One can never imagine what those 150-odd travelers in the Pamban-Dhanuskodi Passenger Express experienced when the infamous 1964 Rameswaram Cyclone swept them away in the wee hours of 23rd December. Things took an ugly turn and the small town of Dhanushkodi would never be the same. Once a thriving port town that buzzed with activity all day and night, this place has a historical significance as the name goes. Lord Rama is said to have marked this place with his bow for his army to start building the bridge to Lanka. Coincidentally, this point is hardly 30 minutes away from Sri Lanka by water.
We know this post is a tad bit late; an entire month in 2017 has gone by. With a few important decisions to be taken, things have taken a different turn this year (definitely for the best) and has taken up some of our time. We’ve promised ourselves to get back to writing on a more regular basis and what hit us last week was when a dear friend who was visiting said – “frankly, your blog is almost dead”. This is most definitely true and it’s unfair that we haven’t been sharing our travel tales with you. 2017 is going to be better, we promise 🙂
2016 was quite an eventful year for us; filled with travel to new places and discovering the lesser known was a hidden agenda for us. It’s amazing what this can do to your soul.
It’s been almost five months since we left Siem Reap but we cannot stop reminiscing our moments with the Khmer Empire. While our memories of the unforgettable Angkor Wat and the magnificent Angkor Thom still remain fresh, we can’t help but go back to the time we set foot on the North-Western hills of Phnom Kulen to reach Kbal Spean.
Literally translated to ‘Headwater Bridge’, Kbal Spean was carved our during the reign of King Udayadityavarman II, possibly between the 11th and 12th centuries. Dedicated to the Trimurtis: Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, this Bapuon-style group of sculptures is definitely one-of-a-kind.
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.
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.
After much deliberation, we zeroed in on Cambodia about 8 months ago when we were going to travel to Singapore for a wedding. It felt like an opportunity fell right onto your lap; now who wouldn’t take advantage of such a situation!
The next argument crept in – do we do Siem Reap and/ or Phnom Penh? I wanted to do both but Bhargav was of course hell bent on focusing on Siem Reap. He finally came up with a solution: we combine Phnom Penh with our trip to Vietnam and/or Laos. I simply couldn’t say no to travel. I would be a fool to say no to more travel now, wouldn’t I? 🙂 All that I can say is that I am so glad we focused just on Siem Reap and you’ll know why soon.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu
If a picture can speak a thousand words, then a quote like this can speak a million. Literally and figuratively, this is what travel can do to a person; once you start, there’s no looking back – it’s like a bucketful of Maltesers sitting right next to you. I’ve always wondered if travel can do you no harm, why don’t we do more of it? What’s better than learning from your own experiences than sitting inside four (or probably more) walls, in front of blackboard or a screen?
When I was younger I always wondered what travel could do to you as a person; I was extremely jealous of my friends and family who planned their vacations way in advance. Most importantly, I wondered how they managed to take off from work and life in general; there’s always something to do! This is when I learnt to live and let live. To me, travel is the best possible teacher or experiences, both good and bad. What’s life without all that excitement?!
This post is simply my thoughts on how and why travel can make one a better human being which of course reflects onto other aspects of life and the other personas we behold: