The Tip of India & My Probably Last Visit to Tamil Nadu (Hopefully)

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I first experienced Tamil Nadu when I went to Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India, along with Sarah, Iris, Jens, Elias and Roman. The trip there was long and quite tiring, as usual: from Varkala, we had to change bus in Trivandrum and Nagecoil, taking a total of three governmental buses that took around 5 hours. There are two daily direct trains that are definitely more comfortable, but one was too early for us and the other would arrive after sunset – which is the main attraction in Kanyakumari together with sunrise. Yes, I said it all.

These latter ones happen to attract a lotof indian tourists, which makes the many hotels and guest houses in town much more pricey than what they should be. (However, I found it being a tipical feature of Tamil Nadu in general, to sell overpriced crap not giving a damn about being honest).
 

We weren’t allowed to stay in this spot, as had to go to the View Tower and pay to get in.
After a long and exhausting search we managed to find two double rooms in a guest house not far from the beach that was actually clean, for Rs 150 each.
We had dinner at the garden restaurant of Hotel Maadhini, again a not so special yet overpriced food with terrible service, but after a few days in Tamil Nadu this doesn’t surprise me anymore.
In the morning we woke up super early and got a really good spot to watch the sun slowly rising from the ocean, while feeling that sense of achievement that only reaching the tip of a country can leave you with.

Made it!
After relaxing for a few hours and some amazing street food (much better than at the restaurants!) we hopped in yet another bus towards Madurai that took seven and a half hours instead of the 5/6 that was supposed to take. As usual!
In Madurai I had the pleasure to find out that it wasn’t just the touristy Kanyakumari to be so awfully overpriced by arrogant people who just wants your money. No, Madurai is exactly the same, if not worse.
We looked at all the hotels that are suggested on the Lonely Planet and all the others that are on the street between the station and the temple, just to find ourselves picking the least bad one. The day after we checked a guest house in front of the Sri Meenakshi Temple and wondered why we didn’t try there right away – much cleaner and cheaper! Don’t be scared of the position, and throw the Lonely Planet away.
I don’t have many photos of the temple because I had to leave everything in the cloakroom outside,  together with my camera that you are not supposed to take inside, unless you pay an extra fee.
Once in the temple, we got a guide for Rs 400 (one hour) between the six of us, which was a good price just to make us roughly understand what we were looking at, even though he seemed to be enjoying the ephasising of the fact the pillars insidevwere made of
The guide also mentioned a flower market that we decided to visit later in the afternoon, even though it definitely wasn’t as we expected!
Not exactly what we were expecting… 
 
However, we met some really cool people, that for a change were happy just to see us there and were not trying to sell us their products.
 
The second and last day in Madurai we went to the Gandhi Museum, a bus ride away just like the flower market, and to the Palace. The former was free, super interesting and goes in depth of all the events since the British colonisation; the latter was Rs 50 for foreigners, and inside there is literally nothing to see, besides signs that forbid to write on the pillars, and pillars full of graffitis of teenager couples. Oh, India.
At night me and Sarah took the sleeper bus to Pondicherry, an experience that I will never repeat as long as I am alive, one of the worst nights ever. We arrived in Pondy at 4am, one hour earlier that expected (for once that I was hoping for it to be late!) and waited on the beach until 7am to find a place where to stay. Luckily we had a Dutch boy and his guitar with us, and a lot of Indians strolling up and down the seaside at 5am to look at.
The french quarter of Pondicherry is just beautiful. Everything is more relaxed, which makes ot a good break from the noisy and chaotic India, and a perfect place where to rest for a few days.

This sky is the reason why I didn’t take many pictures in Pondicherry..

And so we did, also helped by the fact that it was pouring rain outside, so our choice of activities was quite limited.

Yes, I did take a stroll anyway along the seaside under the rain, and I did have lunch on the beach, still under the pouring rain.
Why so? Because we were staying at yet another Ashram, the Sri Aurobindo New Guest House, which has the best value for money I have seen around India. However, they still have some annoying rules, between which no outside food or drinks allowed and curfew at 10:30pm.
On the last day I also went to visit Auroville, that sort of hippy community on the outskirts of Pondy, of which I will write a post on its own because I think it deserves it.
Finally I spent my last day in Chennai, from which I flew to Sri Lanka this morning.
Chennai has had a complete different impact compared to the other cities I’ve been to in Tamil Nadu: I absolutely love its people, they are super friendly and down to earth, and although the town is huge it still has its fascination around it.
There I stayed at Galaxy Guest House, a brand new, cheap and clean building with friendly staff just off Triplicane High Road. i checked the Lonely Planet’s suggested guest houses in the area out of curiosity, and this was much better!
So my time in India has come to an end, oh how it went so quickly. Rolling East!

 

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2 Responses

  1. […] Islands from here, and a great feeling standing there. I admit I do have a bit of a thing for reaching the tips of countries. It’s also a bit of history there, as it’s where soldiers used to be signposted during […]

  2. […] Islands from here, and a great feeling standing there. I admit I do have a bit of a thing for reaching the tips of countries. It’s also a bit of history there, as it’s where soldiers used to be signposted during […]

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