Thursday, 1 May 2014

My memorable 8 hours in Trivandrum

I have visited this beach city along India's west coast numerous times on work and what surprised me most about Kerala's captial city is the laid back attitude of its people which during many occasions made me think Kochi was Kerala's capital as it seemed more buzzing with activity.

I think it is this laid backness and the city's proximity to many beach destinations that has made Trivandrum one of my favourite places in South India. This time over when I got an opportunity to explore the city during one of my work visits, I took the day on my stride and charted my own plan to visit places and booked the cab and took off..

My first trip all by myself .. exploring a city that I always enjoyed being in ..

I had booked an 8 hour cab package with my hotel 'Ginger', the cab had arrived at sharp 8:30 am while I was in still in my breakfast table.

8:45 am - started from the hotel and let my cab driver know of my itinerary for the day. The cab driver seemed very interested in showing his city to me and suggested few places as well..

9:20 am - I reached Padmanabhasamy temple and Kuthiramaliga palace, adjacent to the temple. I skipped visiting the temple and directly entered the palace. On walking few meters into the palace premise made me feel I was the only one at this time walking in .. as I continued walking in.. i could spot families and bunch of teenagers waiting to take the guided tour through the palace . I joined them, as I waited for the tour to start clicked few pics of the palace.

The entire palace seemed more homely than lavish. We were told music festival is conducted during 6th to 12th of January every year as the king of Travancore was a huge fan of art, culture and music.

10:45 am - I am fond of Kerala food, banana chips and jackfruit chips fried in coconut oil. So, was in the look out for the best place to buy these chips for the folks back at home and google suggested Maha chips in east fort road, about 10 mins drive away from Padmanabhasamy temple.

One side of the shop is lined with different varieties of halwas and the other side lined with baskets of freshly prepared chips of different kinds. Love the variety and quality of chips at Maha chips.
After purchasing few kgs to take back with me to Chennai and couple of packs for Saji, the cab driver who was heloing me out in the new city. I headed to Vivata by Taj, Kovalam for their Sunday brunch.

12:30 pm - Vivanta by Taj, Kovalam is chic, warm service and relaxing. I have always felt Taj group offered the best service in the country. Just before deciding to head to Taj, I visited Leela, Kovalam and I walked around the place to get the information I wanted for about 15 mins before deciding to head to Taj, the choice I made while planning my day.

I only remember walking in alone, during the 3 hours I spent there it felt so warm, right from the guy at the reception to the buggy driver everyone had a conversation and made me feel comfortable and at ease. They were extra special considering I was a solo woman visiting their hotel.

There was a french lady performing a live music gig, a magician entertain with a trick at the brunch table, an artist making a sketch of the visitors.. The beach is not accessible from the hotel, I think that is the way it is in Kovalam. It is blocked with rocks. So you can see the beach and feel the breeze but you cannot go drench your feet or take a swim at the beach.

View of the beach made me want to experience more of it.

3:45 pm - I wanted to head to Shangumugam beach to view the sunset. Driver Saji suggested I drop by Veli, a tourist village for a bit before heading to the beach as it may be quite hot considering the time of the day.  I took a stroll along Veli, it is more like a huge park with kids play area, few shops and boating along the back waters..

4:30pm - Reached Shangumugam beach and spent almost an hour people watching, enjoying the cool breeze from the Arabian sea and clicking pics. It happened to be a cloudy day and sunset was more hazy than usual, however beautiful !!!

After almost exceeding an hour of the pre booked cab package of 8 hours, I reached back Ginger at 5:45pm and an almost free one hour cab ride. Saji turned out to become more like a big brother of sorts advising me on not to venture out alone and denied to take any payment for the additional hour usage of the cab. Beautiful place, wonderful people, great food !!!

It is also a safe place for women travelling alone before dusk sets in. However be wary of your surroundings

If you need more details about the place, drop in a comment. Would be happy to help :)

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