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  • Writer's pictureKarthik Nagappan

Anumandai - Mini Kerala between Chennai and Pondicherry

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

The most fascinating travel destinations should have been once discovered by chance. Anumandai is one such offbeat place we stumbled upon when returning from Auroville. Tucked in the East Coast Road in Tamil Nadu that connects Chennai and Pondicherry and extends beyond ,Anumandai offers you an Kerala kind of an ambience and experience with its tall and dense coconut farms, water bodies and catamarons that decorate the sea shore of the village. In this blog we will explore this beautiful village, its culture and temple festival, its lush green farms, livelihood of people , its beaches , prawn hatcheries and more.



Top view of a dense coconut farm at Anumandai village in Tamil Nadu
Top view of a dense coconut farm at Anumandai village in Tamil Nadu

A scenic drive steeped in History from Chennai

Start from Chennai, a good two hours drive along the scenic East Coast Road after you cross Mamallapuram aka Mahabalipuram that is rich in heritage and the historic Alampara Fort , then the backwaters of Mudaliyar Kuppam and the salt lakes of Marakkanam, just before the toll gate ( The toll gate has been removed now) to pondicherry lies on both sides of the road the beautiful Anumandai village.


Beautiful beaches and coconut farms

Take left and a narrow road will take you to the Anumandai beach where you can witness scenes of catamarans being pushed in to the sea by tractors as fishermen set sail in to the Bay of Bengal for their daily catch. You can drive your car 20 meters close to the beach as roads are perfectly laid to support seamless movement of vehicles that come to take fishes for export and to hotels and restaurants.


Watch the reel to see fishermen set sail in to the sea

Below video shows fish bidding as it happens at Anumandai beach


If you are here in a specific time in the day you can also witness fishermen selling their catch to retailers who bid for them, it gives you a nice sneak peak in to how they go about doing their business. Walk further down the road away from the beach there will be row of huts and houses of fishermen where you can see fishes put to dry on the road (Dry fish is a huge market in different parts of the world). If you pay rs.600 per head the local fishermen will take you on a catamaran ride in to the sea which is a surreal experience.


An old women having a great time at Anumandai Beach
An old women having a great time at Anumandai Beach

Kids having fun at Anumandai beach
Kids having fun at Anumandai beach


A selfie with the sea you can see a lot of catamarans lined up in the background at Anumandai
A selfie with the sea you can see a lot of catamarans lined up in the background at Anumandai

Take right from the East Coast road and enter the village which almost resembles like a place in Kerala, lush green vegetation primarily coconut trees will give a warm welcome to any tourist in to Anumandai. Drive further to reach the main part of the village which is called the market area where shops of all kinds are lines up, there is nothing that one will not get here . To the left corner of the market is the historic "Angalamman Temple" where stands tall a 30 feet Angalamman statue which was newly built. The temple dates back few hundred years and used to have a statue of a british policeman in his uniform in its entrance arch, it will not be seen right now as the temple went through a grand renovation recently.


Drive further and all roads will lead to one coconut farm or the other, roads are well laid and are covered nicely by coconut trees on either side that will look like a arch constructed by nature, It will be a fascinating experience to drive through these roads getting immersed in the serenity of nature. Drive further you will find a lot of ponds and lakes where locals do fishing and kids and youngsters swimming and playing. Enter any house you may end up offered with unlimited tender Coconut as all the backyards are filled with coconut trees.


The place is also known for its shrimp hatcheries given its a coastal village and a lot of people are primarily entrepreneurs. Coconut and allied businesses continue to drive their livelihood in addition to fishing , sale and export of fish , agriculture and to some extent tourism.


Beaches to explore in and around Anumandai

Witnessing the morning sunrise by the beach is a sight to behold if one chooses to stay in the village. While Anumandai beach is the nearest option there are few more beach options one can explore depending upon your requirement.


Vallathamman Temple Beach

If you choose to witness sunrise in a secluded beach with no one else other than you and your family Vallathamman beach is the place to go at 6am in the morning. 2 mins drive from Anumandai junction take left and the road will take you to Shri Vallathamman temple one of the famous temples in and around the village. A right from there and drive along a huge compound wall built across barren land the road will lead to the most secluded but well maintained cleanest of the beaches in the region. There is a military camp near this place and the beach is maintained by them so its safe , clean and absolutely zero crowd early in the morning. Unlike other beaches water here is so clean that you can see the sand beneath

, if you are someone who loves swimming in the sea this is a perfect place to be early in the morning . The place is otherwise crowded in the evenings on weekends and festival days where locals come here with family and spend the entire day especially during the pongal festival.



Early morning scenes at Vallathamman temple beach near Anumandai
Early morning scenes at Vallathamman temple beach near Anumandai


Auroville beach Pondicherry

If you are looking to have a great morning with fellow tourist from across India mainly from Bangalore and have some amazing sea-food by locals then Auroville beach is the place to be. 15 mins drive down the East coast Road from Anumandai junction once you cross the Puducherry arch a sign board will lead to a narrow road that will take you to the Auroville beach. This place will be exactly opposite to Vallathamman beach buzzing with tourist and cars , shops selling tender coconut, sea fresh food - Fish fry, prawn fry, squid fry, bread omelette will be available here at Rs.100 per plate.



A view of auroville beach in pondicherry , 15 mins drive from Anumandai
A view of auroville beach in pondicherry , 15 mins drive from Anumandai

If you are enroute Chennai and a sea food lover you will find a lot of road side shops where women from the fishermen community selling fresh catch throughout the day. if you driving straight to Chennai or to your accommodation where you can cook , then don't think twice pick them from here and you will thank us later.


Women selling fresh catch by the road on ECR near Anumandai
Women selling fresh catch by the road on ECR near Anumandai


Anumandai Angalamman Temple Chithirai Cart Festival


If you want to experience the deep rooted culture of Indian villages festivals are the best opportujnity. As a tourist intersted in offbeat experiences,the best time to visit Anumandai is during last week of march to 2nd week of April when the biggest festival of the region happens, the Angalamman Chithirai Cart festival. It's is the festival of the historic Angalamman temple that happens for 10 days. Entire region goes on celebration mode during the festival. The entire market area will be buzzing with activity with all kinds of shops from the ones selling snacks , to home made products , toys for children, pots, knives , home made jewellery, garments. there will be specific play area for children like trampoline, giant merry-go-round and more. One can also see Nari Kurava people selling chains made of beads , shops selling tools that are used by farmers and more . While the mornings are busy the evening look busier and grander with the entire village well lit and crackers bursting as the diety goes on procession around the village. Few days will have drama my local theatre groups , light music performances and different kinds of entertainment that adds to the bigness of the festival. In the evenings you can find people from nearby villages walk towards anumandai to be a part of the festival.



The huge 30 feet Angalamman statue built recently during the temple renovation at Anumandai
The huge 30 feet Angalamman statue built recently during the temple renovation at Anumandai


Few days before the festival the temple authorities will tie the "Kodi" in the temple and natives of the village who are there during the event cannot travel outside the village , might sound very old school but villages in India do follow these procedures meticulously over years across generations. Its during this 10 days natives of the village who have settled in different parts of the world come back to the village to pay their tribute to their deity Angalamman. The otherwise silent less crowded village will take a completely busy and celebratory avatar during that 10 days. From premium cars to fancy bikes to fashionistas who have landed in their native village from cities and abroad go around , meet their relatives , do their part for the festival and have a great time together.


Once the Kodi is tied its is believed that all the bad powers are arrested and hence everyday during the festival a cock is sacrificed and its blood is mixed with rice and the same is been thrown at the cemetery for the bad powers to have food. Its is widely believed that the food thrown in the floor of the cemetery goes invisible as the bad powers consumes them.




Anumandai is also home for people from different communities and over the 10 days , everyday family members from each community contribute to run the festival and poojas at the temple.The diety is taken on a procession every single day trough every street in the village that vehicles take a back seat, sound of crackers hit the sky and the village generally comes to a stand still otherwise and only celebrates the festival.



Dieties on procession are viz Pavada Rayan, Vinayagar, Angalamman in different Vahanas in different days. On the 7th day the village comes together to pull the cart in to all the main streets of the village and finally comes back to the temple. On day 8 there is a "Koravan-korathi " play that is deeply entrenched in to cultural beliefs of Anumandai. Its beleived that Arakkan and Arakki has come to the village and went on a hiding and the child that was due for them was feared to demolish the entire village. On day 8 god Angalamman took the avatar of a Korathi (Nari Kurava women) and went to every home in search of the child , found and killed it and wore the child's intestine as a garland and walked with the winnow in hand in which was kept the child's liver, to commemorate this a similar activity happens on day-8.


If you love to experience and document deep rooted culture of Indian villages this festival is a great opportunity and indeed a fascinating experience.



Livelihood


A coconut plucking worker at a farm in Anumandai
A coconut plucking worker at a farm in Anumandai

Anumandai is a early village, people are up and running from as early as 4am ,shops as open and the bus stop is buzzing with activity. Most of the people here work on coconut farms as climbers and pluckers. They leave the village very early and travel to places like salem, pollachi, Tinidivanam, Tiruvannamalai to work in farms and few come back the same day and few stay back for few days and come. Coconut farms in Anumandai also offer consistent employment opportunities to them. Other than this Fishing , sea food export, farming , hatcheries , real estate brokers as farm lands in this village are selling like hot cakes as people from cities are investing here to build their own weekend farm stays.


Hotels , lodges and resorts to stay in and around Anumandai

If you are a budget traveller , there is an accommodation option available in Anumandai on the ECR at Rs.1000-1500 per day. Well maintained AC rooms close to the toll gate , for bookings pls contact Mr.Mano 90471-41291.


Ocean Spray - great place to be where you will get premium rooms and villas ranging from 8k-20k . Visit their official site for accommodation bookings


Wooden ECR Sea Resort - Wooden ECR sea resort is 3kms before Anumandai when we drive from Chennai. This is exactly on the road and a budget friendly resort with a premium experience. Rooms range from Rs.5500 to Rs.9500. For booking Visit their official site for accommodation bookings


If you are planning a pondicherry trip next time don't miss out to experience Anumandai and the places around. Its very close from Auroville and will give you a completely offbeat exprience especially if you plan to visit around March -April during the festival time.


So what are you waiting for , pack your bags and get exploring offbeat!


Locate Anumandai in your google map


For more such captivating stories explore travel advisor for you



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3 Comments


vikashinisakthivel1308
Nov 19, 2023

Thanks for sharing 🙏. Its very interesting and fun to read. Thiruvizha part is nostalgic to me. Beaches are always clean, refreshing. A must go place for weekend travel near to Chennai.

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divya laxmi
divya laxmi
Nov 19, 2023

This village is my dad's birth place. I could relate this blog very close to my heart. Very well written & every detailing of this temple thiruvizha is well explained..

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Swathi Nagarajan
Swathi Nagarajan
Nov 19, 2023

Very interesting blog' would love to explore the place some time

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