I love water, seas, oceans and all. So it is natural that I felt attracted to Kanyakumari the first time I heard about it. It is the southern most point of India and the confluence of three waters (Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal). It is also a cape so it is possible to see the sunset and the sunrise over the sea. I felt I had to go there.
The tour that became half a tour
I usually do not like organized tours but it seemed a good option to take a day tour to Kanyakumari. In addition to the city, there would be two visits while going, and they accepted that I stay in Kanyakumari at the end of the tour instead of going back to Trivandrum. I wanted to see the sunset and the sunrise.
The first stop was at the Padmanabhapuram Palace, which is a wooden palace constructed during the 16th century in keralan style. It is a big complex containing several buildings and gardens, with some impressive wooden decoration carvings. The second stop was at the Suchindram Temple, and after that we arrived at Kanyakumari.
Then the plans got changed. The other tourists also decided to spend the night in Kanyakumari, so the guide told us that there was no need to hurry to complete the tour in one day, since we would be there the day after. So we went to the hotel to do the check in, we went to the ferry boat… and the guide said that the tour ended there and they left. Uh?
I was confused. I had accepted to pay the whole tour even if I did not come back… but I expected to do the complete tour, and at the end we did only half. The other tourists were Indian and did not protest, so I did not dare to say anything… but I was disappointed. And we did not even stop for lunch.
The memorial and how I felt like a star
I lost the other travelers so I took the ferry alone to visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. I learnt that it was constructed in honor of the Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda. He was an Indian hindu monk and philosopher, and a key figure in introducing hinduism to the western world. It is said that in his visit to Kanyakumari he swam to that rock and meditated.
It was full of tourists, but I could not see any foreigner. They were all Indian. I was feeling tired and hungry and alone… I sat next to some teenager girls and they started talking with me. They told me they were from Bangalore and were there on an educational trip, and they asked me to get a picture with me. I was surprised but I accepted.
I walked a bit around and passed nearby a group of five men who were taking a group picture of their wives. They saw me and before I could realize what was going on, I was standing in the middle of the five women. In front of us, the husbands were taking pictures. Smile! After the photographic session, one of the women asked me to get a picture with me and her husband. Somehow, again, I ended up in the middle of the photo. Successively, all the other women also wanted a picture with me and her husband… One more! One more! I could not believe it, as if I were a famous star! They seemed so excited and happy that I could only smile. They made my day.
Sunset and sunrise
The main reason to spend the night in Kanyakumari was to see the sunset and the sunrise over the sea. I had never seen them both in the same city! And I was not the only one, all tourists seemed to be there to watch the show. It was a bit cloudy both in the evening and in the morning, so it was nice but not spectacular.
The real southern most point
I read that the real southern most point is actually a bit outside the city, so on the second day I went to explore the spot. It was only a couple of kilometers away but it was a hard walk, since it was extremely hot. When I arrived, I discoverer that I was the only one reaching the point on foot: the other tourists had gone there by motorcycle or shared taxi.
It was worth. There was a tiny beach with a few boats, some rocks were the waves ended and a statue. Could you guess which kind of statue was there? It really confirms that India is multicultural: it was a statue of virgin Mary.
The hidden oasis of palms and silence
Even though it was hot, I insisted in going back to Kanyakumari on foot. When I was entering the city, I saw on the other side of the road a lot of palm trees behind a wall. Shade! I wished to enter that place to rest for a while under the shade of the trees. Would it be a public place? I approached the entrance and read: Mary Immaculate Convent. A Christian convent!
Would they allow me to enter? The man I asked signaled me that I could go. I entered. There was a beautiful big building next to a small church, all surrounded by palm trees. An oasis of shade and calm in the city.
The same man came in and signaled me to follow him to the rear par of the building, where I met two nuns. I talked to the older one, who had been a missionary in the Caribbean and had come back to India a few years ago. She spoke very good English and was very surprised at my interest in the convent.
She explained that it had been created by belgium missionaries 100 years before, and they had a school and a high school. In the past, they had a handicraft school for women, but they had closed because young women are not interested anymore, they prefer to work on the tourism sector. She seemed sad about it. The palms I had seen were their coconut farm, their source of income.
She asked me if I had had lunch, and I told her that I was actually going to the station because I had to take the train back to Trivandrum. She suggested that I could cross the school yard, since it was the shortest way to the station. And so I did.
I felt very happy. The sunset and sunrise had not been spectacular, but my trip to Kanyakumari had been worth. It was the people I met there who made my visit so special.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Kanyakumari day tour from Trivandrum: 700 rupees
- Padmanabhapuram Palace: 35 rupees for Indians / 300 rupees for foreigners / 50 rupees for the camera / 3 rupees for shoes keeping
- Kanyakumari ferry boat round ticket: 34 rupees
- Vivekananda Rock Memorial: 20 rupees
Today’s change: 1 dollar = 62 rupees, 1 euro = 76 rupees (approx)
Pin it for later!