Day 1: Auroville, Auroville beach, Cafe Xtasi, Rock beach, Gandhi Statue, Promenade Beach, White town, Basilica of sacred heart of JesusAuroville is 15kms from Pondicherry. Google map came to our rescue and it took 30 minutes to reach Auroville. This place is famous for its Matri Mandir. To visit the Matri Mandir a 2 day prior reservation is needed. The place is very quiet. We did not have the reservation so we could have only the view from outside. It looks like a round shape golden ball.
A very beautiful hill station just a couple of kilometres away from Kodaikanal, this is a place you can visit throughout the year. The temperature is low throughout the year and thus do not forget to carry warm clothes whenever you go there. The rocks and watchpoints here are places from where you will get the best views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The main points here are the Dolphin's nose and the Suicide Point.
The name of the place means the Mother's Temple and is also known as the Auroville. The name was given after Rishi Aurobindo who believed that all human beings could overcome supernatural conciousness by rigorous meditation. It has a unique shape of a flattened sphere which is coated with golden discs and this is to represent that there are no ends and corners and that the whole world is round like a sphere here. The disadvantage is that not everyone get the permission to meditate here. This can also be taken as an advantage as you can go through the most peaceful experience due to less people here. As you start entering this place, you will have to remove your shoes and be in complete white socks. You will then have to ascend and descent steps to reach an inner chamber which again has two ramps and pillars which do not touch the ceiling. This is to give a feeling that meditation has no limit. Also the white marble is a symbol of peace here and the symbol of flower has 12 petals representing attributes of the Universal Mother. These are responsive, courage, progress, kindness, generosity, sincereity, peace, humility, gratitude, aspiration and perseverence.
Edakkal Caves : Discovered in 1896 by Superintendent of Police, Malabar, Edakkal caves are remnants of the grandeur and magnificence of our history and cultural heritage. Fascinating drawings adorn the walls of these caves and the area around these has large boulders crushing the large inflated human ego within a minute as they make people look miniscule in comparison to them.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
This is the prime attraction of Pondicherry and is also known as Auroville. This is like a meditation center where everyone is not allowed to enter. You need strict permission to visit the place and then meditate here. The whole structure of the Ashram is of a ball which is wrapped with golden discs. you need to take off your shoes and enter this ashram with white socks. As you enter this ashram you have to cross a number of stairs and then enter the innermost chamber. Here you will see a huge flower with 12 petals and also 12 huge columns or pillars. The number 12 is a representation of the 12 common aspects of the Universal Mother. This is also the reason why this place is also known as the Mother House. The Pillars inside this chamber do not reach the ceiling. This is to depict that meditation and knowledge does not have any end to it. You find immense peace over here and also get a lot of answers for the inner questions which bother you.
This is the highest peak in the Nilgiri region and is about 10 kilometres from the city of Udhagamandalam or Ooty. The main attraction here is the center for tourists on the peak of this hill. There is an observatory on the top floor of this tourist center and there are twin telescopes hre. From the glass paned observatory, with the help of telescopes, you get awesome views of the whole district till far away places.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this complex is made up of one large and two small temples. These were built during the the 8th Century AD during the time of King Narasimhavarmana II. This place during that time was an important port and a center for trade and business activities. This is known as the Shore Temple Complex as this is very close to the sea and a part of the coastal area on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. People who visit this place make sure to take a dip in the sea before worshipping here.
This Serenity Beach is a ten minutes drive toward the town's north. This virgin shoreline, with its peaceful surroundings is a perfect spot to laze away your day. Beautiful and outstanding, the name "Serenity" is exceptionally selected for this shoreline. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that this shoreline is a heaven for honeymooners. You will feel casual and quiet, as well as feel a feeling of having a place. This shoreline will give you an extraordinary perspective of the Indian Ocean and you can invest your energy in a voyage. Since the shoreline is not extremely well known yet, it is detached and peaceful. So keep all of your considerations about extravagant excursions to Paris and Italy away, and make the most of your special night on Indian waters where you will get a desire for time to achieve a standstill. Comparatively this shoreline is cleaner calmer and has a popular surf school toward one side of this shoreline.
Reached the town & went straight to Edakkal Caves ~7:00am. It offers a rock cave trek; Entry Fee: 20/-, Caution Deposit: 20/- for your plastic bottles (Just so you don't dump it there..). The best time to visit in a day is early morning as there are less people, sun rays aren't too harsh & to top it all, Its Beautiful..
Located in the main hill station of the Nilgiris which is Ooty, this is a lean and large lake. People come here for site- seeing, photography or boating usually. Other than this, picnics are a common site here because spending fun time with the family amidst such natural beauty is sheer happiness. There is also a boat house here from where you can hire boats. You get an option when it comes to the type of boats. You can anything from speedboats to the normal ferry boats. The latter can usually carry about 8 persons which means the whole family can enjoy a boat trip together.
Known as the second longest beach in the world, the Marina is a beautiful beach in Tamil Nadu. The golden sands and the cleanliness around serves as the main attractions. The slope is gentle too and this makes it ideal for swimmers. Picnics are a common sight here and you also walk along the shore as this is very long. There are a number of eateries surrounding the beach as well.
Home to more than 650 species of plants and herbs, this is a prime attraction in the Queen of Hill Stations which is Ooty. There are a number of rare species of plants and herbs here along with a number of varieties of flowers. The main attraction here is the monkey's puzzle tree which has a strange shape and the name is given because even monkeys fail to climb this tree. There is also a paper bark tree and also a fossilized tree. The other sections of this garden are the Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Fountain Terrace, conservatories and fountains. The Government also organizes a check everyday via the Horticultural Department of Tamil Nadu. The Summer Festival is a sight to behold out here.
A mere walk of 5 minutes, this is a watchpoint in Kodaikanal. More than a walk tourists love to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the surrounding sceneries from here. Since Kodaikanal is at a high altitude, you can get spectacular views of about 2000 ft if you look down. The surrounding mountains and valleys with the lush greenery and the view of the foamy waters looks awesome. The cool breeze brushing your face and the colourful, wild flowers geowing around you make it a memorable exoerience.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
There is a jetty that takes you to rock memorial and tiruvalluvar statue for Rs 34.The view of the ocean,tiruvalluvar statue and few of the destinations in mainland is quite beautiful from here. Plus the ocean breeze and sound of waves.It was an awesome start to my trip
Nothing but a watchpoint, Dolphin's Nose is very close to Kannur or Coonoor. The adventure filled path is misty and has criss- cross routes after which you reach the final point. Also, this place is best visited early in the morning to experience the true beauty of it. The foggy mornings are the best times when you can enjoy an awesome view of the Catherene Falls from. Apart from this, the view of sunrise is picturesque too.
A main beach of Chennai, this is better than most of the other beaches around. The main reason that the place is very clean and also not overcrowded. You can swim here, enjoy picnics or just come here for a friendly visit. The scenic beauty os extraordinary around and thus serves as a perfect place for some awesome photography too.
This is the prime attraction of Ooty and is an artificial lake which was constructed by John Sullivan in the year 1824. This was made by making dams run by the waters from the river which flowed down to the valley region. The main motive was to help fishermen by making fishing ferries out here. T^he lake is beautiful and is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and one one side runs a railway line too. The boathouse from where you can hire boats of all kind. This was opened by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Department and boating is the main activity near this place. During the summer season, anumber of boat races and paegentries are held here.
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate
On the top of Kolukkumalai peak, we sat down and slowly I noticed dew drops flowing on from my hair and my tshirt was filled with droplets to look like powder fallen on clothes.It was great experience there as I am seeing fog turning to mist and snow for the first time. We can feel the drops falling.We never thought of going down until one of us told that the Jeep driver must be wondering why we aren't returning by now.We went to Munnar from there, had some food and rode to home in a stretch.It was the most peaceful 1000km ride.
Everything about this place is mesmerizing! This lake is about 30 kilometeres from Ooty and the road in between is not very smooth but the trouble taken is always worthed. Eco tours are orgsanized here by the Forest authorities and these are worth enjoying. You can also enjoy walking around the picturesque surroundings or just sit and relax.
This bridge is on one hand a railway bridge and on the other a road bridge which was sconstructed in the year 1914. This is however more of the Cantilever Railway Bridge which was the first one of its kind in India and was also the longest till the time the Bandra- Worli Sea link was constructed in Maharashtra. The Pamban Bridge is on the Palk Strait and connects Rameshwaram on the Pamban Island to the main subcontinent of India. This is also a prime tourist attraction since the people going and coming back from Rameshwaram have to pass this to enter Kanyakumari. This is a typical commercial bridge however there is also space for ships band barges to pass through.
PICHAVARAM MANGROVE FOREST
HighlightsAttractions: Mangrove forests boat rideSeason: November to February for bird watching, September to April for normal visits.Working hours: 8am to 5pmWeather: 21°C – 30°C so mostly sunnyDetails:If pristine beaches, eloquent French cuisine and silent churches are too mainstream, Pichavaram is what gives you a feeling of “cherry on the cake”.
The Sunway GRT Grand
You cannot ask for better if you are at the Promenade. This is one of the three best hotels of Pondicherry and everything about this place is awesome. Starting from the look of the hotel to the services here everything is superb. The rooms are awesome and deluxe and views from each rooms are fantastic. Cleanliness is maintained perfectly over here and the food is very good too. This is no wonder a 5 star hotel with the kind of lawns and gardens and pools over here.
Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges
Known as the Church of Our Lady of Angels, here we see some brilliant masonry and architectural styles. When the church was built, to give it the colour of absolute white marble, fine limestone was mixed with lot of egg whites to make the walls very white. The upper part of the church was made in the Ionic style and the lower part was made in the Doric Style which are both classical styles of architecture. The design of the church was inspired from another chapel of France. The painting that you see on the wall of this church was gifted by Napolean Bonaparte. In front of this church is the statue of Mother Mary with Baby Jesus in her Arms. The church is in a place from where you can see the beach as well as the bay of Bengal. There are also statues of the Joan of Arc and other saints and personalities.
Another lovely place just at an hour and a halve's drive from the awesome ooty. This lake area is a part of the Emerald village which in itself is very less popular and thus never crowded whichever part of the year you choose to visit. This gem of a place is hidden in the middle of a number of mountains and you find natural beauty at its best out here. There is simply nothing much to do over here except for admiring the natural beauty or enjoying some time with your friends and family.
This is a place where the Cauvery River meets the Arkavati River forming a narrow ravine and also a deep gorge. This place is mainly known for its extreme natural beauty and also for the thrilling experience you can enjoy out here. You can park your vehicle and cross the river on foot only but you should be careful of the rough rocks here. The rocks b2ecome really slippery at times especially the monsoons. The river water has high current and taking the help of locales would be a veru wise decesion.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
This was a railway line in the state of Tamil Naddu which was built by the British in the year 1908. The passenger railway moves along 16 tunnels, over 250 bridges and 208 curves. The main stations withing this route are the Mettupalayan, Kallar, Adderly, Hillgrove, Runnymede, Kateri, Conoor Lovedale and others.
As soon as I entered the main gate of Padmanabhapuram palace, its aesthetic glimpse left me rapturous, While I was trying to froze the panorama in a photograph the guard interrupted me and asked to remove footwear and buy a ticket first. The front yard is nicely leveled with beige color sand. It was soothing to walk on warm sand ascribed to morning sunlight.As soon as we entered first building complex we advanced towards beautiful verandah with illustrious intricately carved wooden interiors.
Laws Ghat Rd Shenbaganur Kodaikanal
Ideally we should have stayed back at Coakers Walk nearby to watch the sunset. but we were in short of time. We drove to Kodaikanal Lake, found a small tea shop and spend our time idly. For those who love rowing/pedalling a boat, the Lake has fun activities lined up for a small fee.
1. Sim’s ParkThe first place everyone’s going to tell you to visit is this botanical garden called Sim’s Park. To be honest, none of us were kicked about strolling through the gardens but we made a visit anyway. Okay, I’m the reason we end up doing these things. I can’t help it. I need to go see what everyone’s talking about for myself.If you’re interested in botany, a walk through this park might be quite delightful for you. There’s a tiny lake that people can paddle boat in and next to it, is a tiny park for the kids. You have to pay an entry fees of Rs 30 to visit the park.
Suchindram Thanumalayan Temple
It was not 5 km but more than 15 kms to reach Suseenthiram. Though the navigation system asked us to take a right long before, we loved the 4 lane drive and kept heading on. Likely, we took the longer route. Many places on the way were worth visiting but this time we were focused. The beautiful magnificent white gopuram was splendid. Being a Saturday, the temple was crowded as it is known for Anjaneyar. It is special to dedicate butter and rose water to him and it was all streamlined as we went through the process. One thing here, for the people who are doing it, it is 10 + 1, for everyone who is doing it, it is special. Wish this understanding sets into the minds of people taking care of the pooja. The deities here are unique, you will see 3 faced god representing Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and the main lingam with a face of an ascetic with beard and jadamudi (hair bundled on the head), a very unique presentation of the lord. We always tend to go around the temple and the beauty of the carvings left us spellbound. There were steps to climb and on the top we have Kailasanathar in all opulence, a perfect meditative spot for those looking for calm and peace in the temple. Further as we came around, there was a smaller temple kind of structure, where we saw Ardha Meru and many gods and goddesses with the ancient structure preserved intact.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and under the supervision of the Archeological Survey of India, this is a monument complex in the city of Mahabalipuram in the Kanchipuram District. This is a part of the Coromandel Coast on the Bay of Bengal. These are known as Pancha Rathas because each of the monuments are built in the shape of chariots or rathas. Each of these are monolitihic structures and are built of one granite block each. From beginning to end, these are the Dharmaraja ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha. These were built during the time of the Pallava Dynasty rulers Mahendravarman and his son Narasimhavarman I. These are often mistaken as temples but were never used for the purpose since these were never completed at all after the death of Narasimhavarman I. Also, this place has simply no relation with the Pandavas from Mahabharata. The names were given just to make the rathas prominent and sitinguishable.