Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Things I'll miss in Thanjavur: Big Temple

It could be the knowledge that it has served its function for a full thousand years. It could be that it brutally dwarfs everything around it. It could be that it reminds us of an empire that was far ahead of its time. You don't have to be a theist to appreciate that there's something magical about the big temple at Thanjavur. FirstRays

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I'll miss in Thanjavur: Basketball Courts

For a town of this size Thanjavur has a surprisingly high density of basketball courts. My favorite, though, is the one in the Medical College campus. In what other court would you find cheerleading peacocks?


View Larger Map On a cue that we might get to spot flamingoes, we planned a snap trip to a place called Pulicat lake from Chennai. Pulicat lake is a massive lagoon on the border between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. On the shore of the lake is a village called Annamalai Cheri that also, we were told, the name of the bird sanctuary. We missed prime birding time by not getting there early enough not just because our taxi driver was in no particular hurry to get there. The real problem was that there are no clear directions available. Most people even in the vicinity had no idea that there was a bird sanctuary around. We compounded the problem by asking in English; one guy thought we were asking for "parota" which in Tamil is also identified by "baroda", and another guy showed us where the "boats" were. The breakthrough came when I finally consulted a friend on phone to learn the tamil word for "bird" and we started asking "Paravai enge irkke?". For any one looking for information to get there, take the NH5 from Chennai, turn right at Panchetty towards Ponneri. At Ponneri, ask for directions to get to Annamalacheri. The last stetch of the road is treacherous. Getting there is hard but totally worth it. In our case we got to see the species we came looking for, the flamingoes 0225