STUDY TOUR TO KERALA IN NOVEMBER 1997
On 6th November an exicted group of thirty eight students accompanied by Prof. Vagal, Prof. Gore, Prof. Parab and Prof. Karande left on a study tour to KERALA by Kanyakumari Express. Mrs Vagal and Miss Gargi also accompanied us.
After a tiring yet eventful journey we reached kanyakumari on 8th of ovember at 5.00 pm. Kanyakumari welcomed us with stormy weather. As a result we were robbed of a life time chance of watching the sunrise and sunset on the horizon of triveni sangam. However we were trilled to see the confluence of the Bay of Bengal with its green waters flowing from the east, the Indian ocean with its green waters to the south and the Arabian sea with its red waters from the west .
On the 9th we took a launch ride to Vivekanand Rock Memorial which was built in 1970.On the rock Swami Vivekananda is said to have sat in deep meditation. There is also a temple of Shri Padaparai (The Virgin Godess Parvati who did penance to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva).The town Kanyakumari derives its name from the said virgin goddess.
A ninety-three kilometers bus ride in torrential rains took us to Thiruananthapuram (The town of Lord Anantha)Kerala.Kerala state in the Indian peninsula has a picturesque coast with the arabian sea. The rivers that spring from the ghats slither down the belly of Kerala until they reach the Arabian sea or merge with the lagoons and backwaters far below. Kerala has the finest natural sceneries including the palm-fringed backwaterson the west and the ghats on the east.
On the 10th we were accompanied by Madame Subhadevi and her brother Dr.Krishnan. We visited the Ananthapadmanadha Swami Temple. This is the largest temple in Kerala which exhibits several Dravidian architectural features, particularly the massive gopuram. Lord Vishnu is worshipped in a reclining pose and is seen through three doors. The mandapams and corridors have fine works of sculpture and the outside of the anctum is decorated with murals. The temple follows a strict dress code in which men have to complusarily wear lungi.
We visited the Padamanabhapuram Palace which is an exquisite palace with extensive woodwork. Within this palace lies a small self contained temple of Shree Saraswathy Amman. Facing this temple is a dancing hall with a viewing gallery for the women.
Next we visited the Kanakunnu and Kowadiar Palaces and the picturesque Veli Lagoon.That evening Madam Subhadevi treated all of us with very delicious idlis at her parents residence. We made an exclusive visit to a neighbouring bungalow built on Sir Laurie Baker’s principle of low cost housing.
The morning of 11th was slotted for a visit to one of the World’s greatest beaches Kovalam.It is a magnificent resort of the sun, surf and sea. A beach paradise with bondless blue of the Arabian sea and fine sanded beaches. Overlooking the Kovalam bay built as an extension of a hill is the magnificent Kovalam Ashok Beach Resort. The five star hotel gently descends to the beach following the contours of the land. Kovalam is a haven of aquatic sports.
On the 12th we were in Kottayam.It is the town with royal history. We visited a hindu pilgrimage centre of Ettumanoor. It is famous for its legendary 16th century Lord Shiva Temple,a specimen of Kerala’s indigenous style of temple architecture incorporating clear-cut wood carvings and murals’including an exceptionally srrinking one of Lord Shiva as Nataraj trampling underrfoot the spirit of evil represented by a demon.Fourty kilometers from Kottayam is Vaikom Temple famous for the Lord Shiva Temple which according to a legend was built by Parasurama. The 16th century temple is artistically very impression.It is renounced for the elephant processions and performances of dance and music during it’s 12th day of Astami festival.
||A cruise on the Back-waters of Allepy revitalised the DYPCAN’s in the middle of the tour. Instead of sitting inside the boat everone preffered to hang out on the roof and enjoy the scenic beauty. The back-waters has several draw bridges along its stream. We all faced some anxious moments when one of the draw-bridges failed to open as we passed under it.|
The morning of the 13th dawned in the cool pleasant environment of Thekkady Wild Life Santury which is located in Idukkin. In the Periyar Lake Wild Life Santury one can see deers, monkeys, tigers, herds of elephants and other exotic flora and fauna. A boat ride in the lake surrounding the santuary gives one an oppourtunity to see these animals. Periyar is famous due to its man-made lake, the partially submerged tree-trunks bear testimony to this fact. On our journey to Munnar we visited Spice Village which had a large variety of Indian spices.
Munnar is situated in the high ranges of Anamala, in the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border is a beautiful green strip of land.In the tranquil environment of Munnar we had a campfire that night. The next morning the Tata tea gardens could be seen almost everywhere.Munnar hills are largely blanketed by tea plantations. The only intrusions in the velvety overwhelming silence are the gurgling streams and occasional calls of wild animals.
Cochin is a port city in Kerala state. Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulum, islands of willingdon, bolgatty and Gundu in the harbour,Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula and Vypeen island to the north of Cochin, all linked by ferry.
On 15th November we visited St.Francis Church built in 1503 by the portuguese fransican friars in Cochin. The original structure was wood ,but was rebuilt in stone in mid-16th century. Vasco da Gama who died here in 1524 was buried here for fourteen years before his remains were transfered to portugal.
We later saw Chinese fishing nets lined along the sea-front, these exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish introduced by chinese traders from the court of Kubai Khan. They are used mainly at hightide.Here we did see a couple of brown dolphins, it was an exciting site to see.
Mattacherry Palace was built by the portuguese in 1557 as a present to the Cochin Raja Veera kerala Varma. It was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. The important feature of the Palace are the murals which depict scenes from the Ramayana the Mahabharata and the puranic legends of Shiva, Vishnu and Durga.
On the 16th we visited Bolgatty Palace which was once a mansion of the British resident and now a hotel. It is located in the palm fringed Bolgatty Island. It is connect to the main land by small boats.
A tired but spirited team departed Cochin by a seven hour delayed Netravati Express and reached Kurla Terminus on the 18th who were greeted by anxious parents and friends.The entire tour was an excellently planned study tour with a balance of study and adventure.I am grateful to Shabbir the tour incharge, the professors and the entire team of the DYPCANS who made this tour such a fun filled and successful tour................................