One of the unexplored or very less talked about cities in India is Karaikal. Even I was completely unaware of its existence until I got an opportunity to stay here for some time.
One of the cities that make up the Puducherry Union Territory, Karaikal is bounded on the North and South by Nagapattinam district of the Tamil Nadu state, on the west by Tiruvarur district (also belonging to Tamil Nadu), and by the Bay of Bengal on the East. The Karaikal region is made up of Karaikal municipality and the Communes of Nedungadu, Kottucherry, Neravy, Thirunallar and Tirumalarajanpattinam.
I have been staying in the Keezhakasakudi region of Karaikal and have explored a bit in and around Karaikal for the past 3 years, because of the reason that my hostel is located here. Although, it has been projected in the records with many district and village roads, but majorly, the East Coast Road (NH 47) is what makes up the most of Karaikal. Majority of the city’s population resides on both the sides of the highway with all major shops and temples.
Initially, due to lack of demands the region was not much developed but once the hostel came up, the region witnessed the development of the market. The Sarvanas departmental store along with a new bakery came up. Also, French Fast food became the favorite diner where all sort of south Indian varieties of food are available. The nearby store, Thillai Super market is also a good place to shop the necessities.
Moving out of the Keezhakasakudi region, one of the very serene places in Karaikal is the Ammayar temple, more easily recognized as the pond temple in my friends circle. The temple consists of an attached pond where people come for a walk in the evening. Apart from the Ammayar temple, Karaikal is known all over the country for its unique and the only temple devoted to the Lord Saneeswara(Lord Saturn) at Thirunallar.
People who are pizza or KFC lovers might get disheartened at the dining and food court arena,because of the unavailability of these. But, inspite of it all, the local KFC (Karai Food Corner) might serve the purpose a bit. Also, the very famous hotels Maurya, Geethanjali, Delice, Annachi, Maza-Maza, Dosa Park, Vandana and Nanda can definitely help you relish the typical south Indian food along with the variants of north Indian foods made available too. The non-vegetarians can definitely enjoy the sea food but for the veggies, you may face troubles adjusting in the same hotel with a non-veggie.
From my experience of being a vegetarian, it was difficult to find the food and environment that is apt for veggies, but this should not be the reason of skipping a visit to karaikal. Although I would like to suggest that the veggies to skip a meal at Maza-Maza, you can try out the other diners. Don’t miss the chance of having the very delicious dosa at Vandana for breakfast, meals at Maurya and dinner at Geethanjali. At the end, don’t forget to enjoy the Ibaco ice cream parlor where you can actually get a posh treatment for the ultimate cherry on the cake experience of dining.
The Karaikal beach is not a big treat for the tourists, but you can enjoy a one time visit to it along with dining at the Sea Gulls. Two famous shrines, Velankanni for the Christians and Nagore for the Muslims are located nearby to Karaikal; which if you are religious minded, then you should definitely visit.
Since I have been residing here for the past 3 years, I have a lot to talk about this place. But I will wind up with this much information and a special note: Do visit Karaikal if you seek solitude, leisure, serenity and piety.