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Yercaud - normally known as poor man's "Ooty" but I find this epithet insulting. Even though Yercaud resembles like a miniature Ooty, it has its own charm. I was in Salem for 4 years during my Engg College days, yet I had visited that place only twice. After 11 years, I visited Yercaud last Sunday. Technically this is my third trip, but literally my first trip. Once I went with my cousin's colleague trip, once with Mohanasundaram summing up two trips. Since Mohan, who was found as LM & LMS in by blogs, was my object of obsession in my Engg College days, the idea of sharing his pavilion for a long drive gave me a kick rather than visiting Yercaud at that time. Unfortunately within 2-3 months after that trip the frictions surfaced and subsequently I chose to break off after an year and half, Yercaud remained as bitter sweet memory that I didn't feel like visiting anymore. But there can never be a best healer than time. After 7 years I met LMS on this February, also I had marked the year 2008 for extensive travelling and by this time the inhibitions had waned that I desperately wanted to enjoy the natural beauty of Yercaud.

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I had been to Rameswaram thrice earlier but all the times, the visit was restricted to the temple alone. Typically we start at the Chennai - Rameswaram express, land there in the early morning, visit the temple and start back by 8:30 to Karaikudi where my sister was studying. I couldn't explore much about Rameswaram. So this time I decided that I must visit alone and find out various places there & booked the ticket via www.irctc.co.in. Atlast it co-incided with the Trivandrum visit so I rescheduled the travel from Nagercoil to Rameswaran via Madurai. Later I was told that instead of Madurai I could have chosen Karaikudi as linking point. I started from Nagercoil by 8:30 p.m Coimbatore - Nagercoil Passenger and reached Madurai by 1:30 a.m and caught up with Chennai - Rameshwaran train there by 2:30 a.m. By the time I reached Rameswaram by 6:00 a.m, I had a very sound sleep.

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Last time I went to Trivandrum was in 2002, to attend an interview at "Terumo Penpol". I went on previous day itself, visited the famous "Padmanabhaswamy Temple". Even though I got through that interview, I couldn't join because the offer came much after I joined ABT Coimbatore. After 6 years I visited the Padmanabhaswamy Temple recently on April 2nd. The temple is about a km from the railway station where I stayed in the dormatory. I believe you all know that men must wear a mundu and a torso to enter the temple & dresscode for ladies is saree or a dupatta with salwar or other dresses. To avoid "hiring" a stink mundu, I bought a new mundu this time only to visit the temple. The temple is neatly maintained and very calm, soothing and relaxing. I am very much fascinated with the paintings on the walls of the temple. There is a beautiful style of shading in that, which is so unique to the temple. Else the sculptures are typically Tamil Nadu styled ones. The huge Padmanabhaswamy idol that can be seen in parts through three windows is magnificient. The management is much intrested in making money through cloakroom services and lake. Typical example for shrewdness of malayalees. Even though I loved to visit the Kovalam beach and other places of intrest, I couldn't make it.

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After a gap of three months I went to our Silver beach in Cuddalore. It was called as the second largest beach in Tamilnadu after the Marina beach. Thats why the beach was called as 'Silver Beach', a sort of next to 'Golden Beach' in Chennai. But now it cannot claim that title because the ravages of Tsunami & the following rehabiliation activities had definitely altered the landscape of the beach. Previously the beach used to span right from the Periyar arts college and used to go about 750 mtrs to tough the shores. But due to commercialisation & concretisation, the length of the beach is now reduced to anywhere between 350 - 400 mtrs. The beach had lost its sheen now, thanks to encroachment and pollution.

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