Vidur’s Travel Diary – 15 : Karaikal


IMG_7992

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 28 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

Union Territory Puducherry is unique among all the states and Union Territories of India . It has 4 districts or regions but they are not contiguous at all . Puducherry , Karaikal , Yanam and Mahe are 4 districts of this Union Territory and they fall in 3 different states . Puducherry and Karaikal are in Tamil Nadu , Yanam is in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe is in Kerala . Though Puducherry and Karaikal , both are in Tamil Nadu but even they are not contiguous .

Map of India showing Puducherry, Karaikal, Mah...

Map of India showing Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my last visit to Tamil Nadu , I stopped at Puducherry , while returning from Vaitheeswaran Koil and visited many places . I have already written a blog about my Puducherry visit . That time I did visit Karaikal but could not write my travel diary about Karaikal because it was raining heavily and therefore apart from Shani Temple , I could not visit other places .

During my recent visit I visited only Beach Road in Puducherry and spent more time in Karaikal .

 

English: It is very old map of Karikal (Karaik...

Old map of Karikal (Karaikal) when it was a French colony. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I took night flight to Chennai on December 21 , 2012 and reached there late in the night . Next day , on December 22 , 2012 , I proceeded for Vaitheeswaran Koil and after briefly stopping in Puducherry , reached there in the evening . From Vaitheeswaran Koil , I proceeded for Karaikal on December 25 , 2012 .

When you visit Karaikal please don’t forget to eat Karaikal Halwa . It is too yummy to skip . You are not supposed to not have it during your Karaikal visit , even if you are visiting Karaikal for a short period . ” Natesan Halwa ” is the most famous shop and it is 55 years old . It was stablished in 1957 and since then it is in business of making Halwa . There are other shops also on the same road . If you wish to explore , you could visit them .

A Road in Karaikal

A Road in Karaikal

Old Tiled Houses - Karaikal

Old Tiled Houses – Karaikal

Beach Road - Karaikal

Beach Road – Karaikal

Beach Road - Karaikal

Beach Road – Karaikal

At Beach Road - Karaikal

At Beach Road – Karaikal

At Tsunami Victim Memorial - Karaikal

At Tsunami Victim Memorial – Karaikal

With My Wife At Tsunami Victim Memorial - Karaikal

With My Wife At Tsunami Victim Memorial – Karaikal

Sangam of Arasalar River & Sea

Sangam of Arasalar River & Sea

The Promenade Near Beach

The Promenade Near Beach

Government Buildings Near Promenade

Government Buildings Near Promenade

With My Wife & Son At Saneeswar Bhagwan Temple - Thirunallar , Karaikal

With My Wife & Son At Saneeswar Bhagwan Temple – Thirunallar , Karaikal

A French enclave from 1673 till 1954 , it became part of India by a treaty of cession signed by the Indian and French governments in 1956 . It finally became Union Territory in 1963 . During French rule it was called Territoire de Pondichery . It was renamed Puducherry in 2006 .

Karaikal is 300 km. south of Chennai and 135 km. from Puducherry . From Puducherry or from Chennai , you can reach there by taxi . It is surrounded by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu .

After visiting Saneeswara Bhagawan temple in Thirunallar , Karaikal , I returned to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the night . I don’t know whether I would be able to visit Karaikal again or not . May be yes , may be no .

I remembered these famous lines of Agyeya , which I always remember , whenever I return from a new place .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

Visit to Karaikal gives me ample opportunity to tell some good tales to the students of my acting institute,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Tamil Nadu : 25 Years Without M. G. R.


DSC01182

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 28 , 2012           05.35 P.M.

Marudhur Gopala Ramachandran or M. G. Ramachandran or simply M. G. R. needs no introduction in Tamil Nadu . Though he died 25 years ago , still his popularity refuses to wane . I always knew about his phenomenal sway over the masses in Tamil Nadu but I personally experienced it during my recent visit to the state .

English: MGR with Kerala politician K.Karunaka...

MGR (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One morning when I came out of my room in Subam Lodge , Vaitheeswaran Koil , I noticed that arched are being erected on the streets and photos of M. G. R. are being garlanded everywhere . Old hit songs of the films of M. G. R. were being played . People in large number were queuing in front of his photos and paying respect .

On 25th Death Anniversary , MGR Being Rememberedin a Village of Thanjavur

On 25th Death Anniversary , MGR Being Remembered in a Village of Thanjavur

I was astonished . I was astounded by the fact that it is his 25th death anniversary and still people are remembering him . To know the height of his popularity , please go through the description of his death scene , which I am quoting from Wikipedia :

” M.G.R. died on December 24, 1987 after his prolonged illness. He was 70. His death sparked off a frenzy of looting and rioting all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Shops, movie theatres, buses and other public and private property became the target of violence let loose all over the state. The police had to resort issuing shoot-at-sight orders. Tamilians from Bangalore rushed to Madras in trains to see the mortal remains of MGR. Govt had announced free train facility for this visit. The violence during the funeral alone left 29 people dead and 47 police personnel badly wounded. This state of affairs continued for almost a month all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Around one million people followed his remains, around 30 followers committed suicide and people had their heads tonsured.

After his death, his political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, split between his wife Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa; they later merged in 1988.

In 1989 Dr. M. G. R. Home and Higher Secondary School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired was established in the erstwhile Residence MGR Gardens, Ramapuram, in accordance with his will dated January 17, 1986. His official residence at 27, Arcot Street, T.Nagar is now MGR Memorial House and is open for public viewing. His film studio, Sathya Studios has been converted into a women’s college. “

English: New emblem for All India Anna Dravida...

New emblem for All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party, designed by B. Balamanigandan email:bbm@drmgr.org (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now non – Tamil people can understand his impact and popularity among the masses . It was well – crafted image with the help of his films . He was the first major film star of India , who became Chief Minister of any state and won 3 consecutive elections in 1977 , 1980 and 1984 . He became Chief Minister in 1977 and remained in office till his death in 1987 . In 1984 assembly elections , though he was in the hospital for treatment and could not participate in electioneering , still he led his party to unprecedented victory . His images , from his hospital bed in the U.S.A. , were broadcast through cinema halls . And his party A.I.A.D.M.K. got 56% of assembly seats .

How he created this larger – than – life political image ? You can watch the song  “…….. neenga nalla irukkanum ……… ” of his film ” Idhayakkani ” [ 1975 ] . In the  ……neenga nalla irukkanum ……… song , he pays homage to his mentor Annadurai , whose image is clearly visible on the screen . His party flag is also fluttering in air and you could see that in the song itself his screen character is doing his philanthropic work . ” Idhayakkani “ was released 2 years before he became the Chief Minister . His last released film was ” Madurai Meeta Sundara Pandian ” [ 1978 ] .  This was his 136th film .  It was released 1 year after he became the Chief Minister . So through his 136 films , he created this kind of image , which is unheard of anywhere in the world . After becoming CM , the ongoing project ” Anna En Theivam “ was stopped and later on it was released by Bhagyaraj with modified story in which Bhagyaraj was the hero.

Apart from M.G.R. , no one in India or in world could replicate this kind of success . He was the first and till date only actor turned politician , who got this kind of mass popularity and could generate mass hysteria of this magnitude . N.T.R. or Nandamoori Tarak Ramarao was also an actor in Telugu film industry and he did succeed in Andhra Pradesh but his success was short – lived as he was soon toppled by his own son – in – law . President of U.S.A. , Ronald Reagan was also an actor in Hollywood but he was not a major star.

On my previous visit to Chennai in 2011 , I visited memorial of M.G.R. at Marina Beach to show my respect . In December 2012 , when I visited Chennai again , I was again able to pay respect to him on his 25th death anniversary .

At MGR Memorial , Marina Beach , Chennai

At MGR Memorial , Marina Beach , Chennai

With Poster of MGR in a Small Town

With Poster of MGR in a Small Town

It is sad that he died when he was only 70 . And 70 is not the age to leave the world . Had he been alive he would have been a formidable Prime Minister of India . In these days of coalition politics it would have been a real possibility .

Alas ! We lost him too early and too soon .

I think it would be fascinating to tell his story to all the students of my acting academy , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters . Who knows ? They might replicate M.G.R. story in their lives also .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 1 ]


DSC01182

VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 23 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

When I landed at Chennai Airport on December 21 , 2012 , it marked my 3rd visit to the Southern metropolis . On December 22 , 2012 , when I drove to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the morning , it marked my 2nd visit to the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu .

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People of my generation always view Tamil Nadu and Tamil people through the prism , which was created in 1967 , when the first Dravidian government was formed in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of C. N. Annadurai .

But if you want to understand Dravid Movement of Tamil Nadu , you have to study the history of Self Respect Movement and Justice Party stablished by E. V. Ramasamy Naicker a.k.a. Periyar . It all started in 1925 , much before 1967 , when Annadurai led D.M.K. [ Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam ] formed the first non – Congress government in Tamil Nadu .

In the history of India , 1925 seems to be a very unique year . In the Tamil Nadu E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” started his Self Respect Movement and in the same year in Nagpur Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar started R.S.S. [ Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ] . Periyar’s movement is considered separatist and anti national by many and Dr. Hedgewar’s movement is perceived ultra nationalist by the majority . But it is uncanny that both the movements were started in 1925 .

English: Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Periyar E.V. Ram...

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 06-Jan-1940 at Jinnah’s residence in Bombay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Dr. Hedgewar

Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar , Founder of R.S.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is said that Periyar was peeved by the superiority of Brahmins and their dominance in all the departments and strata of Tamil culture and life . He started this movement called Sel Respect and started espousing the cause of non – Brahmin castes of Tamil Nadu . He started breaking idols in the temple , advocated atheism , despised JANEU , the sacred thread and finally gave a call for the boycott of Brahmin priests in the marriages . His espousal of Self Respect Marriage had far – reaching repercussions and he became quite unpopular in rest of the country . His anti – Brahmin crusades drew wide – spread indignation and his opposition of Hindu deity worship was considered as anti Hindu and finally anti India .

Both the Tamilian parties ; Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam [ DMK ] and All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam [ AIADMK ] owe their existence to E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and his movement . And thus atheism and anti North India and anti Hindi credo became their life lines . And when DMK came to power in 1967 , Anna Durai accepted many things which were espoused by Periyar . Thus in the rest of India people became suspicious and majority started disliking DMK and it anti Hindi , anti God and anti North India policies .

I was definitely misguided by this prism , which I got while studying in Allahabad from 1967 to 1974 . My recent visits have changed my perception of Tamil Nadu , Tamil people and Tamil politics of Dravidian parties .

I will complete this ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” series in my next blog and would like to share it with all the current students of my acting academy Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  after my return from Tamil Nadu .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Hotel – 2 : Chennai [ Hotel Golden Tower ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 12 , 2012           01. 30 A.M.

Two days back on July 10 , 2012 , I posted my first blog about Hotels & Hospitality . Today I am posting my second blog in this category . First one was about a Udaipur hotel and this is about a hotel in Chennai .

Last year I visited Tirupati and was there for three days . I was there on November 21 , 22 & 23 , 2011 . On November 24 , 2011 I reached Chennai by Garudeshwar Express and checked into Hotel Golden Tower .

Chennai in India

Chennai in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location of Hotel Golden Tower

Location of Hotel Golden Tower

Exterior View - Hotel Golden Tower

Exterior View – Hotel Golden Tower

Hotel Golden Tower is less than 1 km. from Chennai Central Railway Station . Location of this hotel is so convenient that if you have light luggage , you can drag your trolley bags and could walk to the hotel . Egmore Railway Station is just little far away but still quite approachable .

Its location is major attraction of this 2 Star property . Its rooms are spacious and full of natural light . Air conditioned rooms were nicely painted and are not claustrophobic , which I hate .

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

Study table near bed was conveniently placed . It was big and had a huge table lamp . Room had multiple sockets for charging your mobiles and laptops , which is so necessary today and which many hotel rooms lack or they simply don’t care .

Bathroom is rightly positioned in one corner of the room and is quite spacious and well – lit . Wardrobe is huge and clean . Naphthalene balls were thrown inside the wardrobe for nice smell .

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

My Room in Hotel Golden Tower

It has wonderful multi cuisine veg restaurant at the ground floor . 24 hour Travel desk is also very efficient and helping .

Only negative point of this excellent hotel is its room service , which is not very efficient . May be language problem is a reason . Same was the case with reception . But I am willing to give them benefit of doubt because of the huge language barrier .

I stayed there for just 1 day and on November 25 , 2011 left for Vaitheeswarankoil and Puducherry . I had decided that after my return I will check into another hotel . But when I returned on November 29 , 2011 , I again chose Hotel Golden Tower and stayed there for 2 more days . I think its location and its restaurant could be the major reason for me to again stay in this hotel .

If you are willing to stay in a budget hotel in Chennai , which is centrally located , then Hotel Golden Tower is highly recommended by me .

My rating for this hotel is 3 Star out of 5 .

Address : 78 , E. V. R. Periyar High Road Periyamet , Chennai – 600 003

Website : http://www.goldentowerchennai.com

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 6 : Kanchipuram


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA          DECEMBER 05 , 2011           01.00 P.M.

On the 30th morning , my last day in Chennai , I started for my journey to Kanchipuram . It is 71 km. from Chennai . I had read in the Holy scriptures that 7 holy cities have powers to give you salvation or Nirvana . They are Ayodhya , Mathura , Maya [ Haridwar ] , Kashi [ Varanasi ] in Uttar Pradesh , Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu , Avantika [ Ujjain ] in Madhya Pradesh and Dwarka in Gujarat .

अयोध्या , मथुरा , माया , काशी , कांची , अवंतिका ;
पुरीद्वारावातिश्चैव , सप्तैते मोक्षदायिका

This is the shloka from Garud Puran and I used to recite it during my childhood . I had already visited 6 cities and only Kanchipuram was left . So the excitement was palpable . After fabulous breakfast in a roadside restaurant , we reached Kanchipuram in 2 hours . The city , formerly known as Conjeevaram , is situated on the banks of Vegavati river and is known for thousand temples and silk sarees . It is also called City of 1000 Temples . Once upon a time , it was kingdom of Pallava empire for 200 years , and is one of the oldest cities of South India .

Our first stop was 3,500 years old Ekambarnathar Temple :

At The Gate of Ekambarnathar Temple

Gopuram of 3,500 years old Ekambarnathar Temple :

Gopuram of Ekambarnathar Temple

Kanchipuram is the centre of one of the four Mathas , stablished by Adi Shankaracharya . Badrinath in the North , Dwarka in the West , Jagannath Puri in the East and Kanchipuram in the South . So our next stop was Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham Meenakshi Temple :

Meenakshi Temple of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham

Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple : Kanch Kamkoti Peetham

After Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham , we visited Varadharaja Perumal Temple :

Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Entrance of Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram is birthplace of famous Sanskrit poet Dandin . He is writer of Dashakumaracharitam . Another famous Sanskrit poet Bharavi , who wrote Kiratarjuniyam , also hailed from here . Bharavi wrote his Kiratarjuniyam here under the patronage of the Pallav king Simhavishnu .  So out of four most famous poets of Sanskrit , two ; Dandin and Bharavi belong to Kanchipuram . Other two are ; Kalidas and Magha . The famous shloka describing their eminence is still fresh in my memory :

उपमा कालिदासस्य , भारवेरर्थ गौरवं ;
डंडीनः पद लालित्यम , माघे सन्ति त्रयो गुणाः

It is irony of the fate that Kanchipuram , which is second only to Varanasi in Sanskrit learning and which is the centre of Hinduism since time immemorial , is also the birthplace of C. N. Annadurai , an atheist and most famous Dravidian leader , second only to E. V. Ramasami Naicker Periyar . He formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam in 1949 and led it to victory in Tamil Nadu assembly elections in 1967 . Though C. N. Annadurai ruled only for 2 years and died in 1969 but his influence on Tamil Nadu and Dravid politics is immense . He is the first Non – Congress and Dravid leader to become Chief minister of Tamil Nadu , then known as Madras  . He is the first Non – Congress leader to come to power with absolute majority in any Indian state and ended monopoly of Congress in Tamil Nadu . M. Bakthavatsalam was the last Congress Chief Minister and since 1967 to 2011 , it is 44 years since Congress lost power . C. N. Annadurai symbolized this Non – Congress sentiment .

Kanchipuram is his birthplace and his house is converted into a memorial . I visited his memorial also ;

C. N. Annadurai's House in Kanchipuram

After Kanchipuram , I proceeded to Vellore . It is a small town 145 km. from Chennai . It is situated on the banks of Palar river . It is famous for hospital and V.I.T. University [ Vellore Institute of Technology ] . Since my sister’s son is studying there I went there to meet him .

With My Nephew Kaustubh in the V. I. T. Campus

V. I. T. Gate

While coming to Kanchipuram from Chennai , one can see Rajiv Gandhi Memorial in Sriperumbudur also . This small place is situated 40 km. away from Chennai and comes under Kanchipuram district . It is birthplace of Sri Ramanujacharya , one of the most prominent Hindu Vaishnav saints . In 1991 Rajiv Gandhi was killed here during an election campaign and this small , unknown town became known to all . I visited his grand memorial ;

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperubudur

It is a grand and opulent memorial . I am not against it  . But I am sad that crores are spent on Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial and Subramanya Bharathi’s memorial in Puducherry is now closed .

With this I finished my 12 days pilgrimage , said good-bye to Chennai , took train from Egmore on December 01st and reached Mumbai on December 02nd .

Egmore Station - Chennai

I don’t know whether I would be visiting these place again or not . I do intend to visit but …….? As usual I remember few lines of Hindi poet Agyeya and leave everything to my destiny .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 5 : Puducherry


CHENNAI – TAMILNADU – INDIA         NOVEMBER 30 , 2011            01.00 A.M.

After finishing Darshanam and Abhishekam yesterday , me and my wife proceeded for Chennai from Vaitheeswaramkoil in the morning . We reached Puduchery at noon and decided to visit few important places . If one is passing through Puducherry , is it possible to just escape the city and proceed further ?

In 1969 when I went to Allahabad for higher studies , one day me and my friend went to Universal Book Store to buy ” Savitri ” and ” Life Divine ” , books written by Maharshi Aurobindo . I couldn’t buy the books because of paucity of funds but my friend bought those books . He used to narrate few important things from those books and my admiration and respect for Maharshi Aurobindo grew . Unfortunately I was unable to visit Puducherry , which was known as Pondicherry at that time . So when I passed through Puduchery on November 25th , I decided to visit it thoroughly while returning from Vaitheeswarankoil .

Main road of Puducherry is adorned by beautiful gates . In my knowledge the only other city in India adorned with gates is Jaipur . But these gates are very different . They carry distinct French style .

Gate of Puducherry City

After this gate , the most important thing in Puducherry is Sri Aurubindo Ashram . Ashram is closed from 2.00 t0 4.00 . I am sorry that I reached there at 1.45 and spent only 15 minutes there . I could visit the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and Sri Maa and I am happy that I could pay my obeisance there . Photography is not allowed inside , so I could not click photos of Samadhi .

With My Wife at Aurubindo Ashram Gate

My Wife at Sri Aurubindo Ashram

The promenade of Puducherry is something to be seen to be believed . It is different from Marina Beach Chennai and Juhu Beach , Mumbai . It’s old name was Rue Du Rampart and now it is called Beach Road .

Beach Road - Puducherry

Beach Road - Puducherry , Another View

My Wife at Beach Road - Boat House Chunambur in the Background

Very close to Sri Aurobindo Ashram is Vinayak Temple , most famous temple of Puducherry .

With My Wife at Vinayak Temple Gate

After Vinayak Temple we again returned to Beach Road . At one end there is a magnificient Gandhi statue .

Mahatma Gandhi Statue at Beach Road

Pondicherry , apart from Sri Aurubindo , also belongs to Subramanya Bharthi , a great modern Tamil poet . His house was declared a national memorial. I went to visit it but it is sad that it has been closed two years ago . Millions are spent on the memorials of Gandhi – Nehru family but it is appalling that a national poet of the stature of Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar a.k.a. Subramanya Bharathi is so neglected . Totally disappointed and crest – fallen , I returned from his so – called memorial

House of Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar

There is another worthwhile monument near Puducherry . It is called Auruville . It is 12 km. from the main town .Auroville is a global village conceptualised by Sri Maa . It was raining heavily and we were wet , so the picture is not very clear .

With my Wife at Matru Mandir - Auroville

With visit to Auroville , my Puducherry visit ended . I returned to Chennai . While sitting in the room of Hotel Golden Tower , while I am writing this blog , I am thinking about Puducherry . It is very different from other Indian cities . Have you seen such kind of lanes and by – lanes anywhere in India ?

A Lane of Puducherry

Or do you think such kind of structure for a Church is prevalent anywhere in India ?

A Church of Puducherry

Puducherry was a French Colony and was known as Pondicherry then  . After India’s independence , French government decided to hand over this colony to Indian government and on November 01 , 1954 Pondicherry came under India’s rule and was made a Union Territory on November 01 , 1956 . At the time of transfer of power French government insisted that the distinct French character if this town should be maintained . It is heartening that this pledge is maintained by our government and Puducherry remains unique and distinct .

As usual when I am about to finish the blog , I am contemplating about my next visit and as usual words of Hindi poet Agyeya come to my with a teasing reminder :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]
But in case of Pondicherry , I know that I would be visiting the town soon . After Deoria , my place of birth and after Mumbai , my place of work , if I have to settle in any other city ever , it would be Puducherry .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 3 : Chennai


VAITHEESWARANKOIL  –  NAGAPATTINAM  –  TAMIL NADU          NOVEMBER  28 , 2011              00 .30 A.M.

I was at Tirupati on November 21 , 22 and 23rd . On 24th November I took Garudeshwar Express from Tirupati and  reached Chennai in the morning . Train reached Chennai Central station . I must admit that Chennai Central station is well-kept and well maintained building .

Chennai Central Station

After checking in Hotel Golden Tower on Periyar road , I immediately booked a cab and went for Chennai sight-seeing  . Though I had visited this city almost 6 years back but that time I was not able to see much as it was Sunday and Chennai was Closed .

First my driver took me to Government Museum . It is a sprawling British era building stablished in 1851 . It is the oldest museum of India .and is well-kept . It has three different sections .

At Chennai Museum Main Gate

Chennai Museum - Exterior

After spending more than 1 hour in the museum , I went to Snake Park . Though park is not related to the snakes in any way and I  don’t like the idea also but the place is named as Snake Park , so I had no option . I am not very fond of reptiles also but still went there . Apart from snakes , it also has crocodile section.

Chennai Snake Park - Crocodile Section

Chennai Snake Park - Exterior

From Snake Park , it was turn of a very different building . During British era it was called Ice Building . Ruling British gentry used to keep ice in the building and used to serve it during the evening to those Englishmen , who came for revelry . Now this building is called Vivekanand House .

Ice House / Vivekanand House

From Ice House we went to Fort St. George , the Vidhan Sabha of Tamilnadu Government . On the way we saw Nappier Bridge , which one has to cross while going to Fort St. George . It was built-in 1869 by Governor Nappier across Cooum river .

Nappier Bridge

After crossing Nappier Bridge , we reached Fort St. George , the administrative headquarters of Tamilnadu government . The Flag Mast , which stands in front of the main building is the tallest in the country . Foundation of the Fort was laid in 1640 . Before that Chennai used to be just two villages ; Madraspattinam and Chennaipattinam . East India Company bought some land from the king of Chandragiri and started building the fort . It took 15 years to be completed and was declared open in 1654 .

Fort St. George in the Background

Fort St. George compound has two very important buildings ; St. Mary Church and the Museum . St Mary Church was stablished in 1680 and is the first church of India .

St. Mary Church - Fort St. George

Fort museum was stablished in 1948 .

Fort St. George Museum

Another British Era structure , situated in between Fort St George and the Museum , is a canopy .

The Canopy

Can any description of Chennai be complete without Marina Beach ? Mile of sand and sky blue , azure sea is beyond words . You have to see the spectacle to believe it .

At Marina Beach with my Wife

We all know about the Samadhis of national leaders in Delhi on the banks of Yamuna river . In Chennai also there are two Samadhis on Marina beach . First Memorial belongs to C. N. Annadurai , the first non – Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and also the first leader of Dravidian party to form a majority government in India . He was also the founder of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ DMK ] .

Annadurai Memorial at Marina Beach

Another Memorial belongs to MGR , the founder of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ AIADMK ] . He , along with Sivaji Ganesan , was the top most Tamil film star . He broke away from the parent party DMK and in 1972 formed AIADMK and subsequently became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu . He was Chief Minister for two consecutive terms ; 1977 – 1982 and 1982 – 1987 and was the first actor in India to become the Chief Minister of a state .

MGR Memorial at Marina Beach

But journey of Chennai cannot be complete without visiting Adyar river . We north Indians don’t know about this huge river but Adyar flows magnificently and silently in Chennai . Along with Cooum river , Adyar  trifurcates the Chennai city .

Adyar River

After spending just one day in Chennai , I proceeded for Vaitheeswarankoil in Nagapattinam district on November 25th . I will again return to Chennai on November 29th. Chennai is not a remote place that I cannot come here again . I might visit it soon . But who knows ? I might not get another chance ! So I remember a poem of Hindi poet Sachchitanand Hiranand Vatsyayan ” Agyeya ” and finish my travelogue of Chennai .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

ErikaBeyk

This WordPress.com site is about Health and Wellbeing

Arun Shanbhag

Life is Beautiful, Live it the fullest

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: