Continued from Calicut Diaries – Part 1.
After a quick lunch at the hotel’s restaurant (which sucked by the way – two dishes came without any salt) and freshening up, we set out to explore the city. We knew Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English between the four of us and yet, it was difficult to converse with the hotel staff. The receptionist was very sweet in telling us about a few places in broken Hindi (wondering how Tamil is not understood given its similarity with Malayalam). We depended on google maps in planning the evening. Our first stop was at Sarovaram Bio Park – which had an artificial lake and a lot of greenery. One can take the nature trails learning about the different plant species. I was loaded with my camera and often, slowing down the others. They would walk a few meters, realize I am not around and come back to find me., S was in no mood to go on the nature trails. It is in this park that I got to click these butterflies. It was just the four of us amidst a lot of butterflies and a little noise from S was enough to drive away most of them. Luckily, I had got my shot by then and S was spared from my lecture 😀 We also went on a boat ride in the artificial lake, where S did all the pedaling and I was left to click pictures. He pedaled non-stop for more than 25 minutes – this after driving the car for 12 hours with less than 4 hours of sleep the night before. Times like these remind me why I fell in love with this guy.
Our next stop was Beypore Beach – to catch a glimpse of the sunset. I was pretty excited about this beach, having seen a few pictures online. The beach supposedly had a long walk-way into it and promised great views. We were rushing ourselves through the sudden traffic to be on time for the sunset and just then, we got diverted towards the Beypore Port by a cop. Even after living in Chennai for 21 yrs, I had never seen the Chennai harbor. So I was pretty much excited to see the port at Calicut. Except for a couple of ships and few men (in their underwear), we had nothing else to see once we were inside. The diversion was pretty much to ensure we paid our entrance fee at the port. In all this confusion, we missed the sunset. Little did we know that the entire Calicut would be in the beach on that evening, what with Christmas and Milad-un-Nabi falling on the same day. I was in no mood to get into the water, looking at the crowd and decided to put my camera to the best use. After spending an hour capturing an odd boat, light house and the moon, we decided to head back.
Three out of the four of us were vegetarians and when we headed back to the city, most of the shops were closed. Luckily, we found a hotel selling dosas and that settled our dinner. Next day started with our quest to find Aappams in Calicut. First, we were out by 7.45 in the morning and again, most of the shops were closed. Our friends were hard pressed on only having Aappams and nothing else. When we enquired a few people in Tamil, we failed to get any response. One uncle denied ever having heard the name of Aappam. Again, luckily for us a small shop had Aapams (they called it Vellappam) but had only hard core non-veg stuff as side dish. The sweet waiter chose to bring us peas curry which was the only veg option available. We polished off 15 Aapams and two bowls of peas curry for just 130 rs!!
Our first stop for the day was Calicut beach. It was super-hot but we wanted to avoid the crowd at any cost. The beach was almost exclusive to us, given how bright sun was shining down on us. We clicked a lot of pictures, especially since we had someone to click our couple pictures. We headed towards Pazhassiraja Museum and blindly followed google maps. (Time and again, it keeps taking us to the wrong locations and yet, we have to depend on it). We lost a lot of time, going into a very narrow market road (following the map instructions). When we were finally out of the Big Bazar road ( called Velliangadi – a big bazaar that is more than 600 years apparently), we got into another issue. S did not notice a speeding bike while taking a U-turn and in moments, we were facing an aggressive man who chose to use some expletives. Quickly, all four of us apologized multiple times and S was even using “anna” (as in brother). Looking at our faces, he decided to let us go. All this, when there was not even a scratch on his bike. It took us all a little while to get back to normalcy. I still remember how aggressive his eyes were. Scary. Come to think of it, there were many over speeding cars and bikes, irrespective of how big or small the roads were.
Until we were in the vicinity of the museum, no one seemed to know of such a place. After a lot of missed and wrong turns, we reached the museum. I personally loved visiting this quiet museum that carried the art work of Raja Ravi Varma and Raja Raja Varma. We also got a chance to look at some of the historic stuff ranging from coins, statues, stuff from Indus Valley Civilization, Kerala temple architecture and the pottery works from different ages. The other interesting aspect was the Krishna Menon Museum, carrying the personal things and souvenirs of Late Krishna Menon. I was a little ashamed not having heard of such a powerful man from South India. But better late than never – I could feel the history unfold infront of my eyes, looking at the stuff displayed. This is where S and I clicked pictures of the Pink Gerbera flower, amongst many other flowers.
After a quick lunch, we went onto visit Kadalundi, a hamlet around 40km away from Calicut – again purely trusting google maps. The localities did not seem to know of the famous Kadalundi bird sanctuary inspite of living in its closest vicinity. Of course they did not know about it – the birds were on a far off island and we had no way to reach there. Disappointed, we were on our way back and luckily found a secluded beach. With the sea shore covered in black rocks and the sand soft as silk, we couldn’t stop ourselves from exploring further. Inspite of the harsh sun, we enjoyed the beauty of this beach. We got to see sand sculpting by a group (who seemed to be on high), so after clicking a few pictures we were out of there.
Our last stop for the day was yet another beach – Kappad Beach. The iconic beach were Vasco Da Gama first landed in India. There were three walk ways into the sea and this is one of the best beaches I have seen. We were well ahead of the sun set and for the next hour, S and I walked around hand in hand, soaking in the beauty of the sea and the setting sun. Beaches are such beautiful places – for a moment, silence engulfs you but the very next moment the silence is washed away by the waves. We also sat together in silence, doing literally nothing but at the same time having an unspoken conversation of a 1000 words. That evening, forever would be etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful evenings of my life. Of course, we didn’t see the monument carrying Vasco’s name but we had set foot in the same beach he had come to, many centuries after 🙂 We also saw the most beautiful sun set that day!
With an unknown happiness engulfing us, we called it a day. Day-3 was all the more special – stay tuned for part -3 tomorrow 🙂
Now for some of my favorite pictures (filtered hastily through the hundreds of pictures)–
@ Sarovaram Bio Park – is it a fruit or a flower?!
@ Sarovaram Bio Park – tiny buds of flowers.
@ Sarovaram Bio Park – I was reminded of the bacteria Hydra seeing these flowers 🙂
@ Sarovaram Bio Park – Evening sun playing its magic 🙂
@ Sarovaram Bio Park – At the artificial lake. A pond heron looking for food.
@ Beypore Beach – the long walk way into the sea. Look at the change of colors in the sky.
@ Beypore Beach – The orange Moon! A full moon day on the day of recent Star Wars movie (25th Dec 2015) coinciding with the full moon day on the very first Star Wars release in 1994.
@ Beypore Beach – reflection of the orange moon!
@ Beypore Beach – Light house and its light!
@ Calicut Beach – S carrying both our slippers, while I was busy clicking pictures.
@ Calicut Beach – The pier that served as a shipping point centuries ago. Whats left are the mere pillars.
@ Pazhassiraja Museum – a beautiful garden filled with colorful flowers.
@ Pazhassiraja Museum – a close up of the pink Gerbera flower. Photo courtesy – S.
@ Kadalundi – the view as seen from the secluded beach.
@ Kappad Beach – Sun shining bright!
@ Kappad Beach – Sun all ready to set 🙂
@ Kappad Beach – Almost there 😀
@ Kappad Beach – a close up!