Updated: Apr 3, 2019
Two years after moving back home to the Maldives, my best friend invited me for her wedding in South India, Kerala. I was super excited as I had missed living in India and missed my friends even more. I decided it would be a great idea to backpack and discover some places I hadn’t visited when I was in India. That’s when I decided to take a trip to Pondicherry and Kerala.
Let me guide you through my little Indian adventure. It was a beautiful sunny day when I arrived in Trivandrum, capital of Kerala, where I met another best friend, Priyanka (we were are bunch of best friends from school); and we went straight away to Aliya’s house (the bride to be). Where we were greeted with a warm smiles and hugs from her family. There were a lot of her relatives who had come to help out with the wedding, Indian weddings are one of the most hectic yet exciting weddings of all times. It was a new experience for me as I had never attended one and I was fascinated by how all the families come together to get the work done. First day and the next day that followed we had amazing south Indian home cooked food, which I still salivate to when I think of it. Wedding was still to take place after 5 days, most Indian weddings are over a week long with exciting ceremonies before the wedding actually takes place; I and Priyanka spend our time with Aliya sharing our stories and expressing how excited we were for her to be getting married to the love of her life.
After spending two days with the bride-to-be we decided take the road and backpack to Pondicherry. We wanted to spend minimum and experience backpacking for the first time. So we took a bus which goes straight to Pondicherry and it would take us 7 hours, we had reclining seats so we were quite comfortable , by the time we left it was late night and we were to arrive in Pondicherry by early morning. However house bus stopped functioning 2 hours before we arrived and were shifted to another bus which I must agree was the most uncomfortable ride of my life. By the time we got in the new bus, all the seats were occupied and we were left with the sleeper bed attached to it, it sounds comfortable but it was terribly hot, there was no air-conditioning or seat belts, so we were sitting down with our heads bent down and rolling on the bed for the next few hours, it was not fun but was an experience I wouldn’t forget.
After some rest at our tent where we stayed, we just took off to the city centre to explore Indian’s little France “Pondicherry”. There are fond memories of that day, we saw many French monuments, even some houses looked like it popped right from France. We walked around the whole day and got back to our little tent. We met a diver that evening, an Indian solo female traveller, Rachel. She was great and we soon became friends. Rachel was an interesting person, she was a singer from Mumbai and wanted to try backpacking solo. We spend the rest of evening enjoying some cold beers and listening to Rachel sing and play the guitar.
Next day me and Priyanka wanted to explore some museums and go to the beach, so we headed there. We found the museum, unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs; however being the rebellious girls, we planned and managed to get some ha!
Next morning we headed to the shopping centre, we could not find anything we liked however got some gifts as an appreciation for the boys and took good rest before we took our next bus back to Kerala. That was a night journey and luckily our bus did not break down and we reached safe and sound.
Our next stop was the very famous Kovalam beach in Kerala. They have really nice ayurvedic massages, however Priyanka and myself not being a fan of massages we didn’t want to get one. This time we treated ourselves by staying in a really nice cottage on the cliff of Kovalam beach. It was a bit of walk uphill before we reached our little cottage, it was situated on the cliff away from all the noise, very peaceful and romantic. We took a quick nap to recover from our journey and then evening we headed down to the beach which was a 10 min walk downhill. We found a nice spot on the beach by the rocks, set our arena, beach towels, books and enjoyed the sunset. After that we headed to the cliff which was lined by bars and restaurants. We sat there had some drinks and dinner, listened to some reggae music. Our walk back to the cottage was one hell of an experience, it was a 20 min walk in the dark surrounded by angry strays. Priyanka and I loved dogs, but that night, I think it was the darkness and the howls, we were really scared. A person from our hotel had come to pick us up, as they mentioned it was not safe for two young girls to be walking on a lonely street at that time of the night, which I think was quite sweet of them to do so. Anyway, back to our walk to the cottage, the strays howled and stared at us, it was like a scene from a horror movie, I think they sensed our fear for some reason, 20 strays surrounded us howling and then running back and forth our path marking their territory. I froze so did Priyanka, turns out our saviour (the person from hotel) was also scared of them. However we just kept walking really carefully, not saying a word to each other but sticking to one another, trying not to aggravate them, we finally reached our hotel gates and we ran for our lives and took a really long breath of relief, it was our longest 20 min walk ever, phew! We laughed about it later.
Kovalam beach was only an hour from the main city where the wedding was to take place, so we headed there the next day. The bride’s family arranged accommodation for the guests in a lovely guest house. This day was the pre-wedding ceremony, where they would sit the bride-to-be on the stage, and everyone would have to feed her an Indian sweet. Me and priyanka had a good laugh as our friend got fed with sweet for 2 hours long. After the ceremony we enjoyed a huge Indian meal and stuffed ourselves and prepared ourselves for the wedding next day.
Wedding was in a place which was on the outskirts of the city, so next morning all the guests were transported in a bus to the wedding hall. It was quite a fun ride, many kids and families singing all the way to our destination. We also dressed ourselves in Saree’s a traditional Indian wear, and I was excited than ever. We finally arrived and the hall was buzzing with people. There must have been almost 300 people. There was a stage, where the wedding would take place. Priyanka and I ran to the backstage to meet our very nervous bride-to-be to steal some last photos before she got married and became a wife.
We were then asked to go and take a seat as the groom was arriving, oh and I almost forgot to mention that the bride was not supposed to see the groom for a week before they got married. So this was a very exciting moment for everyone, especially the bride and groom. Finally the big moment happened, bride meet the groom for the first time before they wed, they exchanged nervous looks, smiles and finally after some recitals they announced them husband and wife.
The evening again was followed by amazing Indian food, Priyanka and I enjoyed every bit of it.
And with the wedding taken place our little adventure was coming to an end. Next day morning Priyanka left to her town and my flight back home was in the evening. It was sad to say good bye but happy to have made such beautiful memories and good friends during our trip. This was an amazing trip and I am taking back home memories I will cherish forever and I would definitely visit India again and explore more cities, as India has so much to offer, so many cultures to experience and places to discover.