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

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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

India : Politics In The Name of Names


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA             AUGUST 24 , 2011             11  . 15  A. M.

Last week there was news that all the parties of West Bengal unanimously decided to change the name of the state to Paschim Banga .Very soon West Bengal will be known as Paschim Banga. Mamta Banerjee promised to go for a new nomenclature , when she came to power . It goes to her credit that she fulfilled her promise very soon and all the parties of the state agreed and supported the new name . Very soon Paschim Banga will be a reality. But it is not the first time that a state is being renamed. 5 provinces , 2 Union territories  and 70 cities have already been renamed and a proposal to change Orissa’s name is pending before the Parliament.

Political Map of India

Political Map of India

Let us go through the list of Provinces :

1 – Travancore – Cochin is now known as Kerala . [ Name Changed in 1956 ]

2 – Madhya Bharat is now known as Madhya Pradesh . [ Name Changed in 1959]

3 – Madras is now known as Tamil Nadu . [ Name Changed in 1969 ]

4 – Mysore is now known as Karnataka . [ Name Changed in 1973 ]

5 – Uttaranchal is now known as Uttarakhand . [ Name Changed in 2007 ]

There are  proposals for the name change of the 4 Provinces  :

1 – Orissa  – New Name  Odisha . [ Proposed in 2011 ]

2 – West Bengal – New Name  Paschim Banga . [ Proposed in 2011 ]

3 – Kerala , which got its name changed from Travancore – Cochin , wants now to be known as Keralam . [ Still a Wish ]

4 – Assam – New Name  Asom . [ Still a Wish ]


List of Union Territories, which were renamed  :

1 – Laccadivi, Minikoy & Amindivi Islands   –  New Name Lakshadweep . [ Name Changed in 1973 ]

2 – Pondicherry – New Name Puducherry . [  Name Changed in 2006 ]

Map of India showing location of West Bengal

Map of India showing location of West Bengal

So 5 states and 2 Union Territories of India have been renamed . Two states have concrete proposals for the name change and proposals for Kerala  and Assam, are still in nascent stages.

Apart from above mentioned 9 provinces , and 2 Union Territories  there are 70  Indian cities , which have gone through the name change.

Major cities that have been renamed after independence include:

Andhra Pradesh

Assam

  • Nowgong to Nagaon
  • Gauhati to Guwahati (change effective 1983)
  • Sibsagar to Sivasagar

Gujarat

Himachal Pradesh

Kerala

Madhya Pradesh

Maharashtra

Puducherry

  • Pondicherry to Puducherry (change effective from 1 October 2006)
  • Yanaon to Yanam (change effective from merger with Indian Union)

Punjab

Tamil Nadu

Uttar Pradesh

  • Cawnpore to Kanpur (change effective 1948)
  • Benares to Varanasi (change effective 1956)

West Bengal

  • Calcutta to Kolkata (change effective from 1 January 2001)
  • Burdwan to Bardhaman

Name change proposal for 9 other Indian cities are there but they allude consensus . They are :

1 – Ahmedabad  – Proposed Name  – Karnavati

2 – Allahabad – Prposed Name  – Prayag or Teerth Raj Prayag

3 – Aurangabad  – Proposed Name  – Sambhajinagar

4 – Patna  – Proposed Name –  Pataliputra

5 – Mysore  – Proposed Name –  Mysooru

6 – Mangalore  – Proposed Name –  Mangaluru

7 – Bangalore – Proposed Name – Bengaluru

8 – Bhopal  – Proposed Name –  Bhojpal

9 – Hyderabad  – Proposed Name –  Bhagya Nagaram

Above mentioned 9 cities have long pending demands for name change , but since it requires Union Cabinet and Parliament’s approval , and at present they are controlled by the Congress , so chances are bleak for the renaming because there is no consensus for the new names of the above mentioned cities.

I fail to understand the logic. If names of 5 states , 2 Union Territories and 70 cities could be changed and 2 more states are on the verge of being renamed , then why to deny above mentioned 9 cities the same right ? Is it because  proposal for the name change for these 9 cities came from BJP or Shiv Sena or other opposition parties ? Or because proposed names of these 9 cities bear the ethos of our age – old tradition and ageless culture ? Or because they are being opposed by some so – called secular parties and intellectuals of left leaning ? Or fear of vote bank politics is stalling the renaming ?

If it is so , it is sad , very , very sad !!

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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[ I have taken some materials , data and dates for this blog from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

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