Leaving Pondy is a little sad but exciting. Another adventure awaits.
We have a new driver and this time also a guide. Although on talking to him it turns out he’s a computer programmer working for his father’s travel company on the weekend! He’s with us because the bus driver doesn’t speak English.
We set off through the country side heading for Swamimalai. It’s in the Temple area and we’ll be seeing some temples on the way.
First stop was Chidambarum and we met our guide a very petite gentleman with gentle slow speaking English and very bad teeth.
There are 4 temples of various sizes and they are preparing for a festival. So arches are being prepared with newspaper to then be painted in a very colourful style.
We’re finding the removal of shoes for these huge structures rather wearing on our feet. There are quite long distances to walk. There is some matting which can be very dirty and then the stones which are hot and hard. I’m hopping a bit!
The Temple grounds had people sitting everywhere enjoying a picnic Indian style with tiffin boxes laden with delicious food.
It was Moms Day Out with mothers and their children from a town an hour away enjoying time together at the Temple. I got talking to one lovely lady. Her English was very good and it turns out she’s a Doctor. A gynaecologist! And was so friendly and chatty about her life and family.
We soon left there and continued further into the countryside through lots of villages and saw what I think is fairly authentic village life.
Arriving at our hotel was a treat. It was actually a small village which has been turned into a hotel. It’s called the Indecco http://www.indecohotels.com/swamimalai.html
Check it out. It’s so lovely. Steve Borgia the owner has spent a lot of money restoring it. It has a farm, several housing blocks all furnished in wonderful antiques. The pool is beautiful. At first we thought it looked a little slimy! But that was explained. It was meant to look like a village waterhole. It’s elegant and serene.
We were treated to an arrival foot massage! Heaven after walking barefoot through the temples.
We went the main village to see the bronze casters. A really Interesting process. We walked through the workshop are were able to see the various stages of production.
Google bronze casting Swamimalai. The business we went to is called :
Shri Rajan Industries (Statues/Bronze Castings Manufacturers/Panchalogam Statue Manufacturers)
Linda was very keen to own a statue. She particularly wanted Shiva as the dancer. Natajara. As a thank you from us for planning this very special trip, we decided to buy one for her as a gift. This meant visiting the sales area but no one was there to show and discuss pricing. A lovely young man rode up on his bike. His family owned a temple and he was picking up a commissioned statue. He guided us to a local family home where they have a small workshop.
Such a special experience. Linda spoke to them and found one she liked.
Meanwhile the children from the little street we were in all gathered and wanted to chat. They were delightful.
Finally the statue was polished and delivered to us and we drove off with everyone in the street waving.
Back to the hotel for a drink and a dance show and to bed.
We had a very late lunch when we arrived so couldn’t eat a thing.