South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam!

Tripoto
25th Dec 2018
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Day 1

The ancient city of Rameshwaram isn't the first thing that would strike a young backpacker's mind for his next vacation. But here I am in Rameswaram with zero expectations as a solo backpacker. As soon as I boarded the train at Chennai to reach Rameshwaram, the atmosphere has suddenly changed. I was feeling as if I am in a train heading to North India. The train was filled with families from all parts of India with many elders.

Probably I was the only one in my compartment in 20's.

The famous Pamban bridge was under maintenance, so train was terminated at Mandapam and passengers were transferred to buses to reach Rameshwaram. The 15 minutes ride in the road bridge with the view of Pamban Rail bridge and ocean on both sides were a real treat to my sore eyes.

As soon as I got down the bus, the first thing I noticed I was standing in "Middle street" (Nadu theru in Tamil) that is the name of the street!

I booked my stay in Brindhavan Residence which was located at a walkable distance from the Ocean and Temple. The hotel was kind enough to offer an early check-in, since actual in check-in time was 12:00pm.

The AC room was neat for a price of Rs.1000. The staffs guided me about the practice of taking bath in Agni theertham(the ocean), followed by 22 holy thirthams and visiting the temple. (Carry a pair of dry clothes to change, since you won't be permitted with wet clothes inside the temple)

Cameras and Mobiles are strictly "NO" inside the temple, so you better leave them at your hotel.

After following the tradition of taking bath in all Holi theertham and worshiped Lord Ramnathaswamy.

The state government runs regular bus service to the ancient ruins of Dhanushkodi, which was destroyed during a cyclone of 1964. For a mere Rs.30 you could take the bus ride instead of paying higher for an Auto.

Accidentally it was December 24th the black day on history of Dhanushkodi

Temple Tower/Gopuram!

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Ruins of a Church in Dhanushkodi

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

A destroyed Hindu temple

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Nadu Theru..????

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

A poster for remembering the black day of 1964

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Ruins!

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Hitchhiking

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Dhanushkodi had its own Railway station, Harbour and bus transportation prior 1964. But because of the catastrophic cyclone on 24 Dec 1964, the entire place was torn in to pieces leaving the land unhabitable.

All that remains was just the proof how terrible the cyclone was. Church..temple..railway station..the cyclone has tore down everything. Dhanuskodi is no longer a ghost village, thanks to local vendors selling shells, tea and snacks to the tourists. The sea was calm with beautiful tides. I spent a little longer on dhanushkodi, that I missed the last bus (at 5.30pm) back to rameshwaram.

I had to hitch hike with local fisherman back to rameshwaram. I have reserved the second day for my attempt to explore Ram Sethu.

Day 2

After a comfortable rest in the hotel, I checked out the next morning and dropped my backpack in a cloak room and took a boat ride(rs.70) in to the Ocean.

Also I walked along the shore to a fishing port and interestingly found a lot of idols of Hindu Gods washed up ashore! I have no idea what time period they belong or how they ended up there.

Then I took the same bus that takes you to Dhanushkodi. Actually the bus goes up to the point of Arichalmunai (eroded tip) which is last motorable point in to the ocean. Got down at the arichalmunai and wandered away from the tourist crowd and ended up in a sand dune, between the oceans. I walked slowly into sand dunes with water up to my knees and reached other side of the dune..which is a discontinues stretch of sand riffs in the ocean. Gathering courage with no humans in sight, I walked further as the strip narrowed down until I received a message on my phone. It was from "Airtel SriLanka" welcome message. Only then I realized that I wandered way too much  and turned around. On my way back in the sand dunes I even found an Olive Ridley sea turtle on the shore.

This 1.5-2hours of exploration on a narrow sand ridge(possibly the Ram sethu itself) was really a life time experience.

Check out my vlog on YouTube here

https://youtu.be/EoyBXm6aiDE

From Kanyakumari, I took a bus back to Madurai, from where I have reserved a train to the Cape town of India-Kanyakumari.

Abandoned Shiva lingam base

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

To the boat ride!

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Submerged foot of a statue!

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

An Old Shivalingam washed up ashore

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Lord Murugan or Karthikeyan!

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

The discontinued sand dunes/Ram setu

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Doordarshan's telecast tower! The tallest man made structure in India-330mtrs with temple gopuram in foreground

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel

Fishing port in pamban

Photo of South Tamil Nadu in 5days! Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Tanjore, Srirangam! by Niranjan Rajavel
Day 3

I reached Kanyakumari the next day morning around 7am. So I have missed the sun rise for the day. Checked into my Railway guesthouse and freshened up.

Went to the the Triveni Sangam, where Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet. Along side, the Gandhi Mandapam and Kamarajar Mandapam stands as a memorial for the great Gandhi and Kamarajar.

The statue of Thiruvalluvar at an height of 133 feet stands grandeur in middle of bashing waves.

Then went on to the temple of Goddess Kanyakumari. As I decided to go to the Statue of Thiruvalluvar, through the ferry service offered. But however the waiting que for getting in the ferry was astonishingly long, that I immediately dropped the plan and decided to see the place the next day early morning.

After a small nap in the afternoon, I walked to sunset point in Kanyakumari. I positioned myself on a small rock on the beach as the sun started to set beautiful. However the clouds played spoiled sport towards the end. The town was lit in the evening, with so much road side shopping going on around the Triveni region. Then I went to bed early tired from excessive walking for past 3 days.

The roadside shopping

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Sunset spoiled by the clouds

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Day 4

Next day, I arrived at the sunrise point and there are already 1000's of people waiting already. Once again waited patiently for the sunrise, only to realize that sun is up already behind a narrow strip of clouds on the horizon. Then it rouse from the clouds and everyone started clapping their hands(but why??)

Then I positioned myself in a better position to click the sun between Vivekananda rock and Thirvalluvar statue in it's golden glory. Then I went to stand in the que for ferry service, guess what the que was longer than yesterday!

Instead I went to Lady of Ransom Shrine Church. The place was so beautiful and the church was built in Rome style. My return journey was booked from Nagercoil and not from Kanyakumari itself, so I had to take a bus and reached Nagercoil in the evening.

I had to change train at Madurai to reach Trichy, but unfortunately I missed my connecting train to Trichy from Madurai. Luckily there are several state government owned buses plying to Trichy from Madurai 24x7.

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Early morning scenes

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Sunrise from Kanyakumari!

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Lady of Ransom Shrine

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The Triveni Sangam point!

Photo of Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Day 5

I was so tired when I landed in Trichy. Only then I checked my Google Fit app and found I have walked a staggering 55kms in the last 4 days. Took rest in my friend's residence in Trichy till afternoon and then started off to the Great Chola architectural marvel Tanjore!

Everything about Tanjore Brahadiswar Temple/Aavudayar temple is Large and Magnificent. The dwara palakars(the temple door guard) statues at the entrance are the largest dwara palaks in Country!

The Shiva lingam is one of the largest in India and so is the Nandhi! Temple was lit in Golden light of sunset when I entered the temple. As time passed, the temple was lit with lights and made the incredible architectural marvel more beautiful!

I returned back the same day to Trichy for the night.

Lit golden in the night

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The Nandhi!

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The majestic Gopuram!

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The entrance arch!

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Birds flocking across large temple

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Sun setting on the background

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Largest Dwara Palak!

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The entrance arch!

Photo of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Day 6

Today after an early visit to Trichy Malai Kottai/Thayumanuvar temple, with my friend we headed to the famous Srirangam temple!

The island on the River Cauvery is nothing but the temple complex itself.

The temple corridor is very large and I will be honest, you need more than a week at least to see the entire Temple of Srirangam! Being a Sunday and auspicious tamil month on Margazhi, the temple was flooded with devotees!

The sculpture in the pillars of temple are so mesmerizing! The amazing details carved in each sculpture will surely remain as marvel for many centuries to come. One fine example is the series of pillars depicting warriors on Horses hunting tiger or an enemy. The amount of details in each sculpture from the root gum of the horse, tail hair of the horse, the sword piercing the tiger and coming out the other side, the stripes on tiger..and I can go on.. one has see with his own eyes to understand the amazement I went through on seeing this sculpture!

One interesting thing about Rameshwaram is that the temple complex houses body of " Shri Ramanujam" a very significant vainav philosopher in "Mummified" form from 12th century. You can see the physical body, which is coated with some ayurvedic preservatives, that are replaced every 6 months.

I covered as much as I could in a day in SriRangam before winding up my beautiful trip across the south Indian architectural, Sculpture and Spiritual temples one must visit not during your end of your life but in your early life to understand the beauty of these places.

A scene from Ramayana depicting Lord ram killing the king Vaali from behind!

Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The a scene depicting back stabbing!

Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Naramisa avatar depicting the killing of asura by tearing open the stomach

Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

The major Gopuram!

Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Details on tail of Horse sculpture!

Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel

Details on the sculpture!

Photo of Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India by Niranjan Rajavel
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