Last weekend, some friends and us (four families in all) travelled together to a place called Tranquebar (Tharagambadi) in Tamil Nadu. None of us had ever heard of it before. Practically the only reason I selected this place is that my favourite Neemrana has a property there. I love their hotels (or 'non-hotels' as they prefer to call them). Plus it seemed conveniently located to both Bangalore and Chennai (NOT, as we were later to find out!) and it had been a Danish settlement which seemed kind of quaint.
Later research revealed that Tranquebar (I much prefer the Danish name to the Indian!) has the second-thickest ozone layer in the world, so we looked forward to breathing in some super-healthy air and feeling extra rejuvenated :)
Our travelling woes started on Friday evening when it took us 2.5 hours of excruciatingly slow traffic-crawling to get to the station. The train was a joke. It was called a Garib Rath and was 100% air-conditioned! It had 3 side berths which I've never seen before; they seemed to me to be instruments of torture more than anything else. Indian Railways in its infinite wisdom also seemed to be piloting a new type of bottleneck. 3 AC Passengers had to walk to the next coach in order to pay and buy bedding! Why anyone who has forked a significant amount for an AC berth would choose NOT to have any warm bedding on an overnight train is beyond me, especially when the AC was on full blast at what seemed like 15 C. Not only were people having to walk up and down the corridors to pick up their bedding, the guy in charge seemed to be doing some sort of black-market trades by claiming to have run out of linen, leading to more corridor-walking and a lot of irate passengers.
Creating bottlenecks where there are none is truly an Indian specialty!
A none-too-comfortable journey later, we alighted at Pondicherry station and an hour later, met up with our friends who had hired a tempo traveller for their journey from Chennai. The drive to Tranquebar took close to three hours at the end of which we were treated to views of swaying palms fronting the Bay of Bengal - all the irritations of the journey were instantly forgotten and forgiven :)
|View from our window
|Examining the pool prior to a swim
|The property is on the beach and there's a small temple just outside
There's nothing much to do in Tranquebar except sea-gazing and a visit to the Danish fort which was right next to where we stayed. Perfect for families with kids who just want to chill and hang out with no specific agenda. All we did was walk around a bit and eat a lot :)
The next day we visited the mangrove forests at Pichavaram which were really nice. Leaving you with some snaps.
|The Danish fort-museum
|As seen from our balcony
|From the fort ramparts. The fort isn't a patch in terms of grandeur on our Indian forts, but the view - that's unbeatable!
Thanjavur could have been squeezed into the itinerary - but squeezed being the operative word, we left that destination for another day. The journey back to Bangalore was painful. Our train tickets did not get confirmed, sleeper buses weren't available so we drove to Chennai. The maddening traffic on the way to Chennai and early morning train to Bangalore left us all pretty tired, leaving us in need of more R&R :) Notwithstanding all of that, it was a lovely 2 days, one we will look back on with fond memories.