Thursday 20 January 2011



About 1 hour drive from Tirunelveli, a famous South Indian town, is a village by the name Rengasamudram. This was the birth place of my dad and our Kula Deivam (Family Deity) temple is the Srinivasa Perumal Temple in this beautiful village.

Off late we have made it a point to visit this place every year and we started the year 2011 by visiting this temple on the first week of Jan. I have heard from my dad and uncle (dad’s elder brother) that the village used to surrounded by paddy fields everywhere and all you can see is only green carpet spread on all four directions. A branch from the Tambaraparani River flows through the village and makes it flourish with everything. The village used to be neat and clean and each and every person knows everyone in the village as there were not anything more than a 100 to 150 families.

But all these are of the golden past. Some 40 years ago. Now almost of this beauty have become history and the only saving grace is the temple and the ashram. The temple is being maintained by the priest and his family who resides next to the temple with some aide from people like us who have migrated to different parts of the world. One should keep in mind that the only source of religious activities and income for the priest is from donations by people!

The Ashram is being administered by the trustees, but there are not much of religious activities like before, as there is no religious guru at the moment. Having said that, the moment one enters this place you cannot help appreciating the beauty and serenity of this place. Trust me when I say that the sun rays will not enter this place much even during peak summer. Such is the beauty of this place. Especially if you are a nature lover, you will never feel like leaving this place.

There were also quite a lot of birds in Rengasamudram include some beautiful migratory birds. Here is a list of birds that I was able to spot during my very short visit here. I am sure there would have been more, but I did not have enough time to spot them. Even among the ones that I spotted I was not able to photograph everything. Now here is the list.

Indian Robin
Oriental Magpie Robin
Brahminy Starling
Common Myna
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
White-Breasted Waterhen
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Indian Peafowl, Male & Female
Spotted Dove
Pied Bushchat, Male & Female
Purple Sunbird
Common Tailor Bird
Green Bee Eater
Jungle Babbler
White-throated Kingfisher
Asian Koel, Male & Female
Greater Coucal
Brahminy Kite
Rose Ringed Parakeet, Male & Female
Coppersmith Barbet
House Crows
House Sparrows

Keep in mind that I spotted all this when we were attending the function at the temple and then relaxing at the ashram and not intended to a bird watching! This is about the same number that I spotted in Lalbagh, Bangalore last year when I went all alone dedicatedly for bird watching. Of course being the first time then, I did not spot much.

I should also mention that peacocks and peahens were as common as crows and hens, adding absolute beauty to the place. That should tell what a heaven this place is. I am sure if one goes there dedicatedly for bird watching they can come up with quite a long list.

The problem with this place is that it does not have any facility. Even if one has to buy medicines, they have to come to Ambasamudram which is about 5kms from here. There are only about 30 houses and only 10 or so usable ones. So if you are planning a trip to this place, the nearest accommodation will be available only in Ambasamudram. If you are looking for decent hotels, you will have to stay in Tirunelveli which is about an hour drive from here.

Overall an awesome place for a one day visit if you are intending a peaceful day off and to be inter tangled with nature!

Saturday 15 January 2011

Thirukkurungudi - One with Nature

Thirukkurungudi – One with Nature

Recently we (family) visited our native place Tirunelveli. We make it a point to visit the native place and the temple at least once a year.

During these visits we also make sure that we explore some of the nearby places. One such place is Thirukkurungudi. To be honest this was the first time I am hearing about this place, but my parents had known a bit about this place before.

Thirukkurungudi is a small village in the foot of the Western Ghats filled with rich tradition and history. A village so typical of the South TamilNadu, it has been built around the Nambi Rayar Temple. Most of the activities in this village revolve around the temple and agriculture.

The Nambi Rayar temple has a Shiva temple as well inside. So the single temple acts as the religious hub for both the beliefs. It was really heartening to see harmony between both the groups. I am not going in detail about the temple as there are quite some information about this temple in the net (surprisingly)! If you need more information about the temple and the place just Google “Thirukkurungudi”

You can find peace and harmony everywhere in this small village. This is a perfect place for both Shaivas and Vaishanavas. Then there is the Mahendra Giri hill which is believed to be the catapult for Lord Hanuman during his quest in searching Sita. It was from this mountain upon which Hanuman kept his leg and leapt in the sky to reach Lanka.

The Mahendra Giri is the most interesting place here. The hill is about ten minutes drive from the village. The entire hill is considered precious for lots of reasons. The Tirumalai Nambi temple on this hill is quite famous in this part and one can see lots of pilgrims walking up the hill to this temple.

Quite a few things impressed me about Thirukkurungudi and Mahendra Giri

• You can do a decent one day trekking. Walking up the hill until the temple and returning back will provide a good one day trek. If you want real adventure, take up a jeep ride from the temple at the base to the temple on the hill.

• Historical and religious.

• A haven for bird watching.

• Unpolluted and undeterred by the modernization.

• Harmony among the people irrespective of their religion and beliefs.

• A good weekend place for the locals.

• A beautiful village with a pleasant weather.

• Beautifully built old type houses that will keep you interested for quite sometime.

Overall, a beautiful place for a retirement or a weekend getaway if you are near Tirunelveli.