Thursday, 16 February 2012

I would have liked to have stayed longer than the 21 hours I spent in the spectacular temple city of Madurai.  A number of factors, including a dispute between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu over a dam, made us get on a train to Trivandrum in the small hours.

Another British cock-up, although not on the scale of Partition, is reverberating down the centuries.  In the late 19th century the British oversaw the building of a dam in the kingdom of Travancore (modern day Kerala) for the irrigation of the lands to the east of the Western Ghats (then the Madras Presidency, now Tamil Nadu).  The Mullaperiyar was bequeathed to Madras for a thousand years. In a nutshell, the Keralans think the dam is in need of repair but don't want to pay for it as it's not their dam and they don't benefit from it.  The Tamils believe the dam is in good condition and don't want to pay for unnecessary repairs.  Obviously, a burst dam would be catastrophic for the Keralans and things have become rather heated.  There have been border skirmishes and all the roads were closed.  The only way in and out was by train.

I took a picture of this intriguing machine but had no time to enquire further.  Since I've returned I found clip on Youtube (where else?) featuring a demonstration. Predictably, but wonderfully, there are a number of similar clips.


  1. Wonderful machine!

    I wonder if you could attach it to an alarm clock.....

  2. You could probably wake a whole street with such a clock.