Here`s your nifty, constantly up-dated look at eclectic travel destinations. We`ll be covering the globe from our backyard (why not?) to the back-of-the-beyond. And for all those of you who`ve dreamt of taking over from Ian Wright as the Lonely Planet honcho who gets to circumnavigate the world, remember, I`m the first in the line!!
Here`s a small quiz for travel hungry hordes. It`s called `What catches your fancy?`
So, what is it that catches your fancy when you plan on that long delayed holiday destination?
- A totally crowded commercial place with several attractions and many things to keep you occupied and entertained.
- A hill station which, again, is becoming very crowded and commercial.
- A quiet, little village which boasts a hoary history and whose landscape is dotted with beautiful temples.
If you fall into the last category then, may we recommend a visit to Badrachalam?
Badrachalam was once ruled by the Golkonda Kings. The story goes that during the reign of the Sultans of Golkonda, the Tahsildar in their court, Kanchala Gopan pilfered money from the royal treasury. With the money he stole, Gopan constructed a Rama Temple. The incensed Sultan imprisoned Gopan. Moved by the plight of their devotee, Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana appeared before the Sultan and announced that Gopan was innocent. Indeed, through divine intervention, the money that Gopan had taken from the treasury was repaid.
From this point on, Kanchala Gopan was called Ramdas (the servant of Lord Rama). And the Rama temple he built - Ramdaskudi Kanchala Gopankudi - continues to attract pilgrims from all over India.
Another well-known temple is the Rama Sita Temple. This is said to be the only temple where Goddess Sita is sitting on the lap of her husband Lord Rama. (It must be noted that in other temples, they stand side by side).
The Sita Ramalu Kalyanam Utsav held in the month of March-April, signifies the first pooja of the summer.
One could go to Badrachalam for a pleasant and quiet stay. Badrachalam has an old world charm about it. So, forget about all the modern recreational centres that one often runs to, looking for relaxation. Forget about all the things that one usually does in a crowded commercial place on a holiday. Sit back and enjoy the unspoilt beauty of Badrachalam while it is still off the tourist track. And once you`ve had your fill of temples, you could take a refreshing dip in the river Godavari which flows through the town.
And if that were not enough, Badrachalam has the added advantage of being close to Tirupathi Devaisthanam.
How to get there
Badrachalam is situated about 750 kms from Chennai. It can be reached by two routes- the Charminar Express that leaves the Central Station Chennai at 6.10 p.m. The train reaches Kambam in the early hours of the morning. (2.45 a.m.) From here, one could go by bus and complete the journey in two hours. The other option is to take the Cor amandel Express to Vijayawada and then take the bus to Badrachalam. This takes an additional two hours.
While there is plentiful accommodation, it is not particularly luxurious or comfortable. The TTDC (Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation) runs a guesthouse, which is among the better places to stay.