Jan 6, 2014

Travel | Pudukkottai - Getting immersed in the rich cultural heritage of rural India

Continued from here..
Stop. Take a deep breath. And walk, fly or catch a train away from the city and into a world where the average pace of life is slower than slow. "It is not down in any map; true places never are." ~ Herman Melville. 
Many of these rural destinations have gained popularity in terms of their artwork, history and natural beauty
If palatial mansions are what makes Kanadukathan then these hand-made tiles from soil have brought Athangudi on travelers map.  

There are many weaving centers and in-house tile factories in the outskirts of Kanadukathan.
I would have almost missed this wonderful ancient form of art work by the locals in Athangudi when I was reluctant to get out of car due to sore feet.

This old man came out from his workshop and informed me that it will take just a few minutes to demonstrate the tile making skill.
And when I entered his small thatched hut to watch him work, I could not believe my eyes. He created magic with just a couple of ingredients.
Sand, colours, mould....and there I was, left with a most beautiful piece of artwork in front of me - Athangudi Tiles.

And this is how he creates patterns with colours and moulds.
Sad that this form of art is now on the verge of slow death as more and more people are preferring the modern and mechanized flooring tiles in cities.

Thirumayam fort; The next morning we left our hotel early and headed to Thirumayam fort.
The fort was built in 1687 by a local ruler. Children enjoyed climbing rocks and watching the landscapes from hilltop.
The two rock cut shrines near the fort are dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu next to the fort which is worth visiting.

The rock cut Shiva temple dates back to 7th century while the Vishnu temple was built in 8th century. You are instantly transformed to another era when you step inside these ancient monuments.
Most of these ancient temples are within a few kilometers radius from Kanadukathan and Pudukkottai district in Tamil Nadu.
As we had our own vehicle we were able to cover many places the same day. If I mention and post the picture of all the shrines and ancient monuments that we visited, I need to create another post.
Thiruvanaikaval, a popular Shiva temple under water, Samayapuram shrine before Trichy, Kuberan temple surrounded with beautiful birds & animals, Kundrakudi temple of lord Murga (Karthikeyan) located on a hilltop are some other places we liked during this trip.

I wasn't in the very best of gears to climb the rocks and huge boulders and had many falls while climbing the rocky and slippery surface with my slip-on.

We drove to visit another ancient rock-cut shrine dedicated to lord Ganesha called Pillaiyar Patti near Thirupattur.
The age of this temples is more than 2500 years and there are some sculptures which dates back to 500 BC.
Thanks to the manager of our hotel in Kanadukathan who gave us such wonderful inputs and directions about the city.

A small pond inside the compounds of Pillaiyar Patti temple. As photography is prohibited in many Indian temples, I could not take my camera inside the sanctum sanatorium.
From Pillaiyar Patti we drove to Kundrakudi and visited another shrine dedicated to lord Murugan (Karthikeya) on a small hilltop. The history of this temple dates back to about 1200 years.
In most of Indian temples photography is prohibited and I did not want to break the rules and gave my camera a long rest.

The rich traditions and heritage of India lies are very well preserved in rural India.
Women folk walking long distances balancing multiple earthen pots on their head, milking cows or cooking on firewood is a rare sight in modern world.
Apart from ancient architecture and spiritual importance the most intriguing part of your travelling is to experience the simplicity of village life and be one with nature while travelling in such rural destinations.
Yes, we did stop at every 50 Km of our journey to feel the same.
Children enjoying their cup of hot milk right from a small village kiosk and talking to the locals on the way.
Travelling to rural places is a great way to reconnect with your roots. Hope this rich cultural heritage of India remains intact in times to come.
But due to fast paced modernization, many of these villages are now being converted into money minting business towns and most of the younger villagers are moving towards cities for better livelihood.
The inherent beauty of these villages and simplicity of rural life is one of the biggest gifts of our times that we need to reserve and pass over to our children.
Continued from here.

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