It was 3 AM in the morning when I decided to take a short road trip to Covelong/Kovalam, a fishing village right next to the Taj Vivanta Fisherman’s Cove, a lovely resort in itself. As someone who loves beaches, I reached Kovalam beach at 5:30 AM, just few minutes before the sunrise and when the fishermen were readying their boats for the daily catch. The beach’s shore is rocky in parts with fishing boats lining a good stretch of beach and of-course the village.
It is also a place for surf boarding enthusiasts and wind surfing! (there are regular classes apparently). The beach also has some old broken down amusement rides, which add character to the place (pictures of the rides in the next post!) Click on images below to expand –
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Ghana and this was my first time in Africa ! Such friendly people the Ghanaians 🙂 This panorama was taken atop the Lighthouse at Jamestown in Accra. As you can see, this part of town still retains the feel of the colonial era, while the more modern Accra is on the other side of Jamestown.
Left to Right – the Jamestown Lighthouse and the fishermen village near the Jamestown beach. Given that Accra was a major slave trading point, Jamestown had several prisons built for slaves along the line of the beach, as can be seen in the 3rd picture.
Nevertheless, the local food was amazing and the country is definitely football crazy ! 🙂
Ok sure, we all know the famous Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram (50km from Chennai). But how many of us know the several unfinished and unknown rock structures that are strewn around Mahabalipuram, most of which were revealed post the 2004 Tsunami? This particular rock structure is right next to the Shore Temple complex, facing the sea and literally as ancient as the shore temple! Many years ago, i remember seeing this structure at this particular beach (lined with small shacks serving great sea food), at that time the water was at least 100 metres away – but today the waves touch these rocks (a result of the Tsunami maybe – as it changed the entire coastline)
While i could not find much about this structure, it is clear that it is part of a larger network of sculptures, temples and rock-cut structures which is still underwater barely a few hundred metres from the shore temple. History and legends point to the existence of the Seven Pagodas, only one of which remains to this day – the Shore Temple. (I read that the coastline was attacked by 2 Tsunamis in the last 2000 years)
Also to add a surreal effect, i played around with the Oil Paint filter of Photoshop to add a scenic/landscape mood to the pictures! Seriously, my ancestors were/are awesome.
Click on the pictures to enlarge (large files – please wait for them to load fully!)
Yesterday i found time to visit this famous rock-cut temple on the way to Mahabalipuram (yes, Pallavas). Having heard about this place many times, it was interesting to see that the complex housed two rock-cut temples – the tiger cave (so named after the tigers adorning the cave like a garland and used as a stage to address the audience) and the shiva temple, called the Athirachananda cave (which i believe is being worshiped by the locals even to this day).
History says that these rock-cut structures were built sometime around the 7th – 8th Century AD by Narasimhavarman I of the Pallavas who were also building several other prominent structures along the East Coast Road. There are a few unfinished rock structures within the complex and these structures are maintained by the ASI under the ticketed monument model.
One of my friends who is also a history buff claims that the excavation site of a murugan temple (son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi) which is present in this complex could be THE ancient temple ever built in TamilNadu dating back more than 2000 years! Food for thought.
Hope you learnt something new about my country’s fascinating history and liked the pictures!
I am back after a satisfying 235 Km road trip to Alamparai Fort in Kadapakkam village, almost 100 Km from Chennai (via East Coast Road). I simply loved the fort ruins and the lovely backwaters!
From what i gathered, this brick and limestone fort was built by Nawab Dost Ali Khan (Nawab of the Carnatic from 1732 – 1740). It was then gifted to the French who subsequently lost to the British (think Battle of Plassey – 1759), post which the British captured and destroyed the fort. The fort by itself was used a primary trading port by the Arcots of Nawabs and recently state archaeologists found a copper mint beneath the fort ruins along with arms and ammunition in the soldiers quarters!
The coins minted at the fort were used as official tender from Mughal era till the 19th century (apparently had great monetary value at that time) Each coin was called as an Alamparai Varagai (equal to 3 rupees) and the fort exported ghee, zari (cloth) and salt to Rome, France and other European countries. There is evidence of trade with certain South East Asian countries such as China as well.
This place is a history buff’s delight and i was certainly awe-struck imagining the soldiers and traders walking/guarding the fort in front of my eyes! This place is on the very popular ECR stretch, but is not well-known among the locals – i for one am quite happy i stumbled on this marvelous location! Each brick has a story to tell, but sadly the fort is in terrible shape – thanks to the British and the 2004 Indian Tsunami. I came to know about the copper mint only after i visited the fort, else i would have done some 200+ year old alamparai varagai hunting myself!
If you folks ever take a drive down ECR, do not miss this gem of a fort – the backwaters is amazing!