Rediscovering Pollachi through ‘Thadam’

My first memory of The Pollachi Papyrus, a magazine started to promote bio-diversity, culture and tradition of Pollachi, is when I saw a newspaper article titled “Taking Pollachi to the people” in The Hindu on 08 July, 2014. It had a picture of Pravin Shanmugananthan and Keerthana Balaji mentioning them as co-founders. I said to…

Biking alongside the pristine beaches of Udupi

Standing in the middle of a well-laid tar road that is recently washed by heavy downpour of rains, I look ahead. The road is flanked by palm trees, lean and tall to the right and to the left —are virgin beaches of Udupi.  Shrubs tucking behind palm trees, visible through the trunks, seems greener. No…

On a spiritual quest to Sringeri

Ganesh, my host in Udupi, decided that the 7.30 am bus will be right for the day’s plan to visit Sringeri, a hill town in Chikmagalur district and the site of first monastery of Adi Shankara. At 7.15 am, with just a few minutes left to catch the bus, I and Uncle ji, Ganesh’s father,…

Fascinating murals at Madgaon railway station, Goa

As a frequent traveler, I spend a lot of time in between journeys at airports and railway stations. These connectivity hubs have not always been interesting for longer waiting periods. But, in an attempt to keep travelers entertained or maybe showcase goan culture at the very first touch point—whatever be the reason—Madgoan railway station in…

The unheard rhythms of Negamam

“You sure must have heard of Negamam sarees?!” asked Pravin, Founder of a tourism initiative in Pollachi called Thadam experiences. I look forward to wearing sarees during family occasions, but selecting a saree has always been my mother’s forte. So, I replied, “No” as a matter of fact. “Periya Negamam is a town panchayat, 15km…

5 Must-try foods in Madurai

How far would you travel to taste your favorite food? I once traveled 450 km, from Coimbatore to Ernakulam and back, for a single reason: to treat my palate to the familiar, addictive taste of Aiyla fish meals at Petit restaurant, off MG road in Ernakulam. Much as I can live on anything edible most…

Seeking hidden sculptures in centuries-old rocks

In all my travels, never once did I hear about the prominence of Jainism many centuries earlier in Tamil Nadu. I am aware of the extent to which it had spread in Karnataka since I visited Shravanabelagola and heard about Karkala, Moodabidre, Dharmasthala and Gommatagiri. But, to my knowledge Jainism in Tamil Nadu never existed—that…

And so it begins, my life in Pune

At the railway station, handing over a water bottle, my father asked me, “Why are you going to Pune?” I wondered what to answer. “I have not experienced that part of my country. So I am uprooting myself from here and moving to Pune.” — Can I tell him this? The very fact that I…

Madurai, a haven for flying beauties

“Oh no, tomorrow we cannot start early for the temple tour. I will be occupied with the weekly bird census. You can may be skip that and instead get to know about Jain temples in Madurai from my brother until I return,” informed Raveendran, a walking encyclopedia of birds, my friend and host in Madurai.…

Interview with Mithun Das, a renowned cyclist

He was the base camp leader of YHAI Sarpass trek-2011. On an acclimatization trek he stunned us with his introduction. A long distant cyclist par excellence he had ventured many firsts. When 30 km is what I could imagine as anyone’s cycling ability, his dream of cycling for 1000 km got me rethinking my own benchmarks. Passionate…