I suppose Kerala is India’s honeymoon destination (in close competition to Goa), probably Honeymooners plan to seek blessings from God before invoking the Kaam Devta, after all, they are in ‘God’s own country’.
The words below will take you through my experience in the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram (previously called as Trivandrum), with some suggestions of do’s and don’ts.
This city is known for its British Colonial Architecture, Greenery and hence got a tag of ‘Evergreen City of India ‘ by Mahatma Gandhi, Information Technology hub and ranks on top of the list of one of the best cities to live in India.
For a Single Woman traveller, it’s a safe haven with not many people unnecessarily glancing at you which we experience in Delhi quite often (I am a Delhite but cannot deny this fact). Let’s top it up with some stats of 92% literacy rate and more females than males as far as Sex Ratio is concerned.
Before visiting Thiruvananthapuram, I only had a crush on Shashi Tharoor, but after my trip to Trivandrum, I have fallen in love with some other things/places which are elaborated below.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
With no plans for a honeymoon I being Single, I thought of exploring the ultimate path(atheists don’t get offended) of finding God in Kerala by visiting Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Here are some tips for travellers for your visit to the Temple.
Women should be fully covered, and Sarong is expected if one is not wearing a Saree. Men also have to wear Sarong/lungi.
What if you do not have the requisite attire
There are local vendors outside the Temple selling Sarong for Rs100.
There is a temple Store selling beautiful Sarong/Lungi at almost the same price and is suggested, quality is good, and you may use it as a dupatta later on.
Mobile phones, Leather wallet, Belts, Shoes, bags are not allowed in the temple premises.
What if you are carrying or wearing the accessories not allowed.
There is a temple service ( the same for Sarong) wherein you can keep all this stuff and get a token.
There is no token for Shoes which are just kept at a stand next to this store and hence it is suggested to wear something not very expensive, (at least twice while inside the Temple, I thought what if someone takes away my Loafers, but when I came back after an hour, they were there), so it’s quite safe.
After you climb the stairs to reach the entrance of the Temple, there is a security check, and once you quickly look at the walls out of curiosity, you get a feeling of entering an ancient cave with dim and gloomy paths, the temple premises is quite huge in comparison to what it looks like in pictures.
Just keep walking and follow the people in front of you, early morning will have the least crowd as I experienced.
My curiosity of finding Lord Padmanabha Swami was at its peak when I saw a Panditji asking something from a selected few people before letting them go and eventually came my turn and he asked and I quote, Gotra kya hai? I said ‘Hindu’ (I am a Hindu Punjabi though)
Anyone who understands what Gotra is would be rolling at my answer, not that I didn’t know what my Gotra is, but I don’t believe in this concept. So basically if you are not a Hindu, you cannot visit the main Temple Premises.
Panditji gave a disappointing look at me, might be thinking how stupid this girl is and gave me a receipt of the amount I paid for a view of Lord Padmanabha which is believed as a good view. You can choose not to pay anything, but then you hardly see the beautifully crafted idol of the Lord.
I proceeded further, and there were 5-6 steps and 30-40 people, and I could hardly frisk in between them to have a clear view of the Lord, I was disappointed.
I descended the same stairs, looking hazzled and hurried intentionally, so no one complained and hence made an exit from the entry point, went back to the Panditji, now bought a VIP entry of a higher price ( Please note the amounts are like very nominal ranging from Rs 50-200).
Now when I looked at the Lord, I had a clear view of the entire idol in the same avatar like you see of Vishu in pictures, comfortably lying down, Interestingly completely black in colour with gold carvings. Somehow I felt at peace because I feel the aura, the energy, the vibes one gets at ancient worship places can’t be explained.
The only unanswered question about this place is the unknown location of Chest of Gold, Diamonds and Jewelry within the Temple Premises that is probably being protected by Snakes to be used in times of exigency making this Temple the richest in the world with an estimate of 1 trillion dollars in its treasury ( I wish it’s true, maybe if found one day, some good can be done to those in need of money which is a substantial population in our country)
Villa Maya – A superb fine dining experience
Villa Maya is an upscale award-winning restaurant showcasing global cuisine presented in an elegant, restored 18th-century Dutch manor with a garden patio. The ambience of Classical architecture, carefully selected art and craft pieces adds to your overall dining experience.
The cuisine is not restricted to Kerala, and the presentation is unique, prices are in tune with other fine dining places, for 2 people it can cost around 4-5K depending on the number of dishes you order.
Beetroot Tikki with Pineapple dip is something I will never forget, maybe that’s why food bloggers end up saying Food is orgasmic.
‘Mother’s Veg Plaza’ – Best Sadhya Meal I have had till date
A trip to Kerala is incomplete without the Sadhya Meal for Lunch with local delicacies on a Banana leaf, and when you are in Trivandrum the best place to experience the Sadhya Meal is ‘Mother’s Veg Plaza’, super quick in their service, not much waiting time, authentic taste of dishes, no count of the number of servings from starters to the main course to desserts.
If you are expecting sophistication with someone guiding you to a place to sit, to pull a chair for you then do not go with this expectation, they have to serve a lot of people and that too quickly and hence one has to be more accommodating to enjoy a meal at this place.
Complete value for money, this Lunch meal will not cost you more than Rs 200. I loved it as probably I don’t look like a local from Trivandrum and definitely gave a Tourist vibe, so I took my time to enjoy the meal like I wanted to without they getting restless about it.
I get attracted to water, I think because of my sun sign, but I guess irrespective of any sun sign and this self-centred logic, experiencing Kovalam Beach is a must in the coastal town of Kovalam which is approx 13 km from Trivandrum. I won’t say that it is the best beach I have been to, but it’s definitely more peaceful, beautiful, cleaner than other beaches I have had experienced in India. Multiple resorts, a lighthouse, Cool breeze, local restaurants, palm trees, big rocks add to the beauty of this beach. Spending a couple of hours at this beach definitely was worth it, not to forget the lifetime of memories you collect in terms of pictures of blue clean ocean water almost merging with the sky, a treat to your eyes and soul.
To sum it up, I would say that Thiruvananthapuram has much more to offer in addition to what has been covered and experienced by me, I do not explore a place completely at once, probably because I live and follow my dreamy adage of
‘There is always a next time’.