On one Tuesday night, I prayed to God “ Please, let there be no rain tomorrow”. Because, it was raining all week. To my surprise, there was no rain on Wednesday. And I set out for my first ever bike trip.
That day, sun was beating down on our heads. Though travelling solo did fascinate me, I had no prior experience. Hence, I decided to travel with one of my friends, who shared the same passion (maybe more ) for travelling. Traveling abroad has always been my dream. But, I have not even seen my country and my state – Kerala. So, I decided to know my own roots, first.
Padmanabhapuram Palace and Kanyakumari were a natural choice as I am staying in Thiruvananthapuram. Both of them are not in Kerala. But the palace is of course built by the Kerala Kings and its management is completely under the state archaeology department of Kerala.
For me, this trip will always be memorable because I, eventually mustered the courage to do something which I always wanted to do. Above all, I realised that travelling could retain my sanity.
There were many 'firsts' for me in this trip. I went on a bike trip for the first time...
For the first time I wore a helmet,
For the first time, my phone showed 'roaming' sign,
I crossed the Kerala boarder second time ( I did cross it when I was 15. But then, I did not even know Kanyakumari is in Tamil nadu ).
Finally, I took pictures with my own camera for my blog.
These things would sound frivolous. But it made a huge difference to me.
So, we started off from Thiruvananthapuram and passed through the pot- holed roads of Kerala accompanied by many ogling eyes. There were flux erected on either sides of the roads as the local self government elections are about to begin in Kerala.
I told my travel partner to stick to coconut water and pulp if we get thirsty and hungry until we have our lunch. Thankfully all along the roads, there were vendors selling it. And we could see them even after crossing the border.
Our first 'stop' came at Parassala, the border of Kerala to Tamil nadu. There was a beautiful ' Aambal Poika' – a pond full of water lillies called Thavalayilla Kulam.
I asked about it to ' Padma kumar chettan', a local who was standing nearby.
He said ' Thavalayilla kulam' means 'pond sans frogs' and started citing the story behind it.
“ The erstwhile King Marthandavarma used to visit a temple, nearby. Whenever he left the place, the frogs in the pond would cry pleading him not to go. Their pleading became such a nuisance that someone cursed the frogs- ' let there be no frogs in the pond',” he said with a grave face. But 'Padma Kumar chettan' could not say who cursed the frogs - Is it the King or anybody else. Ponds and rivers are not a rarity in Kerala. But I was happy that I inquired about this particular pond.
Just as we crossed Marthandam ( the border ), the flex of ' Amma' as they fondly called Ms Jayalitha ( chief minister of Tamil nadu) started appearing on either sides of the road. And visible changes could be seen. Firstly, no pot holed roads. Then, giving a sense of relief, there were no ogling eyes but friendly ones. At every junction, music blared out of loud speakers.
The mechanic we met in a workshop was kind enough to repair our bike as he sensed that we are on a long trip. The other client whose work he was doing at that time even did not register any protest. Yes, we entered Tamilnadu.
And we already knew that Tamilians are such a friendly people. Simple and so real.
The Padmanabhapuram palace is at Thacaulay.
When we finally reached there, the ticket counter was closed for the lunch break. We wiled away time by clicking some photographs.
Finally, we entered one of the biggest ' Wooden Palaces ' of Asia.
to be continued....