India Trip Day 3

August 6th, 2009 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Read the caveats here before proceeding.

The following are events that took place on 6th July 2009 and covers Thiruvanamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry route.

Photo of the day:

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

We checked out of our hotel, Arunachala Ramana Home around 7.30am. Went straight to the Arunachaleswarar (or Annamalaiyan) Temple. This Sivan temple is yet another Pancha Bootha stalam, where Lord Siva is represented as the fire element (earlier in Kanchipuram, he is represented as Earth element). We spent nearly 2 hours at the temple since its quite a big one (24 ha). The hill behind the temple is the Tiruvannamalai hill where Lord Siva appeared as a stripe of fire. Every full moon, the wick at the top of the hill is lighted and devotees walk around the hill (14km) – this is known as Girivalam. The most famous occasion is during the Tamil month of Karthigai (Nov-Dec) where the Karthigai Deepam function is held. It seems many famous actors and actresses also take part, including Superstar Rajinikanth. Read more about this stupendous place over here, and here. The city is also known for two famous gurus – Ramana Maharishi and Seshadri Swamigal. Ramana Ashramam is also located near the hill. The outstanding feature of the temple is the large gopurams.

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

We then took leave from Tiruvannamalai and headed towards next destination – Melmaruvathur which is about 100km away. We took the route that passes through a placed known as Gingee. Gingee is known for its fort which was building along the hills. We stopped for a while to take some pictures but did not climb up the hils as time was running short. We took early lunch at Vasantham Restaurant at Gingee town.

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

Even though we rushed, we arrived late at Melmaruvathur, partly due to our driver who is not so familiar with the road (and this will be a repeating theme throughout the trip). A bit about the temple here – its run by the Sakthi Peedam.  The head of the Peedam is Sri Bangaru Adigalar whom Amman transmigrates into, and provides Arulvakku (God’s word). The Athiparasakthi temple was closed for poojas when we arrived, but visitors can still enter and pray.We entered the queue,  saw photos along the walls and did our prayers. It was terribly hot, and walking barefoot outside the temple was not easy. We left around 2pm to our next destination – the picturesque and lovely Pondicherry.

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

A bit about Pondicherry (or Puducherry as it is known now) –  The small strip of land on the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu was a French occupied territory until (there are four such regions in total), thus there’s an unique blend of French and Tamil culture here. The strip of land is vertical (north-south orientation), but the French influence is more towards the coastal side, while inner Pondicherry is Indianised. Pondicherry is not a state in India, but an union territory. To enter Pondicherry, non-Pondicherry registered vehicles have to pay a fee of Rs400 (and its the same for all interstate travels).  Pondi has a laidback feeling, a good sea view, and an urban look comparable with other cities in Tamil Nadu. And its a lot more cleaner too! No sights of men urinating anywhere.

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

We reached Pondicherry around 3.45pm.  We parked near the main temple in Pondicherry – Manakula Vinayagar Temple. We waited until the temple opened at 4pm. Did our prayers and then went to Sri Aurobindo’s ashramam which is located just about 40 metres from the temple. Its a quiet place. The samadhi of Sri Aurobindo (Aravind) and Holy Mother is situated here. We prayed for a while, but did not take any photos . We then returned to the Vinayagar temple. Took some blessing from the elephant.

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

Took a break and had coffee at Adyar Anantha Bhavan restaurant which is nearby the temple. The tea and coffee was superb. We took some time to search for hotel and in the end decided on Hotel Ajantha, which was close to the beach. It was a bit expensive but since we could literally hear the waves beating down on the rocks, couldn’t resist it.

Disaster struck at this point. While unpacking I realised that I forgot to bring the USB cable that connects the camera to the laptop! So, had to change plans a bit. We hit the streets to find a computer/electronic shops and boy, it wasn’t easy! We walked all around the main shopping area (Nehru Street) and finally managed to buy a 3 feet long cable for Rs25 (about Rm1.90 only!). In a way it was a good exercise as we got to see the evening life around the shopping area. The crowd was big and traffic was slow moving around the main roads.  Came back to room tired and retired for the day.

From D03-July-06-Tiruvannamalai-Melmaruvathur-Pondicherry

Full set of photos:

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