Friday, November 20, 2009

St Thomas Mount

For those of you who don't know what or where St Thomas Mount is, its a little hill near Chennai, India where  St Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, was assassinated in, according to legend, AD 72.

St Thomas Mount

At the top of the hill

St Thomas Mount

Entrance gate

St Thomas Mount

One of the many statues depicting Jesus before his crucifixion

St Thomas Mount

Cross at the top of the hill


Graveyard on the way up

Wall of Church

The last supper depicted on the wall of the church

Church at top of St Thomas Mount
Church at the top


The graveyard

 View from St Thomas Mount



Panoramic view of Chennai from St Thomas Mount

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Village in Tamil Nadu

Every year my college sends the students to villages in different parts of the state for a week long rural camp. It's called an outreach programme. A programme for the students to get first hand knowledge on what life is like in the villages, what their problems are and what we can learn from them.

This year our department along with two others went to Sendivakkam, a small village in the district of Kancheepuram in northern Tamil Nadu, India.

who says a little girl from a small village can't be happy?
who says a little girl from a small village can't be happy? 

No one was allowed to bring their mobile phones let alone use them! We slept on the floor, we had to be content with the drinking water that tasted like charcoal mixed with salt and we had to walk for hours just to get to the neighbouring villages. The point was to be like the locals - no modern gadgets and luxuries that we take for granted.

lunch break
lunch break with the neighbouring village school

Our objective was to interact with the locals. And in situations like these when one goes to places he's never been before its human nature to have preconceived ideas on what the people will be like:  their nature, the way they'd react to questions and how they would see you - a foreigner walking in their lands...

Thats right, this was how I thought they would see me:  a strange foreigner speaking a funny language, with a camera around his shoulder, trying to speak to them using hand gestures and needed Tamil friends as interpreters for any serious conversation. I thought at best they'd be indifferent to the many questions I have for them. 

day care
day care - too young to attend school

But things aren't always how you'd imagine them to be. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the local catholic priest and some kids. A very warm welcome. And there was more to come. 

Boy, was I wrong as ever! 

one happy kid
one happy kid!

Our first friends at the place were the local school children. They were a lively bunch who incessantly asked us questions in the minutest detail.  

sendivakkam church top
the local church overlooks the entrance to the village

I later learnt from the priest the majority of the villagers were Christians - a fact that he proudly shared with us - a Catholic village. You could say it was a strange revelation because it was the last thing that would have come to my mind. 

junior rodeo?? hmmm...
junior rodeo? hmmm...

While we were there, it never failed to amaze me that people could be so kind and generous to strangers. Try going to a stranger's apartment in the city. You won't find people offering you all the milk they have or go through the trouble of running to their garden and pick some fresh fruits just to make you feel comfortable.

rural awareness camp
getting prepped up for the long day ahead

In the end I had only one question in my mind: Why are we not like them - friendly, kind and generous? 

the whole department with the local kids
my department taking a photo with the kids

Maybe its the city life thats to blame. Maybe its our friends. Or maybe its ourselves that we need to look into.

old man
an old man turning for a pose

Saturday, August 29, 2009


When you think about Goa, you think about sun, sand and surf. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who've been to Goa and testify that when it comes to sunny beaches, there's nowhere in India you can compare it to.

I agree.

There's everything for everyone: crowded beaches with lots of tourists enjoying the beach, seaside restaurants where you can have freshly caught fish with some beer while watching the sun set in the horizon, lots of shops where you can try out your bargaining skills and a whole lot more of other stuff you have to experience it for yourself.

A friend walking at the beach

But what many people don't know about Goa is its rich colonial history. Portuguese to be precise. Even today you can still find traces of Portuguese influence in many things like their buildings, culture and religion.

You can find forts and churches built by the Portuguese still standing today. You can visit Old Goa and walk the narrow streets and experience what it would have been like years ago.

Aguada Fortress

One of the things I enjoyed the most in Goa was watching the sun set in the horizon. There would be a dozen fishing boats which I imagined would be returning from their last trip out into the sea, bringing their catch back to the shore where people would throng around to buy the freshly caught fish.


Panaje, the capital is also worth visiting. You can take boat cruises at around six in the evening where they play some live music and watch prefessional dancers performing their local dances.

Panaje, Goa

If you're planning to go there, the tourist season starts from late September to mid March. Thats the best time to visit Goa, but be prepared for accommodation prices to go up.

Waterfall by the railroad

You can even enjoy the scenic views on your way to Goa. But thats just a side attraction. Once you get there you'll forget everything else. Its one of the places in India you have to visit. Young or old you won't regret it.

I know I didn't.

Dogs at the beach

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Two Crocodiles in Love?


...or just a mother and her offspring?

(Photo taken at the Crocodile Park, Madras)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Mahabalipuram Beach


The restaurant by the sea. It wasn't the tourist season so the place was nice and quiet. We had dinner here while the waves glow in the moonlit night. The food was great and the ambience was just right.


There were some fishing boats on the beach and after dinner we climbed onto one. One of the guys had brought along a guitar and very soon we were singing our hearts out!


Time flew by and we were there till two in the morning. We returned to our rooms but none of us could sleep. So we went to the hotel swimming pool and just stayed there for another couple of hours. I have to say it was one of the best weekends i've had for a long time...

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Beach

Summer is here again. And with temperatures reaching almost 40°C everyone seems to be attracted by the beach.
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
I still wonder what those rickshaws (tricycles) were for... complete with loudspeakers.
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
And the kids... living their carefree youth.
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
The ever vigilent cop. I can imagine her saying to some mischevious kids, "Hey, tambi! Po daa!"
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
Thousands flock to the sea...
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
But this is just the begining of summer.
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
Even the ice-cream man is feeling the heat. He looks out towards the sea, wishing he could forget everything and take a swim in the cool blue water...
Summer Afternoon - East Coast Road
And to think that this is just April.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ropeway by the Lake

Yesterday, me and my friends went to pick up my cousin from boarding school. She had just finished her board exams. So on the way home I thought it'd be great to visit an amusement park about half an hour from Chennai.
Queensland Ropeway
It was already 4:30 pm when we got to Queensland Amusement Park. I had been here a couple of years back so I knew it was famous for its water rides. But unfortunately all water activities were closed by 4:30 (except for the boat ride). So we had to make do with things like roller coasters and bumper cars.
The guides there advised us to first take the ropeway that went all the way from one end of the park to the other. We figured we just didn't have the time so we took the boat ride instead.
Queensland Lake and Ropeway
As I said I've been there before, I know how different and great it was to see the whole amusement park from above. Too bad we didn't have the time. The guys would've liked it...
... from above, everyone underneath: like busy ants under the setting sun. Too bad they missed it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Loyola College Church

Christ the King Church (better known as the Loyola College Church) was designed by an Indian architect named S.A. Gnanaprakasam Pillai and construction was completed in 1933.
The church is located at the centre of the Loyola College campus in Chennai. Because of its Gothic style architecture - the pointed arches, the ribbed vaults, rose windows, three-aisle naves and the flying buttresses it stands out from the other churches in Chennai.
The spire of the building reaches to an incredible height of 157 feet from the ground. The church building occupies an area of 9,000 sq ft, with the length and breadth 150 ft & 60 ft respectively.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fort St George

Last Saturday I went to Fort St. George with a friend. I've been planning to visit the place for some time now and was anxious about it. It's the first fort built by the British in India and is to this day one of the most important historical places of the British era.
Today, the fort houses the Legislative Assembly of the Tamil Nadu state. It's not one of those desolate and crumbling fortresses but rather full of life. There were people everywhere - tourists, civilians, even the military. It is the seat of the state government.
Fort Entrance
We reached the place after travelling some 15 minutes on the local train. Before I saw the fort, I had imagined it to be an old British stronghold that attracted only tourists and historians. Looking back, I couldn't be more wrong.
One can find exquisite buildings of the British period. My favourite was the cupola. Some said it used to house a statue of Lord Cornwallis. Now it's empty although I envision it to be much better with the late governor-general of British India.
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church
Another building that caught my attention was St. Mary's Church. It is said to be the oldest Anglican Church in India. It's a must see for anyone visiting Chennai.
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church - Interior
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church - Interior
Some Government Building
Some Government Building
One can see the legacy of the British everywhere. The buildings that once housed the Raj are now occupied by the government. Those in power may change but their seat remains the same :-)
Secretariat Building
Fort Musuem
Then we came across the Fort Museum. It showcases some of the best examples of the period. If one is interested in British history, this is the place to be.
Fort Museum - Painting Gallery
Fort Museum - Pistols
Fort Museum - Mortars
Some old building
Some Old Building
There were other buildings like the Clive House which I wanted to visit but was not open to the public. In the end we spent the better half of the day within the fort. If anyone who's reading this is planning to visit Chennai, then I recommend you spend an afternoon here.
View from Fort Station
View from Fort Train Station