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  • Category: Culture & Festivals

    Come to Tamil Nadu in the month of May

    We have many places in India where the local cultures depict something or the other. There are annual festivals in almost every village in the State of Tamil Nadu.

    During the month of May, it is quite hot, as it is elsewhere in India, However, one has to combine a visit to some big city or tourist spot and then go to the nearby village, in the evenings or early mornings to catch up with the village festivals. If one is a YouTuber, one can record the entire thing on video and make it known to all others in India.

    For example, Karaikudi is a district headquarters town, where one can find decent lodges at around Rs.1200 per day, for good AC accommodation. Take an early morning bus to a small town called Sivaganga which houses many houses that showcase the typical Chettiyar architecture of the good old days. These houses are simply amazing to see and enjoy. Then one has to ask the locals about the village festivals in the nearby villages. One can go to that village by the local bus and then come back to Karaikudi.

    Note that to reach Karaikudi, there are a good number of AC sleeper buses run by private operators. However, the rates shoot up in the month of May. Hence, it is essential to book tickets by the superfast Pallavan Express and then stay overnight at Karikudi. Of course, the place of Karaikudi is just one example. Around every town or big city, there are many village festivals, too.
  • #25565
    It is indeed wonderful that there are rural areas where individual festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm, and not just the main national festivals like Pongal, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, and the like. It is a good time for villagers to bond and earn some income, too, by selling their local products. One can also relish local food at such festivals.

    The details that you have given about transport and inexpensive accommodation is very informative. However, could you be more specific and let us know which are the specific festivals that you are referring to? In Karikudi, for example, what do they celebrate in the month of May?

    I would also suggest that you could submit a more detailed informative article on this and other personal travel experiences under the category of Travel Articles.

  • #25566
    Madam, Pl note that the surrounding villages of Karaikudi have the local Amman temples. The temple festival is a rather unique kind of celebration, done all over the State. The information that I had provided pertains to Chettinad as it has fabulous architecture and the foreigners who come there, enjoy the summer. It is also reported that they visit the surrounding villages to take part in the local temple festival. I had been to one such festival after attending a wedding in May, some 15 years ago. I do not remember much.

    There are similar temple festivals in Ranipet District, where I reside. The pattern is the same. The diety is taken in a big procession and there is a massive sponsorship of food in the form of Prasad offered to anyone on the street before, during and after the procession. In the night there is some music and dance and some Pooja as well. Sometimes, there is animal sacrifice. I do not visit the temples during nights, as I cannot bear animals being killed.

    Well, the celebrations often go on till 2AM, and some police protection is provided. The practice is not unique to Karaikudi. The festivals seem to have some economic logic in terms of the sudden bazaars that crop up. The caring and sharing of resources of the rich is the main attraction and is the social dimension.

  • #25567
    After reading the post, I feel like visiting the place. It will be a welcome break from our hectic city life. Also, will get to know about the culture of the people living there and savour local food. But will like to avoid places where animal sacrifices are done.

  • #25569
    Very interesting information provided in this post by the author regarding the places to visit in Tamilnadu with special respect to the temples and local functions being arranged there. Those who want to enjoy these functions and feel the local cultural flavours can plan a visit during the said summer time.

  • #25575
    Thanks AB Sivakumar for sharing your experience and knowledge of temple festivals. Music and dance are basically very much part of all festivals. It is sad, though, that animals are sacrificed. Hope this practice comes to an end one day.

    By the way, I suggest that we do away with formalities of addressing members as Madam/Sir. This forum is an informal platform for discussions.

  • #25580
    Yes, Vandana. I shall follow your advice. I also wish to add a little about the town of Tiruchirapalli.

    This town has grown into a big city. It has a current population of around 12 lakh people. There is the fabulous Renganathar temple, which is a major tourist attraction. The climate here is always hot, except for the two months of November and December, which are the rainy months. In these months, the rain comes and it goes.

    There is a Mariamman temple, some 11 kilometers from this city and this city is just two hours from Karaikudi. Hence, if one is planning a trip to Tiruchirapalli, one can always combine it with a visit to Karaikudi, and enjoy the Chettinad architecture. To give a quick connection to this lovely place called Karaikudi, another nice town called Sivaganga, and a slightly outgrown village called Kanadukathtan, one has to just go to Google and type the names of these places and the information, including photos of the Chettinad type of architecture can be seen.

    Please do note that all these towns and villages are highly connected by hundreds of buses up to around 10 PM at night and then the long-distance buses are there throughout the night. However, after 10 PM, such night buses will always be crowded. The beauty of many villages is that the people pour enough water on the terrace. Some old lady will burn camphor and a huge bunch of dry neem leaves and a few other herbs as well, to virtually kill all the mosquitoes. The entire family will lock the house and happily sleep on the terrace. In the month of April and May, only those in the big cities use the AC. In the villages, none will use the AC. One has to contact the Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation to check if they can arrange houses where one can stay. These homestays are okay, though sometimes the hygiene is not so good.

    The food is homely, as it is always prepared for a maximum of twenty people, who stay in this homestay kind of accommodation.

    So, to reach Karaikudi by the night train, one must book in advance by the Chennai to Rameshwaram Express or book upto Tiruchirapalli by any of the 8 odd trains and then spend three days in Tiruchirapalli, and see the temples. In the morning, one should wake up at 5 AM and go to the Srirangam Temple. There are hundreds of buses and please do not take any auto. The buses start from the Central Bus Stand, come to a place called the Chatram bus stand, and then go towards Srirangam. The food served at Parthasarathy Vilas, a lovely traditional restaurant is very good and one should enjoy the Gee Dosa in this restaurant. There are other good vegetarian restaurants as well. The Lord can be seen by 8 AM. It is also possible to go by bus to a placed Vayalur and worship Lord Muruga there.

    By 11 AM, one should come back to the hotel, put on the AC, and take a rest. Tiruchirapalli has too many good vegetarian restaurants and the ones near the Central Bus stand are very good. Irrespective of where you stay, you will always find buses to go to the Central Bus stand. Even a small amount of English is enough. 9 out of 10 speak English and it is possible to identify educated people so quickly. As already mentioned, the end of December and early January is too good to visit Tiruchirapalli, but the numerous villages come alive with the annual festivals only in the months of April and May every year, mostly after the 20th of April, as all schools and colleges would close for the Annual holidays.

    The temple festivals are also for socialization and for caring and sharing. Plenty of food is cooked and served at so many places and the poor do use these opportunities to enjoy themselves. The temple prasad is also huge and it is distributed to all. The rich sponsor the food. The State Government itself has introduced the community feast in so many temples and this is called "Annadanam". Annam means food. Danam means free donation. The countless rich people always donate some money. The temple collections are also sometimes used to feed devotees.

  • #25584
    In Tiruchirapalli, there is also another lovely temple atop a hillock, right in the heart of what is called the "Main guard gate'. It was said that the British who used the area to have their forces stationed there, used the vast area and there was a big gate that was used to guard the soldiers. One does not know whether this is true.

    One has to walk hardly 100 meters to reach the temple entrance from the Main guard gate. Along the way, there is a massive market as well. One has to climb some 100 steps to reach the top. It is a really good temple, called the "Ucchi Pilliyar temple". (Ganapathy temple). The Main Guard gate is just opposite the famous St.Joseph's Arts and Science College, which is one of the oldest such colleges in India.

    Kindly note that this place is walkable from the Chatram bus stand.

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