Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kanyakumari - A travelogue - Part 3

Visit to Kanyakumari was an accidental decision. The initial plan was to visit Udayagiri Fort and Peer Mohammed Dargah which were very near to Padmanabhapuram Palace. Say, for about 3km. But, we dropped the plan as Kanyakumari beckoned us.

We did go to Udayagiri fort which consisted of a large botanical garden. But after spending a lot of hours in the palace, we are completely drained out and the idea of a troll in the vast acres of land seemed less appealing. But both Udayagiri Fort and Peer Mohammed Dargah dedicated to Peer Mohammed, a Sufi saint and a Tamil poet  will not be missed, next time.  

 Though we knew that neither could we able to watch the sun set nor could we make it to the Vivekananda rock, we set off to Kanyakumari.

On the way, we saw some women putting ' Kolam' in front of their houses. Since, you wanted to write a travelogue, this would be a photogrpah, you would like to have.We stopped in front of a house where a young woman was engaged in putting ' Kolam. But she shied away saying the Kolam was not good. We persisted with our demand and then her  mother smilingly said
 " Here, I am and you click it. "  And this is it.





 Along the NH, the travel was a smooth one with shady trees on either sides of the road. The journey was uneventful until we reached here. 



There were many small cradles tied down to many branches of a banyan tree. Inside one of them, we saw a small doll placed inside many red glass bangles. Behind the tree, there was a small temple. 




To our luck, two women came there to whom we inquired about it. From the cradles we could already make out that it has some connection with child- bearing. They said the Kovil was called ' Isakkaiamman kovil'. But we could n't ask more as they were in a hurry to visit the temple. Hence, I decided to google.


This is the information, I got from the wiki.


Isakki or Isakkai is a Hindu Goddess of South India. She is considered as one of the village Goddesses, like Māri, the goddess of epidemics. 
The worship of this Goddess is common in the Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Salem districts of Tamil Nadu.

Isakki temples  usually have a banyan or bo tree close to the shrine. Small wooden cribs and pieces of women's saris are tied to the branches and aerial roots of the spreading tree. These are vows made by village women who desire to have offspring.

Hence, I again went through my photographs to see if I have captured any pics of sarees being tied to the tree. Yes, there is......


Just near to it, there is a small way-side shop. And, they were preparing something. I was curious to know what it is. They called it ' Rasakkolai '.  I don't know whether it is the correct pronunciation. It somewhat tasted like ' Yellow jalebi' and was absolutely delicious. 

And they make it in this big pan.



I believe, it was the bike trip which helped us come across such beautiful things all along the way which would have otherwise missed, had we taken any other mode of transportation.

After travelling a few kilometers, we reached ' Kanyakumari'. The sight of sea from a farther distance was all alluring and inviting. It took 32 kms from Thuckalay to reach Kanyakumari.


We are dead tired and  just wanted to sit quietly and absorb all the tranquillity from the place. We sat here facing the Vivekananda rock. I was all calm. It was strange that I didn't regret that I couldn't see the Vivekananda rock. Because, I know that I would come back.

The premise was abuzz with activities and I was all pleased to capture them.

 I loved Chana Masala and corn

 I bought this pearl from a shop vendor. He really lured me saying the pearls would not even catch fire. He burned it in front of me and it was true ( below pic )



It was getting dark and was time to return. 
With a heavy heart and a promise that I would be back soon, I bade good bye to Kanyakumari. 


And my belief that travel could really retain my sanity, strengthened.

Concluded.


Padmanabhapuram Palace at Thuckalay- ­The old palace of the kings of erstwhile Travancore( 1550 to 1750 AD) A travelogue - Part 2

NB: All the pictures are taken by me. Please bear with the mistakes as I am taking pictures for the first time.

From Thiruvananthapuram, it took 58 kms to reach Padmanabhapuram Palace at Thuckalay.

The PALACE

Every moment inside the Kottaram ( the palace ) seemed like a conversation with history. It was a real royal splendour. If you are a keen lover of art and architecture you could not afford to miss this magnificent wooden palace sprawling over 6.5 acres of land inside the Padmanabhapuram Fort with 108 huge distinctly made rooms.

History

The palace was constructed around 1601 AD by Ravipillai Ravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Travancore  between 1592 AD and 1609 AD.

The Travancore dynasty was formerly called ' Venad state' and the historians say, the capital of ' Venad Rajavamsam' was at Kollam. Later it was transferred to Kalkkulam in Kanyakumari district. The strongest administrator among the Travancore rulers was King Marthanda Varma who ruled from 1729 to 1758. He gained the name - 'Padmanabha Dasan' - the servant of Padmanabha by handing over his Kingdom to God Ananthapadmanabha. And thus Kalkkulam then came to be called Padmanabhapuram.



A curious lamp at the portico of 'the Palace'. It has a mechanism which enables it to rotate 360 degree. You just have to rotate it to that direction which you want to illuminate.




It is through these narrow stairs we entered the 'Kottaram' - the palace.



This is where the Kings used to convene their royal courts. 

 And they met their subjects here ( below picture)


The women in the harem watched activities such as ' Theroottam' here.


 The views from inside the Palace..



 This is called Sapramancham ( below)- the cot used by the Kings was made with more than 68 ayurveda herbs ( herbs with medicinal properties)


Navarathri Mandapam and Kannadithara - Every Malayalees would remember it. This is the place where 'Ganga' transformed into Nagavalli and danced. Yes, I am referring to the Malayalam film ' Manichitrathazhu' . The film was shot in this Palace.

King Marthandavarma built Navarathri Mandapam in 1744 AD. The dance floor was polished to such a perfection that it looked like a mirror and is known as ' Kannadithara or Mirror floor'. 
Various cultural programmes were organised here. Separate rooms with a ' Kilivathil' - small windows were built on its wall. So that the royal train would watch it without being seen by the public.

 Oottupura - In this massive dining hall around 1000 people were served a day.

The food used to be stored here.

( Swing ) Oonjal and the Mirror - The back of the mirror was coated with silver hence, the reflection would appear the same wherever you stand. There is another mirror on the opposite side.
Many roofs have Chinese carvings and the roof of Thaikkottaram has 90 floral designs. The black floor was made with a combination of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand.

The small and the big kitchen



 The deity inside the temple -Saraswathy. 




Chitravadhakoodu

The reign of Travancore rulers meted out severe punishments to the accused. It is worse if anybody had killed a brahmin or had committed treason. They were forced to Chithravadham or gradual death. The accused would be put in this cage and it will be put in an open place like  junctions, market places or such other crowded places. Not only rain and sun,they have to endure but they would be attacked by crows or vultures and finally they would resign to their fate. He would not be given food/water through these entire terrible ordeal.
 
The cage would be erected 10 to 12 feet high from the ground level. This type of punishments were practiced in Travancore and Cochin state till British took over.

This is a pond near the palace. Unfortunately, it has not been properly taken care of...



Finally, see what this is...


We were dead when we finished our visit. Drank coconut water from here. ( below pic )


Now,  off to Kanyakumari



Nearest railway station: Eraniel, which is approximately 5 km from Thuckalay Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, 52 km away.



to be continued...