Our starting point, City of Chennai, is a journey into timeless India, a kaleidoscope of moods. Rich in the treasures of history, from temples and shrines to forts and palaces, the landscape of the past lives easily with the present. The city grew up around the English settlement of Fort Saint George and gradually absorbed the surrounding towns and villages. Despite the strong British influence, Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil Hindu culture and effectively blended it with the foreign influence. Retaining much of its traditional charm, this 350 year old city is the gateway to the south, providing many a fascinating vignette of southern heritage.
2/ From Chennai we take a detour via Mamallapuram to Pondicherry (shortly Pondy), the charming former French outpost, that retains a relaxed and artistic atmosphere even with a population of over 1 million. Great food and gorgeous nearby beaches are all awaiting us to give us a one of kind experience. Pondicherry is a planned city unlike most other places in India. Timing to go there can’t get better, as we gear up to celebrate the dawn of 2012 in Pondy. Party time Y’all. Time to mime Will Smith, “I only came for two days of playing, But every time I come I always wind up staying, This the type of town I could spend a few days in, Pondy the city that keeps the roof blazing…… Welcome to Pondicherry, Bienvenue à Pondicherry”.
3/ Its a classic trip, we are classic people and we head to a classic place. Thanjavur is a major religious, literary and political center of South India, frequently celebrated for its contribution to classical Carnatic music, Bharathanatyam dance and Tanjore painting and dolls. Thiruvaiyaru, which is close to Thanjavur, is the place where the great musician Saint Thyagaraja lived. If you are a lover of fine arts, this place will more than fill your appetite.
4/ The word “Classic” gets a new meaning from an ancient city we are going to get into. Madurai, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, also known as the temple city, has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era, is more than 2500 years old, and has been an important commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the capital city of the Pandya kings of South India. The musical pillars of the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, that produce Saptha Swaras (seven notes of the scale in music), is only tip of the iceberg, that can exemplify the architectural wonders that Madurai has in store.
5/ You go deep down into the ocean, you find Pearls. You go deep down south, you get into Pearl City. Tuticorin, the legendary pearl city of India, is famous for its’ pearl diving, fishing center and shipbuilding. Throughout centuries of oppression from the Portuguese to the Dutch and English the local Paravas have held onto their own culture and have been at the forefront of Indian independence. The traditional old houses of the Paravas in the city are unique, built in both Victorian style and Chettinad style from Burmese teak wood.
6/ While our minds and hearts are as fresh as a daisy, our bodies might just need some attention. Spa anywhere? We are all go getters, aren’t we? Bingo, the beautiful Courtallam, known as the “Spa of the South”, welcomes us with her arms wide open. Courtallam is internationally revered for it’s stunning waterfalls. The Nine falls and the temple are known for their healing properties and mythological significance respectively.
7/ We may not sail seven seas, but can we see the confluence of three seas? Yes, we can. Kanniyakumari (meaning “the virgin goddess”) blesses us and helps us witness a spectacular sight. Kanniyakumari, an important pilgrimage center, is India’s Land’s End, the tip of peninsular India where the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. Before we can complete saying “wow” we are in for another breaktaking sight, the Sunrise and the Sunset, which is very unique to Kanniyakumari . With long stretches of sands of many hues, the beach offers a welcome change. Once referred to as the Alexandria of the east, Kanniyakumari has been a great centre for arts, culture, civilization and pilgrimage for years.
8/ Its been 10 days since we started. Really? Already 10 days? Can’t believe it. Well here we are. At our ultimate destination for this trip. Just the sound of the waves to keep you company. And, of course, the backwater canals with their coconut groves and thatched villages. Simply you and the nature. Welcome to Trivandrum, in “God’s own country” Kerala. The sand which flows like water is silky soft, making it a haven of beauty and solicitude. We will find rural Kerala in microcosm and come to realize that its popular name “God’s own country” is true in every sense of the word.
Rickshaw Challenge, Classic Run in a larger map
|Day #||Date||Start Loc||End Loc||Distance (km)|
|Day1||28-Dec-13||Practice in Chennai
|Day2||29-Dec-13||Events in Chennai
|Day4||31-Dec-13||Day off in Pondicherry|
|Team of two||€1375||€2450||€2775|
|Team of three||€2130||€3795||€4300|