Travel is never tiring when we are on our own and choose to do something we love. Our sudden decisions to change our routes have always been a memorable journey and we never deter for a moment to pursue what is in us. Day 3 was initially dedicated to Tiruchendur, the beautiful abode of Lord Muruga, one of the six Arupadai Veedu ( 6 houses). We wanted a journey to the beach, became famous after the 2004 Tsunami where the ocean pulled in and never came out to hit the temple. Science and Beliefs are at war here but to us, we know it is the place that holds us, be it for its amazing shoreline or the enormity of the temple and its significance. As we were retiring on Day 2, we saw many on the road wearing green dhotis and walking in groups. We came to know that these people are walking to Tiruchendur for Thai Poosam that Sunday, the day after tomorrow. The groups we saw were near Kallidaikurichi and Tiruchendur was about 70+ kms away. We could see young and old alike without slippers but peppy as ever and least bothered about the long walk ahead chanting divine names and proceeding towards the temple. Their sincerity and dedication made such an impact on us and made us contemplate on our travel without compromising an iota of comfort. Bowing to them for their devotion and sustenance, we proceeded on our journey.
It was Pongal, Makara sankranti, the day Sun sets its feet into Makaram (Capricorn) . Tamilnadu celebrates this day as harvest festival and beginning of the month ‘Thai’, the month considered to start the beginning of everything auspicious. Our breakfast included the day’s special ‘Sakkarai Pongal’. We set about travelling west from Tirunellveli to Sankaran Kovil, the temple that spells the culmination of Shiva and Vishnu as one in the form of Sankaranarayanar. There were multiple routes to reach the place and we took the help of our navigation system in the SUV to guide us and we were so happy we did it because it was travel through the villages displaying a show of rural festivities, an unplanned bonanza of our trip.
Family trips are rejuvenation points and the impact of it is not measurable by yards or sticks. It is the time we give to each other without our preoccupations and it is surprising to see the level of understanding and maturity with which we have held on when we are together on one mission – vacation. Personal professional schedules keep us off a planned trip most of the times and the same happened this time too. As usual, we planned a trip to Tirunelveli in a hurry and went through the difficulties faced by everyone planning to travel on a short notice on a long weekend.
Rural tourism is all set to gain recognition in Tamilnadu with Navabashanam, Theerthamalai, Vadanemmeli and Tirupudaimaruthur getting nod from the Tamilnadu government and funds from Union Tourism Ministry to be developed as rural tourism destinations.
Tamil Nadu, which has the highest number of MSMEs in India, will equip all District Industries Centres in the 32 districts with better infrastructure at a cost of 50 crore. These centres can then serve as a hub to promote MSME units.
The government has also decided to train nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs under a new scheme. The ‘New Entrepreneur-cum-Enterprise Development Scheme’ (NEEDS) will help educated youngsters draw up business plans and tie up with financial institutions for their ventures. At least half the beneficiaries of this scheme will be women.