan for a trip.

We planned  for a 4 day trip covering kanyakumari – courtallam – rameshwaram.Booked all the necessary train tickets a month advance.

Boarded the train  to kanyakumari from chennai at 5.30pm,15th Aug. Kanyakumari is a town in state of Tamilnadu located at the southernmost tip of India

Day 1: Enjoyed a majestic view of western ghats and wind turbines right before reaching the final destination.Reached kanyakumari station by 6.50am.We were surprised by the size of station,looked pretty small.We thought there would be a separate main station.

We got down from train after confirming with ticket inspector that this is the final stop.Called up our driver ( Suji), he was waiting outside the station to pick  us.We had booked a Logan from Jesus cab ( came to know about them through Google search). Oh boy, its so exciting,we have reached the last city of India towards south! Then we proceeded towards Hotel Manickam which I had booked through phone a day before.Room had nice balcony view.

Early morning balcony view

After breakfast at around 9.30am we started towards padmanabhapuram palace which is about 40km from kanyakumari.Palace is believed to be ~ 400 years old is located at the foot of velli hills on western ghat and was built by Travancore king.Palace is a fine example of typical Kerala Style Architecture. Palace is maintained by Kerala Govt. and has employed many women guides.Guides described us that entire palace is built using Teak wood and floors are made using mixture of coconut oil,flowers,leaves,burnt coconut shells etc.Only unimpressive thing was its entry fees 25/- Adult,25/- for camera and 12/- for keeping your shoes/sandals.

Padmanabhapuram Palace

Padmanabhapuram Palace Dining Room

We started from palace at 11.30am,on the way covered suchindram temple and vattakotai fort. You have to take off your shirts & banians before you can enter the temple.Vattakotai offered a nice picturesque view of sea.

Suseendram Temple

Inside Vattakottai Fort

On the way back we covered Ransom Church.What catches your eye first is the crystal clear shinning cross at the tip of the central tower.It is made up of pure gold. One of the person inside church suggested us to visit the first floor,where a part of church is under construction.View was just awesome from the first floor.It offered a nice aerial view of sea with fisherman settlements on the side of beach,their boats as well you can also see Vivekananda rock memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue.

Ransom Church,Kanyakumari

Aerial View from Ransom Church

We were running out of time,so decided not to have lunch and went directly to Vivekananda rock memorial.Poompuhar shipping operates ferry service.Ferry ride cost 25/- Adult.Ferry can accommodate close to 150 people per ride and tourist are given with life jackets.Ferry service closes by 4pm.Ferry Ride

Ferry takes you to Vivekananda rock memorial first which is around 500m from shore.Swami Vivekananda swam to this rock and performed meditation before his departure for Chicago to participate in World religious conference in 1893.We spent close to 45mins at rock memorial,came out stood in queue for Ferry to come and drop us to Thiruvalluvar statue.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial

Its less than 100m from Vivekananda rock memorial,but the sea is very harsh.There is staircase to reach the top of statue from where you can see the entire kanyakumari shore.It took close to 3hours to cover both these places including waiting time.

Thiruvalluvar statue

We were very hungry by now, so decided to have some quick snacks.On the way,we found Hotel Saravana Bhavan ( not the well known one ). We all had dosas and tea here.Food was quite good.After recharging ourselves we went to visit Triveni Sangam and Gandhi Madampam.Triveni sangam is a place where three seas Bay of Bengal,Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meets,though we couldn’t visually distinguish three seas meeting.

It’s almost 5.50pm,so we decided to proceed to Sunset point.Place was already very crowded with local people selling craft items made up of shells.My mom did some shopping here..I was busy taking sunset photographs.We couldn’t see good sunset as clouds covered the entire show.

Sunset

Sunset

Suji dropped us back to hotel at 7.30pm..After refreshing we went out for dinner.We were eager to eat fish.We saw Hotel Madhini displayed in their board on the availability of Continental food.We went in,it was a garden restaurant.When asked for fish items,they said its not available and the reason was steamer didn’t go for catching fish ..when you can see the entire fisherman community going for fishing activities..so we decided to eat chicken.Food was not too the expectation and was not worth the money.Now we headed back to hotel and took some rest..

Day 2: Day 2 started with witnessing the beautiful sunrise.We reached the sunrise point by 5.40am.Huge crowd had already gathered to see the sunrise.I was busy taking some long exposure photos, hue in the sky was changing every second and i was trying to capture each of these natural beauty.Eventually by 6.04am sunrise happened,but unfortunately clouds prevented us from seeing the entire sun rising above the earth’s horizon.Still the beauty was mesmerizing.

Just Before Sunrise

Sunrise

Capturing Sun between Palms

We returned back to hotel by 6.30am.By 7.30am we started for courtallam and on the way we had our breakfast at Nagercoil.Courtallam also called as the spa of south India is located in western ghats in the district of Tirunvelli,in Tenkasi town.Courtallam has many waterfalls and  four rivers originates  here.

On the way,Suji took us to manimuthul & Agasthiyar waterfalls and both of them were not allowed for visits as they were in kalakad tiger reserve,which as per supreme court order has been banned for tourism.It was very unfortunate that we couldn’t see both these waterfalls.

From here we proceeded for courtallam.As said there are many waterfalls in this region,we went to Old waterfalls first. Vehicle entry ticket 40/- and once we reach the spot,there was not much water :( it looked like there was a waterfall which existed once,now becoming extinct!

Without wasting more time,we proceeded towards main waterfalls ( also called Peraruvi ).This is the highest fall in courtallam.This place was very crowded and  around 500 people were taking bath.

Courtallam Main Falls

Then we went to see Five falls.What we came to know from localities was it had rained pretty heavily in last few days and there was good flow of water on that particular day.This place is not well known outside tamilnadu,we could see only localities here.It’s a picnic place for localities, who come here,take bath and have lunch sitting below a tree and go home.

Five falls,Courtallam

It’s 1pm now, and we proceeded towards restaurant.We went to nearby hotel called Pandian restaurant.Food was ok,expensive for that place.After lunch we started towards Tirunvelli which is around 60km from this place.There is nothing on the way for sight seeing.We reached around 4pm.On the way he showed us a famous store from where we can purchase famous Tirunvelli Halwa.Suji dropped us in railway station.Total cab cost was 4400/- ( includes everything) for two days and I tipped Suji 300/-.Our train to Rameshwaram was scheduled for 11.30pm.We had good amount of time.After taking some rest,we went out for some shopping.We purchased close to 2.5kg of Tirunvelli Halwa for friends and relatives.On the way we noticed,a tea stall crowded abnormally..we decided to have tea here..it was one of the best tea I have ever had.If you happen to visit Tirunvelli,please try Anita’s Tea Stall right opposite to railway station.People were drinking tea like boost!Now we are back to station,waiting for train to rameshwaram.

Day3: I woke up by 5am to witness one of the spectacular event :) our train to pass by Pamban Bridge! There was a fear and excitement when train went by pamban bridge.This is India’s 2nd largest bridge across the sea.More description to follow later part of this blog.Reached rameshwaram by 5.40am.Took a auto to hotel Blue Coral Cottage which I had already booked.Auto guy charged us 80/-.After dropping us he mentioned about day sight seeing in Auto,which he quoted around 1300/-.I just took his mobile no. and said I’ll call him later in the day.

Hotel was not to the expectation,but it was ok and reasonable for the money they charged 990/- per day for 2 bedded room Non AC..It infact is not a hotel,just a house with ~ 10rooms and has got a big parking area.They don’t have any kitchen facility neither there is one nearby. Location was nice very near to ramanathaswamy temple and Agnitheertham.

We didn’t had booked any car for local sightseeing.Hence checked with hotel reception,they suggested Auto and fare would be 700/- for showing 7-8 places.As this was almost half the price what auto guy had mentioned us in morning,we said ok for this.Auto guy came at 9am.We directly proceeded for Dhanuskodi.On the way he showed us remains of the railway line to Dhanuskodi.We covered Kothandaramar Temple on the way.It is believed that Lord Rama performed “Pattabhisekam” 0f vibheeshunar, brother of king Ravana after the battle against Ravanana.From here we proceeded towards dhanuskodi beach.

Tourists enjoying the clean bluish water at Dhanuskodi Beach

We boarded the Auto thinking he will take us to Dhanuskodi village,instead he started coming back.I asked him how to go to Dhanuskodi village,immediately he took a turn and we are back to beach again.From here private vehicles operate which will take you to  Dhanuskodi village.They charged 100/- per head.Auto guy tried to cheat us..

Bay of Bengal meets Indian Ocean here!

First they took us to meeting point of Indian ocean and Bay of Bengal followed by visit to Dhanuskodi village.You will have 10mins to see each place.Village has ruins of church,post office,some houses,water tank of dhanuskodi railway station.Dhanuskodi village was destroyed in 1964 cyclone.Few fisherman communities stay here and their kids were selling sea shells.It took around 2hours to reach and cover both the places.

Remains of Church in Dhanuskodi Village

Kids Selling Sea Shells

From here we proceeded towards Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s house.House is converted into an exhibition where Dr.Kalam’s original certificates/medals/awards/old photos are displayed.Besides his house is a sea shell mart run by Dr.Kalam’s brother.Things were pretty cheap here with good quality.You can get here everything what you intend to purchase in Rameshwaram.

Former President of India,Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s House

After lunch at Hotel Senthil Andavan ( good decent hotel in Rameshwaram),we went to Ramanathaswamy temple.From outside temple looks pretty small but when we went in we were lost! Its massive..There are close to 1200 pillars with each of them carrying different & unique carvings.We sat inside temple for sometime,followed by sight seeing inside temple.This is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.Before entering the main temple area,where Lord Shiva sits,Hindu pilgrimages usually take bath in sea ( Agni theertham) and then proceed to temple to take bath in another 21 theerthams.Most of the theerthams inside the temple are wells.

Temple Street,Rameshwaram

Ramanathaswamy Temple – Largest Corridor among all Hindu Temples in India.

After temple,we covered many of the theerthams.All were within 1km radius around the temple.We are still thinking why did we opt for Auto!

Entrance to Agni Theertham

One of the many other Theertham’s

Auto guy started back to hotel.We asked what about Pamban,he told we don’t cover that.Mom got angry and scolded him.We are back to hotel by 6pm.Auto trip was not at all worth the money he charged. Total distance he would have covered would be around 50km.In hotel, we took some rest before starting for dinner.

Day4: Our train back to chennai was scheduled at 5pm,we had lots of time to cover Pamban Bridge.We decided to use local bus to reach Pamban Bridge.Pamban bridge is an engineering marvel built in 1914.This is the 2nd largest bridge ( 2.3km length) across sea in India.Its a cantilever bridge and is constructed in a way so that the bridge can be opened up to make space for ship to go beneath it. It’s around 18km from Rameshwaram.Took around half an hour to reach this place.Bus dropped us at beginning of Road bridge.So we had to walk a long distance to get a good view of Pamban Bridge.

On the right side of the bridge,we saw many fishes dried in sun ( Dried fish is called karuvadu in Tamil).Mom got tempted to buy some for home.I yelled from bridge asking about whether they sell these.They asked us to come down.We told after seeing Pamban Bridge,we’ll come over.We reached right opposite to where we could see railway bridge very nicely.We  came to know that train is scheduled to come after 45mins.So we decided to wait and see.We spent close to 1hour photographing,enjoying the bluish sea water and appreciating the engineering marvel Pamban Bridge.

Pamban Bridge – The Engineering Marvel!

Train Passing Through Pamban Bridge

We went down the bridge to have a look at some dried fishes.Price was very cheap,so my mom decided to purchase nethili & Vaalai karavadu. Meanwhile I was talking to the people over there asking about fishing.One of the old lady told me fisherman start towards going deep inside sea at 2pm,do fishing overnight and return by morning 5am.I asked her how deep they go,she told they almost go till Lanka.I saw one motorboat getting ready to venture into sea.Close to 15 fisherman were there in that boat,saw them doing puja,putting flower garland on boat,keeping an extra big can of Diesel and then they started their journey.Old lady told me,once someone ventures into sea,they will always be worried till they return in morning.We came back to hotel after having lunch at around 3pm.

Fishes being dried up

What a trip it was ! We returned back with lots of good memories.Thanks for your patience in going through this travelogue :)

Thanks to TAPPRS,Bangalore for the lens rental,without you I wouldn’t have captured such a wonderful pics!

See you all soon! Happy Travelling!

*** Note: This was my first blog post.Would appreciate your feedback and comments.Thanks for stopping and reading by – James ***

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Contact: james.adaickalasamy@gmail.com

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