Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Colachel Beach

This was our last day in Tamil Nadu and Richard had lined up a visit to Colachel beach and the Kali temple adjacent to it. Historically Colachel is famous for that the King of Travancore, Marthanda Varma, beat the crap out of the Dutch East India Company Naval Forces in 1741. At the Padmanabhapuram Palace I had seen paintings depicting the Dutch Admiral laying his arms at the feet of the King. I bet it was a great day to be King.

Students waiting for the morning bus

In Tamil Nadu the sickle and hammer ideal could be seen in many places.

The Kali temple, is actually a dirt mound covered by a roof and in front of the mini-moutain there were a few idols below a painted Kali face on the dirt. The worshippers told us that the mound has risen by itself and taken on the facial features of Kali, hence the paint and idols. Once a year they have a big temple festival and the place is jam packed. I know how jam packed India can be so I was just glad I did not have to cope with that. We did a small pooja to support the temple and soon enough we were on our merry way.

The Kali temple

Kali herself, the God of Destruction

A wishing tree (?)

We continued a bit forward but eventually there was nothing much to see and we stopped at a long jetty to have a walk. The jetty was beside the Colachel fishing harbor and I think it is part of a scheme for bigger things to come. The road was lined with concrete piglets that are usually used as building breakwaters. The wind was quite fresh and we could see breakers in the distance, maybe the piglets were intended to enhance the natural reef to make a larger port at Colachel. 

Colachel Beach and fishing harbor

Another Kattumaram

The "Love Tree"

After awhile we returned to the car and I had to convince the driver there was a crossing from the temple road to the seaside and that I wanted to go there and have a look on the beach too. We arrived there and turned as instructed. There was a small church and a path to the beach. The path was lined by flowers called "Love Tree" in Thai. At the beach there was a small concrete slab 7x7m, probably used by the smaller fishermen to offload their takes. There were also several Kattumaram's pulled up on the sand. 

Colachel Home Stay

Banana shop

After awhile we settled into the car and headed back to Nagercoil. Richard tells us Colachel was badly hit by the tsunami in 2004 and the government had built along long swathes of beach a protective barrier that was several meters high. Driving beside it one did not really realize that the sea is on the other side. On the way we pick up some cold beer and take away food and have it at Richards pad.

Richard & his Mom

After lunch we meet up with Wonita and her niece Annabel. We pile in the car and go to the biggest gold shop in Nagercoil. The shop is huge and sells everything one could imagine in jewellery way. We find out that the gold sold in India is not as pure as in Thailand (99.9%) and so we start looking at silver jewellery. Jira settles on a couple of rings, I just watch. 

Nagercoil clocktower

Next stop is at a small mall where we check out shoes and skirts and shirts. Eventually we get some more suitcase filling there too. Then it is towards the Hotel but we detour via Richards church where I meet his cousin who gives me a short statement of facts. namely, that this is the head Church for C.o.S.I. (Church of South India), that is the biggest congregation with some 400 affiliate churches and their other bishopry of C.o.N.I. (Church of North India) which has their own affiliate churches. The CoSI was established in 1819.

Ashley, Jira, Allester, Me, Wonita & Annabel

After this we go to the hotel to freshen up for our farewell dinner with Richard and his lovely family at the Varas Restaurant. As the fishing was banned for the spawning season the many restaurants we had visited in Nagercoil and surroundings had no seafood at all and Varas made no exception in this. Pork is also not popular in India so we settled for chicken and mutton. Food was good and when everything was finished it was time to say goodbye and head for the hotel.

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