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…

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…

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.…

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…

Kodiveri: A hidden gem that isn’t on any tourist map

It started as a not so serious argument, me defending the neighboring states, Karnataka and Kerala, saying it has many interesting places to see, and everybody knows it, many things to do, unlike Tamil Nadu where everything I hear about is either a pilgrim site or Nilgiris. My father put forth his point saying, Tamil…