The unassuming coastal destination, Mahe, was once known for its colonial lineage and economical liquor alone. The small town, which part of Pondicherry but sits on the West Coast locked between Kerala and the western Arabian Sea is now slowly gaining popularity with travellers.
Its proximity from destinations in Kerala and also larger cities like Bangalore is making people come here to discover its rich heritage, relaxing beach scene and cuisine which still reflects its French lineage.
Mahe is largely a walking town. It is small enough to meander leisurely and take in the relaxing atmosphere. There are plenty of things to do in Mahe to fill your days. Here are some of our ideas.
1. The Puthalam Temple
Believed to have been built 1000s of years ago, this temple has had many esteemed visitors, including Gandhi, whose visit is marked by a marble stone at the entrance. A simplistic temple built for 3 gods it houses a holy grove behind it. This feature, specific and prevalent to all Malabar temples, signifies the respect for nature. The legend goes that during the French and Indian army conflict, the French got an advantageous position behind the temple on top of a hill. The Indians who were attacking from below ran out of water and dug some wells for the soldiers. These open wells are still present and you can peep through the thick foliage to see Mangosteins growing in this area. An annual temple festival is held here in March every year.
2. Sri Krishna Temple
An interesting temple which was built only 50 years ago is famous for hosting low cost marriages. Drop in for a wedding if you are sauntering around.
3. The Mansion of the Administrative Officer of Mahe
Even though this is an administrative building, it lies in a picturesque spot at the confluence of the Mahe River with the Arabian Sea. Though you need permission to go inside, it is worth your while to get to the back of the building to see the fishermen’s boats coming into the bay and making a beautiful backdrop to the small town.
4. Tagore Park
Well manicured, the park stands at the edge of the sea and has a tombstone in memory of soldiers, a statue of Marianne and several other statues.
5. Malaya Kalagramam
Even though this is not a part of Mahe and technically falls under Kerala, you can walk across the bridge to this art school, inspired by the eminent painter K.C Panicker. Funded by the AVK trust from Chennai, the building is a serene haven for students of art, sculpturing, music and dance. This is a residential school, so you can see students at work if you go on a week day.
6. Mahe Beach
One of the most serene and truly untouched destinations on the west coast Mahe beach is a good place to relax and watch the local fishermen bring in their catch. Read more about Mahe beach.
7. Admire the French architecture
With its French lineage the town of Mahe features plenty of buildings with distinct French architectural features. There is also a French school which remains in the town.
8. St. Theresa’s church
The Saint Theresa Roman Catholic Church is a simple church but is well known in the region and popular with visitors during its annual festival between the 5th and 22 October every year.
Getting to Mahe: The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport 85 km from Mahe.There is a railway station in Mahe where a few local and express trains stop and nearest major railway stations, where several long distance trains stop, are Thalassery, Kannur and Badagara.
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