6. Being an Aluvaite

@Alwaye, Kerala, India.

Back from abroad; back from England, Scotland and the spiritual lands of Sri Lanka; no longer in the Tamil lands either. This is no Canterbury; this is Kerala, God’s own country. This is Alwaye or Aluva, having two names as many important places of the earlier centuries. This place gives you one of the best demonyms you can ever have; Aluvaite, even as it is not officially spoken about. But I have found it quite interesting to be associated with my name even as I am not sure if I am to be called by that. Located about 16km from Kochi, 15km from Perumbavoor, 14km from Angamaly and 15km from Paravur, Aluva is a centre of attraction with heavy traffic. But still, the traffic blocks of Aluva is much less horrible compared to Paravur and Perumbavoor and obviously the city of Kochi, unless some random person creates an accident.

Aluva is a place of heavy historic significance. This is where the famous king of Mysore tasted his big defeat, from which he never recovered. The huge army of the Mysore king was defeated by the smaller Travancore army. Tipu Sultan, the fierce warrior who was feared even by the British and his powerful neighbours, was forced to retreat and the king of Travancore Dharma Raja got his hands on the much valued sword of Tipu Sultan which was left behind in the battle. This sword was gifted to the Nawab of Arcot; from there it went to London and was brought back to India only in the beginning of this century. In simple words, Aluva was the place where the might of Travancore was shown a long time after the Battle of Colachel where the Dutch was defeated. Thus Aluva is one of the most important places in Kerala and Indian History.

Situated on the banks of the river Periyar, the longest river and the lifeline of Kerala, Aluva is a beautiful place. This river and it’s flooding, along with some strange tactics have played a major role in saving Travancore from the ruthless attacks of Mysore. This river divides Aluva, but is joined together mainly by the Marthanda Varma bridge, Mangalapuzha bridge and the new Uliyannur bridge. On the banks of the river, we have the Travancore king’s summer palace, the Advaita Asram and undoubtedly the most known place in Aluva, the manappuram and the Siva Temple. The temple remained partially under water for some seasons and for Aluva Shivarathri festival, it is the most crowded and the most famous place around. Even after the season, it attracts lots of devotees. This temple and St. Anne’s Church; they are two places which keeps us spiritually close to the river.

Aluva’s two big landmarks are the Marthanda Varma Bridge, the clock tower and the Federal Bank Head Office. One of India’s largest private sector bank has it’s main centre in Aluva and has helped with the town’s progress. The bridge in the name of Travancore’s greatest king happens to be one of the oldest ones around. It has been broadened to accomodate the growing traffic with a twin structure on it’s side. The clock tower of Aluva is no Big Ben or what they are trying to achieve in Mecca, but it is simple and serves the purpose as we see it from over the fly-over which hides most of the other buildings. It is the NH-47, the most important National Highway in Kerala which passes through the town and this is where the historic Aluva-Munnar road starts. It is not too far away to join the Main Central Road or the NH-17 either.

Aluva is blessed with superior education; as it has one of the best and the most famous institutions in the form of Union Christian College along with St. Xavier’s College and a good number of schools which have had a long run. You can say that the place is blessed more with Restaurants as there are so many of them around and it is as if there are not enough hospitals to compete with this number and you won’t be happy if something goes wrong at some point. I would prefer one restaurant for each food item. Hotel Surya has been our legendary non-vegetarian place until I turned vegetarian; still food life goes on through Ghee Roast, Masala Dosa, Puri and the rest.

Aluva is the end of the Kochi city service and we can thank that feature for it’s development. Along with these developments, it hasn’t lost it’s soul or it’s religious factor as there are many churches, temples and mosques around. St. Antony’s Church and the Town mosque shares the same wall, Aluva Juma Masjid and the St. Peter and Paul’s Church along with St. Anne’s Church can be easily found. St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary, the largest major seminary of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is situated in Aluva. The famous Thiruvairanikulam temple is also not too far away. Aluva is basically self-sufficient. It has history, spirituality, religion, restaurants, hospitals, big shops, access through good roads and rail and also the airport which can reached in about fifteen minutes. It is the next big place. It will one day be the airport’s favourite city, the fame it will share with Angamaly.

Diving out —>