Tamil Nadu is a big state! We planned to visit the following cities- Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi, Madurai and Kodaikanal. I have briefly described the places we visited and the activities we did on each day. Happy Virtual Tour!
We took the flight to Chennai and finally reached Madurai. The direct flight to Madurai was unavailable but we don’t usually bother about such things. That is a different thing, that most of the time on the Chennai airport was spent in trying out the available dishes at the different counters. My brother and I are big foodies and our parents have learnt to bear all the cost. Just kidding :p
So we reached Madurai and an Innova was waiting there for us. We were off to Rameshwaram on the very day. The drive on Pamban Bridge is one of a kind. With vast stretches of water on both the sides, the roadway ride is ultimate. We took many snapshots over there. There is a railway over the sea which is built parallel to the roadway. The view is amazing.
Our stay was in the hotel TTDC( Tamil Nadu Tourism Development). During the evening we visited the Kalam House, the house of our former president APJ Abdul Kalam.
Early morning we visited the Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameshwaram which is an ancient pilgrimage city. The temple is huge and is spread over a large area. There is a traditional act of bathing with the waters of 22 wells which are situated in the temple campus. The process may take time but it is worth it.
Then during the evening we were off to Dhanushkodi- the tip which marks the end of the Indian Mainland. Many sites have addressed it as a haunted site. The town has a devastating history which you may google. The place will take you into thoughts. The white sand- unusual flora- The Shelter huts- pure waters- broken structures- looks like more of a movie set. You have to visit this place once in your lifetime. Personal vehicles are not allowed beyond a point and so we were on a local bus. The bus goes through waters-There is water all around. Also visitors are not allowed after 5pm. Since there is no electricity, such an instruction makes sense.
What a place!
We then started off for Madurai. We reached there by the evening and visited Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. The highlight of this palace is the 50 feet high pillars. The palace is huge. We saw a bit of the light and sound show and then retired to the TTDC hotel.
Early Morning we went to the Meenakshi Temple. You can see ladies wearing Gajra in their hair, dressed elegantly in sarees and heading towards the temple gates with a pooja thali. The temple has four gates corresponding to the four directions- North, South, East, West. The temple premises are huge. You cant have a detailed tour of the temple within a day. Every pillar here has a story to say. We interacted with a local here who told us how this temple has been a part of his life since his childhood days. The mesmerizing sound of the shehnai could be heard and I recorded it on my cellphone. We were in the temple for about 2 hours.
My mother is very fond of sarees. And here, the silk sarees are one of a kind. We shopped from a fixed price shop- Rajmahal. It is near the temple. This shop is quite popular here with sarees ranging from a mere 150Rs to ones in thousands.
And we were off to Kodaikanal- This hill station is the best hill station I have ever experienced. On the way there were local shops offering filter coffee- which is a must have. The taste of the coffee is amazing. As you enter Kodaikanal, you are welcomed by Silver cascade- the waterfalls. We visited the local market and purchased spices, handmade soaps and homemade chocolates. There were many shops in the street selling these items. The beautiful tourist spots were to be visited the next day. The location and structure of the TTDC hotel in Kodaikanal is amazing. From the view of the town to the view of the stars in the clear sky and the food- All is perfect.
Usually if you go to any hill station you will find lovers point- suicide point- echo point- view point and other points. It is quite different in Kodaikanal and maybe that is the reason you will fall in love with this place. We went to the Pine Forest. Such tall and pretty trees it has. The croaker’s walk is really nice with the views of hills and clouds. You feel close to nature. Opposite to it is the Bryant Park- Oh my my. Such colours- Such flowers- It has to be the best botanical park I have seen. We then proceeded to the Kodai Lake. The waters are clean and the lake is beautiful again. We did some boating. There were cycles available at a nominal rate for rent. I and my brother cycled along the lake. It is a very different feeling- the feel of the breeze on your face while cycling on a smooth road.
Then we roamed along the streets and purchased some souvenirs- bags, chocolates , key chains.
I did not talk about the food anywhere above. So let me just hit it right here- Idli-Dosa-Sambar-Vada-Upma-Uttapam, Try anything and you will love it. I tried a dish called Appam and found it delightful. South Indian food has just the right combination of masalas and taste. The coconut water and the filter coffee available here are relishing.
The carefree trip was about to end. We were back to Madurai from where we took the flight to Chennai and then finally from Chennai to Delhi. Cheers to the wonderful places visited and to the beautiful memories created.