Our first stop on our South India tour was Kanyakumari- the southernmost tip of India. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), known as the wandering monk, opened an ashram there on a huge piece of land. He’s known for bringing yoga and the Vedanta philosophy to the west, as well as bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion.
The ashram there was very quiet and not active, like the one I stayed at in Neyyar Dam for YTT. Our rooms were…modest to say the least. It was there, though, that I learned the importance of plugging in my “Good Knight” (an electronic mosquito repellent) as the one night I forgot, I woke up with 16 mosquito bites…on my forehead. On the plus side, it was located on a huge property with tons of beautiful birds inhabiting the area and enlightening quotes scattered about.
|Peacock posing for us|
|"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not for every man's greed" Mahatma Gandhi|
Sunsets and sunrises are a very popular thing to do in town and we tried to view both. The sunset was gorgeous. The town is known for being the meeting point for the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal. While that doesn’t actually mean anything when you’re staring out at the water, it was a beautiful sight nonetheless. The sunrise, however, was more of an experience than usual. First of all, there were probably 200 people trying to view the sunrise from the same location. Secondly, the sky was crazy hazy so the sight wasn’t really that spectacular. Lastly, and most amusing, everyone stared at Brianna and I felt like I was traveling with a celebrity. Multiple people asked to have their photo taken with her. So, I did what I thought was reasonable and took a picture of them taking a picture with her. So much comedy. I felt like her spokesperson sometimes.
|Brianna being a celebrity, me being silly|
|The beautiful sunrise|
With less to do in town, we ended up grabbing pomegranates to munch on and walking around the town close to shore. It was beautiful to see all the colorful homes and try to communicate with the kids and families.
|Colorful homes along the coast|
Dinner was eventful both nights we were there. Night one was another episode in Indian hospitality. There was a group of travelers on a yatra (spiritual pilgrimage) that wanted to take pictures with Brianna. We obliged and as they were communicating with her I realized they were speaking Gujarati. I was so excited to try and communicate! They asked where we were from and what we were doing there and then invited us for dinner. We accepted and dined with them later. It was such a sweet gesture and I was excited to explain Gujarati cuisine to Bri.
|Typical gujarati meal: kitchidi, roti, sabji, and athanu|
Dinner on night two was amazing (I’m drooling as I write this) because it was our first encounter with Kerala parathas. Oh my god. They are delicious. Our obsession continued throughout the trip and I’m pretty sure I have a pound or two to attribute to that obsession.
|The most delicious streetside treat: fresh parathas|