Kanyakumari – Morality & Magic

On my month long trip this January I reached an impasse, I had been on the road for 20 or so days and then reached Bangalore. From Bangalore I had no idea where to go. I planned to go to Pondicherry but there was some Aurobindo event and hence all accommodations were full. Finally got a room at TTDC in Kanyakumari so I left for it in a sleeper bus from Bangalore.

Going there was the usual enjoyable bus trips. Just a few hours before reaching KK I noticed that the landscape had changed. Instead of trees there were more stunted bushes and there were some very interesting hill range in the distance. Then the biggest shock n awe of all – WIND FARM!!

The view is unbelievable. The first windmill comes into view and I am just staring… and soon lots n lots more. I cannot believe how I have not heard that the biggest wind farm in the world is in namma Nagercoil Tirunelveli a few km before kanyakumari!

So then a little shaken and disbelieving I enter into Kanyakumari. A quick look at the Vivekananda ashram, which has a decent bhojnalaya (cafeteria) and then to TTDC for my budget room.

The room was pretty decent, though since interacting with the staff and then onto the streets to explore I started feeling somewhat queer. Not sure what – there would be a group of people snickering at me, some hesitation in waiters when they served me – something just felt odd.

I have spent a decent amount of time in Tamil Nadu, in fact I can even speak broken Tamil so this was weird. First I was wondering whether my hair was all messy (a usual feeling after all the traveling). Then I wondered about my clothing… but soon I caught on that there were two reasons,

1. The Cultural Place for a solo woman

I noticed in the restaurants it is usually the men who would wave the waiter over and order the food, not the women. If a single woman is sitting then the waiter pretty much ignores her for a while at least. I am obviously not used such stuff so I actively wave the waiter over and he comes grudgingly.

2. Western ClotheS

Then I started noticing the public and overall it was a more rural or small city folks. Probably these girls seeing my flair pants and superman tee found something amusing. whatever.

Anyway so the next day I just switched to a salwar kameez (traditional Indian dress) and things were better.

The other problem was value for money – there was none.

The TTDC room was great – 400/- for a decent room. Apart from that however finding decent food was a task. All the restaurants seemed to have the same menu, I think they xerox copied it from each other – I don’t know what that means.. but I kept seeing the same menu sheet in all restaurants. More than half the stuff was not available. They charged good, often expensive rates and yet the quality was just not upto the mark.

I had accommodation in TTDC only for a day then I had to shift to another hotel. Half the hotels I asked supposedly had a rule that single people are not allowed due to a LeT threat from Sri Lanka. Whatever. Anyway that got managed as couple of them were ok giving me a room. I asked the person who gave me room whether he didn’t follow that single person rule or what, he said, “We can make out a person from their walk n talk” Okay whatever buddy. As long as you get I am not a LeT terrorist – just a girl into yoga and spiritual well being.

On top of all this there was no internet. I asked Vodafone and they said it was because Kanyakumari is so near the ocean that no transmission is reachable. Finally only on the third day did I find a good place for internet and food both, Hotel Seaview. They provide internet access for 100/- an hour or so. The speeds are good and you can sit in their lobby. They also have a great breakfast buffet which was worth the money, thank god!

So I would say this adventure was a lot of learning. The wind blew so strongly… Thar she blows.

Wharf - Kanyakumari
Small beach n wharf at Kanyakumari with some colorful boats
Kanyakumari Church
I saw this church from the coast line but I wanted to explore the actual village in Kanyakumari. So while roaming around amidst the poorer huts I came to it.
Thiruvalluvar Statue, Kanyakumari
Amazing monuments – The Vivekananda Stone, The Thiruvallavur – a Tamil poet Statue and this is also where the three different ocean waters meet. Quite an exciting place!
Vivekananda Temple, Kanyakumari
The Vivekananda Temple. There is a meditation room below it. It looks all serene from the pic but the wind is blowing like crazy… its practically buffeting us! Imagine Vivekananda sitting there in that wind without any structure and meditating.. its crazy!

I spent rest of my time ruminating on how I wasn’t like Vivekananda who came to this place and felt so strongly that he swam through the ocean to meditate on that rock. While I just loitered around dissatisfied with the people. Hmmph.