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I LOVE SOUTH INDIA and the farthest South I have ever been to is the Kovalam Beach in the beautiful Indian state, Kerala. It was one of the destinations covered in the Sothern Splendour route of the Golden Chariot, the only luxury train of South India.
It was exciting for me, as extreme of South India has eluded me despite having traveled much in South India. Aralvaymoli station near Kanyakumari impressed me what with lush greenery and scores of windmills which dotted the mountainside. As the Golden Chariot stopped here for some time, I could not help but admire the beauty of often ignored part of South India.
As we were escorted to sprawling beach side of the Vivanta By Taj near Kovalam beach, my pace was slowed by the sheer beauty of the backwaters. Exotic birds of all kind stood motionless on the poles jutting out of water, dense palm trees reflected in the calm waters, few tourists returned from the boat ride.
A swing opposite the backwaters was in place for visitors to sit and enjoy the views. Such was the milieu here that it slows you down.
I headed towards the Kovalam beachside. Manicured lawns were populated with canopies for guests to sit and enjoy the breathtaking views of Kovalam beach over great food and drinks.
A European lady played guitar and sang soft soulful songs. The blue sky was turning into yellow and then a gorgeous orange-red.
It was one of the most dramatic and beautiful sunset I had ever seen. The huge lawn allowed me to take leisurely walk along the beach as the drama unfolded in the sky poetically.
The palm fringed pathways were soon illuminated with soft lights. The al fresco tables and chairs which faced the Kovalam beach were lit with candles.
People sat and talked softly as if in reverence to the mighty sea! As if keeping up with the mood of the nature!
Around 7:40 p.m., battery cars escorted guests to a nearby auditorium in Vivanta By Taj. I preferred to walk. An hour long Bharatnatyam performance followed by a dinner buffet was next on our schedule. The male female duo hypnotized the audience with their dance moves perfected over the years. They told the stories of Shiva-Parvati, Krishna-Radha and other beautiful chapters from Hindu mythology.
After a light dinner, I went for a post-prandial walk on the streets outside the hotel. Kashmiri merchants had set up stalls selling their jewelleries, clothes etc. It was late night and the streets were empty barring a few tourists and locals. The small amount of time spent here fuelled the desire in me to travel here again and spend at least a week exploring the southern most edge of India including Kanyakumari.
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