Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
135Trip End Sep 23, 2011
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Where I stayed
Sea Waves Guest House
What I did
so after nearly a years travelling we finally have reached our last destination, India. India has always been the country I have dreamed of visiting, whilst Hollie has had no interest in it at all. Many times over the last few months we both have discussed how much I'm going to like it and how much Hollie already hates the country before we have even arrived here. It looks like its going to be an interesting 2 months to say the least, but one thing is for sure, we are going to make the most of our last stretch.
As India is such a huge country, so big that is nick-named the "Sub-continent" a lot of planning had to go into where we would be going. Along with the everdominant monsoon at this time of year we had to do our research and make sure we wouldn't be flooded out for the next 2 months
So after getting our flight from Sri Lanka to Chennia (Madras) we got straight out of the stinky, sweaty city (a reoccurring theme in India) and caught a local bus to Mamallapuram. Mamallapuram (also known as Mahabs) is a small fishing town 2 hours south of Chennai. With ancient archaeological temples, a Bob Marley type travellers ghetto consisting of internet cafes, cheap restaurants, and tailors selling enough baggy trousers to help you walk away from here looking like Aladdin himself, it really made us feel we had once again landed in the Kingdom of Backpackers.
After looking around for about 2 hours searching for a place to stay we finally decided on a place facing the sea, although the beach here is unusable as its full of fishing boats and their nets
Mahabs itself is a very small town and the area where we stayed was very clean, especially compared to the rest of the town. We were here to do a full days exploring of the near by temples of the Five Rathas and the Shore Temple. This World Heritage site was once a major seaport and second capital of the Pallava Kings, and a saunter through the town's carvings and temples enflames the imagination.
Standing like a fist of rock-cut elegance overlooking the sea, the Shore Temple symbolises the heights of the Pallava architecture. Originally built in the 7th century it houses two central shrines to Shiva. The layout is meant to resemble the perfect cosmic body, with the head and heart located over the spire that dominates the structure. But with both of us not even being able to make out the front and back end of a donkey we couldn't make this out. This temple is believed to be the last in a series of buildings that extended along a since submerged coastline; this storey gained credence during the 2004 tsunami, when receding waters revealed the outlines of what may have been sister temples
The second site to see here is the Five Rathas, a collection of small low-laying monoliths that were carved out of just one rock. They remained hidden under sand until they were excavated by the British 200 years ago. Each of the stoned carved temples are dedicated to a Hindu God. The first being Draupadi and the goddess Durga, who represents the sacred femininity and fertility of the Indian soil. As well as Indra and Shiva, the most important deity of the Pallavas (Gods). The carvings were great to see and its amazing to think that the whole site was carved out of just one huge rock.
One thing we didn't expect to get in India was to be mobbed by people that wanted to take photo's with us like they had never seen a white person before. Unlike in China where they try to sneakily take photo's of you, in India they just run up to you ask if they can have a picture. During a period of about 5 minutes we had herds of teenagers shouting from hundreds of meters away, before running up to us to get a photo. They were amazed to see us and we got many compliments like "you are beautiful couple", "we love England", "you are very good looking". Many times the girls wanted pictures with Hollie, and the boys wanted photo's of me shaking their hand. It was very weird but we felt very welcome and the Indian's we have met so far were very friendly.
After spending 2 nights in Mamallapuram and living off some really good seafood we made our way to Pondicherry, a former French colony.
Join us next time when we start to see the real India (yikes)
Love Thomas and Hollie x x x