This week, The Musafir Stories speaks with Lakshmi Sharath, one of the top travel writers and bloggers in India, who blogs under Travel with Lakshmi or lakshmisharath.com !
Today's destination: Coromandel Coast!
Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport, MAA
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai Central, MAS
Prerequisites - NA
Packing - Pack light, carry sunscreen and shades.
Time of the year - June-Feb, avoid the cyclone season
Length of the itinerary: 4-7 days
Lakshmi takes us on a fascinating journey covering the east coast of India, exploring the colonial connections of the region, being at the forefront of trade and commerce, and how some towns and villages blossomed while others have stood still in time.
The Coromandel coast covers the states of Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh and runs along the Bay of Bengal. It is popular not just for its scenic beauty but also attracted travelers and traders from far and wide.
The first stop on the itinerary is Madras or Madrasapattinam as it was formerly known. Madras’ rise to prominence dates back to the time of the Portuguese and Britishers, both having ruled here. The area around Santhome was a Portuguese settlement whereas the Britishers made it their first base as Fort St. George. The city still has a lot of remnants of its British connection with the secretariat building, the High court as well as some popular churches.
Lakshmi carries on her journey passing Mahabalipuram,famous for its Shore Temple and moving on to Sadras or Sadrangapattinam - which boasts of a 17th century Dutch fort, and is also the scene of the Battle of Sadras fought in 1782.
The next pit stop is at Alamparai which has the ruins of a fort, believed to be built by the Nawab of Arcot, but was gifted to the French for their help and collaboration. The village was known to have a mint where coins were minted as well as a hostel for travelers. The region was also popular for trading of ghee, textiles and zari.
Lakshmi moves on to Pondicherry from here for the night halt. Enroute Pondi, Lakshmi makes a stop at Marapakkam, popular for its huge salt fields. Pondicherry exploration includes a walk with INTACH - Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, around the city that was the headquarters of the French in India. Also on the itinerary is a visit to the popular cafes, architecture, streets and Auroville.
After Pondicherry, Lakshmi travels to Cuddalore, one of the early settlements of the British at Fort St. David. Fort David is a shadow of itself and has completely been reduced to ruins.
Lakshmi continues to drive from here and the next stop on the itinerary is Porto Novo, the other Portuguese settlement besides Santhome in Madras. It was formerly known as Parangi pete or land of the parangis/foriegners. It was also known to be a trade center for the Arabs and Yemenis. Porto Novo pagoda was known to be minted from the Porto Novo mint in this village.
The next stop along the journey is Tranquebar or Tharangambadi - land of the singing waves, the most prominent Danish settlement in India. The town’s popular attraction includes Fort Dansborg, built in its unique Danish style, rustic streets like King’s street, Queen’s street, churches and temples.
Karaikal, a part of the Puducherry/Pondicherry UT is the next stop on the road trip and includes a fascinating legend of Kraikal.
The last stop on the road tip is Nagapattinam - believed to be a popular Dutch settlement and also has a strong Buddhist connection. The town is also very close to other popular religious sites like Nagoor Dargah and Vellankani Cathedral.
The final call out is for Poompuhar, the point where the final estuary of the river Cauvery meets the Bay of Bengal!
Lakshmi's Blog: https://lakshmisharath.com
Links to the blog post:
Part 1 : https://lakshmisharath.com/driving-down-the-coromandel-coast-part-1/
Part 2 : https://lakshmisharath.com/driving-down-the-coromandel-coast-2/
Part 3 : https://lakshmisharath.com/driving-down-the-coromandel-coast-part-3/
Marine Life of Mumbai: https://www.instagram.com/marinelifeofmumbai/
Photo by Namrata Poddar on Unsplash
Sota War (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/sounds/258207/) by YleArkisto (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/) is licensed under CC by 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)
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