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…
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.
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…
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.
At Platres we admired the colonial mansions left by the Brits and stopped to wander round Cleopatra’s, a mad shop full of tat and car boot sale memorabilia, run by a tiny ancient ant-like woman with the innate charm of a Lady and well-oiled diplomat.
It is difficult to choose a “best bit” because the city as a whole works so well, but the theatre takes some beating. Situated near the top of the ridge, with views looking steeply down across the valley for miles and miles it seats 12,000 people.
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