April 23, 2011

Picnics on ECR

Summer picnics.
I wonder how many of us get excited about organising one and then going out with family and friends to enjoy it.
At this time of the year I get calls from friends who bank on me to suggest weekend picnic ideas. They are looking for day trips that are simple and interesting.
Interesting for children who are now on holiday.
My suggestions are often biased. Biased towards a bit of history and heritage and the environment.
No, I am not suggesting another bout of an educational exercise for kids who must have had enough of their exams and preparations for a new academic year.
But if the picnics can also be journeys of discovery then there is a plus in them!
The East Coast Road (ECR) is my favourite suggestion as it must be for many, many families.
This region offers so many little nooks to discover and journeys that can break with a picnic lunch!
You could 'discover' the Buckingham Canal from the Thiruvanmiyur point to the Marakkanam lake. Once a busy transport route, there are little vestiges of the past that may interest you. The locks are one of them. At Kelambakkam, at Muttukadu, at Thiruvidanthai . . .
Pick up a map before you set out. Cruise along the ECR when you get close to each of these spots. Park your car and walk across to the edge of the Canal. There are always surprises.
If you start early in the day you will find a host of birds at the Kelambakkam point. You may even see people busy working on a few salt pans in this area.
At Muttukadu, walk past the Boating Place of TN Tourism, alongside the Canal and you will get a nice view of the locks. When the Indian boats sailed here and the wind died down (which was often) the boat-hands would walk along either bank and pull the boat, using ropes tied to it, doing so till the wind picked up again!
Well, this is one of the many suggestions for a summer holiday day trip.
Yes, it is not meant for easy-go picnickers.
A weekend that is just a little different out in the open is what you will remember.

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