Travel

An Ekadashi to remember

Touch and goA�

I could not take my eyes off the spectacular emerald green at the hangout of the three- Arabian sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. A�In the distance a deep blue edge contrasts with the green. A�This is Kanyakumari how much is aldara without insurance – the southern tip of India with some big breakers that hit the rocks with big sprays even at low tide. A�The breeze is sparkling fresh and if there was not a train to catch I would have just spent the whole day there- just enjoying the sun and sea. A�The monsoon is completely missing in Tamil Nadu preferring the state of Kerala.

Vivekanand came here and meditated for three days and a temple was built in his honour on one of the big rocks. A�The smooth oval rock is a few minutes ferry ride with some nice uplifts and squealing kids. A�There is a quiet simple meditation room that i found beautiful- a soft OM buzzing in the air and very little touristic sounds filter in. A�Again the train back hurried what could have been a long halt.

The next rock features the massive statue of Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil saint and poet. A�Some chemical coating is underway and a net of girders envelops it for the next few months.

 

This has been an impromptu trip- began as pre dawn visit to the Janardhana temple with its waking washing and dressing the gods and lamps being lit- all very heady and beautiful. I was keeping my first ekadasi fast. A� By 5 am I was wondering if the beach is safe to walk when a bus comes by going to the train station. A�In seconds i knew i was going to Kanyakumari- i had a little money and no umbrella- the phone had no juice but to spend the fast on an adventure seemed like a great idea.

You hang out at the station and learn a lot- Kerala likes its newspapers- three malayali ones and the ‘new’ Indian Express do brisk business. A�Everybody reads (it has 100 percent literacy) and works. A�The women were waiting for trains to take them to Trivandrum – neat sarees with pin tucking the pallu to blouse- many wear white flowers in their hair. A�The friendliness is fabulous- two offered me tea and liked that i was on a fast (first ritualistic offering on the 11th day of the moon- complicated pleasing of Lord Vishnu- one of whose incarnation is Janardhana)- everyone has a basic command of english and some prefer Hindi- Like my coconut man Biju- he also runs an auto and is extremely dependable.

The communist government gives excellent public transport- clean, super cheap and efficient. A�My 127 km ride from Varkala to Kanyakumari cost 30 rupees (less than half dollar) and the ride was through lakes, rivers and finally the Cardamom Mountains- the tail end of the Western ghats- they have sharp spikes and reminded me of the Tetons though far smaller. A�The basic food – rice, small fish and tapioca are affordable and no one goes hungry i think. A�The only beggar I have seen is outside the temples. A�Maybe in Trivandrum there are many. A�Water fountains work and i have survived the municipal water so far.

Southern railways is cleaner and cheaper than its northern counterparts. A�The ticket reminds you that they recover only 57% of cost from sale of ticket. A�Made me want to buy a few extra ones. A�Most people have a train pass and the journey from Trivandrum to Kanyakumari is has few takers in off season. A�Biju has filled the auto with orange coconuts that have divine sweet water- perfect end to the fast.

An Ekadashi to remember.

 

 

 

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