Saturday, 13 February 2010

Chennai to Margao

Friday 12: Bus to Chennai (Madras) then a pre-paid LPG powered rickshaw (45th mode of transport) through the city's fume-filled streets to the Central Station for a reserved sleeper in carriage S1 on the 2:10 pm Vasco Express sleeper (24 hours) and ordinary rickshaw to Margoa's (or Madgoan's) pretty Municipal Gardens in the forlorn hope of seeing the rugby in Clova's Tate Sports Bar in the evening. Saved, once again, by the BBC radio's on-line Six Nations rugby commentary.
Photos Chennai to Margao.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Pondicherry and Mamallapurum

Saturday 6 February: Officially Puducherry but to everyone else it's Pondicherry or simply Pondy. Old French colonial town with little to offer except cheap alcohol and a statue of Ghandi. No beach, no televised rugby and for 'Rue de la Canal' read 'Open Sewer Street' - bit like Calais in a heatwave. Saved by good old BBC Scotland's on-line rugby commentary.
Monday 8: Bus to delightful Mamallapuram. Lots to see and do - UNESCO World Heritage Site with excavated caves, sculptured and rock-cut temples, relief carvings plus a beach, lily-filled lake, good restaurants and plenty of low-budget accommodation - a backpacker destination.
Sea Shore Temple is just that. Arjuna's Penance an immense carved boulder - penance in Hindu meaning willingly suffering to subsequently receive Godly rewards. Not without humour a cat is also carved in penance as mice look on in amusement.
Five Rathes (chariots) Temple is remarkable in that it was chiseled from a single piece of stone and at two rupees the Sculpture Museum is worth every penny (about three pence).
Photos of Pondicherry and Mamallapuram.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Trichy and Thanjavur

Wednesday 3 February: Arrived at Tiruchirappalli or as it is more popularly known Trichy. Local city bus no. 1 shuttles between the bus stand and the two main sights Rock Fort Temple and Sri Rangam Temple, the largest in India.
Thursday 4: Thanjavur's new bus station is a couple of miles from the old bus stand, clock-tower, temple, palace and the old city - fortunately bendy-bus (44th mode of transport) no. v74 plys a route between the two. Ashoke Lodge, a real find with red and cream exterior and comfortable squeaky-clean rooms. Brihadishwara Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of carved honey-coloured sandstone. Nearby, the old Royal Palace has a great bell tower.
Photos of Trichy and Thanjavur.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Tuesday 2 February: Modern city with an ancient Hindu temple dominating the skyline.
Dedicated to every man's dream but every woman's nightmare, the triple-breasted Goddess Meenakshi, it's a wonderful temple. If you only see one temple in India, make it this this one. The north tower alone has more than 1,500 stone-carved and painted figures. Thirumalai Naiker Palace nearby is also worth a stroll.
Photos of Madurai.