Breakfast in a new place is always a treat. Indian breakfast is a whole different experience. Don’t expect a western breakfast ( well maybe in 5 star generic hotels ).
My plate contained a little rice cake called Idli, a rice donut , little accompaniments if coriander, tomato sambal and
And a rice congee. All delicious.
Kandan our driver picked us up at 8 and we set off for the 1.5 drive to Kanchipuram.
The drive through the countryside was wonderful. Past stone sculpture businesses, local markets fresh chicken shops and saries everywhere brightening the rather dusty and sadly dirty villages.
Kancheepuram is an ancient town of important Hindi temples. We visited this huge three thousand year old temple with many other Hindi people. We appeared to be the only westerners.
We started with a toilet stop and had the privilege of paying 20c each to wade through water to a communal trough. A bonding experience for a group of sheltered woman. But for us not a problem!
Then into the courtyard with our guide to remove shoes. We paid a lovely girl 100 rupee to mind our shoes.
We walked over coloured designs on the floor which our guide told us were new – ready for the festival to be held in the temple in three weeks.
The long corridor opened onto a courtyard with the famous mango tree. This tree from one 3.5 thousand years ago was famed as the place where Shiva married Kasakshi.
Nearby a wedding was taking place.
Everyone loves a wedding and an Indian one in a temple was joyful to watch. They invited us to take photos and even wanted to be in one with us.
The bride and groom were beautiful.
Continuing along the corridor we came to an altar where a Hindi priest gave us all a blessing.
We recovered our shoes and set off for another temple nearby. This one does not have the religious standing of the last one so is not part of the Hindi pilgrimage.
It was strangely quiet until we heard drumming outside. Lots of drumming.
It was a local funeral. The street was roped off. We were told it was an elderly man and following the drumming there would be drinking. So we were to stay away.
Starting back to Mahabalipuram we couldn’t resist stopping at one of the stone carving places one of many along the way. Like many local craft industries it looks a little overwhelming to see so many things together. Individually they would look lovely in a garden at home but collectively they are too much.
We asked to stop at a silk and Sari shop. There are many in this area – it’s famous for it and judging by the variety of Sari in the street they all do well.
We had a chat about the production then went to the buying floor.
It was quite a scene. Men sitting with their women looking at bolts of fabric in the most stunning colours.
We decided scarves were a better buy for us so had the scarf show!
Back on the bus
Another supermarket stop, getting lost in the aisles looking at products. I bought a few packets for the pantry. Others bought aurtheic soaps and shampoo.
Back at the hotel by 3.30 we had a refreshing swim along with chai tea.
Before we knew it it was G&T time.
Dinner was down by the water at the Santana restaurant. Choices included mint and lemon prawns, fish in carrots sauce, crispy calamari and my selection prawn biryanis. Delicious.
The walk home involved a little shopping. How can you not shop. Inviting goods: floaty tops and dresses, scarves, earrings , rings, pendants beads, bags. I bought a floral dress for $20! Marlene bought the same one!
And a stop at the shop across from our hotel to pick up a few things they made for us. The men on the machines were sewing away. Today we saw a mobile tailor shop. A sewing machine mounted on a little cart being pulled along by bike. So practical.
A full day. We haven’t wasted a minute. Tomorrow Pondicherry or Pondy as the locals call it.