One for the train and bridge geeks.
I’m heading over to Rameswaram for a couple of days and you get to cross the Pamban Bridge(s) on the way. The rail bridge in particlar is nearly a 100 years old and was built to ferry both pilgrams to Rameswaram and passangers on their way to Sri Lanka. It was only in the last couple of years that it was upgraded to broad gage from the old British 1 metre gage.
Ramanathaswamy Temple is what brings the pilgrims of course. Alas, like many other South Indian temples, much of it isn’t open to non-Hindus. An impressive gopuram though.
For other visitors (kite surfers aside – great conditions here apparently), Dhanushkodi is where to head. Its a town abandoned to the dunes after a 1964 cyclone and can be a nice 10km trek there and back along the beach – when its not in the sweltering heat and you’ve remembered your suncream…
Next stop Sri Lanka
Next stop – Madurai…
The first thing that strikes you about Tuticorin (aka Thoothukudi) are the thousands of acres of salt pans on the approach to the city – salt it would seem is big business here. The second thing – for me anyway – was how the locals all figured I was a Russian sailor… You see, Tuticorin is, and always has been a big port city in this part of the world – they’re well used to visitors from all over.
Only got to spend one night here, so not so many pictures.
Salt pans, Tuticorin
Salt pans, Tuticorin
Tuticorin post office
Basilica in Tuticorin
A quick stop off on my way north at Tiruchendur – a busy pilgrimage town. I’ll leave it to a braver person to make comparisons with Knock, Lourdes, Fatima etc – I was just trying to figure out the dancing elephants and fortune-telling parrots…
Gopuram at Thiruchendur
Temple Bazaar, Tiruchendur
Shrine with cobras, Tiruchendur
It was probably a mistake staying in the hotel next door to the local temple. It seems they like their early starts. On the up-side, if you are up at 5 am, at least you get to see the sun rise…
Kanyakumari is the town at the southernmost tip of continental India. It is a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination and being there for the tail-end of Diwali of course meant it was jam packed for the weekend. So alas, I didn’t quite make it to the very tip which is the two islands just off the coast – guess I’ll have to visit again.
Waiting for the sunset
Well, after all the planning (all 8 minutes of it), Destination Tamil Nadu has been reached. Nagercoil is the first major town across the border from Kerala – famous apparently for being the only town in India to get two monsoon seasons a year… lucky I had the umbrella!
St. Xavier Church, Nagercoil
Only on a flying visit to Kerala this time round – enough time though to check out the local communists, swing by the world’s richest temple and visit the local zoo – where I saw my first Indian cow!
Left Democratic Front
Kerala Museum and Zoo
Well, it’s taken a Dublin taxi, a couple of hours in a ferry, two trains, a London cab, an hour on the tube, half a day on a Boeing 747-400, a couple of hours in an Airbus 380 – but I’m here now. Thiruvananthapuram rocks!
Oh, and I’ve got a coconut tree outside my window.
Next stop – the Subcontinent!
Of course it’s madness to be taking a ferry to India – but sure why wouldn’t you!
Knockaiste – one of the highest hills in the midlands and outside the back door down home. It all begins here!