My stay in the fishing town Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu was incredible. Firstly, it was a beautiful beach town with some of the most unique and amazing sights I had ever seen on a beach. Secondly, I was so blessed to spend my few nights there in a couple’s home they had converted into an orphanage. Later I got to attend a was Republic Day celebration, which is the day the Constitution of India came into effect. Then I finished up my trip there visiting Nagore Dargah, an Islamic shrine built over the tomb of the Sufi saint Shahul Hameed hundreds of years ago.
The house I stayed in was only a few blocks from the beach. Since I was on the East Coast, I wanted to witness a sunrise from the Bay of Bengal. I woke up before dawn and headed out to the beach by myself. It was a nice and interesting walk.
This was the first time I had been up this early walking around in India. I also enjoyed getting to have some time to myself. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and the beach was teeming with life. There were wandering cows, birds, children, vendors, and fisherman getting their boats and nets ready for the day.
Nambikkai (Hands of Hope) Home for the Orphans
One of the most blessed experiences I’ve ever had in my life was staying at the Nambikkai Home for Orphans. This orphanage was started by an amazing couple, Karibeeran and Choodamani Parameshvaran, who had lost 3 children in the 2004 tsunami when they were playing on the beach. His wife Choodamani also lost all her family. Her parents and siblings were in town visiting for Christmas. The tsunami tragically took all their lives because when it hit they were all playing on the beach.
When the tsunami hit all the seaside villages most of the children were inland at school while the parents were at home near the beach or at sea fishing. Unfortunately, thousands of children lost their parents on that sad Christmas Day.
Karibeeran Parameshvaran personally told me the story of how he had to find his children’s bodies and bury them himself. He was so grief-stricken he contemplated taking his own life. He then said he prayed to Jesus and Jesus told him his children are safe with Him in heaven. So Karibeeran got up and went out walking around and noticed children standing in the street with no parents. He started adopting them one by one until he had adopted over 25 kids and had two more of his with his wife. You can read more about his story here.
I got to spend a lot of time with the kids and took photos of their precious faces. I loved all of them. My very short stay there completely changed and inspired me. A sweet girl, one of the orphans, really connected with me while I stayed with them, I wrote about her amazing story here: An Indian Girl Who Chose To Love Despite Her Tragic Life Story.
While I was in Nagapattinam the Indian holiday Republic Day happened. On that day, January 26 they celebrate the day the Constitution of India went into effect in 1950. They had a lot of really fun festivities there including a show that had dogs jumping through rings of fire!
Nagore Dargah, is an Islamic shrine built over the tomb of the Sufi saint Shahul Hameed hundreds of years ago. It had extremely tall intricate minarets including one that was over 131 feet tall. It was night went I went so I was not able to get a great photo of it. I did get a blurry photo of the tallest minaret. Once inside, we were greeted by an Imam who guided us around the dargah and brought us into the innermost part where the body of Shahul Hameed laid. He then said a quick prayer over us before sending us off. He was such a kind and welcoming gentleman.
The Imam saying a prayer over us
The inner most part where the body of Shahul Hameed lays
More Photos From My Incredible Trip to India:
- Photos: The Taj Mahal
- Photos: New Delhi & Agra, India – Seats Of Power And Poverty
- Photos: Auroville & Mahabalipuram, India – A Golden Dome and Krishna’s Butterball
- Photos: Puducherry, India – Marriage, Zen, Art, And A Beach
- Chidambaram, India – A Small Town With The Famous Nataraja Temple
- Nagapattinam, India – Beautiful Orphans And A Ring of Fire
- Photos: Velankanni, India – A Small Beach Town With A Famous Basilica
- An Indian Girl Who Chose To Love Despite Her Tragic Life Story
- Tsunami Survivor K. Pasupathi’s Story About Surviving The 2004 Tsunami
- Photos: Kumbakonam, India – Home Life and Fine Silk
- Photos: Mayiladuthurai, Tharangambadi, and Poombuhar, India – First View of the Coast
- Thanjavur, India, An Ancient City Of Temples And Art
- Photos: Namakkal, India – All Day Long Celebrations
- Photos: Yercaud, India – Getting Some Time With Nature
- Photos: Coimbatore, India – Small City with Exotic Food
- Photos: Salem, India – From Daily Life to the Pongal Festival
- Photos: Bengaluru, India – The City of Technology and Religion
- Photos: Hosur, India – My First True Taste of India
- Photos: India – Arriving In A Mysterious New Place