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.

68 travelers at this place:

  • Day9

    Tea Highlands Tour

    December 13, 2018 in India ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    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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  • Day54

    Ahh Crap...

    January 11 in India ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    By wearing all our clothes and not moving I was actually able to stay warm last night but wowzer was it cold in the morning in the room. Inside our room we wore all our layers, but as soon as we got outside we had to take it all off as it was actually warm outside. We went for breakfast at the same restaurant and just as we ordered my stomach went crazy. I had to run back to the hotel and it was not a good sight. Let's just say I had to also use a bucket when on the loo. If the room wasn't so cold I would have just got in bed and never got out. I was feeling so sorry for myself. I felt unbelievably drained, homesick and so sick of feeling ill. As I'd left Will at the restaurant and didn't have data I plucked up the courage to go back and I got so upset. Then when I asked for the bill the guy had put a few things that we didn't ask for on it. This can be quite common and they think that tourists will just pay. It was so stupid because we liked the food and would have been willing to come back everyday for breakfast but now he'd lost our trust. So I paid for what we actually had and walked out.

    I wasn't having a good day at all and I honestly just wished I was home. To top it off I was feeling so guilty because I was now ruining Will's day because I was so ill. He was amazing though and we just went back to the local bakery and he sat me there for a while. As I hadn't eaten he bought me some cookies water and some coca cola for my stomach. We sat for a while chatting and I slowly ate the food and got rehydrated again. At about 11am I was feeling a bit better so we decided to go on a little gander. We saw a church, a waterfall and then headed towards Mountain View. We stopped for lunch just before the hike down the valley and I had Smileys. Haha by this point the clouds in the valley had crept in and the view was absolutely covered in fog. We descended to the first view point and couldn't see a thing so sat for a while before deciding to abandon ship. We walked an alternative way back taking in a few more sights along the way and taking a lot of rests. After a while I started getting tired so we decided to try and hitchhike back. Hitch hiking seems to be pretty easy! I wish we'd done more of it. We soon got picked up by 3 teachers who brought us all the way back to town.

    For dinner Will had found a restaurant that had a fire so took me there for a mini and well needed date. I decided I was off Indian food for a couple of days and so I had a veggie burger with a runny egg and chips. I was in absolute heaven. A fire, a burger and my boy. What more could I have asked for. In the cafe they had a few books and I'd heard really good things about Who Moved My Cheese. As it was a short read we read it and as I'm attempting to get prepped for the real world again it was a fun insight back into the working world. I'd definitely recommend it. So even though the morning started off quite rough I'm glad I persevered and ended up having a really lovely day.
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  • Day9

    Journey the Nilgiri Tea Highlands

    December 13, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    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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  • Day53

    Kodaikanal - The "Lake"

    January 10 in India ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    We arrived at Kodaikanal at 7am and as I was woken to a guy yelling last stop I was very discombobulated when I got off. He kept hassling us for our hotel to which we didn't have one and then he kept saying oh I'll take you to one etc. I snapped... And said "I've literally just woken up, I don't even know where the hell we are and we need a couple of minutes to pack and get off the bus. Indians do not know how to leave you alone when they can see dollar signs in their eyes!! After a couple of minutes we were able to orientate ourselves and feel a bit more normal. We let the guy show us a hotel but we had to wait for a while to see the room. Huge crowds started pouring in and he said we should see a few other hotels, come back and then choose. So we did. We saw a few places but they were all pretty crap for the same price so we told the guy we would just go with the first one as it looked like a proper hotel. We filled in the guest form and when I said the agreed price was Rs 700 the owner said a flat no. He realised he could get a lot more customers for more expensive so he wasn't willing to bargain. Bear in mind we had been wandering round with our backpacks for about an hour now so I was not at all pleased. I found the guy who had supposedly negotiated this price and gave him a piece of my mind. It was an absolute waste of time so we walked off in search for ourselves. The guy kept following us and I as calmly and politely as I could told him to get lost haha He just wanted to gain commission and wasn't even showing us places within our given budget.

    We then sat on a step looked on line for a couple of options and decided to just go in and see if we could bargain. We went to a hotel called Jayaraj, we got the price down to 500 and then went to check out the room. It was freezing and very run down but meh. Just as I was about to say OK Will spotted mice droppings on the bed! So we quickly declined. He then showed us another room which was in a separate building. I must admit the room was knackered looking, but it didn't smell like damp like most of them, it wasn't really clean and it was even more of an icebox than the last, but it did have a hot water tank. We ummed and ahhed for ages and eventually just agreed as we were tired and in need of a shower.

    After a good freshen up and a few internal screams due to feeling so cold in the ice room we got out in search for breakfast. We had Pooris and lots of cải tổ warm us up while planning the day. The plan for the day is to attempt to find scooter hire for the next 2 days and just get our bearings around the lake.

    We went down to the lake and wow what a mess. Now to be fair Kodaikanal had been hit by a cyclone in November so it was very clear that they were still doing a lot of work to clear up the destruction, but our expectations of the "Lake" soon decreased. Sure it was a lake but it had tatty stalls all the way round, you couldn't actually sit down and enjoy the scenery because there was a huge fence around the lake. To be honest it was an absolute let down. We started walking around laughing at the situation when Will decided to turn it into even more of a comedy, by hiring a tandom bike. The tandom was definitely for kids and was hilarious. First Will was on the front and it went quite well. Then half way round we switched and I just couldn't steer properly. Will was so heavy on the bike and everytime he cycled he would bump his knee into my bum as he was too tall. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. All the locals were laughing at us along the way. It was great half an hour of fun.

    In the afternoon we went exploring up towards upper lake view and we sat drinking tea. We were having no luck with regards to getting a scooter and found out that the taxi union opposed scooter rental so once again the taxi mafia were able to do and charge what they like to tourists. We had quite a long walk back and decided to try hitch hiking. It worked! Some uni students in a jeep picked us up and brought us all the way back to town.

    We walked past the local bakery and it seemed super busy so we went in to see what was happening. Outside everyone was eating ice cream so obviously we had to try it too. The owners were soo sweet. They gave us overly generous tries of all the flavours, I must have had 2 scoops worth of tries, before I settled with a really yummy Pear ice cream. When paying they gave us a veg pastry on the house too. I'm obviously coming back tomorrow 😋

    We then went for dinner at a small cafe and had veggie burgers with nachos. To be honest it wasn't great but worth a try!
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  • Day55

    Let's see where we can get to!

    January 12 in India ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Umm maybe we should have found somewhere new to stay... Last night I swear I slept in a freezer. No matter how many layers I wore or how little I moved I could not get warm. But... at least we have a warm shower! So no we didn't move...

    Today we decided to go to the bakery in the morning as I was still not risking Indian food. So I had a very healthy breakfast of a pizza slice, chutney sandwich and muffin 😊 We met some travellers outside and soon got nattering and lost track of time. When realising the time we got up and decided to see how far we could get today as I was feeling much better. We walked for a while and then was able to hitch hike to the next town along. We then walked to all the various view points along the way. Wow it was busy!!! When we arrived at Green Valley it was hilariously foggy again. You couldn't see past the metal fence! Two minutes back onto the road and it's glorious sunshine but in the valley it was freezing and foggy. It was quite the sight. As we had no particular aim in mind we carried on walking past Pillar Rock, Gunan Cave and finally to Pine Forest where we sat and chilled for a while munching on snacks.

    In the evening we had planned to meet a couch surfing host for a drink so just before 3pm we decided to begin the journey back in case we couldn't hitch a lift. If we had to walk back it would have taken about 2 hours, so we were quite keen to hitch a lift if possible. We got onto the road and within 1 minute we were picked up by a family from Chennai who were so sweet and took us the whole way back to Kodaikanal. We were back by 3:15pm! We had a few hours to kill so we went to the cafe with a fire, had a hot chocolate and some chips and sat chatting to some guys from Watford who had just started their travels. They were definitely lads lads haha it was good fun.

    At 5pm we went to meet Rudy at his house. When we got there we were greeted by his wife as Rudy was still out on a run. He actually didn't get back till very very late, he ended up running nearly 100km! Instead Sonny and his wife kept us company and we had a good old chat about our travels, their travels and how they ended up in Kodaikanal. People are so fascinating! Rudy and his wife were both travelling separately and met in India. Since then they have never returned to Switzerland and have a beautiful semi detached cottage with Sonny as their neighbours. I'm so overwhelmed by everyone's openness and hospitality to strangers.
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  • Day56

    Cafe Day

    January 13 in India ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    Today we had grand plans to go on an adventurous hitch hike and hike that Sonny told us about last night. But for once it was me that didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. Hats off to Will though, he got up and out for Sunrise! I'm a bit gutted I didn't now as for the days we have been here we've not had a very good view of the valley but he did this morning.

    As soon as he left I did get up and got ready thinking he would come back soon but he wanted to give me a lie in so stayed out. I wish we had 2 sims! I was inside our icebox waiting for hours. Ah well he had a nice morning hehe

    The rest of the day was spent eating and chilling in a cafe. The last picture is of a kid that got a mega paper dosa, zoom in, its huge!!

    We are both utterly exhausted now and the thought of coming home is now very high on our agenda. We can't wait to have a real bed, not feel constantly exhausted, not have a dicky tummy or the constant feeling of a cold. We probably sound like such ungrateful gits but let's just say travelling is not easy!

    At 6pm we picked up our bags and after 45 mins of not having a clue where the bus picks us up we eventually jumped on the bus and straight into our beds. Again we splashed out on the slightly more upmarket ones so we could get a good night sleep. Each bed had a TV and speakers and this time someone was actually using them to watch a crazy action packed bollywood film in the birth behind so that wasn't ideal for sleeping... It's now 3am and we all got woken up and kicked off onto a seated bus! 😭 Can someone let me sleep please...

    Tomorrow is going to be difficult.
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  • Day59

    Whistle Stop Tour of Chennai

    January 16 in India ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    In the morning we got up and packed for our final journey in India. We started the day with yummy Egg Dosa and then jumped on our train to Chennai where we met Matty and Anna again! The train was empty the whole way so we were able to take the window seat and chill for the 4 hours.

    When we arrived we went straight to our hotel, had a bit of a back and forth with the owner with regards to the cost of our booking due to added taxes but eventually we paid the amount we set out to pay. All four of us freshened up in our room for a while before heading out for lunch. As always we chose the most busy looking restaurant and just pointed until we got what we wanted 😂

    After dropping Matty and Anna off at their hotel we decided to split up and myself and Will headed on a local bus to Arulmigu Sri Parthasarathy perumal Temple Divyadesam and then to the beach. I must admit after being on the bus and the walk to the beach I was done with Chennai. Of what I had seen so far the city was really dirty, smelly and with huge piles of litter everywhere. Finally we got to the beach and wow it was huge!! It's actually the longest beach in the country with a distance of 3.7 miles and it was packed due to it being the festival of Pongal.

    At about 5:30pm we met up with Imran, a couch surfer host. He picked us up in his car and drove us first to the lighthouse to see the city view of Chennai, Santhome Church and then Usman Road which had the biggest jewellers I had ever seen, some buildings were 10 floors high!

    For dinner he took us to Murugan Idli shop where we tried Idli, Onion Oothappam Ghee Masala and finally filtered coffee. It was the best Idli we had in India! Super yummy.

    We then went on a little drive and listened to Tamil and Hindi music, including a tamil rock song! We drove to 10 Downing Street for a drink, but it was closed! I was gutted as Imran said it was free drinks for ladies on a Wed! Then we tried Bike and Barrel, which was also closed. We then realised there was a ban on alcohol for the festival. 😯 Ah well, instead we went to try Sweet Pan which is a local digestive and mouth freshener before he dropped us back at the hotel.

    I wish I'd known more about Couch Surfing before we came out, it's such a great way of meeting locals!!!
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  • Day61

    An Extra Long Day To Myanmar

    January 18 in India ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Today is our final day in Chennai and as we hadn't had a real bed in a while and check out at the hotel wasn't till 12pm we made the most of it and just lounged about, got our bags airport ready and then checked out. We had a few hours to kill but hoebstly there isn't anything to see or do in Chennai so we just ate a biryani, went to a juice place where I had a fruit salad and Will had a date and vanilla ice cream shake and we just sat and read for a while until we were falling asleep at our seat. We went to the airport early so that we could just sit there instead. There were various methods we could have taken but we decided to take the 1 year old metro line. Yesterday Imran told us that is still really clean, efficient and new because the locals don't want to take it, instead they all take the slightly cheaper local buses or trains. We didn't quite believe him as let's be honest no transport is actually empty in India... But wow, it actually was. When going down the esculator there was only the two of us until another family arrived a couple of minutes later.

    In half an hour we arrived at Chennai Airport with plenty of hours to spare, so we grabbed something to eat and then checked in. Luckily we ate before as once on the other side the choice was very limited and more expensive than in the UK!

    The flight was fine and we soon arrived in Bangkok at 2:30am where we found some chairs to sleep on before deciding our next move. To be honest I had some of the best sleep in a long time on the chairs. In the evening we have our flight to Yangon so we were contemplating going into town to sightsee but to be honest neither of us enjoyed Bangkok last time enough to go do a 2 hour return journey in,so we read our books ate and rested.

    At about 3pm we got the shuttle bus to DM Airport and it was loooong, but luckily AC'd.

    On arrival we charged our phones, had dinner and waited for the flight. When going to our gate it was absolute carnage. It was sweaty, hot and just a sauna of people with every square of floors and chairs covered with people. Air Asia had a few delayed flights... We went straight back up to the main section and found a seat there until last minute. Due to other delays ours was also delayed but luckly only by 20 mins.

    By the time we were in the air it was time to begin the descent with only an hour and 10 mins flight. And what a change. We had 20 mins to get through immigration, get cash and get to the bus stop for the last bus. Normally we would know it was impossible but we went for it anyway. Within 10 mins we were through!! We asked locals where the bus was and even a taxi driver and within 1 min we were waiting for the local bus. No scamming, nothing, just really smiley helpful people. We then jumped on a really modern bus with aircon and a local pointed put sights along the way. He was so sweet and even told the bus driver where we needed to get off so that he would stop for us. Within the hour we were checked checked in to our hostel and in bed. Absolutely amazing start to Yangon and our journey in Myanmar. Fingers crossed it stays this way, it could be our best month yet!
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  • Day14

    Ancient Sea Culture of Mamallapuram

    December 18, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌫 25 °C

    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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  • Day16

    Pondicherry to Madurai

    December 20, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    We left Pondicherry and drove several hours to the nearest train station where we caught a four hour train to the ancient city of Madurai. Madurai is India's second oldest city behind Varanasi and home to the 14 colorful gateway towers of the Meenakshi Amaan temple. The temple is a central pilgrimage site. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of the goddess Parvati, goddess of creative power, fertility, love, beauty, marriage, children, and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power.

    We walked from our hotel to the temple and met our guide Charles. Throughout our tour of the temple. we noticed a lot of new babies. Charles explained that this is one of the places that one goes to seek blessings for a good life for newborns. Parents break a coconut and use the milk to make a cake to share with friends and family. Unfortunately they don't allow cameras inside, but suffice it to say that the inside is just as chaotically decorated as the tower facades.

    A strange, and perhaps miraculous happenstance ocuurred when I was inside of the temple complex. The complex was pretty full of people. Thousands of people. Lots of pilgrims, families, and mendicants. In the center of the complex is the sanctum santorum and location of the statue of Meenakshi. There was a long cue of pilgrims waiting to enter. Suddenly I heard someone from the cue yelling my name, I turned and there was Jevesh, the pilgrim Augie and I had met on the beach in Kochi some 10 days and many miles ago. There are some 60 million people living in the south of India and we had crossed paths once again. Go figure...
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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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