Chennai - Madurai
I just got back from
New York about a week ago from a conference, and now it was time again to
get up early (4 a.m.!) and take a cab to the airport. I flew via Frankfurt
to Chennai - strange, but I always have to travel west first, any time I
come to Asia as I usually take Lufthansa, or sometimes, Air France. It is
awkward on the way here, but really painful on the way home, when I can't
wait to arrive and we fly over Hungary, I have to wait a couple hours and
I arrived to Chennai after midnight and
it was another hour to get our luggage. Then I took a cab to the hotel,
which is quite nice. I joined an English group here from Explore. We are
quite a mix crowed of 18 travelers. Roughly half men, half women, couples
and singles, all sorts of ages and professions: lawyer, Thai chi teacher,
nurse, quality controller, landscape architect, etc. One from Austria, one
from the US, myself and the rest from the UK.
From Chennai we took a train to Tiruchirapalliba, also called as Trichy. The train ride took 7 hours, but it was not boring at all as we watched the scenery and had a great conversation. The group is really varied and nice, we get along well. Trichy is famous for its rock temple (for which we had to climb 437 steps) and a large Hindu temple complex.
Tiruchirapalli - Rock Fort temple, river
Sri Ranganthaswamy temple:
Next day we saw a world heritage site, the Brahadeswara temple. As it is pilgrim season, the temple grounds were full with Indians. It is hard NOT to make a great photo - all you have to do is click here. The temples are magnificent and the Indian ladies with their graceful saris add just the right colors.
On the way to Madurai, horse sculptures
To celebrate new year, there were two options for the group - a buffet dinner at the hotel and a gala dinner with live music. Four of us, who became good friends from the first day, decided to skip both. Although even the more expensive gala dinner was affordable (about 18 USD), it did not sound like fun, so we took a tuktuk and rode to town. We found a great vegetarian restaurant, where we tried nearly everything on the menu and still paid only less then two dollars a head. We then bought some beer and greeted 2009 by the swimming pool of the hotel.
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