I love visiting new places. These places could be anything – temples, historical ruins and beaches. Couple of Months back I made a trip to Kerala to visit two of its most famous temples Guruvayoor in Thrissur and Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Trivandrum. The deity of Guruvayoor is Krishna while for Padmanabhaswamy Temple its Vishnu.
There are regular buses from Bangalore to Thrissur. So I booked the bus for Friday Night. After finishing my office I went to Bus Stand and boarded the bus. The bus dropped me at Thrissur Bus stand by 6:30 in Morning. After that I had to take a bus to Guruvayoor. The buses to Guruvayoor were not very frequent so I had to wait to get the bus. After I reached Guruvayoor my first priority was to find a room to get refreshed. Since it was a weekend finding a room proved little tough but finally I got the room. I got refreshed and got ready for the temple. The temple follows a strict dress code for men and women. The men needs to wear white dhoti or mundu as it is popularly called there and needs to enter the temple bare chest while women needs to wear sarees. Girls can wear long skirt and blouses. Since I knew that I already carried one dhoti for me. However there are shops on the way to temple where you can buy dhoti. I also heard from somebody that you get it on rent also but could not confirm the same.
There was a long queue of devotees. It took me around half an hour to reach the temple main entrance. While I was waiting in the queue I could see the tent where the temple authorities were auctioning Deepams (Tall Brass Lamps) of all sizes which have been used in the temples.
There was a security check on the entrance and after that I entered the temple. The temple sanctum had a very small door and you have to bend yourself to enter it. There is a four-armed standing idol of Lord Krishna carrying the conch Panchjanya, the discus Sudarshan Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holybasil garland. After finishing my prayers I went around the temple. There are Prasad counters inside the temple. You need to pay for the prasad. After getting the receipts one needs to go to the counter to collect it. The temple also sells silver coins with lord Krishna idol embossed on it if anybody wants to purchase it.
After finishing my temple visit I went back to hotel to change clothes. Since I had a train in the evening I had some more time to explore Guruvayoor. I went to Mammiyoor Temple which is a Shiva Temple and Punnathurkotta which houses the elephants belonging to the Guruvayoor temple. One can see more than 50 elephants that have been chained here and are taken care by Mahout.
After that we I took a bus back to Thrissur. I went straight to Railway station to catch a train to Trivandrum. Luckily I reached station on time with 10 Min left for train arrival. The train dropped me at Trivandrum at night. I came out from station and started searching for lodge. I was able to find one near the station.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple recently rose to popularity because of huge temple treasure which came to the notice of the entire world and which makes it the richest temple. The temple is in center of the city and is a pleasure to watch. It has 7 tier gopuram and temple tank known as Padma Theertham by its side.
I got up early at 5:00 clock and left lodge by 5:30. After asking couple of people I reached the temple. A strict dress code is enforced here also similar to Guruvayoor Temple. Gents must wear Kerala Mundu which is the dress code in all Kerala temples. I deposited the belongings such as footwear and camera in the cloak room along with the pair of clothes which I brought along with me. The security guards did the usual scanning and allowed me inside. When I reached the queue the temple was closed for daily chores and it was to open again in 15 Min. I waited in the queue and chanted the lord’s name like others. When the door opened I followed others to reach the sanctum. The idol of Lord Vishnu is in a rare reclining posture, called as “ananthasayanam” or the lord’s sleep. The sanctum is on a raised platform. One needs to climb stairs to reach the sanctum. The sanctum has three doors. From the first door one can view the face and shoulders, from middle door one can see the stomach and navel from which lotus is coming out on which Lord Brahma, the Creator, is seated and from third door the feet are visible. It was an unforgettable moment the pictures of which are still afresh in my mind.
I was also able to catch the glimpse of the member of the royal family who visit the temple daily.
I came out from temple, took my belongings and changed my clothes. There is an intra-city bus stop opposite temple from where I took bus to my next destination – Kovalam Beach. The Volvo as well as normal buses runs between city and kovalam beach. The beach was clean and beautiful. On beach the people were enjoying with their families and local fisherman were catching the fish and pulling the fishing net from the sea. After spending sometime there I came back to city and went to zoological park which had botanical garden, zoo and an art gallery which houses paintings of famous Kerala painter Raja Ravi Varma.
I came back to bus station to catch the bus back to Bangalore. It was a memorable journey and definitely looking forward to go there again.