True are the words of the Moroccan scholar and traveller Ibn Battuta, “Travelling- it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller.”
India’s travel treasure is vibrant and verdant. Every state offers something that satiates your travel hunger. I have been to many states but the ethereal exuberance of Kerala is most soothing to tired eyes of city dwellers. Kerala, God’s own country, and beauty are synonyms. Natural beauty of Kerala is magnificent and mesmerising.
We had the chance to appreciate the beauty of Kerala when my son was studying in Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal. When we visited him, he took us to majestic Kerala.
Kerala’s backwater, birds and coconut trees, and fresh breeze at Alappuzha backwaters were a feast to mind and body. On the way to backwaters in Shikara, we came across remote villages and saw inhabitants busy with daily chores. The beautifully decorated homes with jute baskets kept in the courtyard and rustic art work done on the walls, and small temples at the entrance of home looked breath-taking. Women sat near the river washing clothes- a sight of the bygone era.
Then we visited Kovalainen Beach- a hap and happening place as well as bright and beaming with whoops of joy as youngsters played football. The lighthouse at the beach stood as if beckoning you to climb its stairs. From the top it offered a grand view. I was reminded of Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘To the Lighthouse,’ and how standing on the top of white washed walls of it I felt like merging with waves of sea like a river. It was a kind of epiphany; Standing on land, we all are bound to merge with sea of life, sooner or later. The overlapping waves, the foam, the fishermen pulling fishing nets from the sea welcomed us with a smile. I felt like joining them in their journey to the unknown.
Visit to Varkala Beach known for medicinal water springs has captivating charm. We enjoyed the tranquil moments there, enjoying sunset. It is the only place where we saw the cliffs at the end of the beach. The scenic view was an enthralling and exhilarating experience. The beach side shopping had its own aura with shops loaded with local items.
There are no words which can describe the beauty of Golden sand Poovar beach. We took a boat from the Neyyar River and passed through the rare mangroves to finally reach the Golden sands beach. We enjoyed fresh coconut water being sold by floating coconut water shops. When we reached the beach, we noticed how the Neyyar River is separated by the Arabian sea.
We also visited Padmanabhaswamy temple where we, along with other visitors, were made to follow certain rules. Males could step only in a lungi while females wearing sarees and skirts were allowed. Lungi could be purchased from outside but since our son knew all these rules, we were well equipped for the same. Phones, cameras and bags weren’t allowed, and we deposited these outside at a stall. After security check, we went inside the main sanctum. We went to see a three and a half foot tall statue of pure gold of Mahavishnu which made us speechless. Positive vibes got graven in our mind. We got ourselves photographed in front of the temple – a keepsake to transfix the moments of posterity.
In one of the busiest street markets of Kerala, Chalai, we ate kaccha aam and shopped for metal bangles. It is a place that gives you flavour of the fervour of Kerala life. Women jostling with each other as they carry fruit baskets as men sell artificial jewellery and fresh flowers. I got myself a cotton kasavu Kerala saree and my husband, a lungi as souvenir. The vacation rejuvenated and recharged us to get back to our humdrum with the memories of Kerala tucked in our hearts forever.
Ritu Kamra Kumar