Went on a trip without any planning. A journey that has been going on in my mind for some time. The train departs from Kollam at 12.00 noon. Kollam Chennai Egmore Express (16102). It will arrive at Thenkashi in Tamil Nadu at 3.30 pm. But my journey started from Thiruvananthapuram. I came back without any preparations and realized that I would not have time to go to Kollam and board the train.
The time is approaching 11.00, ran into the KSRTC going from Patta to Kottarakkara. This train reaches Kottarakkara station at 12.30. The thought that I don’t think I will get there by then bothered me a lot, but I gave the bus ticket charge to the conductor Ajithetan and sat on the seat. Anyway, the bus reached Kottarakkara at 12.20. I shared my happiness with the conductor Ajithettan and the driver Sajishettan while hurrying out of the bus and both of them wished me good luck on my journey. Then take an auto straight to the station…
Wow, The journey that has been traveling in my mind for ages is resurrected today. Kollam – Chennai Egmore Express was approaching platform 1. Passing Avaneeswaram, Punalur and Edaman to Thenmala via Aryankavu. This path is very beautiful. Twisting and writhing and howling through the forest around it, it moved forward. The experience of traveling through frequent tunnels and the 108-year-old ‘Pathimuunnu Kannarapala’ seen on reaching Kazhathurathi is beautiful. What makes this route different is the ‘Thirteen Eyed Bridge’.
This beautiful road was commissioned by the British Government in 1904. Aryankav-Thenmala road can also be seen below the train track. Tengashi got down at the railway station, drank some tea, and walked to the new stand. 70 for auto. Only a 1.5 km distance is shown on google Maps. I expected to be cheated by auto cars and thought I would walk. Sundara Pandyapuram boarded the bus from the new bus stand.
Sundara Pandyapuram and Suranda are famous places for sunflowers. From the town, the bus moved through the villages. Agriculture is the main source of income for the people here. On the way, you can see rice and tomato cultivation.
“Sunflower seeds usually ripen in mid-June. The flowers bloom in full in 90 to 100 days. This time, we did not get any income from it because the farmers stopped sunflower cultivation a month earlier and started cultivating tomatoes and other crops in the soil. That’s why you can’t see sunflower flowers,” said Suranda. A local said while drinking tea. Yep…no sunflowers anywhere. Hoping to come again later, we went back to Tengashi. There he took a room and rested.
The next day
Got up early in the morning, had ‘Pongal’ from Raj Hotel, and walked to the bus stand. First time eating ‘Pongal’. It was good. But eating only that did not stop the hunger. Had two pooris with it. Traveling is not just seeing places. It is also an investigation of what are the differences in that country. Each trip is about learning about their tastes, cultures, agriculture, etc. That’s when the journey is complete.
You can reach Thirumala Kumaraswamy Temple in Panpoj village by traveling 16 km from Tenkasi old bus stand. That was my journey. It took at least half an hour to get there. You have to climb 648 steps to reach the top. If you look from the top, you can see the Western Ghats, Mekkarai Dam, Panpoj village, some coconut groves, and windmills in the distance. Enjoyed the wind and the view and rested there for some time and came down. It is about 5 km from Kovil Road to Mekara Dam. Bus service on this route is very less. He asked a biker going that way for a lift. And so the journey continued.
Mekara is a village. Rice, banana, and coconut are the main crops there. And a village that goes ahead with cattle rearing. Walked 1.5 km through this village and saw Anavinainar dam in Mekara and walked back. On the way to Tenkasi, we visited the Kutralam waterfalls. Water is very low at this time. So he returned to Tengashi, had his meal, and rested in his room.
On the second day, we traveled 16 km from Tenkasi on Nagercovil route and reached the village ‘Matapuram’. There is the ‘Thoranamala Murugan Temple.’ Because this mountain had the shape of an elephant, it was also known as ‘Varanamala’ in the past.
In order to identify this mountain from a distance, water mixed with lime is poured on top. This makes the mountain attractive. Another feature of this mountain is that you have to climb 1216 steps to reach the top. Seats are provided at all the entrances. When you reach the top, you will see the Murugan temple. A strong wind was experienced when we reached the top. From there, you can see a river in the distance. When he came down from the mountain and asked while drinking water from a shop
It came to be known as ‘Rama River’. You have to walk for some distance to reach Matapuram bus stop. Back to Tenkasi.
Boarded a KSRTC bus from Tenkasi to Thiruvananthapuram via Punalur and Aryankavu Thenmala. Through Thenmala forest, Aryankavu and Patimunnu Kannarapalam one more time and enjoy the beautiful path to Thiruvananthapuram. There are many places that I could not go to in my mind. There are pictures that could not be seen. There are sweets that cannot be tasted. Papanasha, Anyanpara, sunflowers, and Achankovil… it goes on and on. Hoping to come again.
Credit: Sajith Elankur