The Day I Almost Bought A Goatherd’s Son

Today I had an encounter I will never forget. Meet Chella Duri, a goatherder from Tamil Nadu, working in the neighbouring state of Kerala. He earns as much in a month as we spend on an evening out, but I’m not asking for your pity, just a few moments to listen to what he had to say when he heard that I was a rich westerner living on a boat in Cochin…

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Munnar Munnar – Do Doo Da Doo Doo

Munnar is a corner of Kerala that’s tucked away in the mountain peaks of tea plantations and lush green valleys. Miles and miles of strange looking tea trees, interspersed with cardamom bushes and coffee trees, provide great walks and views not seen anywhere else in this mainly tropical state. In this post Liz provides some insight into these wonderful valleys, and throws in a visit to a tea factory.

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Eerily Familiar Kodaikanal

We’ve now left Madurai and we take you up into the mountains. Kodaikanal is an old hill station in the Western Ghats and at over 2,000m it is cool, quiet and peaceful, the perfect juxtaposition to Madurai, that mad and crazy city in the plains. This mountain village offers some of the best views of the Ghats and this little post provides photographic and video evidence of exactly how English some of the countryside looks. Think Lake District in the autumn…

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The People And The Places Of Madurai

Firstly our apologies for some unscheduled email updates regarding Somalia and piracy. We’re experimenting with a new service but the emails today were only supposed to be test alerts and you weren’t supposed to receive them. Ooops. Please delete these messages. So…before we leave Madurai we wanted to show you our photographs of the people and the scenes of our fave city. It is a pictorial observation of our time there, presented as two slide shows. Once you’ve clicked on the slide-show to activate it, you can select the four-arrowed button to view in full-screen mode. You’ll need a fairly decent connection as they’re high res images but it’s worth it as the portraits are very personal, whilst the street scenes will give you a good idea of the environment in which these people live.

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Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace – Easy For You To Say

As is probably evident from our previous posts, Madurai is a pretty crazy place. Rest, then, from the madding crowd in the calm of one of her grandest buildings, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace. Deceptively understated from the outside, the open court-yard of the interior is imposing and beautiful. Liz: “If you are in southern India please do not miss this most beautiful palace. I fell in love with it in many ways. Its shape, colour and structure are sublime. Palest peach, vanilla, apricot, and cream combine to impart an ethereal quality”. The palace is close to becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, which goes some way to illustrate how wonderful this simple building is. At the end of this short post we include a little slide show of a few of the buildings of Madurai.

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Meenakshi Amman Temple Of Madurai

Last time we left you we’d been wandering the back streets of Madurai and offered plenty of photographic evidence of its energy. In this post Liz gives a more cerebral account of our experience in this fabulous city, taking in the huge Meenakshi temple, which wouldn’t look out of place in Disney World. Her guide teaches Liz about the five sense, and they’re not the sense you or I learned about at school. Strangely every single photograph taken inside the temple ‘disappeared’ from Jamie’s camera, but we have plenty more images of the huge ‘gopurams’, as well as the people of Madurai. Liz’s prose is what travel writing is all about…

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The Buildings Of Madurai

This short slide-show gives you a little taster of the buildings of Madurai, and has been published to coincide with our Madurai blog posts. Pictured are the Meenakshi Temple, the palace, and a strange ‘mall’ with a temple in the middle of it. Plaster of Paris gods stacked hundreds of feet high look out across the city, whilst back-streets hide away secret retreats.

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The Magic And Madness Of Madurai

Having finally made it to Madurai after our fairground ride through the Western Ghats, we were able to relax, put on the walking boots and go for a romp through the back streets of this great city. It is full of strange wonders and fascinating people. This post, with its many photographs, captures just a small part of this: street vendors, manual labourers, layabouts, kids, beggars and strange architecture…

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The Western Ghats Of Tamil Nadu

The Western Ghats is a huge mountain range that runs down from the centre of India to the south, where it divides the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. All of these images were taken in the hill station of Kodaikanal.

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The Streets Of Madurai

The streets of Madurai is a bustling chaotic mass of energy. One doesn’t have to walk far to get a great picture of the people going about their business, weather selling, carrying, begging or playing. I tried my best to get some surreptitious, objective viewpoints but as soon as you point a camera at a Tamil, they smile and pose!

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Pongal, Pilgrims and Palani Pictures

These images were taken in January 2011 on our road trip to Maduarai, Tamil Nadu. Along the way we saw many pilgrims making their way to the Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani temple in Palani. We drove past hundreds of kilometers of people making their way towards this sacred place. Along the way we met a group of villages weaving wickerwork on the road side. They were very happy people.

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