India
Tamil Nadu

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

52 travelers at this place:

  • Day9

    Tea Highlands Tour

    December 13 in India

    Augie and Nancy came down with separate illnesses overnight. Augie wasn't up for the day's activities and stayed behind in Conoor to rest. Nancy, Sophie, and I spent the morning touring the Highlands Tea Factory in nearby Wellington. The tour was good although it covered a lot of familiar ground. We learned that tea harvesting happens all year, but the main harvest is in June when the monsoon rains bring fast growth. The guide explained that they employ one hundred pickers year round and several thousand during the wet months. While there, we noticed that several of the workers in the factory were migrants from Southeast Asia. He also explained that a picker's quota of leaves for black or green tea is around 40 kilograms or 88 pounds per day. The same pickers quota of white tip tea picked is 100 grams or less than a quarter pound per day.

    In the afternoon we caught a toy train from Conoor to Ooti. A World Heritage experience. Both towns were Hill Stations and are tea centers. Quite a nice ride through some lovely country. Much like our epic train ride through the Highlands in Sri Lanka.

    Upon return we found Augie to be much improved and ready for tomorrow's safari in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
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  • Day9

    Our Intrepid Travel tour is made up of eight individuals, four of whom are well known. Two couples have joined the trip, one from New York, Ina and Anatole and the other from New Zealand, Suzanne and Scott. The guide is VJ from Rajasthan. Everyone is a veteran traveler. So far so good.

    Yesterday we left Kochi and headed up to the tea highlands by train. We rode in second class cars and were fortunate to have seats together. I got a little bored on the train and spent part of the time taking photos of all the methods concocted to keep trays latched. We had an amazing lunch at a roadside restaurant along the way. Thali trays of South Indian delights. One of our number, Suzanne, is a chef's consultant in Auckland and is really into the food end of things. This should be fun!

    Once we made it to the Tiger's Hill Inn in Conoor Nancy, Sophie, and I took off on a nice hike in the tea fields. The road snaked along the side of a steep mountain dipping in and out of dense forest. As dusk set in a gentleman came alongside on a scooter and urged us to turn back because 'animals are coming!' Up here that could mean any number of things, including lost big cats so we decided to grab the next rickshaw and hightail it back.
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  • Day14

    Mamallapuram

    While Hans and Sophie were recovering, I spent the afternoon wandering with Ina and Anatole, a couple from Brooklyn on the trip. We decided to head down to the beach; our tour later in the afternoon would take us to the UNESCO monuments built in the 7th and 8th centuries that Mamallapuram is famous for.

    As we walked down the road from the hotel, and hooked a left for the beach, we noticed an astounding number of men and women dressed in brilliant red and orange tunics and trousers or saris. Women had woven flowers into their braids. There was a general festive air. The road eventually petered out into a sand track lined with stalls, selling trinkets. Anything you could imagine. Shoes, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, bags, backpacks, whistles, sarongs, stone sculptures, soapstone elephants, plastic toys like what you'd see in a McDonald's Happy Meal back in the day. We could have gotten a tattoo if we wanted or had our picture taken with a monkey in a dress. Or, we could have our name etched into a grain of rice and put into a bracelet. Plenty of options!

    Throngs of people stood at the shoreline, cooling off and watching the waves. Kids played in the water, a group of women got soaking wet, saris and all. A few enterprising young men gave pony rides.

    Later in the afternoon, we met up with VJ, Augie, and Scott to bike to the sites on the monument tour. Our first stop was The Five Rathas, the five rock temples carved in the form of chariots. The temples were carved from a single granite boulder (a gigantic boulder!). The carvings took shape from the top down, and the rock was split (somehow) using wooden wedges and water.

    We saw Arjuna's Penance, one of the tallest bas relief structures in the world, second to Ankor Watt. I think the guide was saying that some of the temples in the Ankor Watt complex are in the Tamil style. The carvings here were exquisite, very delicate and precise, not at all damaged or worn.

    We also visited a cave temple, as well Krishna's Butterball, a 250 ton 20 foot tall rock balancing on a steep incline. Apparently, a British governor, citing safety concerns, tried to move the rock with 8 elephants, but it wouldn't budge. (We also saw a sausage tree, one if the wierdest trees I've ever seen. The fruits look exactly like sausages and are supposed to be good for liver health.)

    The most impressive temple of all was the Shore Temple, the last remaining temple of 7. It's on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, and the other 6 temples are now underwater. We were told that in the 2004 tsunami, the 6 temples appeared just before the tidal wave hit, when all the water had receded.

    When we returned, we were happy to see that Hans and Sophie were on the mend. I'm still under the weather, and have finally resorted to the antibiotics in our first aid kit.

    Tomorrow it is down the Bengal coast to Pondicherry, an old French colonial city.
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  • 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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  • Day24

    Chennai

    October 30 in India

    Et voilà notre premier jour en Inde😝 Nous avons galèré un peu à l'aéroport car la compagnie aérienne exige d'avoir un billet de sorti du pays🤦 Nous avons eu 15 min pour décider de notre prochaine destination et la date de départ haha
    On arrive donc à Chennai une énorme ville de 7 millions d'habitants. C'est complètement le bordel dans les rues, des gens partout, des déchets qui s'amoncellent et des familles qui vivent et dorment au milieu de tout ça.. Il faut avouer que c'était un peu le choc en arrivant.
    Malgré tout les rues sont remplies de vie et de petites échoppes😊 La diversité de la nourriture et les goûts incroyable nous fait le plus grand bien 😋 Nous avions un peu fait le tour du riz curry du Sri Lanka..
    Incroyable de voir les vaches, idoles de l'Inde, se balader calmement dans les rues au point de créer des bouchons 😂
    La plage de 13 km de long et de plus de 200m de large est super impressionnante, il paraît que 'elle est la deuxième plus grande du monde. Malheureusement tant la plage que tout le reste de la ville est très sale 😕
    P. S. Nous avons eu des punaises de lit 😱 c'est affreux, c'est des bestioles ~1cm qui grouille dans le lit une fois la lumière éteinte et qui te sucent le sang quand tu dors te laissant des boutons degueux (je réagis plus fort que Naty pour une fois haha) mais heureusement que sur les jambes 🤷 c'est chiant car à ce qu'il parrai ça infeste les affaires au point qu'il faudrait tout laver à plus de soixante et jeter / congeler le reste des affaires.. A voir ces prochains jours
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  • 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

  • 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

  • Day108

    Chennai

    April 1 in India

    Notes from Chennai (formerly called Madras)

    India note # 1: India loves bureaucracy. As a former British colony, India fell in love with forms and stamps and approval letters and multiple documents, and layers and layers of supervision. Even after completing an exhausting application for visas last summer before the cruise even started, four of the staterooms onboard failed to receive an e-landing card from India immigration. Ours was one of the four. So we were told that we would simply have our visas hand-processed.

    Simple.

    At immigration station number 1, the uniformed immigration official didn’t know what to do with us, so he called his boss. The boss didn’t know what to do with us, so he called his boss. This boss couldn’t get his scanner to work and Glenda was kind enough to start trying to tell him what he needed to do to fix it. I don’t think he spoke English, but that didn’t stop Glenda. She kept at it.

    I avoided the temptation to ask her politely to shut up, because even if the boss had been able to get his scanner to work, it would not do us any good. The problem was that we did not have a landing card that could be scanned—even if equipment were working properly.

    I whispered, or I tried to whisper, “Glenda, for God’s sake, don’t start trying to play Nancy Drew right now!” He looked at Glenda funny, then asked me, “Who is Nancy Drew? That is not the name on this visa!” He finally stamped our document, signed it and sent us to the next station, telling us that there would be no problem.

    Yeah. Right.

    “Move here. No, here. Stand in line here. Now stop. Wait here. Now move over there. Wait. Now get in this line.” This whole process, complete with multiple bosses, was repeated 3 more times. Four times in all. The last boss was a big, heavy guy with a big black mustache, a sharp looking military uniform and 3 stars on his shoulder boards. I figured he must be a Lieutenant General. At some point in the process, it got funny. Glenda started laughing—not just tittering, but guffawing out loud. Hooting. I shushed her, and she laughed louder. I turned red and tried desperately to get her quiet, as visions of a hot, humid Indian prison danced in my head. She laughed so hard she had tears in her eyes. People were looking at us. I was dripping sweat and felt like I was about to die until I glanced up and saw that Lieutenant General Moustache was getting tickled too. I think they all thought that Glenda had, well, a problem. He stamped our landing cards, patted me on the shoulder while shaking his head, and we were on our way.

    The good news is that we get to do this 3 more times, once in Cochin, once in Goa, and once in Mumbai, because we still don’t have the right landing card.

    India note # 2: Cows are cool. If you die and come back as a cow in India, you wander around in people’s yards and the folks pat you on the rump and give you stuff to eat. They won’t kill you or eat you because you’re sacred. Altogether, not a bad deal. Just don’t come back as a cow in America. Cows don’t have as strong a labor union there.

    India note # 3: (Church wonk warning): St. Thomas is here. One of the main reasons I wanted to come to India was that I hoped to see some evidence of the Apostle Thomas (remember “doubting Thomas”?). I have known since seminary of a very strong oral tradition linking St. Thomas with India and the so-called Mar Thoma Church. The tradition holds that he arrived here in 52 AD and brought Christianity to India. I had hoped to see some traces of Thomas, but didn’t really expect to find any. Certainly Thomas was not high on the hit parade of any of my shipmates. However, five minutes after our bus left the port and entered downtown Chennai, we passed a big, white Catholic cathedral. Our guide pointed it out and said that it contains the grave of the Apostle Thomas. Bingo. For me, everything else we do in India is frosting on the cake. For me Thomas was the cake.

    India Note # 4: There is some really old stuff here. We drove to the seaside town of Mahabalipuram to see not just one, but a collection of Hindu temples that go back to the sixth century AD. This is genuinely old stuff—some of the oldest Hindu iconography in existence. We actually walked inside the Holy of Holies of the so-called Shore temple. Though the temple has been deconsecrated, I think there are still some venerable old spirits who call this place home. Oh yes, it just happens to be located on the seaside site of a first century port which appears on some old Roman maps.

    India note # 5: You gotta honk your horn constantly when you drive because there are no traffic lights. By the way, they drive on the wrong side of the road here. And there are lots of scooters carrying 3 or 4 people. But it’s cool. It works.

    India note # 6: (For adults only) Hawkers are very persistent. As you walk from the bus to—anywhere—some very nice, wonderful, but very poor people will walk alongside you, trying to sell you little statues of Buddha or Krishna, little necklaces or drawings or trinkets. They will always say that they sculpted or painted or wove the object themselves. Maybe they did, but I doubt it. One huckster of limited English skills, approached Glenda with a set of heavy cardboard circles, each beautifully painted and lacquered. If you folded the top down each showed a lovely picture of a different bird or animal. If you folded the bottom up, it showed one of the 245 sexual positions of the Kamasutra, some of which could be performed only by a contortionist. Glenda wasn’t sure that the salesman understood her English, but she looked him in the eye, put her hand on his shoulder and said in her sweetest Southern drawl, “Honey, I’m 66 years old, have a hip replacement and arthritis. Now, really, what do you think I’m going to do with this?”

    India note # 7: The people here are really nice. Over 90% are Hindus, which means that they are relaxed, non-violent vegetarians. Well, they are relaxed and non-violent once they stop driving and honking their horns. They smile at you, and they wave at your bus as you pass. Even the kids. Yeah, the beggars and the hawkers can be a bit aggressive, but they’re just trying to make a living too. I saw some young men at the temple. They saw my camera and I saw theirs, so we just smiled, then took each other’s photos, then laughed and waved as we parted. In spite of all the crowding and poverty, I think I like this place. It’s certainly not America, but for the people here it all somehow works.
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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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