Started at 6:30. Went straight to Ambalapuzha, 11 kms from Alappuzha. The kalabha utsavam was going on there. There was crowd but we had a good darshan. Took the token forthe famous offering of the temple - Palpayasam. The prasadom will be distributed at 12:30 only. We then proceeded to Mannarsala, the temple for Snake god. Around 10 tourist buses and numerous taxis were already parked outside the temple premises. Though there is heavy rush, you cannot feel the cr since people keep moving. It was pooja time. the offerings are done near the kodimaram ie. outside sanctum sanatorium. The speciality of the temple is that the poojas are done under the guidance of the female head of the family, which runs the temple. She is called Amma. Amma sits inside the temple and does chantings and poojas. One can have a darshan of Amma through a small window. Heard that only brahmins are allowed inside the temple. Since the morning itinery was only temple visits, we both were in the traditional attire (Dhoti and saree). And Satish had removed his shirt as is customary inside the temple. So after the pooja we were let in, with out any questions. We could speak to Amma and she blessed us and gave vibhooti as prasadom. We went to the Mana/Illam, to visit the main temple.
The Haripad Sumbhramanyan is 5 kms near of mannarsala. Went to Subramanyan temple. Thats a huge temple. Most parts of the Ootupura were in ruins.
Had breakfast and our next stop was Chakkulathu kavu. I was overwhelmed to see the crowd on the premises. It was as though there was some festival. Had to wait in the queue for half an hour. The good thing, there is no one to push you when you reach before the deity. They give ample time to have the darshan. Went around the temple. This is famous as Sabarimala for ladies. Another speciality is, temple allows entry for all people irrespective of their religious belief.
On our way back to Ambalapuzha, we stopped at Karumadikuttan to have a view of the Buddha statue. It is a half broken, black statue of Lord Buddha. We drove back to Ambalapuzha to collect the payasam. Had to wait there for an hour or so. Reached Alappuzha by 1:30. Had lunch and took some rest in the room. We had whole of evening at our disposal. We both have a fascination for greenery and wanted to have a look around the famous Kuttanad paddy fields.
Our drive was ready to show us and we started at 4:00p.m in the evening. It was indeed a visual treat to us. We went almost till Changanchery/ The sight from Nedumudi bridge was spectacular.
On the way back stopped at a drive in restaurant to have our evening tea. It was almost 6. We ordered tea and there was no snacks left there. Alappuzha is famous for non-veg and for pure veggies its tough. Thanks to Aryas chain of hotels, we survived our two days stay. In fact there were two of them close by in the area where we stayed.
The waiter said he will serve Kappayum,meenum (Cooked tapioca with fish curry as side). When asked for veg. side, he said, kadala (Brown chickpeas) will make a great combo. Served us a plate of steamed and sauteed tapioca with a bowl of hot and spice black channa curry. It was indeed a winning combo. Raju dropped us at the beach and we bid good-bye to him. Promising that we call him during our next visit to Alappuzha. He was indeed very sweet to enquire if we had a safe journey back home, the next day.
We spent an hour at the beach and returned to the hotel. Next morning, returned by the weekly Trivandrum-Mumbai train at 8:30, reaching Palakkad at 12 p.m.