December 31, 2010

St. Peter's Church, Chennai - A 19th century unknown Church

St. Peter's Church is one of the oldest churches in Chennai city, which was constructed in 19th century AD.

Chennai, the gateway to South India, is a prominent South Indian city located in Tamil Nadu state. There are many churches located in Chennai city. St. Peter's church, located in Royapuram of North Chennai, remains unknown to even public of Central Chennai and South Chennai. St. Peter's is a small beautiful church, called as "Madha Koil" by the locals. It is located at a distance of around 500 m from Royapuram railway station, the oldest surviving railway station of India.

The British East India Company occupied Madrasapattinam (Chennai aka Madras). They established their trading center in Madras. In those days, the transport of goods by boats were monopolised by a group of Hindus, and there was no proper harbour in Madras. In due course, some of those fishers/boatmen became Catholics. In the year of 1779 these boatmen shifted their residence from Chepauk area to Royapuram area. In the year of 1829, the present chapel was built for these boat men. The church called as "Madha Kovil" by the locals was named after St. Peter. St. Peter is called as "Rayappar" in Tamil language, the language spoken in Madras. Due to this church of Rayappar, the area was also called as Royapuram.
When you happen to go to North Chennai, do visit this small beautiful church of St. Peter, which stands as a heritage symbol of Chennai city.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: St. Peter's Church 
Site Type: Heritage site, Old Church
Location: Royapuram, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The church which belongs to British era
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city




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Hanging Gardens of Chennai - Maadi Poonga

Hanging Gardens, which is called as "Maadi Poonga" is an unknown heritage site located in North Chennai, Tamil Nadu state of India.

Chennai, the erstwhile Madras, is the gateway to South India. This is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India. Chennai has a lot of tourist sites including Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. The "Hanging Gardens" which is popularly called as "Maadi Poonga" in Tamil language, the language spoken in Chennai, is one of the heritage sites which remains unknown to the current Chennai public.

Maadi Poonga is located in Royapuram area of North Chennai. The British East India Company which ruled India once after settling down in Madrasapattinam (the current George Town Area which was the original Madras/Chennai), constructed a six km long fortification to protect the residents of Madrasapattinam. The work started in 1770 and ended in 1772 AD. You can still find a road near Central Railway Station of Chennai called Wall Tax Road. The merchants had to pay tax to take the goods inside the fortification in this road and hence the road got the name Wall Tax Road.

In the 19th century AD, when almost the entire India was under the control of British, the British government didn't find the necessity for the fortification, and hence it was brought down. Only a small portion of fortification was not destroyed, which is found as Maadi Poonga today.

It is unfortunate that this park is being mainly used by anti-social elements today.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Maadi Poonga 
Site Type: Heritage site, Park, Garden
Location: Royapuram, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: Heritage site which belongs to British period
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


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December 28, 2010

The Pride of San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, the pride of San Francisco, rather the pride of California state, is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination of San Francisco city. This is the tourist site which is visited not only those who travel to San Francisco, but even by those who just pass through the city. Anyone who visit California state would definitely wish or try to visit the Golden Gate Bridge for sure. There are around 16 million tourists who visit the Golden Gate Bridge every year. Unfortunately, this is the site where the maximum number of suicides happen in the US.

The Golden Gate is the North American strait connecting San Francisco bay to the Pacific Ocean. Ferries were the only mode of transportation to San Francisco from Marin Country before the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed. The Golden Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, was completed in 1937. Since then, it has become the symbol of San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge is possibly the most beautiful, and certainly the most photographed bridge in the entire world. When it was constructed, it was the longest suspension bridge in the entire world. Now, the eight other bridges have surpassed the Golden Gate Bridge.
A lot of tourists visit the Golden Gate Bridge by walking on the bridge; some prefer to visit this from ferries in the Fisherman's Wharf. I would advise you to walk onto the bridge, as otherwise you can't really appreciate the size and height of the bridge. At mid-span when you stand 220 feet above the water's surface, the passing ships below the bridge look like small toys. You can get a distant view of the Golden Gate Bridge across various travel destinations in and around San Francisco.

A lot of people think that the Golden Gate is named due to San Francisco gold rush of 1849. But the truth is that it was known as the Golden Gate long before the gold rush. May be a coincidence. :-) Even though the bridge is named as 'Golden Gate Bridge', don't expect this to be in yellow color. The bridge is in orange vermilion color aka international orange. The color was selected by the architect as he felt that it blended well with the bridge's setting.

This is one of those tourist sites in the US, which I would love to visit again and again.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Golden Gate Bridge
Site Type: Historical, Heritage, Bridge
Location: San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: The most important tourist destination of San Francisco; the landmark of San Francisco
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight; You can find taxis and cable cars from BART station to Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of options for wine and dine be it sea food, roadside shops, or costlier restaurants


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December 19, 2010

The Aquatic Park and the Maritime Museum - San Francisco

San Francisco, the paradise for tourists, has many important tourist spots. Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most important tourist site of San Francisco. There are many places within Fisherman's Wharf which worth visit. Let me introduce you the Aquatic Park and the San Francisco Maritime Museum in this blog post.

The Aquatic Park is located towards the eastern end of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. This park is small but very beautiful and a prominent site in Fisherman's Wharf. One path from the park would lead you to the picturesque sandy beach of San Francisco. You can find hundreds of people walking, jogging, or just sitting and watching the sea in the beach. San Francisco beach is a place very much loved by most of tourists visiting San Francisco.


Near the Aquatic Park, the historical building of Maritime Museum is located. The design of the building is unique and it is about 70 years old. The small museum houses some models of old vessels and few objects related to ships. The best place of the museum is the balcony at the back side from where you can get the breathtaking view of the beach and the distant view of Golden Gate Bridge.



Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: The Aquatic Park and the Maritime Museum 
Site Type: Museum, beach, park
Location: Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: Splendid beach near the historical maritime museum and a great park
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight; You can find taxis and cable cars from BART station to Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of options for wine and dine be it sea food, roadside shops, or costlier restaurants


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The Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco, USA

The Maritime National Historical Park at Hyde St. Pier in San Francisco is the site where your imagination can travel to the 19th century. You will get a breath taking view of collection of historical ships at this site.

The Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco is a popular tourist destination with a lot of interesting sites. The Maritime National Historical Park is definitely one of the interesting tourist sites at Fisherman's Wharf.

You can find a lot of ships and related objects of the 19th century and early 20th century in this park which cannot be found anywhere else. The engines used for loading and unloading cargo during the 19th century called as "donkey engines" are found in this park. The riverboats, the only mode of transport once, and the wheels used in those riverboats are of unique style. A small beautiful boat house and the superintendent's office are beautiful structures in the park which cannot be ignored by any tourist.

Balclutha, Eureka, Hercules, C.A. Thayer, Alma, Bay Ark, and Eppleton Hall are some of the historic vessels of the 19th century and early 20th century found in this park. Out of these vessels, Balcultha is looking fresh and colorful. Eureka is also very popular among the tourists.

Go to the maritime national historical park and indulge yourself in the 19th century experience.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:
Site Name: The Maritime Historical National Park 
Site Type: Heritage, Ship, Museum, Historical
Location: Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: The historical vessels and related objects of the 19th century AD
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight; You can find taxis and cable cars from BART station to Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of options for wine and dine be it sea food, roadside shops, or costlier restaurants



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December 18, 2010

The historic ships of San Francisco

Anyone who would travel to San Francisco as a traveler would realize that Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most popular travel destinations of San Francisco and it represents the culture of the entire city. There are many attractions in Fisherman's Wharf - some of them are important sites and some of them are not so important. The site where the historical ships are found is something unique which you shouldn't miss to visit.

Pier 45 - Main Entrance
The main entrance of Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco is a heritage site. Behind the main entrance, you can find two historic ships of the US - USS Pampanito, the submarine, and SS Jeremiah, a World War II ship. You can go aboard both the submarine and ship by paying a nominal fee at the ticket counter located at the entrance.

USS Pampanito is a submarine. It served as a United States Navy ship and completed six war patrols from 1944 to 1945. Then, it served as a Naval Reserve Training ship from 1960 to 1971. Now, the submarine is preserved as a memorial in this site. It's really fun and unique experience to board the submarine and visit various sections inside the submarine. Some sections would give a feel of getting inside a war ship whereas some sections such as the staff room and officers room would give a feel of a big train.
USS Pampanito
SS Jeremiah O'Brien is a Liberty ship built during the World War II. You can find this historic ship next to USS Pampanito. This ship is a rare survivor that stormed Normandy on D-Day in 1944. This ship is one of only two currently operational WWII Liberty ships out of 2711 ships built during the war. Getting aboard on this gigantic ship is also a unique experience.

You will also get a good sight of Alcatraz island and Golden Gate Bridge.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:
Site Name: USS Pampanito and SS Jeremiah 
Site Type: Heritage, Ship, Submarine, Historical
Location: Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: The historical vessels that served during WW II
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight; You can find taxis and cable cars from BART station to Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of options for wine and dine be it sea food, roadside shops, or costlier restaurants

USS Pampanito
Inside USS Pampanito
SS Jeremiah


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December 17, 2010

Pier 39 - The Bay is Yours

Wanna have fun with your friends or family? Wanna enjoy good dine and wine or wanna relax and do window-shopping? Wanna watch sea lions or a remote view of Golden Gate Bride? Wanna do a major shopping? Pier 39 is the place, man! Go there and splurge. Pier 39 - the bay is yours. Shop, dine, and discover.

Pier 39 is one of the most popular travel destinations of San Francisco. The walking tour of Fisherman's Wharf starts from Pier 39. Those who visit Golden Gate Bridge generally visit Pier 39 too. Pier 39 represents the culture of entire San Francisco - I would say. This is such a nice place which you would definitely want to go again and again.

Pier 39 is full of shops - all sorts of shops. Crab House, Eagle Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe, and Pier Market Seafood Restaurant are some of the notable restaurants of Pier 39. Candy Baron, Chocolate Heaven, and other such options are available for snacks and sweet treats. For gifts, apparels, jewellery, and other accessories, you can find a lot of important shops such as Bliss, Fashion Trends, Alcatraz gifts, Antiquities, etc.
You can get ferries to experience breathtaking views of Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Aquarium of the Bay and bungee trampoline are additional attractions available in Pier 39. You can get trolleys at Pier 39 to take San Francisco Sight Seeing Tours. San Francisco Carousel, located centrally at Pier 39 is an all-time favorite of kids.

Another unique feature of Pier 39 is hundreds of Sea Lions found in West Marina. Another unique attraction is the multi-talented street performers who entertain the visitors.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Pier 39 
Site Type: Market Place, Shopping, Restaurants, Wharf, Picnic
Location: San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: One of the most popular travel destinations of San Francisco
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight; You can find taxis and cable cars from BART station to Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of options for wine and dine be it sea food, roadside shops, or costlier restaurants


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December 14, 2010

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf - Walking Tour

Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most popular travel destinations of San Francisco, the popular city of West Coast, located in California in the US. Fisherman's Wharf, which has been the home of San Fransisco's colorful fishing fleet for 125 years, is known for its varied shopping options, historic waterfront, delicious seafood, picturesque sights. Getting around the Fisherman's Wharf is too easy. You can walk all the way or go by bi-cycle. Cable cars, city buses, tourist buses, rental cars, taxis and limos are easily available. Horse-drawn carriages are also available. Depending upon your interest, you can choose any mode of transportation.

Fisherman's Wharf is such an important travel destination as it is considered that this is the place where San Francisco begins.

1. Start your exciting journey of exploring Fisherman's Wharf from Pier 39. Pier 39 has many restaurants, shops and other attractions along the sides of picturesque waterfront. There is an aquarium named "Aquarium of the Bay". You can find the breathtaking view of Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Bay Bridge from Pier 39.

2. If you walk towards the direction of Golden Gate Bridge, you will reach Pier 39's West Marina. You will find many sea lions here, which started arriving in droves and took over the docks in 1989 after the earthquake. Nearby, there is a telescope placed, which would give you a better view of Alcatraz Island and Golden Gate Bridge.

3. Pass through Pier 41 and Pier 43 to reach the historical main entrance of Pier 45. This entrance is a heritage site. If you move few steps inside, you can find the USS Pampanito, a WWII fleet submarine, and the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the last remaining WWII liberty ships. You are allowed to go aboard the ships.

4. Walk towards the intersection of Taylor and Jefferson Streets, where the delicious sea food of San Francisco is available.

5. If you interested you can visit the Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum which fall on your way. After walking a while, you will reach The Cannery at Del Monte Square. It was built in 1907, and was once the world's largest peach cannery. It has a unique European charm today.

6. Continue on Jefferson to Hyde Street to reach Hyde Street Pier, where you can find a lot of historical coastal vessels.

7. If you continue your walking to the end of Jefferson street, you will find the picturesque Aquatic Park. You can enjoy the beautiful view of Golden Gate Bridge from here.

8. At last, you will reach San Francisco Maritime Museum from where you can reach the beautiful San Francisco beach, or watch the beach by sitting at the balcony of the museum.

9. If you are interested, you can walk further and visit Ghiradelli Square, Buena Vista Cafe, and NorthPoint Shopping Centre.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:
Site Name: Fisherman's Wharf 
Site Type: Heritage site, Market Place, Shopping, Restaurants, Beach, Fishing Fleet, Wharf
Location: San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: One of the most popular travel destinations of San Francisco
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight; You can find taxis and cable cars from BART station to Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Fisherman's Wharf has a lot of options for wine and dine be it sea food, roadside shops, or costlier restaurants




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December 10, 2010

The historic Ferry Building of San Francisco

San Francisco, one of the most popular cities in the US, has a lot of tourist attractions including Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. There is another travel destination in San Francisco, which may not be very popular among the international travelers today, but still remains as an important picnic spot/shopping place for the locals and an important travel destination for American travelers. Ferry building is the name of the travel destination that I am talking about, which was once described as "a famous city's most famous landmark".

The Ferry building was opened in 1898, and it became the transportation focal point for those arriving from the East by train and Marin residents who worked in San Francisco. Til 1930s, the only way to reach the city was by ferryboat. In those days, upto 50,000 passengers off the boat traveled through the ferry building everyday. After the opening of Bay Bridge in 1936 and Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, the usage of Ferry building became very limited. Around ten years back, the place was converted into a market place. Today, the Ferry Building Market Place is located in this historic Ferry building.

There are a lot of locals in and around San Francisco who visit the Ferry building market place during the weekends. It has now become more like a picnic spot as well as shopping complex. There are various options for shopping and dining in the Ferry building. You can find all kinds of materials in the two storeyed market place - fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, freshest local fish, wine, bread, cheese, meat, ice creams, cookware, flowers, etc.
Another highlight of the building is the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market which operates on specific days in the Ferry building. It is widely acclaimed for both the quality and diversity of its fresh farm products. You can find some of the best knowns chefs and famous farmers of San Francisco here.

The 245 feet long clock tower at the entrance of the building is another highlight of the Ferry building. It was modelled after the famous 12th century bell tower at the Sevile Cathedral of Spain.

The back side of the Market Place is the open space facing the sea where you can find boats even today. You can get a very good view of Bay Bridge from this site. Also, a lot of colorful birds are seen which adds to the attraction of the Ferry building.

When you go to San Francisco, apart from Pier 39, Fisherman Wharf, and Golden Gate Bridge, plan to visit the Ferry Building as well. Transportation is never a problem in San Francisco. You can get a lot of buses and cable cars from the Ferry Building to Pier 39. Travelling by cable car is a unique experience.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: The Ferry Building Market Place 
Site Type: Heritage site, Ferry Building, Market Place
Location: San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: One of the oldest landmarks of San Francisco; even older than the famous Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Ferry building has innumerable options to dine and wine


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December 8, 2010

San Francisco Travel Guide

It has been very long since I updated my blog with US destinations....now Indian Columbus is back in the land of original Columbus. :-)

This time, let me explore a wonderful destination called San Francisco, with which I fell in love. I am dying to visit this city again....such a great place. Even though I haven't completely explored this wonderful city, I will share my little experience in the form of travel guide in my next few blog posts.

Alcatraz Island
San Franciso gained popularity due to Gold Rush in 1848; I wouldn't mind to loose my savings in the form of gold to revisit this extraordinary destination in the US. I am wondering where to start and where to end. There are so many places of interest.

Golden Gate is the most important travel destination of San Francisco. There is no second thought on this. You know? 16 million tourists visit Golden Gate Bridge every year. Incredible, right?

Pier 39
Alcatraz island is the second most sought after travel destination of San Francisco. The island and the cruise are very popular among the tourists. Wanna do some shopping? Go to Pier 39. Or else wanna try for a cheaper shopping option? Go to China Town. Between, the down town of San Francisco has its unique charm.

Are you a history lover and love to visit the heritage sites? There are various options for you. You can keep exploring such sites either by walking or by cycling. What else you wanna try/see? Sea Food, Street food, heritage walk, beautiful beaches, museums, historical ships, submarines, cable cars, aquariums,... the list of options in San Francisco is endless.

San Francisco

Let us explore each destination of San Francisco in detail from my next blog post.

Happy travelling.