Friday, August 23, 2013

Guruvayoor, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram

The next leg of the journey was to Guruvayoor for Samyu's Choorunu (Annaprasam). It is a ceremony where the baby is given rice for the first time. In Kerala, it is normally given it at a temple. So Guruvayoor it was for Samyuktha.

The drive to Guruvayoor was through Aluva, Thiruvairanikulam, Angamaly, and Thrissur. We had to attend a wedding at the famous Thiruvairanikulam Sree Mahadeva Temple and so we decided to proceed from there to Guruvayoor. From Thiruvairanikulam I used the Garmin to guide me to the main road and it did the job pretty well guiding me to the Kalady-Angamaly road. From there on it was known to me and reached Guruvayoor by 4.15pm. Enquired about the function after checking in at the hotel. It was planned to be done next day morning. Rest of the day was at leisure, roaming around the temple and having the darshan at night. Samyuktha was all excited to be at a new place with both sides grandparents around.

Next day, had the function, did Tulabharam (an offering where a substance like banana, butter or anything is offered to the diety which wieghs as much as the devotee, Samyu in this case) and had darshan.

 We left Guruvayoor by around 2pm and took the Thriprayar, Kodungalloor route and reached home by around 5 pm. This route took longer time though distance was short.

Next day, the plan was to start around 10am and to reach Kollam. I had planned it this was as the drive to Kanyakumari from Kochi would be too long as the roads are 2-way with lots of traffic. Hence the plan to break the journey at Kollam. Started as per the plan, and had lunch at the KTDC hotel at Alapuzha. It was a good meal. We reached Kollam around 4pm. All through this journey I had booked the rooms in Govt owned properties to check out how it will be. The property in Kollam was by KTDC and was okay. The location was very good, as it was next to the lake and all rooms were overlooking the lake. We had plans to go for a boat ride in house boat, but since no boat was available, dropped the plan.

Went to the beach in the evening, and it was a good beach. Had dinner from a good, small hotel and returned to the hotel.

Here is my review of KTDC Tamarind Kollam which is published in Tripadvisor:
"I stopped over in Kollam for one night on the way to Kanyakumari from Kochi. Booking was done through KTDC website and I got 15% discount since I did it online. Check-in process was simple, staff were courteous and overall the place was clean and neat. The location of this property was very good - overlooking the lake. We did not order food from their restaurant since I knew that it will take time and there won't be much choices. Hence I had no disappointments on food front. Overall, a good value for money option for a budget traveler. Frankly, I do not expect great service from KTDC hotels, but one thing I know is that KTDC has awesome properties in great locations which are not maintained to the same degree but has basic hygiene and cleanliness. Hence I choose them purposely on my trips. This too, was good as it met my expectations."

Next day morning we left by around 7 am with plans to have dinner from Tvm. The roads were less crowded but then too there were too many vehicles for this time of the day. Kerala is really crowded. Dropped in at Ginger in Tvm for breakfast. This was on the Tvm by-pass and was convenient for us since we had to bye-pass the city. Here again, I used the Garmin to guide me and it did it's job perfectly. In 1 hours time I was driving past Tvm to Kanyakumari. Never I had to stop, or ask anyone or got confused. The road from Tvm to Kanyakumari is a real nightmare. Very narrow roads, too much traffic and indiscipline. The distance from Tvm to Kk is about 100 kms but took a well 3 hours. And I am given to understand that it was like this ever since.

Reached Kk by around 1.30 pm and checked into Hotel Tamil Nadu which is a superb property by Tamil Nadu Government. Had lunch at their restaurant where the food was simple and good. In the afternoon we planned to visit the Vivekanada rock memorial. It was a nice experience - the boat ride, the cave, and the island. In the evening we stepped out towards the watch tower but it began to rain. So we had to rush back to the room. The day ended like that.

Next day morning we had the darshan, visited Gandhi mantap, had breakfast and started back to Tvm. Here is my review of Hotel Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari which is published in Tripadvisor:
"Location, Location, Location. This is the best thing about this hotel. I read reviews on this hotel online and had booked twin cottages online for one night. Booking process was simple and straight. Check-in process was smooth and the service of the staff was also good. The rooms were very spacious and is great value for money. I do not think any other hotel would provide such great rooms are this price. I think almost all rooms are sea facing, and only very few could be non sea-facing - not sure about this though. The property was clean and neat throughout, and it spreads over lot of land, and hence does not feel like a hotel. All attractions are nearby and walk-able distance from this place. The restaurant served good food. (We only had lunch at the restaurant.) Overall, the place is awesome to stay in Kanyakumari."