Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

Der Führer: Day 14 – Kaniyakumari, Kovalam and Coffee

Here is the missing Day 14 which failed to make it during my attempts to upload while on the Konkan line up the west coast. There’s a tunnel on that line every few miles and that makes staying on-line next to impossible.
I am still trying to reassemble my head after all this. The best day turned out to be the last one in Matheran, Not sure if that’s because I’d finally managed to shake everyone off, or because it’s a world class train ride, or what, but more on that later. Here’s the last full day of mental rushing about before we got on that last train up the coast back to Mumbai.


4:45 Am start on the last day, 45 extra sacred running delay minutes in the sanctuary of the train before the final day. The train obviously gets in at that time in order that pilgrims can get to the cape proper in time for the sun rise. The day break was nothing spectacular alas due to distant cloud, but there were so many Indians there that it was an event non the less.

Rickshaws then for the 20km or so up to Nagercoil Junction, traveling in the comparative luxury of 2 and 3 to a rickshaw, with myself in my customary shotgun position next to the driver, which at least might allow me to leap from the vehicle should head on collision occur.

I am still fathoming how you can get 6 adults with luggage, 3 Australians, 2 Americans and a substantial Indian, plus driver, in a standard 2 seater rickshaw. Please don’t try this at home. I’ve already discussed the casualty rate on Indian roads.

Then a local passenger train up to Trivandrum, which was entertaining. We missed the chance though to cut out Trvandrum by getting off at  Balaramapuram, which looked an interesting place. Then into a nice ambassador taxi to the beach, with the usual 6 in a rickshaw brigade following behind and failing to take any hints.

Kovalam was at first sight totally unrecognizable, but it turned out that the original little cottages are still there under the lighthouse. I couldnt remember exactly which one I stayed in, but you can, with a little effort, imagine what the place looked like 29 years ago if you just blot out absolutely everything else bar the lighthouse. It was quite a nostalgic moment for both John and I. It’s now a rather crowded beach resort. God only knows what it must be like at Christmas these days.

The highlight of the day though, by a country mile, was the state run coffee house outside the station. It’s worth coming to Trivandrum just to eat in that incredible building. It’s a spiraled construction made of brick. The building has it’s own fantastic termite mound style natural AC system by by way of the triangular “window” holes allowing breeze to run through and I guess circulate up the spiral building. The drinks are great, we really should have arranged to spend more time here though.

The Coffee House at Trivandrum Station, by Kothanda


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