About 15 odd kilometers away from the famous Mahabalipuram-also known as the Jewel of the Coromandel Coast-lies the hidden town of Sadurangapattinam. A small town tucked away next to Kalpakkam, was once famously known for a fairly big Dutch settlement. The Sadras Fort is one such imprint that the Dutch have left us with before they were driven away by the British.
“Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” – Jawahar Lal Nehru
Pondicherry had an immense role to play in India’s freedom movement. Firstly, it fought for its own freedom. Secondly it actively supported the Freedom movement against the British and even housed nationalists who courted arrest by the British.
No trip to Pondicherry is complete without a visit to Aurobindo Ashram. Aurobindo was influenced by studies on rebellion and revolutions against England in medieval France and the revolts in America and Italy. Even though he favoured non-cooperation movements and passive resistance publicly; in private he took up secret revolutionary activity as a preparation for open revolt, in case passive revolt failed.
“Imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism.”
The proximity of the ports on the Eastern parts of India, to Southeast Asia and China, made them very attractive for the Europeans. The first Europeans to set foot on the shores were the Portuguese in the 16th Century; in all probability they were linked to Jesuit missions, as well as the spice trade which started to dominate the scene right across Indian coastline then. Details of their travels to South India can be traced in the accounts of Jesuit Antonio Rubino, written in early 17th century.
The Danes were next in line, setting up a trading base close by in Tranquebar (Tharangambadi) in the year 1620. The Dutch East India Company built the magnificent Sadras fort as a commercial outpost at Sadhurangapattinam in the early 17th century.
Think of Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Khmer, Champa and Eastern Indian dynasties. What connects them? Not just the fact that they were colossal empires, but ones that specialised in maritime trade. The secrets to unlocking the history behind any region is often linked to its description in ancient literature and based on accounts of sea faring traders and merchants.
Tamil Nadu has numerous entries for ports of commercial trade dating back centuries ago mentioned frequently in Sangam literature as well as that famous book for seafarers, Periplus of Erythrean Sea. Mylapore, Mamalla/Poonjeri, Kaveripumpattinam, Nagapattinam, Korkai and Kumari were important maritime trade centres.
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it
Michelangelo couldn’t have said this any better. During our trip to Mahabalipuram aka Mamallapuram, we decided to pay a visit to the Sculpture Museum. It would have been unfair not to, given that this place is filled with impeccable sculptures. This place is a must-visit for those who visit the Jewel of the Coromandel Coast.
On account of International Museum Day that is celebrated on 18th of May every year since the year 1977, we wanted to look at some of the museums around the world that should be part of some of your travel plans when you visit these places. Why Museums one might wonder.
With the turn of times where we have seen destruction of antiquities by barbarians. Museums have become safe havens to conserve artefacts from falling into wrong hands. From the earliest inscriptions to technology marvels and from Roman coins to bronze figures, they remain a place where our journey through time is best understood.
Similar to our World Heritage Day series, here’s our first post on the International Museum Day series. In this post, we look at a handful of museums from the Southern part of India.
Our trip to Hampi will always be close to my heart for numerous reasons. First, this was our first official historical getaway. Second, I didn’t know I was so fascinated by ancient art and architecture. Third, I didn’t know I’d walk 35 kms over a period of 4 days to see the ruins around the city of Hampi, and finally, I realized that there is more to life than work and the same old routine.
This is probably when it all began; the love for travel, history, mythology and possibly, the urge to do more of this.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of the trip but believe you me, I remember every minute of it. Yes, it was about 3 1/2 year ago, but I guess that’s what a canvas of ruins can do to your mind and soul.
Here’s a little something of what we experienced while at this famous UNESCO Site and one our most favorite architectural historian Dr. George Michell’s home ground, I would call it 🙂
In our words, here’s the complete guide to Hampi: