The adventurous trip to Chennai
A very delicate time of the year for the people of Chennai. Writing a piece on this city makes it very significant during this time as the place lost in floods presently is in reality one of the life changing trips of my life. I travelled to Chennai about three years back. When I first got to know that I needed to move to Chennai, I dreaded to the very thought of it. With the north Indian’s stereotyped mindset I couldn’t accustom myself into settling there for few months. Rightly said “Always go with the choice that scares you the most because that is the one that is going to help you grow” and to the matter of the fact this trip proved this to me.
In the year 2011, I travelled to Chennai in the month of May-the hot sweaty month of the year. I landed in Chennai and moved directly to Shollinganallur (south of the city) towards my rest house. I had few days to before my official work started so I collected all my strength to step out and explore the city and remember reciting ‘for better or worse’ to myself over and again.
I fetched up the Map of this place from the city and marked the places that were near by and that I could manage to travel day1. My completely exploration of this city is via Chennai’s public transport Bus that does an applaud able work in commutation aligned on proper time intervals to every part of the city.
I first set to visit the Kapaleeshwar Temple, Mylapore to begin with my journey of exploring Chennai. What a best way to start a journey, Isn’t it? One of the oldest temples of Chennai, this temple is said to be built from the 7th century and houses many halls inside. Said to be the shrine of Lord Shiva’s wife who is worshipped here, this temple is magnificent with beautiful arcade and a majestic façade. The temple is built on the sea shore and the visit to this temple would bring to life the historical architectural works of men around centuries ago. Next I visited the Samthome church situated in santhome locality in mylapore. A beautiful church and one of the few churches to be built over the tomb of an apostle. Later in the evening I visited the Marina Beach with few friends of mine who put up in Chennai. This is one of the longest urban beaches in the world. One of the most crowded beaches right in the center of the city with prohibitions on swimming and playing in the waters of this beach due to abrupt high currents in the ocean. Nevertheless people still amuse themselves by swimming and bathing in the beach. Patrolling is carried out around the beach continuously. Light house overlooking the Marina beach gives the specular view of the beach from the top. We grabbed some dinner at Terrace café & Grill, Nungambakkam.
The next day I planned to visit the famous Guindy National Park, one of the smallest national parks of India. This national park is situated in the city itself so one does not need to travel really far from the city. A house to many deers jackals, snakes, crocodiles, blackbucks, tortoises and around 100 plus species of birds. Later in the day I visited the Besant Nagar Beach, one of the famous beaches for youngster with a lane o frankies, banana chips and food restaurants lined up on the streets. This is also known as the Eliot’s Beach. One of the cleanest beaches of Chennai with a memorial built on this beach called Karl Schmidt Memorial in honour of a dutch sailor who is said the day at Urban Lounge, Shollinganallur with some friends drinking to the Tollywood songs up and relishing the beautiful explorations of city beautiful.
Unlikely as I thought the people of Chennai were very warm and hostile. I made few friends there who toured me along the place. The people of Chennai are fun loving and very straight forward and helping especially if you are an outsider, you can really count on them.
Third day I visited Mahaballipuram in the day in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. Around an hour’s drive from the city, this is said to be the famous sea ports for Portuguese traders back in 7th century. It has some amazing rock carvings of elephants and few gods and goddesses and an ancient Mammlapuram temple. Another attraction at this place is the big Butter Ball, the “butterball” is a giant balancing rock, 5 meters in diameter, perched on a smooth slope.
Late in the evening I went to Mayajaal which is a entertainment center with 16 plus screens put up for the viewers,shopping complex and resort. We know how much are south people fan of movies which is quiet evident because of the Tollywood movies and its fan following. This place has new movies put up every Friday and draws in quiet an amount of movie buffs every weekend. The same night I left for Tirupati Balaji. An overnight drive in the bus takes you to this religious shrine. Located in the Chittoor district of Andhra. The temple dates back to about 14th century and is a huge pilgrim spot.
Chennai is a beautiful city famous for temples with carved gods and goddesses. This city has taught me patience, loyalty and the love for history. And I do remember just the day after I left for Delhi from Chennai the place was hit by a small tsunami. All the trains were halted for next few days. That was the time I felt how close this place grew to my heart and that how much wrong I felt to have false image of this city beautiful initially.
Again the floods in this city has reminded me of the historical times I spent in the city and I pray with my joined hands for this place to recover soon from this natural calamity.