Its 5:30 in the morning the phone is ringing. Modhu answers it, “Good Morning Sir, Sunrise” says the voice at the other end. We didn’t request a wake up call, must be default, after all that’s why you here, or so they assume. That said, we’re thankful for it. A quick wash later I hurry to the hotel roof, It is still quite dark and rather cold. Modhu soon joins me, followed by Harsha. We're set for the much talked about sunrise at Kanyakumari.
The sky turns a shade brighter, its twilight. Twilight, the period of uncertainty, the whole world is painted in eerie shade of grey, living in the grey zone. The balance however soon shifts in favor of the light, the sky grows brighter. There is also a liberal spread of orange. However, there are a lot of clouds in the sky. The hotel owner from last night dinner did tell us that we might not get a clear viewing of the sunrise owing to the rain. We can now see Vivekananda Memorial Rock and the Thiruvallaver Statue.
The world grows brighter. I can see more people are gathering at the shores of the sea, while we wait on the roof. The sky is littered with clouds and it is quite bright now. We've been waiting for a long time now, and concede that we’re unfortunate enough to not have witnessed the sunrise thanks to the clouds.
Crestfallen, Modhu and Harsha return to the room. I however decided to stay on the roof to wait a while longer. I soon rewarded, a small ball of orange slowly emerges from the depths of the blue sea. I stand there under a spell without batting a eye.
My sense of camaraderie soon calls on me, I'm forced to head down to tell the others. They are causing me miss out on such a thing of beauty, 'em oafs [:)] are already in bed. I dive into the room screaming, the sun, the sun, sunrise, its beautiful and then rush back to the roof. Alas, the sun is now completely out of the sea, bloody damnation. We enjoy the remainder of the marvel and take a few pictures. The sun soon disappears into the clouds, or in this case the big bad cloud gobbled up the sun :(
As we get ready, we discuss a serious problem on hand. We’re in effect a day behind the original plan. After much deliberation and working out shorter routes on the map, it is agreed to extend the trip by a day. This and the modified course should see that we can still visit all the destinations on our route.
Modhu and Harsha soon get ready head down to check on the bikes. They return as I too am almost ready. Modhu tells me rather glumly that the front rim on the "Goddess" is probably slightly bent. He however says it is not too serious; the front wheel only locks up slightly. I’m rather concerned as we still have a long way to go. We decide to get her checked in the next big town.
Breakfast done with, we visit the Kanika Parameshwari Temple first. Kanyakumari get its name from this temple. Legend has it that during a time long ago, the goddess’s diamond earring was so resplendent that even when illuminated by a single oil lamp, ships at sea could spot it and use it to arrive at port.
Most big temples in India are associated with a tank of fresh water called the Kalyani, its considered quite sacred. This temple too boasts of one such. However, religious boundaries still exist in our county as is apparent from this sign.
We then head to Vivekananda Memorial Rock, a monument erected in a huge rock nearly half a kilometer into the sea. Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu Monk and a visionary, is said have to swimmed to this rock to meditate during his stay at Kanyakumari. A ferry takes us there, Harsha is relived that we decided not rent a small boat. Vivekananda Memorial Rock has two monuments, one houses an wonderfully detailed statue of Swami Vivekananda
It is very peaceful at the rock, we spend a good deal of time and snap a lot of pictures. We then take the ferry to the Thiruvallavar Statue,a famous tamil poet, installed on another rock in close proximity. It is massive almost 120 feet as I recall, although not as impressive as Vivekananda Rock it is still an astounding sight.
Back on mainland we get on our bikes and head to a place called Marthuvamalai. A temple atop a hill, it is a rather long climb to the top. But it is well worth the panoramic view of Kanyakumari. From here one can see the Kanyakumari coast line, large bodies of water amidst huge green fields, coconut groves, a spectacular sight. The wind is very strong up here, it very nearly blows me over. Harsha’s many antics and Modhu’s funnier interpretation make for great laughs.
On the way back to the hotel Modhu spots a Royal Enfield Certified Mechanic Shop and get decides to get his bike checked. Turns out it’s a problem with the front disc brake assembly. This takes slightly over two hours to get it fixed, during which we chat with the mechanic, about our bikes, their nuances. Another customer a huge electricity board inspector joins our conversation. It is amazing how much we can say with the minuscule amount of Tamil we speak. There are a lot of diesel Enfields in Kanyakumari, there was one at the garage too, a very battered tho'.
Modhu’s bike is fixed, I’m rather relived. It is almost 4:00pm and we’re famished. We decide to head to Circular Fort. A beautiful small fort that houses a big tank of water centered admist its manicured lawns. The sea lies on the other side of the fort walls. The sea lashes constantly against its tall walls and sea looks beautiful from here. The different hues of blue, as far as the eyes can see. Kanyakumari – is after all the confluence of three huge bodies of water, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal [;)]
Alongside the fort is a nice lonely beach, but there are no people there. I’m inclined to go there but Modhu is against the idea. Harsha is more keen on lunch. We return to the hotel have lunch, wash up and head to then to the Kanyakumari beach. Modhu isn’t very keen on getting into the water, Harsha is overjoyed. The waves are really strong, they come crashing into the many rocks that dot this very small beach. The sinking sun paints the world in a golden hue.
It is almost time for the sunset, we make a dash for the watch tower. We however only get a glimpse of it, partly the doing of clouds, largely us. Disappointed we head back to the hotel.
Dinner is spent discussing the glimpse we had into Harsha future, this makes for interesting conversation. I’ve a nasty headache and Harsha’s caught a bad cold. We down a few aspirins and call it a day.
Day Four – An exhausting fun filled day at Land’s End, India.