August 18, 2014

Coastal Course near Chidambaram

August 18, 2014 Posted by Vijay , No comments
A tonsuring tour for my 30 month old daughter. Initially we had planned to do it in Tirupathi, but logistics and the fact that our daughter is growing up hastened the next possible place. Vacation plans always hinged around Hampi for the August 15th weekend. However, the tonsuring plan coupled with unfamiliar territory around Hampi meant we were looking for alternatives. Vaitheeswaran Koil was the immediate choice for the tonsuring. But what would a trip be without an element of fun mixed with a pilgrimage in camouflage.

Vaitheeswaran koil was ideal in many respects. Close enough to Chidambaram to explore the seashore beside it. Also providing visit to the famous Chidambaram temple, Sirgazhi temple among others. The distance from Bangalore is around 400 kms which can be done in one go. But with a toddler beside, things can get tricky, especially when driving during daytime. Fortunately we had strategic halting places in Salem and Mecheri. While my maternal aunt stays at Salem, my in laws are in Mecheri, which is also part of Salem.

The plan was to visit Chidambaram on day 1, Pichavaram and Tharangambadi on day 2 and Vaitheeswaran Koil on day 3. We stayed on 12th night at Salem, packed food for onward journey to Chidambaram and checked into Nataraja Residency. The visit to the Natarja temple in Chidambaram on the same evening was peaceful. The next day we were off to Pichavaram, which was always the highlight in my mind to be covered during the trip.

Pichavaram on the next day was hot, humid but worth the visit. The Tamil Nadu tourism operates boating through the vast 3000 acres of Mangrove forests which famously held out the Tsunami which struck few years back. Famous movies have also been shot along the Mangroves.
The boating charge for 2 hours is 320 for row boat. But for a small change of 500 to the boatman, he will take around deeper into the Mangroves. And we were more than happy and satisfied to take this route. The strength of the vegetation is something one should try out to believe. They resemble twigs or slim branches but can withstand 4-5 grown up adults easily. Pichavaram is just 15 kms from Chidambaram and must not be missed. We checked out of the hotel in Chidambaram and went to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the afternoon.

We checked into Ramathirivathi in Vaitheeswaran Koil which is just 2 minutes walk from the temple. Vaitheeswaran Koil itself is just 25 kms from Chidambaram. After a quick nap we set off to Tharangambadi beach which is 30kms off Vaitheeswaran Koil. Our daughter was super excited at getting to soak her feet in the beach just as she did along Pichavaram while I held her in the boat there. The Danish fort was closed by the time we reached and it was overcast and cloudy when we reached. It is a calm beach with the beautiful fort set beside it. On our way back from the beach we halted at Thirukadayur temple before heading back to Vaitheeswaran Koil for the night.

The next day was what we had planned all along for. Our daughter surprising cooperated beyond imagination while the barber tonsured her peacefully. After taking bath we went to the temple to offer our prayers. We started back to Mecheri around 11 AM and found time to visit the Sirgazhi temple on the way back. Sirgazhi temple is around 10kms from Vaitheeswaran Koil on the way back. Till the time we visited Sirgazhi we hadn't experienced how hot the temples can get. It is an oven one has to walk on during most times of the year. We did not encounter it because we either went in the evening or the morning for the temple visits. Sirgazhi was simmering hot, and we were hopping and running inside the temple. Afterward we setoff for our long journey back toward Salem and reached around 7PM in Mecheri. All in all a very satisfying trip.

Route: Kadugodi --> Hosur --> Salem --> Attur --> Virudachalam --> Chidambaram --> Vaitheeswaran Koil

Tip - For those in and around Whitefield and Kadugodi, I found the following route to be the most hassle free and exceptionally smooth. It is devoid of all city traffic and directly reaches the Hosur NH road. I always take this route to head toward Salem. Stress free all the way, especially since it is a National Highway route: Kadugodi/Hope Farm --> Channasandra --> Chikkatirupathi --> Bagalur --> Hosur