Educational trip to Kanyakumari

Sea, sea breeze and water surrounded us for the past few days. Yes, Class 9 and 10 students of Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School went on an excursion from October 1 to October 5, 2010 to Thiruvanandhapuram, Nagercoil and Kanyakumari. On October 1 we boarded the Thiruvanandhapuram Express from Chennai Central and reached our destination the next day early in the morning.

After checking in at the hotel we went to Padmanabha Temple. The temple is a treasure house of ancient works of art, such as sculpture in stone and bronze, mural paintings and wood carvings. . The entire outer wall of the main sanctum is covered with beautiful Kerala mural painting. The mural paintings which represent incidents from the Puranas are remarkable for their luster, colour and antique dignity. Yellow and orange are the main colours used in these paintings. Precious relics of a 14th century painting belonging to the reign of Aditya Varma Sarvanganatha, a king of Travancore, are found in the temple.

Our next stop was at the Thiruvanandhapuram museum and zoo. At the zoo we saw many animals and birds like Lion tailed Macaque, King Cobra, Rhesus Macaque, White bellied Sea Eagle, Adjutant Stork(which gets its name because its walk resembles the stiff march past), pariah kite, Indian One horned Rhino (which is the State Animal of Assam), Blackbuck. Then we walked into an area filled with sweet sounds made by Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Malabar Grey Hornbill, African Grey Parrot, Livingstone Turace, Mollucan Cockatoo, Blue and Gold Macaw, etc. We also saw about 5 tigers and 3 lions kept in cages which were too small for them.

Then we entered the museum where there were very old stone statues of gods. There was a glass case showcasing many musical instruments like the panchavadhyam of Kerala, veenai, sitar, mirudangam, jaalra, etc. There was also a wooden model of the Guruvaayur temple and a small interesting model made up of intricately carved concentric balls. Then we saw Ceylonese headdresses and burial jars used by ancient people.

Next we ate lunch at a hotel after which we went to the Kovalam beach. The scenery was wonderful because we went there during sun set. The water was shimmering like a sea of molten gold. We stood in the water and then our games teacher, who had come with us for the excursion, organized a small kabadi and kokho match at the beach. Completely wet and covered in sand, we all went back tired and happy to our hotel.

The next day was completely devoted to sightseeing in Nagercoil where our first stop was at the Padmanabha Palace. We went inside and everywhere we looked we could only see smooth dark wood panels and staircase. The palace is reputed to be the largest wooden palace in India. It is administered by the Kerala government’s Department of Archeology, even though it is located in Tamil Nadu. The palace has 127 rooms most of which are large and airy, used for dwelling and administration, while the smaller ones were used as toilets and utility areas. The ceiling of the entrance hall has carvings of 90 different flowers in full bloom.

The narrow staircases, heavy trap doors and low doorways are said to have been designed with the intention of warding off unexpected attacks as only one person can enter at a time. The black, highly polished floor here is quite special. It is made of a mixture of lime, burnt coconut shells, the whites of eggs, water from tender coconuts, sand, laterite and the juices of various herbs. The whole place consisted of very narrow and confusing wooden passage ways and stairs that lead to different unknown places. On the whole it is the best place that I have ever seen for playing hide and seek!

We then went to Suchindram temple where we saw an   18 feet Anjaneyar statue. There were also seven stone pillars in the temple. Each of us tried our hands tapping the pillars in order and was able to hear the seven swarams (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni) of carnatic music. Brahma, Vishnu and Sivan are worshipped together in this temple. The shrine is known as Thanumalayan. And the name is a combination of three names; ‘Thanu’ which stands for Sivan, ‘Mal’ for Vishnu, and ‘Ayan’ which stands for Brahma. There was also a navagraha mandapam on the ceiling of which the nine planets are carved.

We also went to Thiruparappu falls and to Thottipalam which is a narrow long bridge constructed between two hills. It is very high from the ground and the view from the top was very nice. It was drizzling slightly when we went and wherever we saw we could only see hundreds of coconut trees and thick greenery. Then we boarded our bus again and headed for Kanyakumari.

The next day morning we were asked to get up at 5:30 and come to the terrace of the hotel that we stayed in, which was situated near the beach. All of us got up and went to the terrace to see the sun, rise over the sea. It took nearly 15 minutes for the sun to become completely visible. It was enjoyable watching it rise and see the different shades of orange and yellow reflected in the sea water.

After breakfast we were allowed to shop near the beach. Some of us bought conches which we kept blowing all day long. Later we used them in the hotel to communicate with each other situated in different rooms in different floors!

Later in the morning we walked to the Kanyakumari Amman temple and then to the beach from where we were taken in a boat to the Vivekananda rock. We were given life jackets for our boat travel and we could sense the boat rising and falling gently as waves passed below. From there we went to the Thiruvalluvar statue and we were allowed to climb to the top till Thiruvalluvar’s feet. Everyone sat on his feet and took photos! Our Tamil teacher who had also come for the excursion told us to recite all the Thirukkurals that we knew.

Then we came back to land to eat lunch after which half the group headed for the beach while those who were tired went back to the hotel. We actually saw the three waves from three different directions crash together in front of our eyes and we were sprayed with sea water!

After spending an enjoyable time in the beach we joined the rest of our friends at the hotel and got ready to leave for the railway station. The return journey was very eventful due to a bomb scare at the Thirunalveli Railway Station where our train stopped for about 10 minutes. There were a number of police men, a Labrador dog, bomb squad with bomb detectors and also media people. A police showed a torch under our train for checking the wheels and the track. And police personnel travelled in our coach till we reached Chennai.

While our batch invaded the south, the senior students of our school headed for the southeast of India. They went to Orissa, while the middle school students travelled to Yercaud, Wayanad and Hyderabad. If you enter our school on the reopening day after the quarterly holidays, your ears will be ringing with many different tales of our travels!

2 thoughts on “Educational trip to Kanyakumari

  1. WhooOooh.!
    Nice account !
    Hope we go to a supaexciting place next year ! 😀
    &&yu forgot to mention The Ghost Stories in the return train journey. 😉

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