Tamil Nadu

Here you’ll find travel reports about Tamil Nadu. Discover travel destinations in India of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

43 travelers at this place:

  • Day83

    Lessons of gratitude

    August 10 in India

    Today we leave India and fly to Sri Lanka, after about 7 weeks in total visiting a small part of such a huge and diverse country. This trip we have been trying to speak with Lila about gratitude and being thankful for the experiences we have as well as the ability to do so. India is such an interesting and beautiful country, but at the same time can be extremely intense and raw, both for the places and people you meet. It's a place where you are face to face with the realities of living in a society that can be unjust and unequal purely dependent on what family and where you were born. Being a female is a huge disadvantage, someone told us that people cry when they have a baby girl, knowing what a hard life this child will have.
    However we are told that things are changing and we are always amazed at the capacity of people here to do so much with not a lot. People have amazing determination, persistence and capacity...anything and everything is possible in India!
    We leave India and Lila is sick with a stomach thing. We are lucky we live in a place with safe drinking water and generally safe food. As well as pretty good access to health care.
    Thank you India, we are very thankful for the experiences we have had here :).
    Special thanks to Dov n Agar villages, Armitesh, Smita, Carla, Sashwat, the chai walas, Ganges river, doctors n pharmacists, the shoe cobbler in Delhi, Jaipur.
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  • Day81

    Last stop - Chennai

    August 8 in India

    An overnight bus brought us to Chennai, which would be our last stop in India. We happened to arrive the day after a very famous Tamil Nadu politician died, so we had the strange pleasure of seeing this usually buzzing city with very little traffic and activity in the streets (which I assume is quite rare in Indian cities), as all shops, restaurants, services were closed for the day. We visited the beach at Chennai, took the very new and clean metro, did some shopping the next day and Lila tried on the very over the top party dresses.Read more

  • Day125

    Oh wai, Chennai

    November 21, 2017 in India

    Chennai, die Hauptstadt des Südens. Zwar bin ich vor meinem Flug auf die Andaman Islands nur einen Tag hier, aber ich dachte mir, so ein Hotel in Strandnähe kann ja nicht verkehrt sein.... Pustekuchen!

    Mein Hotel ist low budget und sieht leider auch genauso aus und der Strand ist wohl eher eine Fischfabrik.

    Voller Fischerboote- könnte ja ganz schön sein - leider aber auch voller Müll und Unrat.
    Von einem Spaziergang auf dem "Strandboulevard" ist ebenfalls abzuraten.
    Rechts der Stadtslum, links der Fischmarkt.
    Dieser besteht aus kleinen Bündchen oder auch nur ausgelegten Decken, auf denen jeglicher Fisch feil geboten wird. Der "Duft" der hier in der Luft liegt, lässt aber wohl auch den größten Fischliebhaber würgen.

    Der Tuktukfahrer, der mich in einen besseren Teil der Stadt bringen sollte, lässt mich sein Tuktuk fahren und macht dabei gefühlte 100 Selfies. Mit dem besseren Stadtteil hat es aber noch nicht ganz geklappt. Also mach ich mich zu Fuß auf zur katholischen St. Thome Cathedral. Bei meinem heutigen Glück geht hier aber gerade eine Beerdigung zuende und der Tote wird heraus getragen - im OFFENEN Sarg!

    Weiter zum Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Endlich mal ein Highlight! So einen bunten Temple hab ich in Indien bisher noch nicht gesehen 😊

    Mein nächster Tuktuk Fahrer fährt mit mir erstmal zur Tanke, bevor er mich an der großen Shoppingmall raus lässt. Bissl Burger King, bissl H&M und ab ins Kino.
    Zwar ist der Film auf Hindi, aber das ist trotzdem unterhaltsam. Vor allem, weil vor Filmbeginn die Nationalhymne gespielt wird und die Kinogäste dafür aufstehen sollen.

    Und zum goldenen Abschluss des Tages, auf der Suche nach etwas essbaren, sitze ich im Restaurant und studiere die Karte, da bleibt die Kellnerin/Inhaberin neben mir stehen, beobachtet mich und rülpst mich an 😅 ...da musste meine Restaurantsuche wohl oder übel weiter gehen.

    Jetzt freue mich nur noch auf bessere Zeiten im Paradies 😍
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  • Day1

    Chennai--our first day

    November 21, 2017 in India

    We arrived in Chennai at 0100 AM on Tuesday, 11/21 after 16 1/2 hours of flying time plus a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt. The first thing that hit me as we left the airport was the heat and humidity, high even at 1AM. We planned today as a rest day so we had no schedule to meet and could nap and walk around, getting used to the time change (we are 10 1/2 hours ahead of the east coast).

    Chennai is the Detroit of India, its primary business being manufacturing, especially automobiles. The streets in the area of town near our hotel are filled with small shops and street stalls—ironing services, fabric printing, mechanics, packaged spice carts, stalls selling fruit juices and others selling chapati and other hand snacks. Although there are many people walking, the raids are not pedestrian friendly. The sidewalks are narrow so you must walk mindfully around potholes and piles of debris, often stepping into traffic to squeeze by some large sidewalk obstruction. The traffic on our hotel street is very heavy, a mix of cars, small trucks, tuk-tuks (like a golf cart for hire), motorcycles, and scooters. Everyone uses the horn, a lot. No pedestrian crossings, just venture out when there is a slow down in the flow of traffic and wend your way across the 6 lanes.

    The last time we were in India was 2010 and it was north India: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur. The first thing we noticed here was far less unsolicited touting, that is men who want to “help” you do something (for a fee) —take you on a tour, carry your luggage, drive you someplace—than we remember from Delhi. Still a few persistent tuck-tuck drivers but much more enjoyable to walk around without having to say “no”all the time.

    Surprisingly, there is a Starbucks around the corner from our hotel. Yes, it’s the real deal. We also found a small grocery store and had fun checking out the variety of fruits and vegetables, spices, seeds, nuts, and sauces. Stocked up on several gallons of water. Now, a little relaxation at the pool at our hotel before dinner.
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  • Day3

    Historic Sights in Chennai

    November 23, 2017 in India

    We met our group of 9 others this morning and began our Gate 1 Spiritual South India tour with a traditional South Indian lunch at Malgudi restaurant. That’s me posing in front of the restauant.

    For lunch, we each received a large platter lined with banana leaf that was used to serve small bowls of curries, rice, chicken in cream sauce, fried fish, dal (lentils), yogurt, and rice pudding, all eaten with parotta, a type of fry bread local to the Tamil Nadu area. Tiny portions but very filling all together.

    Finished off with a dessert of fermented rice flour pancake dipped in a sweetened cardamom sauce. Dark South Indian coffee was served, again traditional style. That’s Ben demonstrating the pouring technique that mixes the cream and sugar into the very hot coffee.

    Two historical sights today: the Government Museum which is a sprawling compound of archeological, historical, and architectural treasures. We saw carved Hindu statues dating from 600 A.D., and the largest collection of bronze statues in the world dating back hundreds of years and magnificently detailed. Then to the Museum at Fort St. George which houses collections of memorabilia from the fascinating British history in India. Unfortunately they do not allow pictures at either Museum. There’s a picture of us at St. Mary’s church, the oldest English church in India, dating from the 1700s and still in use today.

    Then a drive along the extensive shoreline along the Bay of Bengal with a beach area estimated to be 20 miles long. The part closest to the city has many parks and food trucks and you can imagine in a city of 9 million, lots of people walking on the beach (water is not safe for swimming).

    Further down are the fishing villages. We could see the boats, not too much larger than dinghies, rowing right up on the sand and hauling their catch directly to a family member manning a makeshift stall along the road, selling the fish literally fresh off the boat (we saw very little use of ice). Our guide said that Indians prefer their food to be bought and cooked as fresh as can be, so everything must be sold that day. It’s one reason WalMart has not taken off in this big market—the people here generally do not use prepared or packaged food. This area was hard hit by the tsunami in 2004, destroying miles of small homes near the water and killing hundreds. Even 13 years later so many still living in make-shift shanties of scrap metal or wood with a roof of plastic sheeting. The government is slowly rebuilding apartments, but still so much need.

    We are going through water like crazy. It’s hot and humid and the tap water is not safe for us to drink. We are being handed water bottles everywhere we go. You know what a conservationist I am so it’s killing me to add all these empty plastics to the trash problem of over a billion people. It’s either that or risk a case of ‘Delhi belly’ (the Indian version of Montezumas Revenge). We have been so fortunate on our trips to be spared from any GI issues.
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  • Day6

    The French Connection

    November 26, 2017 in India

    On Saturday we headed down the coast to the independent district of Pondachurry. This used to be part of the French holdings in India until 1960 and it still has French flavor in building style, street names, and food. It is a popular seaside resort town and we saw more non-Indians today than we have during the rest of our trip.

    Before lunch we visited what I would equate to a “commune”, a place called Auroville designed to be a community where religion, nationality, and ethnicity does not matter, a place for world harmony. Auroville owns about 200acres of beautiful forest and gardens and operates several streets with small service businesses. It is quite a robust tourist operation with hundreds visiting to walk the gardens.

    We went to a traditional paper making factory where they use old newspapers and recycle it into hand crafted paper items. During a walking tour of the town we had to make way for an elephant marching down the road, right through the cars and pedestrians. He was part of the temple which worships Ganesha, the elephant-figure son of the god Shiva. Every afternoon they heard this poor creature through town and into the narrow temple doors where they ring a bell and make offerings before tying him outside so people can take photographs.

    Another spectacular beachfront resort for tonight’s lodging. Our room has a large covered veranda with a sofa (I was tempted to sleep outside!) and a bathroom that opens to a tiny private courtyard. Getting spoiled.
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  • Day3

    Thanksgiving at Temple Beach

    November 23, 2017 in India

    Happy Thanksgiving from Temple Beach in Mahabalipuram!

    We spent our day of thanksgiving at a Hindu Temple, walking through a cultural village, and climbing around 6th century rock sculptures. In an unexpected move, Chinese food for dinner tonight.

    Before leaving Chennai this morning, we visited the 7th century Kapaleeshwarar Temple and were lucky enough to catch a wedding ceremony in progress. At first I thought it odd that Thursday morning would be a wedding ceremony, but since most marriages are still arranged and the date and time of wedding is determined via horoscope it makes sense now. It’s a very colorful temple with lots of activity. We as non-Hindus could go in to the complex but could not enter the small temples where the god statues are worshipped.

    Next stop was the Village of Dakshina Chitra, with a nice walking tour of restorations of various types of traditional houses, furnishing, and handicrafts, such as coffee farmer, silk weaver, and money lender. An Indian version of Williamsburg VA.

    We are very impressed so far with the accommodations on this tour—for the next two days we’ll be enjoying a beautiful view of the Bay of Bengal from our Temple Beach resort hotel. We had some time in the afternoon to walk on the beach and cool off in the pool.

    Our final event of the evening was the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mahabalipuram. This was really impressive—intricate sculptures from Hindu mythology and everyday life carved into a massive granite rock outcropping, estimated to be 1200 years old.

    I’m thankful for our health, for the love of our wonderful families, for our dear friends, and for the opportunity to deeply experience this amazing world of ours.
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  • Day8

    Night Market in Madurai

    November 28, 2017 in India

    The internet at our last location was very difficult. We spent two days in Thanjavur (highlights that I’ll have to update you on later) and are now in Madurai for the next two days. Madurai, the oldest inhabited city in India, has a population of 1.4 million making it only the 4th largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu which is the area we have been traveling for the last week. It is nicknamed ‘temple city’ and is home to a very significant 17th century temple which we are going to see today.

    Last night we walked around the night market, wending our way through throngs of pilgrims, families, shoppers, and sellers crammed into long narrow corridors in the centuries-old massive granite pavilion next to the temple that now serves as an indoor market space. The labyrinth of alleyways are organized around sections where all the same goods are sold. A long alley of gold braid and beads for dresses. An alley of men sewing dresses and shirts on foot pedal sewing machines. Another long row overflowing with brass temple ware: candlesticks, pots, and tiny bowls to hold the lighted oil candles. A long row of booksellers with school books in Tamil, Hindi, and English for kindergarten up to graduate level stacked up precariously high in boxes behind them. And my favorite, the huge ‘kitchen store,’ several alleys of bowls, molds, strainers, utensils, huge aluminum and iron pots, and cast iron skillets that stand as high as my shoulder. Talk about ‘iron chef’!

    The area we are in now is inland from where we had been the previous week. It is a very tropical and prolific agricultural area. We passed cashew farms, coconut groves, banana plantations, rice fields, plus small groups of wandering cows, goats, and chickens. Our current hotel is on the side of a hill overlooking the city of Madurai and as I did my yoga on the veranda this morning I could hear chanting, drumming, bells tinkling—the sounds of a temple city welcoming the day.

    Here are pics from the night market and the view from our hotel room, looking over the city of Madurai. Also Ben helping the cashew seller roast her cashews over an open fire on the side of the road.
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  • Day23

    Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

    June 29, 2015 in India

    Coonoor is wedged into the sides of the Nilgiris mountain region. A 5 km car ride takes around 25 minutes or more, depending on if you end up stuck behind a lumbering tea truck. I took a bike out today and rode the side of a mountain only to be harassed by a band of outlaw Nilgiris monkeys wanting my Oreos. I call the outlaws because they were not pleasant. They may very well have been in-laws, although that traditionally wouldn't change much about their pleasantness. Regardless, there was no chance I was giving those Oreos up. I kicked my bike into 6th gear and, like the daredevil I am, attempted to ramp off a speed bump. I stuck the landing -- literally, stuck it. I landed in what I thought was wet dirt but was actually a 1.5 foot deep pothole of mud. Slowing to a stop to collect myself, I happened across a small herd of buffalo (8-9 of them) on the slopes of the mountains foraging through tea plants. They all had horns and, despite my inclination toward daring speed bump ramps and other sure perils, I did not fancy disturbing them. I continued my ascent and when I finished I found myself on tea factory grounds occupying one of the mountain's highest point. I also found that my bicycle's back brakes had completely broken, relieving themselves of any culpability for the much more dangerous descent. The sweet speed bump airtime was the likely culprit. The second half of the ride was markedly less enjoyable, as the front brakes loudly and shrilly voiced their disapproval of their newfound responsibilities. Muddied but emboldened by my adventure, I settled to read on a rock outcropping as the sun began to set. The rock, however, turned out to be overlooking one of the local roads' many bottleneck points. People slowed on their motorcycles and in their rickshaws and cars to behold the muddy and seemingly lost white person. More waving was done than reading.Read more

  • Day2252

    Nach zähen Verhandlungen mit dem Oberranger ("You have no booking? No free rooms.") werden uns doch noch zwei Betten im Tigerreservat zugeteilt. Eine strikte Ermahnung Nachts nicht mehr vor die Tür zu gehen, ein Curry in der Kantine und schon schlafen wir neben einer Busladung Schulkindern in einer Hütte. Am nächsten Morgen dann ein 2h Spaziergang durch den Wald, doch die Tiger, Panther und Leoparden bleiben unsichtbar. Kannste mache nix, dafür gabs trainierte Elefanten und diverse wilde Affen, Pfauen, Rehe, Warzenschweine und Büffel zu sehen.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

State of Tamil Nādu, State of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu, تاميل نادو, Тамілнад, Тамил Наду, तमिलनाडु, তামিলনাড়ু, ཏཱ་མིལ་ན་ཌུ།, তমিল নাড়ু, Tamilnádu, ޓެމިލް ނާޑޫ, Ταμίλ Ναντού, Tamilnado, تامیل نادو, તમિલનાડુ, טאמיל נאדו, तमिल नाडु, Tamilnadu, タミル・ナードゥ州, ტამილნადუ, ತಮಿಳುನಾಡು, 타밀나두 주, Coromandela, Tamilnadas, Tamilnāda, തമിഴ്‌നാട്, तमिळनाडू, ତାମିଲନାଡୁ, Тамилнад, ਤਮਿਲ਼ ਨਾਡੂ, تامل ناڈو, तमिळनाडुराज्यम्, தமிழ்நாடு, తమిళనాడు, Тамилноду, รัฐทมิฬนาฑู, Тамілнаду, 泰米尔纳德邦

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