So, after the Marina beach was done with, I had decided to go to Kancheepuram! Then I saw a couple of tweets one from @BwahahaO_o and @Shradzberry that I must visit Mahabalipuram and it’s something that I should not miss. So I had my lunch and I was almost set to head to Mahabalipuram. I asked around and they said, you can go to Mahabalipuram via Broadway or Koyembedu. These are the two hubs where you get buses to most places. I must say up until now, the transportation in Tamil Nadu has really impressed me. Incidentally, Tamil Nadu has the 3rd best commutes in the world. Wow!! So, anyways, I was all set to head to Mahabalipuram and probably do Kancheepuram later, maybe the next day.
So anyways, I get this call from @BwahahaO_o earlier @WhatdBeep earlier @Oyebehendetakke aka Shreyans Deora aka Skid and God alone knows how many more names he has . He says, he’ll try to arrange for a car and we both can go to Kancheepuram or Mahabalipuram… or both… So he speaks to his dad, his dad tried to hook us up with someone in the temple so that we don’t have to stand in a huge queue etc etc.. So after going back and forth about what we should do… and spending almost an hour of conversation with @BwahahaO_o and his dad over the phone, we finally decide to do Kancheepuram and leave Mahabalipuram for the next day…
Clicked by @BwahahaO_o
Ok, now, from 1:00 PM, it’s 2:oo PM, @BwahahaO_o says he’ll meet me at Chennai central in half an hour… I wait for him, looking around and wondering what to do, besides tweeting of course… I keep observing people on a warm Sunday. Chennai central is buzzing at this time. Auto drivers haggling people to come sit in their auto, and people nodding their head choosing to walk the other way.
So I’m waiting… It’s 2:30 PM, I call him up and he says, he’d be there in 5-10 minutes… time flies by and it’s 3:30 PM and still no sign of @BwahahaO_o I tweet out to him @BwahahaO_o: Dude..WTH are you?? I wud have reached Mahabalipuram by now #SriniOnTour
After a long wait, I decide to head to Mahabalipuram myself… at least I could reacht there before sunset and get great pics… I take a bus to broadway which by the way costs just Rs. 2. I don’t know anywhere else a ticket would cost that much. So I’m on the bus, off to Broadway and then to Mahabalipuram… guess what @BwahahaO_o calls me up.
“Where are you dude?”
“Headed to broadway… You didn’t come, so I thought of going to Mahabalipuram”
“Oh, So what do we do?, I’ve been to Mahabalipuram many times.. don’t want to go there…”
So then we figure it out and decide to meet at Koyembedu… and after an hour of going back and forth… we finally meet. It’s almost 4:00 PM and the journey to Kancheepuram is about 1.5 hours… As we head off, @BwahahaO_o apologizes to me and says, Sorry man, it got so late… looks like we won’t get good pics of the sunset. I just tell him “Everything happens for a reason buddy…Wait and Watch”
So as soon as we arrive at Kancheepuram, the first thing I wanna do is to (EAT) I’m really hungry and that is the only thing that seemed most logical at that point, of course, visiting the temples was on the agenda… So anyways, for the first time I get to have Idiappayam Kuruma, very delicious vegetables and appayam made out of rice paste. Really delicious!
“Everything happens for a reason..” Well now we know why… It was a huge celebration and Sankalp in the temple… There were prayers, mantras and japas going on (recitals) We realize that the lord of the temple is being worshipped and he will be taken on a procession in a chariot… A golden chariot which is glaring in front of us, beautifully lit at night… I look around, ask if it’s okay to take photos of the chariot!!! I get a go ahead from a swamiji (priest) nearby.
So, I’m all set to take some really nice pictures and… suddenly, the trumpets, the dhols and the tablas start blowing… There is a huge c crowd all of a sudden.. that starts flocking the chariot. Everyone starts taking pictures as the Kamakshi goddess has arrived… They get her statue outside and mount her on the chariot.. The procession has begun… I’m awed by the aura of the chariot and he beautiful colors they have on the goddess…
As I’m taking a few snaps with my Canon 1000D DSLR camera, I see the head preist waving to me… I first think that he’s forbidding me to take pictures… then I see him smiling… and he’s calling me out. I got a little confused, maybe he wants to know something and then suddenly, it strikes me.. amongst everyone else who’s shooting with their mobile cameras, digicams, I’m the only one with a professional camera around. So he calls me up and asks me to take a few pictures of his guest besides the chariot and shoot a few pictures of the procession itself. He requests me to email it to him.. Yes email, I see the email ID as he hands me the card. (I say to myself, wonder if he’s on facebook… it would be easier for him to take those pictures then ) Anyways, I tell him I will and I’m about to head to the queue to take darshan…when he asks me.
“Have you taken the Darshan?” (Have you visited the temple?)
“No, not yet sir, just going”
“How many of you are there?”
“Come, I’ll arrange for someone to take you inside…”
“Everything happens for a reason…”
What do you think about the whole incident??
With barely two hours of sleep, I woke up at 4:55 AM in the morning… I had set three alarms just to make sure that I get up on time… On time to catch the Sunrise at Marina Beach… Last night, I had got a lot of instructions from @adivik2000 as I mentioned earlier… It was time to test my memory and see if I could remember anything… Most importantly, had to make sure that I get to the beach before the sun had risen completely…
So there I was, all wide and awake, despite the lack of sleep. After all couldn’t miss the early morning sunris of Marina Beach! So I set out to go to Park Town Station, which I was told to go to in our conversations. So while I’m at the signal, I ask the traffic cop where the station is, he directs me across the highway and I keep walking… Suddenly I see Park Station, (I remember Aditya @adivik2000) telling me, there are two stations, Park and Park Town…) I ask around for Park Town and all the guys direct me to this station. Well, to my pleasant surprise, I see the station and also see a train which is going to ‘Beach Station’
That means, I have got the right station, right?? Wrong… I also recollect, Aditya telling me to get to Lighthouse station, but that is only after I’ve boarded the train and also seen the tweet from him… Bah, too late… Looks like I was going to miss the sunrise… So I have to take another ticket and board a train to Lighthouse, which is max 10 minutes from here…
Now, I know what others feel like in Mumbai, when they get confused between Matunga and Matunga Rd… Anyways, having said that I finally reach the Lighthouse station… Viola! Right on time to catch the Sunrise…!
One of the best things about Marina beach is how the waves talk to you… They can literally whisper in your ears and show you what truly, bliss means. Close your eyes and listen to the sound and the calm against the shore… You’d be in a different world altogether. This is what we want to cherish more than anything. More than the pictures I took, this experience left a mental picture and a video in my head, which I can always go back to and enjoy!
Have you guys felt this way ever?
#SriniOnTour so far – Mumbai – Bangalore – Chennai (1st PitStop)
“Finally, here at the mecca of Lord Rajnikanth worshippers!!!” That is what my Facebook status read as soon as I alighted at Chennai central. As I had mentioned in my earlier post, was worried about getting the train at Bangalore… Thankfully, the train was late by 1 hr, not that it mattered, as I had anyways reached the station before 4:00 PM. Nonetheless, the train journey was really fantastic. If anyone wants to go from Bangalore to Chennai, then Shatabdi is what I recommend! IRCTC has done a really great job in terms of the service, the comfort of this train. The food was great too!! Best part about it was, that it just kept coming… First, the samosas, sandwich, appy and a sweet dish. Then breadsticks and butter, followed by soup… You think that was it?? How about the fantabulous dinner you see in one of the pictures above! Great stuff, truly.
So here I was, finally at Chennai central at 10:00 PM on a Christmas that was about to end… At the first impression, I got confused… #SriniOnTour has just begun, why do I feel like I’m back to Mumbai?? Yes, the weather was humid, the station buzzing, just like C.S.T… or V.T as I’d like to call it… In fact, Mumbai weather had gone cold about 20 degrees C at night. But surprisigly or not, there was no trace of cold in Chennai when I touched down.
I gave a call to @adivik2000 who had been helping me out with directions to Marina beach! Well, that was the plan in the morning, but until then I also had to find out a place to stay overnight. Which was very easy, with Aditya around… (Yes that’s his name) Turned out, he was around… He looked a little different from his twitter DP, maybe because of his recent haircut Well, a short meeting, but great to have met him finally!
And what are the odds… @pradx came to drop me off in Mumbai and @adivik2000 came to receive me!! Both of them are from South! That’s just not it… @android_ajit gave me a crash course in Tamil and says he can help me out with Malyalam as well… I’m already loving South India!! So great to have such friends especially if you are touring alone…
So the plan as of now is to take some rest… Get up early in the morning at 5:00 AM and get some great snaps of the Sunrise at Marina Beach… I’ve been told it’s very beautiful in the morning. I’m hoping I wake up early and get there on time… Till then I leave you with a few insights on Marina Beach a little pre-tour research that I had done on http://everlater.com/srinistuff (Courtesy : Wikipedia & Tamil Nadu Tourism)
Image Courtesy: Insomniac’s Observatory
Marina Beach is located on the eastern side of Chennai, adjoining the Bay of Bengal. Watching the sun set and rise from the beach is an enthralling experience. Though bathing and swimming can be dangerous, as the undercurrent is very strong, even then people come for swimming here. In the evenings, the beach is virtually a fair ground with various kinds of entertainment and food stalls lining the beach.
Hope to get some really great snaps of the beach tomorrow morning and some places in Chennai…
All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go…
Standing here outside your door…
Finally, the day is here… The day that I have been so meticulously planning for! I mean, come to think of it, I have never been so organized and well planned on any of the trips… Yet, #SriniOnTour has always been about those amazingly impromptu trips that have been taken… So ya, this time around, there has been a little planning into this one. And why wouldn’t I?? Afterall, it’s going to be something different… than the ones that I’ve already done before. Before I begin, I’d like to give my thanks to @debLPMAG from Lonely Planet, India, @travelwell_in and the entire team for helping me with the nice badge you see up there and of course featuring my blog on their website. http://travelwell.in Thanks guys… We are onto something
Live Blogging this trip is something I’m really geared up for. Taking great photos… Blogging, tweeting, twitpicing, facebooking and all that… A blogumentary, my first… Let’s see where this is headed… Quite a vacation I must say.. (P.S Those who didn’t know, this is my vacation Refer: Workaholic, Travel Junkie
So what does one pack for such an extensive trip?? After two hours of carefully making sure everything on my checklist has been stuffed into that goozy backpack of mine, I’m hoping that I have the strength and energy to carry it around for 15 days! I mean, that looks small, but it is certainly not a mean feat to carry it around on this hop-skip and jump kind of an adventure!!!
Having said that, here’s how my departure looks like. I’m going to take a bus to Bangalore… Leave Mumbai (Chembur) at 6:00 PM and hoping that I reach Bangalore by 2 PM latest by 3 PM. Hoping to catch up with the #FordFigoTour man… @dhempe if he’s free and most importantly if we get time…
I’ve calculated it as much… I think if all goes smoothly, I should reach well within time to get my train to Chennai. But If my bus doesn’t reach Bangalore before 4.25 PM on Christmas, then I’m doomed for sure…:P Well, I have to catch the Chennai Express/Mail that leaves Bangalore by that time… You never know, what might come my way… that’s the best part about these kind of adventure trips… Just go with the flow and hope all falls into place…
So what are the bets like?? Will I reach Bangalore on Time(16.25 PM on 25th Dec) to catch my Chennai train?? If not, what options do I have?
So this is what my #SriniOnTour looks like as of now… It’s certainly a different kind of vacation that I have ever taken. Yes, I have certainly blogged about most of my long weekend, on the spur of the moment type of trips. Certainly have always wanted opportunities like these to glorify my travelogue and make sure that I let loose the wild traveller within me. This journey however has much more significance than just one of those blogs or travelogues.
What I truly want to do with this blogumentary is to achieve some true respite and get my travel writing skills up one notch. We all have such vacations and in fact one of the reasons why I chose this vacation was to make sure that I expand my travel portfolio… I know of a lot of enthu, photographers, travel buffs reaching out to people with their creative art form and expressing a truly meaningful self…
What I wish to attain through this blogumentary is to document not just geographic locations, but also the true emotions behind every single photo I take, every single temple I visit. Document the theme that India down south represents. Something that we all know and have already discovered. But to me it’s more than just that. I need to really rediscover some of the elements that a lot of us forget many times. Every minute details of the trip will help me understand a lot of things that are really help make me who I am…
With every blog that I post, I hope to tell a story that will build and develop itself. A story that will mean a lot more than what it seems. A story that we all hope for and expect to really make some sort of a difference to our lives.
My presentation on Slideshare got featured in the travel section by the editorial team of Slideshare. Now, it also has over 1000 views. I will be live blogging, tweeting, and updating my experience here. So do stay tuned. Also would love to hear feedback and tips from all of you guys about the trip. Tips, places of interest, expert comments are more than welcome
You may want to stay tuned to these links below as well Hope you find this interesting too.
http://facebook.com/srinistuff (Photo Journal)
http://bit.ly/sriniontoursouthindia (My Tour map for this trip)
http://everlater.com/srinistuff (My travel planner)
http://bit.ly/SriniOnTour (My Travel Map so far)
http://twitpic.com/photos/srinistuff (Travel Photos On the Go)