January 26, 2013

Pulicat Day! Wow!

If you have guests who enjoy travel and have a weakness for history, here is a tour you must recommend.

A tour that should start at Pulicat, or Pazhaverkkadu and end at Tranquebar, or Tarangambadi.

If you know your geography well, then you will be traveling along the Tamil Nadu coast.

And if you know your history better, then you will get to enjoy the remnants of European heritage and history and its influence on us.

Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and Danish histories - they hover on this coast and there is lots to re-discover.

Pulicat was once a stronghold of the Dutch. Today, it is still a beautiful seaside community and a wonderful picnic zone offering a lot of potential of hat one might call eco-tourism.

And not far from here are the expanses of marshlands which are the habitat of birds in the winter season, points off Sulurpet and Sriharikota.

A walk around the old town of Pulicat, a quiet boat ride, some fun in the sea and a piping hot picnic lunch is just the sort of outing that a family can enjoy here.

I recall a young man from the fishing community here, who inspired by a foreign tourist got a web site created and offered bookings for boat rides, tenting and even a seafood meal with some chill beer served alongside.

Off and on, efforts have been made to restore the Dutch and Indian heritage of this place.

Churches and mosques, graveyard and community houses and the like.

Over recent years, a NGO called AARDE Foundation seems to have taken this project seriously.

And when we heard of their efforts to market the famed craftwork of Pazhaverkaddu, the cane baskets, we invited them to showcase it at the annual Mylapore Festival.

This Saturday, the NGO is hosting Pulicat Day and besides walks, fun and catamaran races there is also a kolam contest for the women - inspired by the kolam contests hosted in Mylapore.

Pulicat Day is a great idea. And  one hopes that this historic place remains proud of its roots and its character and retains it for long. And that you, me and the state sustain the effort here.

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