Tamil Nadu- Beauty Beyond Imagination.

Tripoto
4th Sep 2017
Photo of Tamil Nadu- Beauty Beyond Imagination. by Akshansh Singh
Day 1

"Travelling- It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller" and I guess that’s what has happened to me after coming back from Tamil Nadu. A state that can leave you in awe with its mesmerizing beauty and captivating architecture. So my trip to Tamil Nadu began with a journey of one day to Chennai by train, where we reached at night, around 9:00 P.M. The first thing we did was to order a filtered coffee. Then according to our plan we were supposed to catch a bus to Auroville and for that we need to reach the bus stand and for that we needed a cab, Cab!!! Well if you ask me I sometime really want to thank the owner of UBER who saved our 200 Rs., and if you are thinking how, well for that you don’t have to think too much, we asked the local cab drivers and the auto valas about the charges from Chennai Central Railway station to Chennai Bus Stand and the reply was 600 Rs, then I booked an UBER and in just 200 Rs. we were there all confused as all the buses were looking the same just like a heard of zebras. So we decided to leave everything and have dosa and after a wonderful meal we asked someone who guided us to a bus which will take us to Auroville.

Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

So the night ended with both of us reaching there at around 2 A.M. and my brother meeting with his old colleagues and finally sleeping in a house which explains why Auroville is a hub for Architects. A house completed surrounded by trees, a shower area with no roof, only a few houses around, that to not stick next to your house and cats.

Photo of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Day 2

The next day started with a little sunlight, my brother’s friend joining us and breakfast from the best bakery of Auroville. Next in line after breakfast was visiting Dustudio the office where my brother used to work as an architect, not a place to visit unless you are an architect and so leaving my brother there, two of us went to Auroville library it wasn’t an usual library that you can see in every city, but a library with large and open windows, different room for kids with toys and story books, a big section of books bringing together different cultures from all over the world, a small kitchen open for all where you can make coffee or tea, and more importantly a place beside the window latch with cushion all over it where you can lay down comfortably and read but yeah do not think of sleeping.

Photo of Auroville Library, Auroville, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

We left the library in half an hour not that we want to but it was lunch time. We left the library without any clue or idea regarding where we have to go next, so we decided to explore the city and began with the most common but one of the most beautifully designed place The Visitor’s Centre. After a few twists and turns we reached our destination, a place that will welcome you with a tree beautifully decorated with a wind chime almost the size of a fully grown human and colorful lamps made out of used glass bottles. The visitor’s center might be a little crowded the aura of calmness and peace and not to forget the shops and cafes will never let you get bored of that place. So after reaching there and exploring the area a little, we went ahead for a quick tour of Matrimandir a big ball shape golden building with a large garden area around it where you can sit and enjoy the weather if it allows you to, but as they say names and faces can be deceiving and so was this place, it was not a temple with an idol in it for worshiping but it was definitely a place where you can think of everything that you like, it was a big hall with places to meditate where you can meditate for 10 minutes if you are a tourist and an hour or so if you are a permanent resident of Auroville, a place worth going.

Photo of Matrimandir, Auroville, Bommayapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

Well next up in the line was lunch and after that exploring the small societies of Auroville. But the best was yet to come after exploring Auroville we were off to Pondicherry, a place in India portraying French architecture. After reaching there we headed towards Surguru Spot that was a place where one can find the best South Indian food in Pondicherry, and when you are in South do what South Indians do and eat what South Indians eat, this line itself depicts that we ordered dosa, idli, sambhar and all sort of South Indian dishes. After a delicious meal it was time to digest it and what could be best other than walking to digest and that to walking on sand alongside Bay of Bengal, sitting on big black stones watching moon and stars, listening to the sound of crashing waves, and for a moment forgetting everything happening around you. Promenade was the place which is best for everything whether it is photography, enjoying peace time or eating.

Photo of Pondicherry Promenade, Goubert Avenue, White Town, Puducherry, India by Akshansh Singh

After sitting there for around an hour or so we started moving back to Auroville as no matter how beautiful a place is one cannot compromise with sleep.

Day 3

Next day began with a flop plan i.e. waking up early for sunrise, but as I said it was a flop one. Never mind the flop stuff, our next plan was to explore Pondicherry, but planned things never go in the planned manner and the same happened with us. Before going to Pondicherry we went to the Serenity Beach it is located somewhere in the middle of Auroville and Pondicherry and surely it was the most colorful beach I have ever seen. There were so many boats and then small piles of big black rocks where one can go and enjoy the beautiful view of Bay of Bengal.

Photo of Serenity Beach, Kottakuppam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

Without wasting much time, we went ahead with our plan of exploring Pondicherry, we reached there in about 10 minutes, parked our vehicles and it began with a funny scene of a movie being shot in front of us on Promenade. But as we were unable to understand what either one of them is saying so we went ahead inside the colonies and it was something worth watching, it was not like any other Indian locality I have ever seen. It was a place where you won’t find a plethora of colors but only a few shades, entrance doors will make you feel like you have reached into a different era, and a church so beautifully designed that an aura of satisfaction will emerge inside your mind.

Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges, White Town, Puducherry, India by Akshansh Singh

This was a day where everything was just perfect, the weather, food of course and this mesmerizing place keeping people awestruck. The day came to an end with a delicious north Indian meal at Punjabi Dhaba and then a delicious Ice-cream at Gelateria Montecatini Terme and then back to pavilion, Auroville.

Day 4

Next day was unplanned; this is an advantage of being a traveller instead of a tourist, you don’t have to plan anything just get out take a bike and go anywhere you wish to. So this day had the best start all thanks to the café Richie Rich, where you will find the best cold coffee with any sort of sandwich and fries and other tasty things that are way to tasty to just leave if you are in Auroville. It was a small café with great food and all the more friendlier people to serve you with a smile on their face. After breakfast it there was nothing to do so we went to see some buildings with awesome architecture I just went there to kill some time, but as it is hub for architectures and the other two were architects well you cannot help.

Photo of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

So after we were done sightseeing of some buildings, we went to Farm Fresh café for our lunch as usual dosa and coke. After that We had a bus to catch for the famous Sadhna Forest. Now people might misunderstand it for national park or a park where you can walk, well if you were thinking like this it is true not exactly but the mixture of both. After reaching there I felt like I reached in a different era with all the things made out of waste material or fallen leave and trees, not a single resource is wasted and that includes human resource too and completely vegan food. So after reaching there they had everything planned for us. First a guy came who greeted us and told a story about how this Sadhna Forest was started by a family of four foreigners, in order to protect the local forest of Auroville by implementing various methods and using all eco-friendly things and after all their hard work the forest was finally brought back to life.

Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After that he took us on a tour of the entire forest where he showed us the methods and techniques that they use to protect wastage of resources, their kitchen, the place where volunteers stay, their solar panel garden, the mud pool and the kids playing area everything was awesome and made of recycled things.

Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After which the next in schedule was two videos; the first one was regarding the Sadhna Forest scheme in which they told us about their four projects which includes India and other places where agriculture is not possible. And the other video was regarding animals; bears to be exact and after that it was food, all vegan and very tasty.

Photo of Sadhana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

So after being there for four hours and realising how we can improve our society we left the place. After reaching back to Auroville we went to our next location which became even more beautiful under the full moon it was the rock garden. A place surrounded by trees, rocks all over the garden and then a big single tree in the middle; it was a complete package for peace lovers. And with this our day came to an end, not actually it came to an end with us ending up with half cooked maggi as we ran out of LPG.

Day 5

Next day was a deciding day as we were confused about where we can go next in south, but before that breakfast it was and after that a little rest and then again lunch which is something worth telling about as it was Tanto Pizzeria, a place where one can find a wide variety of Italian cuisine and the best pizza I have ever had. The next in line was Auroville Beach it was a place where one will not find many tourists as it is known only to the people of Auroville and Pondicherry and that is the reason the beach and the water was clean.

Photo of Auroville Beach, Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After spending some time there we went back to the place where we were staying, packed our things and went to Pondicherry to catch our bus for our next destination which was Kodaikanal.

Day 6

Next day was a day in heaven, so yes after a 7-hour journey from Pondicherry to Kodaikanal we were there and the first thing we did was breakfast nothing special but dosa and filter coffee again and after which the game of roadies began and our first task was to find a hotel at reasonable price.

Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

While searching for hotels and after visiting a few of them we found a cab driver who took us to Ruban Cottage which was located in the outskirts of the city, we went there and checked the hotel and after taking look at that, it was nothing more than a waste of money and one can find better hotel that to at a reasonable price inside the city. And after wasting some amount of time in this we finally found a hotel worth money; Hotel Maharajas. The hotel was good, available at a reasonable price, with a great view of mountains and if you are lucky to get a corner room on the east side you will get a perfect view of sunrise as well.

Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After getting all freshen up we started our exploration, and in Kodaikanal instead of being on wheels, one should use his/her feet and save the money and spend it on the best homemade chocolates you could ever have, all this is possible if one can walk for 7 to 8 kilometres. But trust me those paths are meant to be travelled on foot. So after leaving our hotel the first point was Kodai lake, with a walking path all around it and a boat club. What differentiates Kodai lake from other lakes was trees all around it and the clear water.

Photo of Kodaikanal Lake, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

So it was worth standing there for a while after which we moved ahead without any plan about our next spot so we just started walking with our most trusted tour guide Google maps, which led us to Bryant park just like any other park it has a lot of greenery, with places to sit and shops outside the park from where you can purchase things to munch. After this we went ahead on a road which led us to Upper Lake View Point, talking about the road it was wonderful one cannot get bored even after walking on that for hours. But this was not the matter of hours it took us 45 minutes to reach to the Upper Lake View Point, the view from up there can leave any one mesmerized. The great mountains, lake, the city and the clouds keep everyone who visits that place company, not to forget the tasty maggi and tea that you will find up there gets even more tasty with that view. The sunset is a cherry on the top, as the setting sun spreads its golden light on the green mountain and on the colourful city which makes everything shine like gold.

Photo of Upper Lake View Point, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Upper Lake View Point, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Upper Lake View Point, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

So after taking some photos we started moving back to towards the city as it was already evening. After reaching down we explored the city market, ate some chocolates and dinner too, and then back to room.

Next day began with a beautiful view of rising sun from the window of our room, after which we got ready had breakfast at our old spot and a paper dosa seems perfect for breakfast,

Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Day 7

and after which a visit to Kurinji Andavar Temple as a trip is never completed without visiting a religious place and temple was worth visiting.

Photo of Kurinji Andavar Temple, Kurinji Andavar Temple Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Kurinji Andavar Temple, Kurinji Andavar Temple Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After which we started our walk towards the pillar rocks. While heading towards it, we stopped at Liril Falls where there was hardly any water but still it was somehow surviving the persecution of human kind. The falls hardly took 10 minutes but after which we decided to go inside the forest which was behind the falls and it was beautiful and dangerous as we encountered a bison which reminds me of a disclaimer for any one visiting Kodaikanal and who is interested in going inside the forests or want to travel on foot, you have to use your eyes and ears to keep a check that you don’t run into a bison and if you do make sure your legs are in good shape. But that bison just passed without doing anything, so after that we went inside the forest clicked some pictures on a fallen tree and started to move again.

Photo of Liril Falls, Golf Links Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After which we stopped nowhere but directly at our destination; Pillar rocks. The time we reached there it was completely covered with fog one cannot even tell that there are mountains behind those thick clouds. But it was just a matter of seconds and it was all clear for seconds only but clear. But before we could have seen anything it started to rain and there was fog again. But it was just a matter of time and the rainy day got converted into a bright sunny day and with that the thick blanket of fog was vanished. All that was left were four big pillar shaped mountains, displaying their beauty at their best.

Photo of Pillar Rocks Viewpoint, Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Pillar Rocks Viewpoint, Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After an hour or so when we were done with our cameras and eyes we started to move back again and the song “Aj mousam bada beiyman hai” was fitting to our situation as the moment we start walking again the fog was on us all over again. Empty road, trees beside the road and not even a single trace of humans a perfect location for a ghostly photoshoot.

Photo of Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

Again in a few seconds everything was clear which showed us a broken fence and entry into the forest where there was trees and monkeys and spots for perfect clicks.

Photo of Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After spending an hour or so there we started our walk again beneath the evening sky beside a golf field, and a dense forest.

Photo of Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

Before reaching down we stopped at another view point named ‘The silent valley view point’ also known by the locals as suicide point, that point can really give a view to behold.

Photo of Pillar Rocks Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After reaching down we straight away went for dinner in Punjabi Dhaba which is a place I would not recommend to any one visiting Kodaikanal as the food they served was not of good quality and also the taste was not up to the expectation, after which a little market exploration and then back to our hotel room.

Day 8

The next day was all planned we went to Kodaikanal market ate different kinds of junk which includes my personal favorite spring potatoes,

Photo of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

and then at around 1 P.M. we boarded our bus to Madurai. I was shivering when we left Kodaikanal but just after an hour or so I was sweating which was expected after leaving a hill station. After a journey of three hours we reached Madurai, an ancient city filled with wonderful ancient architecture that will make you think “Just how can they make something this huge with so much detailing and with a plethora of colours”, but after reaching there we first searched for a hotel and our search came to an end after almost looking in the hotels of that area for one hour and finally finding a hotel with good facilities and reasonable price “Hotel Padmam” from where one can have a direct view of Meenakshi Temple’s east gate and if you can get up early you can have a perfect view of sunrise as well from its roof top.

Photo of Padmam Hotel, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After getting into our room we got ready and went to explore Madurai at around 8 P.M., and everything around was so beautiful that one can easily fall in love with the city and the first thing you want to see is Meenakshi Temple. After which we had our dinner at A2B restaurant where one can taste different cuisines but I’ll say it is an average place to eat, there are better places in Madurai that one can find only if you are going to have your dinner before 10 P.M. because after that even the city likes to sleep a bit.

Day 9

Next day began with a beautiful sunrise from the roof top and a perfect view of Meenakshi Temple. But watching it from distance was not our sole purpose for visiting Madurai. So we got ready and went to Meenakshi Temple and the tour to Meenakshi Temple began with a line not a big one but yes there was a line which was moving faster than any other usual temples line I have ever seen. The proof of it was that we covered the entire temple in an hour or so, after which we sat near a small pool of water inside the temple and after two hours when we were done mesmerizing ourselves with the adoring beauty of the temple we finally left the place with wonderful memories.

Photo of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After this wonderful visit to the temple we were hungry, so we started searching for a good restaurant that serves good North Indian food and we found one near Meenakshi Temple Sree Mohan Bhojnalay, at first it looked like just some ordinary place to eat but their food was one of the best North Indian food I had in Tamil Nadu. After which we proceeded towards our next stop which was Thirumalai Nayak Palace, a Palace that has been turned into a museum and a theatre but one can still witness a great work of architecture and an essence of era in which it was built will always be present in that place.

Photo of Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Panthadi 1st Street, Mahal Area, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

This tour of Madurai with sun shining above our heads with all its might made us tired, so we decided to come back to our room and have some rest, after which we again went out in night at around 8 and again we were on the streets near the temple as it is the most beautiful part of the city, but tonight was not the night for a night out so we ended the night with a little walk and dinner at Vishaal De Mall which was something not worth going for neither the food nor the mall for shopping. When we were done with everything we went back to our hotel and slept early as our plan was to board a train for Rameswaram at 7 in the morning.

Day 10

So according to our plan we woke up early, boarded the train and after 3 hours the train was running on the Pamban Bridge and as far as your eyes can see you will only find blue and clear water. Rameswaram; a city that narrates the great tale of Ramayana with its culture and architecture.

Photo of Pamban Bridge, Pamban, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Pamban Bridge, Pamban, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

The city was good except for the weather for which we cannot blame the city as we visited the city in June. After reaching there first we visited the great Ramanathaswamy Temple which was clearly depicting the advent of Kalyug, the temple is renovated and was covered in a shiny golden coat of paint. After getting inside the temple all you can hear is people enchanting various religious mantras. The time spent inside the temple was relaxing as the beautifully arranged chants which were pretty much vague to me harmonized my mind and body for a divine experience. The temple was huge in every aspect, and the temple visit took us quite a few time but the time inside was really worth spending.

Photo of Ramanathaswamy Temple Gopuram, East Car Street, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

After which we went to a beach which was behind the temple, but the water was not very clean as people used to throw various things inside it on the name of religion which includes plastic bottle, clothes and other religious stuff they use inside the temple which makes the water inaccessible for other humans who go there not just for temple but for other things too.

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh
Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Akshansh Singh

But never mind that the beaches were pretty clean even if the water was not also there were small huts on the beach where one can sit and enjoy the view of great Indian ocean. The plan after Rameswaram was to visit the ghost town Dhanushkodi which was cancelled due to lack of time, so just after we were done with our town exploration and lunch we straight away headed towards the railway station from where we boarded a train towards Madurai. After reaching to Madurai we packed our stuff, had our dinner and boarded a bus to Auroville.

Day 11

The next day after reaching Auroville we spent another wonderful day by visiting the market and by having our lunch at Richie Rich, visiting Serenity beach again and in night we started our journey back to Chennai from where had our train scheduled at 5 in the morning. But as we reached Chennai three hours early we spent the entire night at the station, which was not so boring as whenever you are inside a station remember to look out for some fun you will always find some people doing funny stuff. With this the wonderful trip to Tamil Nadu came an end. “Travel as much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place” because living in one place means reading only one page of the entire book.

TOTAL EXPENDITURE- Rs. 20,000.

THREE PEOPLE- 7,000 PER HEAD.

INCLUDES FOOD, TAXI, HOTEL, TRAVELLING AND OTHER EXPENDITURES.

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