Category Archives: Tamil Nadu

Celebrating 100 years of Pamban bridge at Rameshwaram

The weekend trip turned into certainty only when Madhu had the confirmed tatkal tickets in her hands after over an hour long wait in the queue at the station.. So the next day evening, the all girls’ trip started from cantonment station. We just had a small chit with a list up of places to see.. No room reservations, no other tickets booked.. Totally unplanned.. We wanted to explore 🙂

The train reached Madurai by 7.20.a.m and we freshened up at the station itself.. Left for Rameshwaram by TNSRTC bus which are quite frequent.. 3.5 hrs through and we passed Ramanathapuram- the last stretch of mainland India. We entered Mandapam, the entry point of the island town of Rameshwaram.. 15min further, we couldn’t contain our excitement as our bus was cruising over the bow shaped road bridge overseeing the infamous Pamban rail bridge 🙂 A very very warm welcome to the town that would host 100s of stories from the Ramayana in the next couple of days.. Once, we had safe landed at the bus stand, we registered ourselves at the tourist office that stood right opposite. We wanted to try our chance to get permission to the Kurusudai island. Our visit there did help us BIG time(indirectly though 😉 )

We walked towards the temple road, checked into a decent hotel, freshened up and headed to Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. Lord Sri.Ram is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Then, why is the city’s named after Eshwar? It is important to know atleast this while you are there in Rameswaram. Here goes the story.. Ravana, (a Brahmin) was a devotee of Lord Shiva(aka Eshwar). On performing prayers, he was blessed by Shiva such that- anyone who tried to harm Ravana would face Brahma dosha. During the war between Ram & Ravana, Ram(a Kshatriya) killed Ravana and happened to face the wrath of the dosha. He had to perform pooja to Shiva, the only one who could help him out of it.  Here, Eshwar helped Ram. Thus, the name to the town- Rameshwar. There’s a similar story for a town called Ravaneshwar in Lanka 🙂 The world’s fifth largest monolithic Nandi statue guards the entrance of this temple..  Ok, thus said- We were overwhelmed to walk across the longest temple corridor in the world and felt blessed after bathing in the water from the 22 sacred wells on the temple. It was quite a tiring day due to a lot of traveling. We decided to sleep early as we had a long day tomorrow. 

Next morning- it was Holi day- The festival of colours. We were sitting at the Agnitheertham beach at 4.30.a.m watching hundreds of devotees taking a holy dip in the sea. But, we were waiting for something else… We were waiting to welcome a day that would unfold with a palette of the best colours that nature could show.. We witnessed what is by far one of the best sunrises we had seen till date.

Sunrise viewed from Agnitheertham beach
Sunrise viewed from Agnitheertham beach

We boarded a bus from there to Dhanushkodi- The ghost city. Though this part was the most awaited part of the trip, it was a let down by the end.. 100Rs per head for a round trip of the deserted city can be done in 3hrs for a tourist. But, we wanted to explore.. This can be best done if you can drive down in a jeep all for yourself without having to abide by other fellow traveler’s convenience. The road stretch upto Dhanushkodi is to die for.. It is BEAUTIFUL….!! You can do and explore LOT MORE if you have a vehicle at YOUR own disposal..

Ruins of the old church
Ruins of the old church

A walk through the waters of the Bay of Bengal till the Kodandaramasamy temple is a must do.. The water level never goes above your knees. The Sethusamudram can only be visualised if you have a proper guide with you. On your way back, you can also cover Jada Theertham & Nambu Nayagiamman temple which are just a couple of kms before Dhanushkodi..

One hour down line the timeline.. We were back in the main town.. an auto guy charged us Rs.250 for a quick round of the places around the town. Gandaparvatham / Rama paadam is the highest point in the island town from where one can catch a good view of the scenery around. Also cover Sugreevar theertham(a small pond), Satchi Hanuman temple, Bhadrakaliamman temple, Rama theertham, Krishna temple, Lakshmana theertham, 5-faced Hanuman temple(The floating stones used for the construction of Rama Sethu can be seen here) are the other places of interest. Except the main temple, rest of the temples are all typically North-Indian in architecture.

Sri Rama theertham
Sri Rama theertham

And we enquired where Sita theertham was.. And to our dismay, the auto driver stopped at a small tank with stagnant green mosquito breeding water body.. “Damn..!! Male dominated Indian soceity…!!” I exclaimed. It was followed by a quick visit to former President, his honour; A.P.J.Abdul Kalam’s house which is now converted into a museum. We were done with local sight seeing by early evening. And we had a LOT of time till sunset.

We headed towards Pamban. Standing on the road bridge and peeking down at the train tug over the century old engineering marvel- Pamban is a sight not to be missed. Once done, we decided to stroll around the fishermen’s village just across. We got some good clicks of the Pamban from the boat jetty. My eyes fell on the light house a few mts across the village. We asked for directions and reached there in less than half and hour’s time while we tagged along some new friends- from the fishermen’s cove. The kids were excited to converse in English with us as we did look foreign to the. Once near the lighthouse, we further walked down to the sea shore from where we got a sight to behold. We settled down there under the shade of a mangrove tree until sunset.

The sunset from the fishermen's cove
The sunset from the fishermen’s cove

It was soon dark and we had to head back to the temple road for a safer crowd. We bought some peanuts masala from the vendor on the seahsore and found a comfortable seat for ourself to catch some peaceful time. It was a full moon night.

Full moon lit night sky as seen from the Agnitheertham boat jetty
Full moon lit night sky as seen from the Agnitheertham boat jetty

We saw the faint horizon emerge out from the pitch darkness of the sky that brightened into broad daylight with a series of colour change and then the white sky fade into the black of the night’s sky… And again the night’s sky being lit up by the beautiful full moon… Yes.. We witnessed one COMPLETE day… 🙂

Day 3: We had to check out early and catch the 8.00.a.m bus from Akka Madang to Vivekananda memorial hall. Our boat was waiting for us with the guide to take us to totally another world- World of exotic marine animals- ‘the Kurusudai island. This place needs a more elaborate presentation and hence, will be done in my next post. to sum up here- “A MUST VISIT”. From there, we got dropped at the Pamban boat jetty.. Our motor boat was anchored somewhere amid hundred other boats and hence, we had to walk across to the shore. This walking experience was unique in its own way as you don’t get such a sight in any other boat jetty. Also, every step had to be placed carefully so that you may not accidentally step on the in-numerous star fishes or sea cucumbers and kill them.

We walked further up to the Pamban railway station and bought our tickets to the 12.00.O’clock train to Madurai. And soon the train arrived. We boarded and our hearts were pounding hard with excitement.. And MY My… An experience of a lifetime.. the train journey over the historical Pamban bridge on its 100th year of existence.. couldn’t ask for more..!!!

View of the bow shaped road bridge from the Pamban bridge
View of the bow shaped road bridge from the Pamban bridge

In 4 hrs, we alighted at Madurai junction… But, yeah I was wondering how everything went so fine through the entire trip.. And the surprise was waiting for us at the station- our train to Bangalore would arrive 3hrs late.. and what followed is.. history.. 🙂

The Monsoon Night safari at Masinagudi

Too many details to type in about a super awesome weekend.. So let me zip through it ASAP 🙂

We started from Bangalore at 2.a.m. hoping to reach Bandipur by 6.a.m- That’s when the forest checkpost opens and we could spot few animals on the road.. But, due to frequent pit-stops, we made it only by 7.a.m.- Nevertheless, We spotted a good number of elephants, peafowls, fox, deers, sambars, wild boars etc.

A view of the valley from one of the hairpin bends of Ooty
A view of the valley from one of the hairpin bends of Ooty

First in the visit list was the Avalanche – A steep & breathtaking climb of 35 hairpin bends with deep valley covered by thick white snowy clouds on one side led us to the Queen of hills- Udagamandalam a.k.a. Ootacamund a.k.a. Ooty. Without wasting much time amidst the maddening crowd of tourists there, we drove down another set of 34 hairpin curves- 25 kms further from Ooty to reach the forest checkpost of Avalanche.. Thick rainforests on either sides, bumpy waterlogged pot-holes, scenic view of backwaters of the Emerald dam at every turn accompanied us all the way till the start point of the eco-tour.. Once there, we hired the forest jeep for a 24 kms drive through the Shola forests- It was indeed a BEAUTIFUL place 🙂

One of the many waterfalls tucked away in the Avalanche forest
One of the many waterfalls tucked away in the Avalanche forest

On a clear day, one can see the dam from this place.. A century old Bhavani temple, innumerous waterfalls along the way finally ended at Lakdi spot. This is a BEAUTIFUL place and a must visit for the backpacker.. Thick fog makes the visibility poor which adds onto the adventure of the jeep ride. If one is lucky, he could spot a leopard or an elephant on the way..

Enroute to Lakdi spot @ Avalanche
Enroute to the Bhavani temple @ Avalanche

After a short break at Ooty- the last place to fill fuel, draw cash from the ATM, buy the essentials- we headed towards THE DESTINATION- “Masinagudi”- a part of the Mudumalai forest range. We had booked our stay at the Whistling woods estate which is adjacent or rather located within the reserve forest itself..

Our cars were parked at the Singara checkpost, beyond which only jeeps/SUVs can be used to reach the cottages. This 3 km ride was a GRAND welcome in itself: Our road was blocked by herds of elephants, bisons and deers. These encounters took our excitement to a soaring high..!!

After a quick round of dinner, we all got ready for the highlight of the trip- The night safari: at 00.00 hrs in the night, who can believe if we say we drove in an open jeep into the heart of the national park in search of a tiger that was feasting on its latest kill..?? And once there, the screeching monster engines haulted, lights were switched off- Not even the moon; only the open sky with the twinkling stars guided us through. The only 2 sounds we could hear: The chirping of the crickets & the pounding of our anxious hearts.. What we all discovered right there, in the middle of nowhere was “ETERNAL BLISS”. Even after a thorough search through the remotest corners of the grassland, we could not find the tiger until 2.00.a.m. We were definitely sad about the fact, but the bumpy ride in itself was worth it all…….!!! We did spot a few other animals though..!!

Next morning, we were greeted by the excellent view of the Blue mountains through the window glasses.. We all jumped up for the guided walk along the stream lining the boundary of the reserve area.. We captured some rare fauna line the Nilgiri langurs, Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar giant squirrel, pea-fowl etc. in our machine-gun-sized cameras.. The climb to the tree top house is also worth a mention that gave us a good view of the forest around.. It was afternoon already by then and we had to pack up for the return journey… 😥

Unlike what happens usually on a return journey, all the 9 of us were jumping off our seats every 100 yards until we crossed Bandipur: We encountered atleast 24 elephants including a herd with a new born, atleast 20 peacocks all set to open up their feathers as it had started to drizzle, sounder of wild boars etc. Truly awesome 🙂

At Bandipur National forest
At Bandipur National forest

This is ONE trip I would love to do all over again and that time, it would be for a longer stay here… in the cradle of mother nature.. Just one FANTASTIC trip 🙂

The Turtle Walk in the beaches of Chennai

One of the things on my bucket list – ‘The Turtle walk’ : An all night trek along the beaches of the East-Coast road.. Its more of a walk with a bunch of similar minded volunteers with a sole intention to find Olive Ridley turtle nests- and relocate the eggs to a safer location.. Among the seven sea turtle species, five have been tracked in India during their breeding seasons between Dec to Mar. Among them, the Olive Ridley turtles: famous for arribadas or mass nesting are found along the Coromandel coast in large numbers.

We had booked a slot for ourselves on a fine weekend and traveled to Chennai to be a part of this volunteering and to learn more about these turtles. All the volunteers had gathered at the Neelangarai beach by 11.00.p.m where we all had a interactive session with the organisers which enabled us to clear all our doubts about these reptiles. The walk started at around 1.00.a.m as we were told that most nesting happens late night and leaving later would allow us to find more nests which we would miss out if we leave early.

As we kept walking, suddenly someone found a baby turtle in the dark. We were all excited and we began to look out for the nest where the possibility of finding the other hatchlings were high. However, we couldnt find any owing to the dogs that could have eaten them up or the babies would have already swam into the sea.

The Baby turtle- Our prized catch for the day
The Baby turtle- Our prized catch for the day

The sea turtle hatchlings always walk towards the brighter side(usually sea water in normal conditions). Hence, we had to switch off all the lights we had and just one person stood in the water holding a torch, which the baby followed inorder to reach the water. It was amazing how these babies find their way into the sea and it is disturbing to know that due to modernisation, the cities/land is getting brighter and these turtles are walking towards light and becoming prey to several factors.

The baby being guided towards water with a torch
The baby being guided towards water with a torch

We then continued walking.. We found so many dead turtles(which reminded us of the brutal fishermen, ship propellers which pose a great threat to the turtles), pufferfish(Fugus), cats, cuttle fishes etc along our way..

A dead pufferfish along the beach
A dead pufferfish along the beach

We walked and walked and did not find a single nest. It was already 02.00.a.m and it was time for the fishermen to venture into the sea. We crossed numerous hamlets along the coast- most of them were extremely filthy where the fishermen were pooping in the water, staying insensitive to the number of people walking there.

And then.. We reached Besantnagar Beach- the end point of our trek. We were all extremely sad that we hadn’t found any nests- the sole purpose of us going all the way from Bangalore was not met :(. Just as we were all about to depart, the organiser got a call from a volunteer who had reached there much earlier. They had found a nest : Right there under a pull cart in the dirty sands of the Besantnagar beach: ‘Thank God.!!’ was the first exclamation from all of us. It was followed by a ‘WOWWWww’ 🙂

The volunteers unearthing the eggs
The volunteers unearthing the eggs

We removed 147 eggs out of the nest. We could understand that the turtle had come to land for the first time in this season. While they were measuring the nest size, we got a message of spotting another nest nearby. It was all worth the  travel from Bangalore 🙂 We found 42 eggs in the second one- Probably the turtle had come for the 3rd time in this season.

A volunteer measuring the nest's specifications
A volunteer measuring the nest’s specifications

The organisers will keep an account of the depth, width, temperature and the distance of the nest from the high/low tide; create a similar incubation atmosphere in a safer location/artificial hatchery. Then, let all the babies into the water when they hatch out after about 40-45 days. It is amazing to know how these turtles come back to the same place they were born after about 12 yrs(lost years) for breeding… Oh yes..!! These hatchlings are going to return back only after 12 years..!!

Madurai (Part 2) – Centre of arts and culture

There is no existence of a place without the people, And with civilisation exists the culture. Madurai has its own share.. Here goes the list:


Art:

* The temple arts- the sculptures on the temple towers and the wooden vahanas used to carry the idols.

* Handicrafts- accessories used for decorating Devi idols to made of delicate sequins, etc.

* Mural paintings from the Pandyan era adorning the temple walls

Sculpture on the tower @ the west entrance
Sculpture on the tower @ the west entrance
Some wooden art @ koodal Alagar temple
Some wooden art @ koodal Alagar temple
Handicrafts @ a stall
Handicrafts @ a stall
One of the paintings @ Meenakshi temple
One of the paintings @ Meenakshi temple

Food:

Breakfast –     Idly & Sambar, Pongal + a cup of filter coffee

11.00.a.m –    Jigarthanda(more like a combination of falooda & kulfi)

Lunch-           Puliyogare @ the temple store, curd rice, Sambar rice(similar to Bisibele bath)

4.00.p.m.-     Karupatti(palm sugar) coffee

Dinner-           Anything after 7.00.p.m is called meals. 

                           Must try is the ghee roast & rava Masala dosa 

Jigarthanda - A roadside vendor
Jigarthanda – A roadside vendor

Costume:

* Sarees for women & Dhotis for men

* Madurai cotton sarees with simple prints and zari borders with temple designs are famous


Jewellery:

Among the locals- particularly those belonging to the Thevar cast, it is believed that women are prettier with bigger earlobes. Hence, the girl child born in this community is made to wear a particular traditional earring called the ‘Thandatti’ when she is young. Each piece of this weighs 27 gms and is made of gold. This is particular to Madurai. The thandatti is said to evoke the 3 levels of our world: terrestrial, astral and divine and these levels are associated with Mandala.

A Thevar woman wearing the traditional Thandatti earring
A Thevar woman wearing the traditional Thandatti earring

Shopping:

Shopping at Madurai is all about wholesale vendors… and there are specified streets for each of them.

* Cotton sarees/ dress materials- shops are all around the temple complex

* Steel utensils- plastic beads & girls’ accessories, gold plated imitation jewelery to name a few.

* Pooja related accessories & crafts- particularly inside Pudumandapam

* Varieties of plantains / bananas and green groceries among the others.


A brief intro to a city full of life and activities.. Justice yet to be done.. 

Signing off with a hope that it has helped someone somewhere in some form who is seeking for some info on this Pandyan city…. 

Madurai (Part 1)- The city of Pandyan architecture

An overnight bus journey took us to Madurai at 6.00.a.m.

 

Day 1:

We found a decent lodge to stay for the day-freshened up there and left for the main part of the trip- The Meenakshi temple- An abode of the Pandyan architecture. The entire temple complex is fortified by walls with 4 entrance towers at 4 directions. The sculptures on each of these towers are out of the world. Once inside the complex- you start to wonder which world of wonder you have stepped into.. It took us about 3-4 hrs to finish our rounds admiring this place of beauty and also get blessed with the darshan of Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwaran. There are a lot of stalls inside the complex selling various handcrafted articles.

The finely decorated interiors of the Meenakshi Temple
The finely decorated interiors of the Meenakshi Temple

A portion of the temple near the lake
A portion of the temple near the lake

The temple art museum within the same premises is a must visit. There are 1000 pillars- all decorated with rare pieces of sculpture. The dim light used for each pillar adds up to the beauty of the place.

Inside the Temple art museum
Inside the Temple art museum

A small walk through the narrow lanes took us to the Thirumalai Nayyakar Mahal built in the 16th century. Fine architecture with elegant paintings on the roofs and vaults is neatly presented in a simple combination of off-white and velvet red colour combination. There is sound and lights show every evening conducted here. However, we could not make it.

The interiors of Thirumalai Naickar Mahal

The interiors of Thirumalai Naickar Mahal

We took a local bus to Vandiyur. This is where the annual event of the famed Teppotsavam / Float festival takes place to celebrate the birthday of King Thirumalai Nayak in January. This tank is supposedly the biggest of its kind in the state. With the float festival just 2 months away and monsoon season just passing by- this tank still remains dry. When enquired how the event is going to take place in a dry tank, we were told that the water will be fed in January from the Vaigai river through artificially laid underground channels. This is truly amazing how such a concept was laid way back in 16 century. But, for a new-commer, the dried lake is an eye sore as it is used as a watering hole by many vandals.

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam - the island temple
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam – the island temple

Another bus from there to Periyar and a small walk from there through the stinking / dirty by-lanes, we reached the Koodal Alagar temple. A quick pooja and a walk around the temple was a nice boost up. The architecture here too is similar to that of Meenakshi temple. 

Inside the Koodal Alagar temple
Inside the Koodal Alagar temple

We had to rush to The Gandhi museum as it would close by 6.00.p.m. However, we could not make it on time. This was once called the Tamakkum palace of Rani Mangammal. Today, the museum supposedly houses 14 artifacts used by Gandhiji including his sacred ashes and blood stained dhotis. Gandhiji is said to have visited the city 5 times. 

So next we headed back towards our lodge just infront of the temple;s west gate. But, on the way- we checked into Pudumandapam. This is a 1000yrs old shopping mall- supported by huge sculpture rich stone pillars. The stalls are occupied with tailors, handicrafts vendors, wholesale dealers of pooja related and general Ladies’ accessories. A good place for shopping traditional aritifacts at Madurai.

Entrance of the Pudumandapam
Entrance of the Pudumandapam

Day 2:

We took a local bus from Periyar bus stand to travel 21kms to reach Alagar Kovil- the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu- Meenakshi’s brother. The village is surrounded by an old fort wall, gives a good view of the green hills around the temple. The architecture is similar to Koodal Alagar temple in the city.

The Alagar Murugan Kovil
The Alagar Murugan Kovil

A trek of 3kms uphill though green forests and monkey infested walkways leads you to the Murugan temple. It is one among the six abodes of Lord Murugan and hence important among the pilgrims.  A walk of half a kilometer further uphill leads us to Pazhamudhir Solai temple. A temple dedicated to Goddess Rakkaya exists close to a natural spring called Nuburagangai here where the devotees take a holy bath. But strange & probably the only temple I have ever been to where there is an entry fee into the temple itself. This is where the famed Chittrai festival is observed during the month of April.

The stream at the Pazhamudhir Solai
The stream at the Pazhamudhir Solai

From there, we took the next bus back to Periyar from where we had to take a bus further to Tiruppanakundram. This is a cave temple at the foothills of a rock hill. It is believed that Lord Murugan was wedded to Devyani, daughter of Indra at this place. Hence, this is also counted one among the 6 abodes of Lord Murugan. Up the hills is the Dargah of Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah shaheed Radiyallah Ta’al anhu. Owing to time constraint and exhaustion, we thought of skipping the climb.

Entrance to the Tiruppanakundram Murugan temple
Entrance to the Tiruppanakundram Murugan temple

Other lesser known places we skipped due to time constraints were the Kazimar mosque and Goripalyam Dargah.

At the centre of the city is the Kattabomman junction- This is where a part of the old Madurai fort exists. Today this is not more than a public library.

 

I don’t do this usually, but would make a special mention about the streets of Madurai. Every street in the city has a history behind it: This link to an article from “The Hindu” explains it all- ‘Where moats made way for motorways’ 

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/history-and-culture/article2653395.ece


This was all about getting around the place for sight seeing with bits of history. But, there is much to say and do..

To be continued……. Part 2 🙂

Hogeynakal Falls- LOC between KA and TN

I was sitting at home for 1 long week with lots of anticipation every morning waiting for a call for joining from my employer.. My brother had to finish his comp off.. It was a sudden plan.. My brother came up with the idea of going for a long drive. I teamed up with him and his friend (who has been working on night shifts).. and we left straight to Hogeynakal falls (sounds like a Kannada translation of “Rocks of smoke”- that exists in Tamil Nadu)..

We took the route through “Dinkinakottai” after Hosur.. A village road that is far away from comparison to any highway back home in Karnataka(read it- Awesome roads) lead us to the waterfalls at the end of a long stretch of forest cover.. The place was pretty crowded on a weekday too..

Streets that were lined by stalls selling fish fry, dosa, parota etc welcomed us straight to a platform that has a number of coracles arranged one on top of the other. Suddenly my brother felt some men slipping their hands around him holding some yellow bottles.. They were offering body massages.. And suddenly there were women out of nowhere who came behind me offering private rooms for ladies for a body massage.. We somehow managed to walk past these people… Then there were these boat men.. Each one offered a ride for a different rate.. Finally after a good bargain of Rs.200 discount, we were in there…. In the waters of Hogeynakal..

The entry to the LOC
The entry to the LOC

Little further on the ride, we had some eatables/snacks being sold on a coracle.. There were little guys who dived down into the deep river from high up the rocks, came up to our coracle and ask for alms.. And there were also some boatmen / fishermen sitting on these rocks and fishing with hooks..

The floating stall
The floating stall

As we went past each spot where our boat-man had to take us.. he had a story to tell.. “MGR” stone, “Rajkumar” falls.. The location where “Roja” was shot.. Aishwarya Rai posed in “Raavan”.. He continued to show us all that irrespective of whether we were interested or not..

The breathtaking view of the falls from the watch tower
The breathtaking view of the falls from the watch tower

As we proceeded further, we were told that to our right was Karnataka and the rocks to our left was Tamil Nadu.. The river flows exactly in between dividing the 2 states (Literally- the divide between the 2 states is for the water). And this valley opens up to a beach- the sand which throws a warm welcome with its pristine waters.. Err.. did I say pristine?? I beg your pardon- The water is severely littered with plastic bottles and bags and sent out a dirty stench as if to warn us to stay away from getting into the waters..

The entry to the beach- KA to the right & TN to the left
The entry to the beach- KA to the right & TN to the left

We ate some yummy fresh fish fried with red chilli marination..!!! burrp…. JAnd boarded the coracle for a ride back.. We spotted a few localites who crossed the border (Line Of Control between Karnataka & Tamil Nadu).. The coracle ride seemed like a convenient mode of transport for people in TN who would like to go for a pilgrimage to “Male-Mahadeshwara Betta” in KA..

It being July (Monsoon) and there being “NO” rains.. The river having so much waste which did not flow easily.. The trip was not very exciting.. 😥

Studying ‘Bachelor of Cycle-logy’ at IIT-Madras

I’m just back from my business trip to Chennai : Infact a supplier audit…. My 1st one- all alone…

I landed at the Meenambakkam international airport at around 8.00.a.m. and hired a taxi to the supplier’s place.. this is when my tryst with Tamil started.. The driver did not know my language and I did not know his. But yeah.. Since, he was already booked by my company, he knew where I had to go..

I finished my job at the supplier quite early than what I thought. So, I had to spend time from 2.00.p.m to 7.00.p.m in this Tamil land. I had my flight at 9.00.p.m.

I had no idea where to go- To hang out alone means to communicate through sign language with the locals. But one thing I learnt quite fast was- Being a South Indian really helps… U can mix up bits of Malayalam and a little more of coorgi- and make it sound pretty much like Tamil. And it worked in my case. The driver managed to understand most of it- and the rest- Sign language it was !!

My Friend studying at IIT-M was my rescuer for the day..

What if I did not crash the GATE?? That did not stop me from learning at the prestigious IIT-M..!! Thanks to my friend pursuing research at IIT-M, This is where I completed my “Bachelor of Cycle-logy” which I had left unfinished way back in primary school. My friend and I were cycling all afternoon around the 600+ acres of lush greenery.

One of my cycling tracks- The Bonn Ave
The Gajendra circle

IIT-Madras is located adjacent to Guindy national park(the 8th smallest in India)- the last bit of the tropical dry evergreen forest in India.. I witnessed the co-existence of man and the wild(sort of a thing) with black bucks, spotted deers etc. walking around fearlessly.

A White Buck on the IIT campus
The cycling stretch from the boy’s hostel
Near the admin office

Also, this campus is where the “Cheapest” Café Coffee Day exists.. Since, this CCD is exempted of most taxes- things are pretty cheaper than anywhere else.

It was 5.00.p.m something and I had checked into almost every corner of IIT-M already. So, there was scope for some more exploration. Next we decided to hit the “Elliot Beach” in Besant nagar about 6.kms from IIT-M.

A corn vendor @ Besantnagar / Elliot’s beach

We had some corn, I bought a Rajnikanth mask, flew a kite etc. on the sea shore. I waited patiently to see the sun set. I waited and waited… n it was dark already… Only then did I realize that the sun only rises in Elliot beach :P. The beach attracted crowd with more of a traditional mindset contrary to those on the west-coast.

The beach at sunset time

It was going to be 6.30.p.m and we thought it would be wiser to leave- because we had to brave through the Chennai traffic inorder to make to the airport on time.

All in all- a day well spent. Looking forward for many more business trips 😛