As you sail on from Kerala and across the Tamil Nadu border, you start to round the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari (see box story) a place of pilgrimage, the meeting point of two oceans, and the symbolic Landís End of the subcontinent.
Rameswaram, on a tiny island which is linked by two bridges to the mainland, is a major place of pilgrimage with two important temples, the huge Ramanathaswamy Temple and the Kothandaraswamy Temple, nearly at the tip of the little island.
As we sail north along the coast, we pass Kodikkarai, then sail along the straight coastline, passing the Catholic pilgrimage town of Velankanni, a mile or so inland; then the Muslim pilgrim centre of Nagore, before arriving in Karaikal, another tiny former French enclave. Immediately north of this former French trading centre is Tranquebar, which used to be a Danish trading post in the 18th century, from which time the impressive Danesborg Fort dates.
Pichavaram, with backwaters and mangroves, is only 15 kilometers away from the inland temple town of Chidambaram, but we shall have to save that for another trip, and continue to head north, past the ex-French enclave of Pondicherry and onto one of Indiaís most beautiful historic towns, the charming Mahabalipuram.