The only civilised way to travel from Rameshwaram to Kanyakamari is by Uber or Ole car Taxi which cost 5500 Rupees, but instead I stood at the snack stand at the bus station at 6.30 am sharing an Indian sweetbread and cup of chai with my friend Gitte, a 240 Rupee bus ticket clutched in my hand, waiting to board what could with a stretch of imagination be described as an ultra deluxe coach (travel agent speak) but I'll let you decide.
Apart from the fact my seat was broken in the laid back position which I and the conductor had words over, the journey which took almost 8 hours with a lunch stop wasn't so bad and we arrived shaken but not disturbed in Kanyakamurai at 3.30 pm.
The first part of the journey saw me leaving Rameshwaram on the road over the water alongside the railway line I had arrived on and I couldn't resist a last couple of snaps.
The early part of the ride was along well made modern road services and having the coach only half full with all the windows open made it quite bearable. The only real discomfort was in the last hour when the roads weren't so good and more passengers got on for the last 10-15 KMS.
The Hotel was walkable from the drop off point and after a cold shower ( water only hot between 5 am - 10 am daily) we took a walk to the bus station and found out times for our different destinations on Monday and then took a walk along the front to take in the statues and temples lit up at night of which I know nothing at the moment but will tomorrow.
By 7.30 pm Gitte was ready for her room so I had a little walk around the area and stumbled on a bar in a local hotel so I partook of a Kingfisher nightcap and went off to my room to research my day in kanyakumari tomorrow.
Next Morning Gitte set of at 5 am to see the temple, I on the other hand spent an extra 3 hours in bed had a shower (cold water) and set off at a more human hour to see the sights. Unfortunately the plug in the room was temperamental and didn't charge the iPad and iphone overnight so no pics to show you yet but I left them charging and have all day.
Heading west from the temple Kanyakumari is one enormous market, selling everything Holy as well as T shirts, clothes and oh too much to list here and too be honest the temple was just the same as most of the temples I had visited already so I couldn't get too excited it's probably a Hindu thing.
I headed in the opposite direction and found myself in a residential area where everybody was friendly saying "good morning" and waving and passed an enormous church and a lot of little prayer stations that were all linked by loudspeaker. I later found this Sunday was the last day of a 10 day festival and there would be a procession and music and a big celebration later that day.
On passing through the residential area I came a cross a field with one of the most colorfully decorated temples with all manner of God figures and although one gate the road was padlocked the other three sides were wide open and I determined to return.
I made my way back and retrieved a half charged iPad and iPhone, met with Gitte, and set off to retrace my steps through the back streets and drawn by the loud music we came across the sound of the procession.
The town had turned out in force and were making offerings to the two floats and the queue went on and on and a band hooked up to loudspeakers were entertaining the crowd and this went on all afternoon. Keep an eye out for the electrician up the telegraph pole ( health and safety eat your hearts out)
Moving on towards the temple I bumped into a crowd of local lads and although every time the primeval urge kicks in the kids always turn out to be good. I found out the cost of a photo in India at cheapest is 50 Rupee ( less than a Euro) but in a place where an Indian can buy a lunch for 40 Rupee it's a lot so I clicked away and sent them to one of the lads on Facebook so they could have some memories.
I eventually made it to the temple in the field and will let the pictures do the talking.
By now I had lost Gitte but she is an independent woman and I wasn't too worried, after I had spent 30 minutes looking for her I decided to move on. Along the way I bumped into a guy wearing a Welsh shirt ( not a common sight in India) and entered into a conversation. Martin, as he turned out to be called was from Merthyr and we chatted away until we reached our hotels which were right next to each other and met Gitte coming the other way and we all arranged to meet in a posh restaurant for dinner.
Later that night we ate on the top floor restaurant over looking the ocean with views up and down the coast and what a sight, the town had set up lights on all the churches and pray stations as well as the promenade out to sea and the whole area looked like a wonderland with the cathedral a big Christmas tree lit up.
After the meal Gitte went to bed ( well she will get up at unearthly times) and Martin and I swopped stories in a local bar over a Kingfisher or two until closing time at 11 pm and called it a night because I was off in the morning by bus to Trivandrum.