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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Indian Navy Demonstrates How To ‘Do’ Pirates Properly!

This morning the marina manager brought us the fantastic news that the Indian navy has caught yet another boat load of pirates! It was a huge catch with 61 seized in all. Yep, 61 of the b******s. Good.

The Hindu has a good report on the capture, which we precis in our blog post. What’s most encouraging, however, is the photograph that has been issued along with the report. It’s a photo of all 61 pirates sitting like lame ducks on board the navy vessel.

Whilst I do not condone the death penalty I do hope these pirates are proverbially strung up alive by the Indian justice system. Good riddance to them.

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Pongal, Pilgrims And Palani

In the previous post we finished somewhere in the middle of the Western Ghats, lost, yet the journey up until that point had been fascinating. Not only were the local people preparing for the fantastically named ‘Pongal’, a celebration not too dissimilar to Harvest back at home, but Tamil Nadu was over-run with pilgrims from all over India. As we drove in one direction, so there were thousands of pilgrims walking barefooted the other way, heading towards the temple in Palani that wouldn’t look too out of place in a James Bond film.

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Getting Lost In The Western Ghats

Over the next month we will be serialising our road trip of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the two southern-most states of India. We cover 1,200km, ascend over 2,000m, get lost in the mountains, rub shoulders with gods and relax in tea plantations. The eight or so posts will come out on Mondays and Thursdays, where each new episode continues from the last. They return to what followtheboat was always about: documenting our observations of the people we meet and places we visit through words and pictures. Lots of pictures! We start by taking in the incredible Western Ghats, the huge mountain range that divides India and dictates the monsoons. Just don’t hire the driver we had the misfortune to end up with…

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