Chennai, the last leg – Discover India – North India Tour with family.

T. P. Gopinath, January 19, 2019.

Introduction:

Chennai was our last port of call in the tumultuous ‘India tour with family’. In the beginning of the primary article of Discover India, in the main page, you might have seen the adage below.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu”

It is a fact with me; especially for my travels in my country. However, the money, the time, there are factors that tie you down where you are.

Finally, on the day, we reach Chennai with two plans. The first one was to see Gayathri’s beloved classical dancer of Sridevi Nrithyalaya and then onto any possible tourist spot visits.

North India Tour with family, articles:

The main article – Discover India – North India Tour with family.

The previous destination / article:
Second leg of the Delhi Tour – Discover India – North India Tour with family.

Parthasarathy temple:

The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the Lord Vishnu, located at Thiruvallikeni, Chennai, India. We felt great to visit the temple as the first trip once in Chennai.

Tamil Nadu is famous for its temples and Chennai is no exception. In fact, the one day that we had in Chennai was not at all enough to see the city well.

Seeing Hemanth – Joshina’s class mate:

Joshina had an encounter with her classmate after twenty-three years during our whirlwind Chennai tour.

We met him briefly at a restaurant (managed by his company) on our way to Sridevi Nrithyalaya. Travels have such unexpected benefits apart from seeing places and meeting different type of people, cultures, and natures abundant beauty. Hemanth, the classmate who comes from close to our native place, treated us lavishly with food and offered us any support that we shall require. Already pressed for time with just few hours in hand and a critical appointment at the Nrithyalaya, we rushed off after spending around twenty minutes with Joshina’ s old friend and class mate. On leaving, we thanked Hemanth for the kind courtesy he extended to us even on a short notice.

Chennai - Reunion with a class mate after 23 years
Chennai – Reunion with a class mate after 23 years

Gayathri is a big fan of dancer Harinie Jeevitha.

Gayathri who is learning classical dance for several years now, is an ardent fan of a dancer who is a student of famous classical dancer and a renowned exponent of Bharatanatyam, Sheela Unnikrishnan. 

Teaching is her forte – The Hindu article on Sheela Unnikrishnan

The dancer in Gayathri was seeking to meet is known as Harinie Jeevitha.

She has mentioned it to me, the first time I mentioned to her about the ‘Discover India’ tour plan, whether I could take her to Chennai to meet this dancer.

“Harinie Jeevitha is a dancer, Bachelor of Literature, choreographer and a young Indian Classical Indian dance. The disciple of Sheela Unnikrishnan of Sridevi Nrithyalaya, She started dancing aged of six in the Melattur style of Bharathanatyam” – Wikipedia.

At Sridevi Nrithyalaya to see the acclaimed dancer Harinie Jeevitha.

We had earlier communicated to the Nrtyalaya and sought appointment to see Harinie. We were granted a time around 4 PM and we went in as per the timing.

Once inside, we met the famous exponent of classical dance, Sheela Unnikrishnan.

She called Harinie Jeevitha and Gayathri was visibly elated at the sight of her ardent idol. We discussed matters about Gayathri and her constant talking and watching of Harinies videos.

Sheela Unnikrishnan who was busy in her teaching and student interactions, asked Gayathri to perform and gave her comments after her brief performance in front of the celebrated team of dancers and Choreographers. 

I asked whether they are conducting formal degree awarding courses. After spending about half an hour at their center, we bid good bye while Gayathri remained stunned from the fact that she indeed actually met her idol figure. Harinie Jeevitha was young and a very down to earth person. Below I attach the Souvenir from that visit, a photograph of Harinie with Gayathri.

Gayathri with her idol, Harinie Jeevitha of Sridevi Nrithyalaya, Chennai
Gayathri with her idol, Harinie Jeevitha of Sridevi Nrithyalaya, Chennai

Just recently a documentary has been posted on Harinie’s birthday on YouTube describing her and her work. The embedded video below, can help you familiarize with this young and well-known dancer from Chennai.

A documentary on Harinie Jeevitha – Sridevi Nrithyalaya – Bharathanatyam Dance:

Kapaleeshwarar Temple visit:

After meeting Harinie Jeevitha, we left for the Kapaleeshwarar temple. This temple that we visited was one even more special and it really make you feel very calm, something that you would fundamentally seek in a place of worship.

The temple has a great pond and extremely neatly kept surroundings will really uplift you greatly. There is also good shopping available outside the temple and from there Joshina bought some clothing.

“Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to lord Shiva located in Mylapore, Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The form of Shiva’s consort Parvati worshipped at this temple is called Karpagambal is from Tamil (“Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree”). The temple is the most ancient one that has been built around the 7th century CE in Dravidian architecture” – Wikipedia.

Marina beach:

Marina beach is Chennai’s famous beach known and the longest natural urban beach in the country with a length span of 6 KM.

As with what you can do with just one day in hand to see places in India’s fourth biggest city, by the time we reached Marina beach, it was night and could not even correctly see the sea.

Regret of the Mahabalipuram:

Mahabalipuram as defined below is one of the foremost tourist spots of Chennai. I have earlier visited the Mahabalipuram and knew it will be a great place to go. However, the trip from the city was expected to take approximately two hours and we didn’t have time on our side. However, a Chennai trip with a tourist’s objective must cover Mahabalipuram.

Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram, is a town on a strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It’s known for its temples and monuments built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. The seafront Shore Temple comprises 3 ornate granite shrines. Krishna’s Butter Ball is a massive boulder balanced on a small hill near the Ganesha Ratha stone temple.” – Wikipedia.

Return to Kerala:

Our last train journey was in 12601/MANGALORE MAIL which started from Chennai at 8:20 PM. This will take us straight to our home town called Vadakara in northern Kerala’s Calicut district by the next morning. 

Chennai Photo Gallery:

Chennai Tour – A short video playlist

North India Tour with family, article links:

Back to the main article – Discover India – North India Tour with family.

To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim. – Martin Luther King, Jr..

Time spent in India has an extraordinary effect on one. It acts as a barrier that makes the rest of the world seem unreal. – Tahir Shah

These are said by two great men. But even without their comments and as an ordinary man, i can tell you that India will spellbind you in many ways. As chaotic as India is, it is also a marvel to any traveler.

See you in the next episode of Discover India as soon as i hit the roads again!

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