My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu)

Tripoto
20th Oct 2015

Vivekannanda Rock Memorial

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

The clouds on the way to Kanyakumari

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Vivekannanda Rock Memorial

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

The view of Our Lady of Ransom Church from rOCK mE

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Tiruvalluvar statue

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Gandhi Mandapam

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Thanumalayan Temple,Kanyakumari

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

On the way to Tirunalveli random pic 1

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

On the way to Tirunalveli random pic 1

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Nellaiappar Kovil,Tirunalveli

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Emnnaxi Amman Temple,Madurai

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

KodaiKanal view from Bus

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Silver Cascade falls,KodaiKanal

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Awesome people i met on train

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

View with beach in danushkodi

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar
Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

At Ram Sethu(End of Rameswaram)

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

At Ram Sethu(End of Rameswaram)

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

At Ram Sethu(End of Rameswaram)

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar
Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Drive from Bus depot to danushkodi(View from van)

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar
Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Footboarding on train in Pambam

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Pamban Bridge 1

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Pamban Bridge 2

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Kodanda ramar Kovil,rameswaram

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

Pamban Bridge

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) by Rohan Mudaliar

All of us do have an inner self that thrives for adventure and that gets excited hearing stories of other people's travel stories and always wishes to go on one such trip.

I am no different from most of the people. I always followed stories of other solo backpackers and always wanted to go on one such trip since i started following Tripoto like a year back.

Maybe its destiny or spur of the moment that i decided  that i should plan one while at my office desk. After all i had Dushera season coming up. 5 days leave if i took one. So i zeroed in on Tamil Nadu. I knew the language and it should be  a good place to start off with for a first timer. I did my research and zeroed in on Kanyakumari, tirunalveli,Madurai and Rameswaram for my visit. I din't expect great things out of my trip,i thought lets just try going on one.Nothing wrong with trying. But boy o boy it was one hell of a ride.

Day 1:

Landed in kanyakumari . I had boarded a bus the previous day from Bangalore. Thought i should go to the tip of India and start the trip :P. The weather was crazy on arrival . Slight drizzle,cold breeze. It was my perfect welcome. I checked in to the hotel(Rs 175 bucks a day : courtesy :GoIbibo). Freshened up and  took my slinger bag and left to Rock Memorial. There is a jetty that takes you to rock memorial and Tiruvalluvar statue. I would say both the places were a good start to my trip. Scenic,peaceful and calm. So once this was done and i got back to land i visited Gandhi Mandapam, then grabbed an ice cream and sat by Kanyakumari beach.The beach is small compared to most others and not very good in the afternoons. So after this i left to the hotel,had a brief nap. Visited Thanumalayan kovil in the evening. And got back to the beach. It was around 7 30 .The cool breeze,the majestic view of rock memorial fully lit up,the sound of waves hitting the rocks.This was an awesome experience and i would surely recommend this to people.

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) 1/3 by Rohan Mudaliar

Day 2 : Though i initially had planned kanyakumari for 2 days,i had covered most accessible places the first day itself,so i decided to leave to my next destination Tirunalveli(wanted to go there to buy halwa mainly). I will have to say the drive in the local bus early morning from Kanyakumari to tirunalveli is very scenic. In Tirunalveli i visited Nellaiappar Kovil ,bought halwa from the famous Irutta kadai halwa shop. Had to wait till evening for the halwa though. Once this was done,i left to my next destination Madurai. Reached madurai, freshened up and then had awesome non-veg food at Kumar mess,awesome Jigardanda in the road side,loafed around a little and then went and crashed back in my room.

Day 3 : Got up early visited Meenakshi amman temple,and once this was done i took a bus to Kodaikanal. This ride was one of the more scenic that you will come across in your life. Once the bus enters the ghats section,the view on both sides id say is simply breathtaking. Special mention to the dam view from above.So i was almost lost in the surrounding views when the bus reached KodaiKanal. There is a beautiful waterfall just at the entrance called Silver cascade waterfall. So here is where i guess there was a slight disappointment for me. I hadn't booked my stay in kodaikanal. I tried searching for rooms to no avail(holiday season mainly). So i took a cab,visited kodaikanal lake and silver cascade waterfall and few other spots and took the bus to madurai. I got back to Kumar mess to have some awesome food,grabbed another jigardanda and made my way to the railway station.Had to catch the train to rameswaram that evening. There is something about train journey in India that intrigues me and amazes me. This journey was the no different. There was absolutely no place in the train . I just stood near the door. I did happen to have an interesting conversation about rameswaram,and some crazy stories with some oldies about rameswaram,hospitals,Ayurveda treatment and loads of stuff. Nice time pass. The crowd finally cleared once we reached ramanathapuram station.I was told to lookout for Pamban bridge after ramanathapuram. I was  looking forward to this part of the travel. The pamban bridge starts right after Mandapam station. Its difficult to describe in words how awesome the experience is.My advice to anyone is grab a seat near the door or window and enjoy the breeze and whole ride. It will just be an unforgettable experience.

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) 2/3 by Rohan Mudaliar

On thw way to kodaikanal

Day 4: I got up early to visit dhanushkodi. I was not really excited. I was taken for a pleasant surprise right when the bus started reaching the outskirts. The view with ocean on both sides of the road . Its truly scenic. When i reached the dhanushkodi bus depot ,i got to hear that the 4*4 services to the end of island has been stopped temporarily due to rain. This was kinda disappointing . Nevertheless i took the boarded one of the tempos and went to Dhanushkodi. The drive is quite awesome . The guys literally drive through ocean water. Off roading at its best id say. When i reached dhanushKodi i was greeted with a  pleasant surprise. The greenish blue ocean is something that's so beautiful , never have i seen water that's of that color. So here i grabbed a biscuit ,sat by the beach. this is when i got the insane idea. I thought ' I am here so far so why not walk till the end of the island'. So now is where the crazy journey begun. I started trekking solo and destination was ram sethu which was around 5 km away.Mid way through he trek it started pouring like crazy. I though il return to start. This is when i met two another awesome dudes Anish and Prasoobh. They told that even they were travelling to the end of the island. So it was three of us against nature now.We walked through crazy rain for almost half an hour with almost very less visibility. After like an hours travel we had finally reached. And man was the sight beautiful. Indian ocean on one side and bay of Bengal on another. And a small piece of land separating both.It is now that i felt a sense of achievement. But ya as the weather wasn't great we decided to leave early.The rain had stopped by now. We reached danushkodi. I told a good bye to anish and prashobh and sat by the beach to get some cool breeze and sink in the whole experience.I boarded the tempo to danushkodi bus depot. Reached my hotel evening and crashed at the hotel.

Photo of My Backpacking Diary – Chapter 1 (South-east Tamil Nadu) 3/3 by Rohan Mudaliar

Anish at ram sethu.

Day 5: Plan was to visit the temple and the thirthams. I finished the visit. The temple especially is beautiful. And after the temples,i left to pamban. Again footbaorded across the bridge ,i got down at mandapam station and took a bus to pamban bridge to see the next train from madurai cross the bridge. I could do both and quite frankly speaking this was one of the most exhilarating experiences i have had.So i still had sometime left. I got back to rameswaram. Took an auto and ended my trip visiting kodanda ramar temple and ramar padam. I boarded the bus to Bangalore in the evening and finally got back home the next day.

General tips for first time backpackers:

  • Plan your stays in advance and book if possible. 
  • Do your research on the places,try reading reviews rather than directly go there and find what to do.
  • Public transport is better and cheaper than autos.
  • Travel in day light.
  • All the temples visit either early mornings or evenings.8 to 11 is generally very crowded.

My trip lasted 5 days and i traveled across 6 cities and covered almost 2000 km and here i ma writing down my experiences. I still yearn for more. Id like to end the story by stating something that i realized during the trip  "IT is not the destination but the journey that makes travel enjoyable ". Looking forward to much more travel and more addition to my diary.

The start destination of my backpacking journey.
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
The statue is quite majestic. Its huge and you can find a hall with the kurals(writings ) of tamil poet tiruvalluvar. Plus the view of rock memorial is breathtaking from here.
You can find pictures of Mahatma gandhi at different stages of his life. I personally liked this place for the view you get of the rock memorial and statue from the top of it.
This place was a disappointment during the morning.Its very small compared to most other beaches. I personally recommend a visit in the night though around 7 to 8 30 . The view of the rock memorial fully lit and ocean breeze coupled together makes it an awesome experience.A sense of calmness engulfs your soul.
You would need to take a bus to this place. Its on the way to nagarcoil. Its not a very big temple. Its famous for its 22 feet Hanuman statue though.And the temple surroundings are very calm and peaceful. But beware of the pujaris here.. The will try fleecing you by telling you to buy something for darshan and then do some other darshan and so forth.
The breath taking view of the church from rock memorial was one of the main reasons i decided to pay the church a visit. Its quite peaceful and calm. The architecture doesn look very old,nothing much else to say about this place.
I had a brief stop at this town.Reached around 11 30 and left at 6.
The temple is humongous. The architecture and sheer size of the temple will leave you amazed. Plus its far less crowded,so its very peaceful comparatively. A must visit if like temples.
Well heard a lot about this place and their halwa. It stays open for just 5 30 to 7 or till stocks last. I bought haf a kg of the tasty halwa nd left for the day to madurai.
The temple is very famous,it was very crowded when i visited the place,not as calm as nellaiappar. But pretty similar in size i guess.
Good food and good people. That is how i can describe this place.The cost is comparitively more but i felt its worth. The biryani is very tasty. Good for non-veg lovers.
Well jigardanda is a traditional drink available in madurai. Its very tasty and i personally felt in love with it.A must again to have in madurai.
The view in the bus once the bus reaches the ghats to kodai is a treat to the eyes.Well for most places in my itenerary,i booked the stay before hand. Kodai was a random plan as i found time. I was highly disappointed with the fact that no hotels were ready to give rooms to a solo traveler(me:P) ,hence my only option was to visit the places and leave to my next destination
First place i visited in kodai. The waterfall is not huge. There are a quite a few shops nearby the waterfall..So feel free to grab some snacks and timepass here.
The lake though crowded is very beautiful.The only other lake i have seen is paykara in ooty. I could not got for a ride because of the crowd. But if you have time in hands,this place is a must visit.
So from kodaikanal,i travelled to madurai and then took a train to rameswaram the temple city.
The drive in the bus from rameswaram town to danushkodi is quite a sight.Once you reach danushkodi,to reach the actual place you need to take a tempo,costs around 150. This is quite frankly speaking crazy.These guys drive through ocean literally. Off road taken to an other level.Once you reach there i was just amazed by the ruins and the beach. It is greenish blue in colour. Never before have i seen such a beautiful beach in my life.I have traveled quite a bit to north goa and i felt still this is the best beach just looks wise.
So once i reached danushkodi i got to know that the transport mainly 4*4 jeeps to end of island has been stopped due to rain and bad weather. This is when i came up with the insane idea of walking/trekking till there alone(4-5 km from danushkodi). I was mid way through my journey when it started drizzling. I thought of abandoning my trip but luckily found a couple of guys goin to the end of the island too. So we three started our journey. it started raining so heavily that we could barely see beyond 6 feet from us. But we still marched and when we reached the end,it was purely worth it. The end of the danushkodi is quite literally one of the most beautiful things i have seen in my life.We stayed here briefly,for around 15 minutes and left as it started raining. This place is the highlight of my trip.
I visited the temple the second day of my journey,the temple is magnificent.Plus u have all the tirtham darshan. Its a very new and awesome experience.Id recomment travellers to avoid goin between 7 45 to 10. it gets very crowded. Before or after will be less crowded.
I foot boarded in the train across the bridge and came back to see a train cross the bridge. Its difficult to describe such an awesome experience. Its a must for anyone visiting rameswaram.
The path way to the temple is beautiful. A single road leading to the temple with water surrounded on both sides. The temple doesn have much. But its definitely worth a visit.
Traveled back to my start point by bus.
1 Comment(s)
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Nice write up with beautiful photos.
Sun 06 25 17, 07:19 · Reply · Report
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