Friday, March 24, 2006

Trip to Vembar - An adventure in the Coastal Village

During the second week of March, we make a trip to Virudhunagar - my hometown. From there, we had planned a 2-days trip to the remote southern coastal village, named "Vembar" (Tuticorin District). This is my maternal ancestral place of worship. Every year, about 5000 odd people go there to offer prayers to our family deity (I love those trips... the last trip I remember was over 12 years ago). We were twelve of us this time in a cozy van. Traveling on the bumpy road (about 3 hours) we recollected memories of the earlier get-togethers. We halted at several places for snacks and to manage the downpour of summer rains !!

Back in history, there are some lineages of the Pandiyan Kings associated to Vembar. The people who live here are well versed in the traditional shipbuilding, navigation knowledge, pearl fishery, fishing and salt-making. We had to stay in the special thatched 'tents' constructed for this function. We worshipped the deities, spread across the barren lands. On the second night, we had to stay put in the van, since the tents were soaked due to heavy downpour. It was a real tough night!!

The best part of the trip was the bath in the clean sea (Bay of Bengal). We went to the beach twice and had fun. On the shore, vendors were very busy auctioning their daily catch. We could find all kinds of marine life - ranging from various fishes (Sharks et al), giant prawns, Sea cucumbers, Crabs, Sponges and many more. We saw a giant ray fish (whew) and an Octopus (a small one though)!!

Being a nature-lover, I was amazed by the unpolluted beach. Walking by the seashores, we 'caught' four live starfishes from their natural habitat. Bunches of visitors were awestruck by our 'catch'. Starfish (or Sea stars) are marine invertebrates (they are NOT actually fishes) belonging to phylum Echinodermata (bio. students?), class Asteroidea (!!?!!). They exhibit a radial symmetry, typically with five "arms" which radiate from body. They do not have movable skeletons, but instead possess a vascular system, having numerous "tube feet", which function in locomotion and feeding.

There were lots of fishing boats bobbing on the water. We took an "adventure" ride (none of us knew swimming) inside the sea, with the local fishermen acting as our tourist guides. The sea looked a deep blue, calm and almost scary.

On the way back from Vembar, we worshipped that 42-Feet tall statue of VetKaaliamman - a breath-taking, vibrant, beautiful statue in the open space (and hence the name of the Goddess. ‘Vettai Velli’ in thamizh means open, without shelter). The thundershowers continued to give us company (and the 4 starfishes in a bucket), till we came back to my hometown.

This trip is sure to be etched in all our hearts forever...

- Bharath


  1. That was amazing ... Is that you holding the Star Fish !??


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  2. No. That is not Bharath holding the star fish. But that is how we held it when we caught them.

  3. do you belong to pahalam group

  4. Does it really matter to which group we belong in the present trend?

  5. Wonderful account, bharath. May be I'll someday persuade you to take me there.

  6. Sure uncle. We will work it out.

  7. Hi arthi vembar is also my parents kuladeivam My mom still visits during the month of march. Its very surprising to find an exact match in the opposite way
    Hop u read my comment in ur jan blog
    And may be we could meet during panguni pongal or vembar

  8. Hi Anandhi,

    I did read ur Jan comment too. Sorry have not been into blogging a lot. Am hoping to get back to it soon. I am now in US with my husband and daughter. But I do hope we get to meet soon.

  9. hi ArthiBharat,

    i am Mohan from Vembar.It is good to see u people shared ur memories from vembar the place i love the most in the world....

  10. Iam Jayakumar, Vembar is my birth place love. Iam very happy about visiting the place shortly.

  11. Can you please say how many KM vembar is from Virudhunagar how are the roads

  12. Vembar is about 90 kms from Virudhunagar, and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours by drive. When we visited Vembar, the approach roads (once you get off the highway) into Vembar were not so good. I am not sure about any recent development.

  13. I liked this blog of yours which I tumbled upon accidentally today.You may like to read my poem on Vembar in my

  14. Visited Vembar beach last week, and the water was perfect blue in colour. Not like chennai beach which is polluted by so called Adayar(Sewage) river. Bought palm sugar on our way back, I love the taste of palm sugar.

  15. Road is not all that bad now. Its about 65 Km from Kovilpatti and we did it in about 1.25 Hrs. You go thru Ettayapuram, Surankottai and then hit ECR.

  16. hey buddy!!!
    i am also 4rm vembar only.i like this blog. can i copy ur article 4 my own website? if s confirm me on my mail id below.

    1. @george, sorry about responding so late. If you wish to quote or link my article to yours I am okay. I would prefer that you didn't copy it verbatim onto your website. This article represents our (my husband's and mine) take on Vembar.

  17. nice to see about my village..Thanks