Christmas 2020

Pristine Beach by a Quaint Village

The evening sky broke into an intense assortment of red, pink, orange, and yellow as we watched the mellowed sun gradually recede into the glittering waters below. Standing on that elevated sandy ground, we silently observed the vermilion tinted waves compete with each other as they playfully rushed towards the shore. It was an incredible sight and we wanted to take it all in, keenly aware that it wasn’t going to last very long. 

Just behind us, on that sand dune, stood a beautiful Church, the white colour of which glowed with the setting sun. A few meters from the Church was a wooden Holy Cross standing tall on an elevated platform.

Pic 1: The sky was an assortment of colours – yellows, oranges, reds, pinks

We were at Manapad Beach. It was Christmas Day and I couldn’t have thought of being at a better place! And, this beautiful experience happened only because someone made it possible for us. I have always considered myself immensely fortunate when it comes to people I get connected with in my life. Some of these wonderful people are fellow bloggers I have met through WordPress and I have mentioned this umpteen times.

This post is dedicated to Sugan, who blogs at The Buffalo Rider. Do visit his blog and I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.  

On Christmas Day of 2020, I landed at Kanyakumari. Quite an impromptu trip and I hadn’t had the time to plan it well. I had visited Kanyakumari twice before, once many years ago as a little child with my father and another time a few years back with friends. However, the only thing that I recall about Kanyakumari is Vivekananda Rock and that’s not surprising at all.

It was during a random conversation on Instagram that Sugan had mentioned that he belonged to Kanyakumari offering to make recommendations if I ever decided to visit again. As promised, Sugan created an itinerary for me when I informed him about my plans. Usually that’s what people do. That’s what I would have done if someone was visiting Shillong or Bangalore. However, Sugan went a step ahead. He gave his precious time to us spending an entire afternoon and evening with us taking us around in his SUV, which he fondly calls ‘Buffalo’.

Pic 2: The Holy Cross Church and the wooden Holy Cross atop the sand dune

Just a few hours after we reached, Sugan picked us up from our hotel. After a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant, he took us to Vattakotai Fort. I will write in detail about this place in a separate post. Thereafter, we started for Manapad Village. Manapad is a coastal village with a dominant fisherman population and is located in Tuticorin, about 75 Km. away from Kanyakumari . The drive from Kanyakumari to Manapad is exquisitely beautiful, which was a compelling reason for Sugan to recommend this place to us.

Little Details from the Village

As we arrived at the village, the first thing we noticed was the steeples and spires of various churches nestled between the brick-red roofs of the whitewashed houses. The Gothic-styled churches stood out, intriguing us sufficiently. I got to know later that these were St. James Church and Holy Spirit Church – two of the three churches in Manapad. Thinking that we would visit them later, we headed towards the beach. The Holy Cross Church is located on an elaborate sand dune on the beach. It being Christmas there were a lot of people at the Church. We climbed the sand dune and spent the entire evening watching the sunset. Consequently, time ran out and we missed visiting the two Gothic styled churches we had seen earlier.

An interesting aspect of this beach is that water is separated by stretches of sand in some places creating clear blue lagoons. Another thing that drew our attention was a well in the beach which provides fresh water to the villagers who fetch drinking water from this well.

Pic 3: Climbing up a sand hill is not all that easy. Sugan on the left and my sisters on the right.
Pic 4: Clear blue lagoons separated from the sea by chunks of sand. Notice the village on the left, the spires of the Gothic-styled churches can be seen.

I wish I could spend at least a day in the tempting clean sand and blue waters of Manapad. I had no idea that such a quaint little village with a mesmerizing beach existed in Tuticorin and one that is easily accessible from so many places in South India. The fact that Manapad is relatively unknown to the usual touristy crowd only adds to its charm. Such offbeat places can only be experienced when you are lucky enough to have a local connection.

I definitely owe my Christmas, 2020 to Sugan. Your hospitality inspired me. You taught me how giving your valuable time to people visiting your hometown can completely elevate their experience of that place. I ought to do more when people I know visit my hometown.

Pic 5: Sugan spends a quiet moment lost with the waves.

An Addendum

Here’s an interesting story I read about the Holy Cross at the beach.

In 1540 a Portuguese ship was caught in a dreadful storm. It was at the risk of sinking with its sails splitting and mast snapping. The captain entrusted the safety of the vessel to Christ and vowed to construct a Cross from the splintered mast if they escaped alive and have it installed wherever they land safely. After drifting for several days, the ship washed up on the shores of Manapad. The captain kept his vow and planted a Cross atop the sand dune.

Furthermore, when the cross was in the form of a log, cut off from the broken mast, a villager had cleaned his foot removing filth by rubbing on the log. Soon, his foot swelled up and he felt immense pain. That night the villager had a vision that the ailment was due to his defiling the log. In order to get cured he was asked to wipe the muck off the log, smear the log with oil, and then apply the same oil to his foot. The villager did as he was told and was cured.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

17 thoughts on “Christmas 2020”

  1. I have never heard of this village and haven’t been to this region. I was supposed to be here in summer of 2019 but the plan didn’t materialize. I do feel being connected with good souls is definitely a matter of luck. Looking forward to your another post as committed by you in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like Kanyakumari, though this was my 3rd visit. Though I had expected lesser crowd, it wasn’t quite. However, 95% of the tourists were from South India. I do hope you get to visit it sometime. And, do go to Manapad. 🙂
      Thanks for reading, Arvind.

      Like

  2. Wow – so glad things are looking up enough to allow a bit of travel there. Things here are not so good. Lockdown has become more strict and there will be more strict requirements for people returning from abroad. Vaccine rollout is slowing and the more transmissible strain is starting to spread here as well.

    But this looks so lovely. I’m already dreaming of heading back to India. There are so many places I need to travel and I’m definitely cycling again. Cycling to Kanyakumari by way of back roads would be amazing. Even more amazing if I could start somewhere far to the north and get a good 4-8 weeks of cycling in and really spend some time. I just need to get my remote work mojo down to a fine science.

    Oh, and get this pandemic behind us!
    (and in the short term catch up on reading what you’ve written!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy to see you here, Todd. I am also running behind in catching up with all the blogs I enjoy reading.

      Have heard a bit about the protocols from a neighbour who now stays in Canada and had come over for a few days. The new strains are the most worrisome.

      Cycling to Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of Indian peninsula and that too from all the way from the North will be an amazing adventure. Sincerely hope the pandemic becomes a thing of the past soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This place is new, and awesome! And the picture of the lit up cross against that peaceful sunset is divine, a perfect landing for Christmas Eve. Great trip overall, Kanyakumari is in waiting for me for quite some time, I wanted to drive till there with rameshwaram included. Let’s see when the pandemic allows…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Know what, Deb, I also would like to drive to Kanyakumari some day. I can imagine how beautiful a ride it’ll be.
      BTW, hope all is well with you. Haven’t seen you around in a while. Guess you’re occupied at work. That’s quite the same story with me. The present role that I am into is much more demanding and accountable than the previous one. And, that isn’t making me greatly delighted. Just hoping that with time I will figure out to balance out the work situation better.

      Like

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