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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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Under the same roof as Vasco da Gama!

It was late afternoon and the place where I usually stay was fully booked. I walked around and stumbled upon ‘Vasco homestay,’ a corner house at the junction of Rose Street and Bastian Street in Fort Kochi. It was a pleasant stay and since then, I have stayed at Vasco homestay on all my trips…

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A rare, light moment at Monkey falls

Soon after crossing Aliyar catchment, the bus began its ascent on the winding roads with 40 hair-pin bends leading to Valparai, a hill town. En route, I noticed a signboard with ‘Monkey falls’ written on it and decided to see it on my way back. After wandering for a few days at Valparai, I boarded…

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Valparai: a conflict zone or tranquil getaway?

“All tea estate workers need to be in the field before the siren rings at 08:00 am. They work hard collecting leaf buds through the day to meet a day’s target of 25 kg. One evening the supervisor sent back his wife and two others for falling short of 2 to 3 kg each. On entering…

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Grooving to nature’s tune at Periyar Tiger Reserve

Neither had I spoken to anybody nor anybody to me. We traveled in silence the entire night and reached Thekkady, early the next morning. I had seen a newspaper headline, ‘Two days nature camp at Thekkady,’ organized by Environment Conservation Group, Coimbatore and had enrolled myself for the study tour. On reaching Bamboo groove, an…