Wednesday, 23 April 2014


File:TVM aps temple.jpg
Courtesy Wikipedia
            We were driving down from Wellington near Coonoor to Trivandrum during the short midterm break of DSSC. One of my local friends had mentioned that Thrissur was the jewellery hub of Kerala and also that the trade mark traditional brass lamps can be a good bargain here.This was the reason why we made a stop here, to gawk at the glittering yellow metal and settle for some pretty brass lamps. Having damaged the pocket even before hitting Cochin and spending some wonderful time exploring  the coastal beauty of Cochin, we were now on our way to Trivandrum

        We reached Trivandrum in the evening expecting it to be yet another bustling urbanised city. What we found was a laid back ambience and a city cushioned in greenery. It was extremely relaxing to go around this place. Since we were late to do anything worthwhile in the city, we chanced upon a concert taking place in a park. Taking in the fragrance of the jasmine strands that adorned the jet black hair of the pretty Malayali ladies, the carnatic music recital weaved magic into the evening. We certainly did not understand the lyrics but we did enjoy the classical strains of the recital.

       The next morning was reserved for a trip to the famed Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in the heart of the city. It is synonymous to Trivandrum, actually, Thiruvananthapuram. The city derives it's name from this temple literally meaning ' the abode of Lord Anantha'. It was many years later  we came to know that this temple is the richest temple in the world after the litigation tussle that resulted in opening of the vaults of the temple revealing a staggering figure of almost 1..2 lakh crore as assets. However we were blissfully unaware of all the arithmatic during our visit. Just like we were unaware that men also had a dress code to follow before entering the temple. Since I was already in the requisite attire, my husband went scampering to the booth that rents out 'mundus' or dhotis. The gopuram was seven tiered, if I am not mistaken and extremely impressive. Inside we went looking for the Lord reclining on the coils of the  five hooded serpent but were first directed towards the other deities of lesser stature. How we got 'managed' by a priest' taking us here and there is still a mystery to me. And for every 'here and there' we were asked monetary offering that lessened the size of our pockets. And by the time we reached the Lord, we were whisked away after just a few seconds of glimpse. The complete saga of the origins of this temple and other details can be found in their site. This temple is centuries old with some extremely beautiful architectural details and sculpturing. I think we would have enjoyed the temple more if we were left alone to discover it for ourselves.  Do visit this temple but avoid the 'priests' inside if you can.

    Next in our itinerary was the Kovalam beach, for we could never have visited Trivandrum and given the famous Kovalam the miss. One of the first tourist destinations of India, patronised by the royal family and European families of colonial India,  the crescent shaped Koavalam with miles of shallow water, saw the wild side also with the influx of the hippies culture. This is why perhaps it was more tolerant of the concept of topless bathing in the Hawa beach sector, the only part of Kovalam where it was permitted. It has been banned since and is like any other beach now. The more famous part of it is the Light House beach as can be judged by the crowd. Kovalam is indeed picturesque and calm on week days and lean season, looking out into the placid water of the Arabian Sea. The numerous coconut groves that dot the shoreline gave the name to this place.

   Trivandrum is a lovely place for a holiday where one can take in the coastal beauty, seep in some history and royal splendour of the Travancore family and gorge on some of the yummiest, softest healthy  appams and idiappams  with  ishtew. My only regret is that our stay was too short. Hope to go back some day armed with more information and a lot wiser.

This post was written for the A to Z Challenge.

1 comment:

  1. The museums, palaces and shankhumugham beach are also interesting places. Well written!


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