Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trip to Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and vellore

Switched on Mapmyindia navigator and put the destination to point the resort we booked at Pondicherry. Left Bangalore around 6.00 AM, just to beat the traffic on hosur road. Lot of "work under progress" along the route so reached the resort at around 1.00 PM in the afternoon. Went to the restaurant in the resort itself. Ordered butter naans and related side dishes. The butter naan was out of the world. It was soft and really buttery smooth. It just melted in the mouth. The side dishes were alright. Took a nap. Left the resort to visit a beach and headed straight towards paradise beach. Heard and read about it a lot over the public network. The beach lives up to its name. It is absolutely non-commercial. No hawkers, No vendors. Just a plain and beautiful beach. It is populated only by the fishermen going about their chores. Do carry enough eatables. You really dont get anything here. Stayed until dawn then returned back to the resort. While returning back, had food at a restaurant which claimed to offer chettinad fare. The butter naans were bad. Biryaani was one of the worst I had.

Next morning it was more beach after having complimentary breakfast from the resort. This time it was serenity beach. The temperature was soaring and we were wet with the sweat itself. Sonny played a while along the beach. We then had fish from the nearest hawker on the beach. It was horrible. We washed it down with tender coconut and cucumber. Went back to the resort. Took some rest and strolled around. There is an eerie calmness in the place made possible by the Non-Indian settlers. Everybody goes about their chores without any complaints. Went out for dinner and just 500m from the resort was this place called tanto. They make awesome Pizzas. Be sure to see the size of the pizza being served before ordering one. Go for the one with sea food toppings. It has everything from shrimps, fish and ....... I think one big pizza is enough for a family of three.

Second morning had breakfast packed the things and headed to Mahabalipuram. Checked into the hotel and it gave me one of the worst experiences on the trip. Visited the shore temple. The sun was burning down, but the visitors cared a damn. It was crowded. Nobody understood anything. They just roamed through the shore temple. No guides were in sight. Then it was time for Crocodile park, about 15 kms from Mahabalipuram towards chennai. It was a nice park. Many varieties of the reptile was on display in their natural habitat. Went back to the hotel. For dinner I searched for a barbecue restaurant and couldn't locate it. Just had a pure veg lunch instead.

Third morning had complementary breakfast and then headed to Arjuna's penance. There we did get a guide and he took us through all the rocky history and architecture. The most important thing which caught my ears was that King krishnadevaraya built a shelter for one of the carvings in Mahabalipuram. Checked out from the hotel and started towards Kanchipuram. Checked into the hotel and the experiences worsened. Plan was to visit kamakshi temple on the next day. But seeing the hotel condition decided to return that very day. Family did some shopping of cotton silk sarees. The whole town is full of silk emporiums bigh, small and all other sizes in between. Had lunch at saravana bhavan. I dont know from when Daal became south Indian. The worst south Indian food money can buy.

Left towards Bangalore around evening. The we see that vellore is on the way to Bangalore. decided to vist vellore golden temple. Proved to be a big mistake. Reached temple around 7.00 PM. Immediately joined the line and it led into one of the lock rooms which declared that the waiting time for the rendezvous with the goddess would be 3.00 hours. The whole family sprung into action and started searching for a way out of the locker. Got the guard to open the gate and we rushed back towards our vehicle. The moment we left the enclosure, it started raining in torrents. It was a good .5 km to the vehicle and we saw all the sizes of cats and dogs during this period. Drove into the rain for approximately 2.00 hrs. Then the rain calmed down. The roads were excellent. The vehicle was always on a paid toll road.

All the hotels in the itinery were booked through Their followup is nice. Once you login to their website, you will have a chat window floating to the bottom right of the screen. If you are overwhelmed by the choices and are having a specific requirement you can chat up with their rep. If the phone number is mentioned then they will give you a call and help in finalizing the hotel. At that time the prices on stayzilla were the lowest.

Purple resort at Pondicherry

1. Neatly maintained rooms
2. Fresh and clean towels
3. Soft and heavily cushioned beds and neat covers.
4. Neat toilet
5. Fabulous swimming pool
6. Tasty food(Awesome butter naan)
7. Lot of variety in the breakfast buffet
8. Parking space.
9. Lot of service staff
10 Neat cupboards
11 Complimentary Wi-fi

Mamalla inn at Mahabalipuram

1. No parking space at all. Have to park at the reception area
2. Cheap tactics(With one kid you have to buy an additional bed, though you don't require it or you have to pay for the breakfast for your kid)
3. My vehicle got damaged at the bumper owing to the wrong directions from the hotel boy.
4. Broken wooden planks in the bathroom
5. No hangers in the bathroom
6. Very less variety in the breakfast buffet
7. 1 or 2 service staff
8. Unpleasant swimming pool at the roof with plenty of chlorine for ultimate dis-satisfaction
9. Dirty cupboards
10. Wi-fi  Forget about it.

Ramco residency at Kanchipuram

1. No parking space. You are on your own. It is the heart of the buzzling shopping activity
2. Rooms have not been cleaned for years together
3. No towels given
4. The bed covers were not washed in years. You can see the white spots throughout the sheet.
5. Dirty toilets and mugs.
6. Forget about using the cupboards
7. Wi-fi  Dont speak that language

Happy holidays.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

South India is NOT Tamilnadu. It is much much much more.......

Let us get down to it. Bollywood and mass media are making a huge blunder by representing the entire southern part of India as Tamilnadu. Tamilnadu is a state of the various others in the souther part of India. Let us name the southern states which the northern part of India tries to represent as one single large piece called Tamilnadu

1. Karnataka
2. Kerala
3. Seemandhra
4. Telangana
5. Pondicherry
6. Lakshadweep and other islands

The six states listed above are as unique as The united states of America and India. Every state has its own unique identity. If we go on based on the linguistic basis(The methodology used for framing states) we can list the languages in the same order

1. Kannada
2. Malayalam
3. Telugu
4. Telugu(A little difference in pronounciation)
5. Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, French(Yes)
6. Malayalam, Mahl

Now, I dont see how all these different languages which are so different can be compressed to one single language called Tamil. A person proficient in any one language will not be able to understand an iota of any other languages. The way the languages are written dont match. They are ages different from each other in pronounciation and written words. Each language in its uniqueness speaks volumes about the differences in culture, attitude, outlook, practises, Ideals and other human properties.

In fact, in Karnataka, there are other districts which speak completely different languages and are fighting for a "state" status since they have their own original language like Tulu and konkani.

But, when it comes to Bangalore, things change. It is the one "real" cosmopolitan of India. Uh uh, Ok. What is the purpose of this post? The purpose is not Jingoism, the purpose is information, the purpose is clarity. So, anybody visiting souther india, Just remember you are visiting a world altogether. It is not visiting all the temples in south india in one go. It is understanding the uniqueness of all the groups of people. Nothern India is very careful in differentiating itself as Marathis, Gujarathis and etc. We dont believe in that. We are unique but we are a part of the family called the "World". But if you want to identify us, do so with each of our uniqueness.

I want the mass media and the film industry to please do some home work and put some work into selling the uniqueness of all the souther states with the district you are thinking of also. Give all the southerners our own identity. Dont you make a stamp and press it on us.