Tag Archives: India

Why Tamil?

Language classes you say?!? But English is widely spoken and used in Southern India…¬†Unless of course you’re desperate for your Sandra Bullock fix, want to get a Vodafone top-up or just plain hungry. Sometimes Roman characters aren’t always there to save the day…

Luckily there are text books… for five year olds…

Don’t worry – back to regular travel pics in my next post – just as soon as I’ve done my homework…

 

Madurai calling…

So, before I fall too far behind – a quick update… I’ve made it to Madurai, apartment share and language classes all sorted.

More about Madurai again, but as ancient temple cities go, there’s a lot to like here. In the meantime here’s a quick preview.

Meenakshi Temple Gopuram

Meenakshi Temple Gopuram

And while I’m at it, you can never have too many pictures of cows can you?

Cows!

Cows!

 

Rameswaram

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.

DSC_0815b

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 – Madurai…

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Madurai Juction

http://www.kiteindiasrilanka.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamban_Bridge

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rameswaram

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhanushkodi

Tuticorin

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoothukudi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Snows_Basilica

Tiruchendur

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…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiruchendur

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrot_astrology

 

Kanyakumari

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 Sunrise

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.