Written by Umang Saini
In the previous decade (2000-09), I've been on exactly six vacations.
- Jaipur - 2003, with Family. 2n, 3d
- Dehradun - 2005, with Suchit. 1n, 2d (24+ hours travelling in a 40 hour trip)
- Mumbai - 2007, with Amol and Sachin. 2n, 3d
- Mysore / Ooty - 2007, with Family. 3n, 4d
- Kerela - 2008, with Mohit et. all. 4n, 3d
- Puducherry - 2009, with Yuvraj and Aditya. 3n, 2d
The trip to Puducherry trip was to catch up with friends, see the French Heritage sites, and unwind on the Coromandel coast. We stayed at a Guest House on Beach road. The weather was on warmer side (30 to 35C in daytime) and humidity levels were off the charts. But I am usually comfortable in such conditions. No shopping.
Total expenses - $57 (per person)
I also visited the 'Life-of-Pi' famed Indian Coffee House on Nehru Street. It no longer sports the green walls, except in the kitchen area. Also the tables are rectangular rather than square.
Apart from sight seeing, we recounted anecdotes, discussed Genetic Determinism at length, occasionally venturing into Environmental Determinism (mitigation vs. adaptation), Global Trade etc. I will put a disclaimer here that none of us are experts in matters of public policy, economics or genetics.
The second main site visited on the way back from Puducherry to Chennai, was Mahabalipuram's (now Mamallapuram) Monolithic Shore Temple built by Pallava's in 700 AD. This is a world heritage site. I looked at the list of World heritage sites in India to find out which one's I've visited. This one was the seventh following Agra Fort, CST Mumbai, Fatehpur Sikri, Qutub Minar, Red Fort and Taj Mahal. Due to lack of background information and sweltering heat, we missed out on visiting the 'Five Rathas', Varha Cave Temple and Arjuna's Penance. Our local contact had never explored his neighborhood thoroughly.
This was my third visit to the great state of Tamil Nadu. I've visited all neighboring states except Andhra Pradesh, but my next trip is more likely to be within Karnataka.