The Tamil Nadu region strikes for its variety of places of interest, its temples and the beauty that characterizes this part of South India. Moved by the desire to visit this immense country, I decide to go through Tamil Nadu choosing a 5 day itinerary.
When I planned the trip, I thought I was already prepared, but the impact with South India was totally different. Different vegetation, temples and then an immense crowd of Indians in adoration, and you find yourself the only western in the midst of them. Already on the second day you do not feel anymore “isolated”. The kindness, cordiality and availability of this population is totally involved with you.
Temple of Tamil Nadu
Itinerary organization Tamil Nadu
For the organization of this trip I went as always in the agency (for me a security) and I chose the CTS travel, which in turn relied on the local agency “Travel Spirit International” in New Delhi: great professionalism, care For every detail and great value for money. The tour was already organized and so it became simpler. In the evening we ate at the hotel as planned and lunch was free. A mode that has allowed us to travel serenely and without any particular difficulty.
Tamil Nadu route: all stages
1st day: Milan – Chennai
Flight Qatar Airways (good level) with a stopover to Doha and finally arrive at Chennai (Southeast India State Capital of Tamil Nadu) at 3 o’clock. At the exit from the airport we receive an amazing heat with 37/40 degrees (Temperature that accompanied us all for 5 days) and here we met our guide that would “take care of us” in the days to come.
We do not speak English! In no way. It was also the first time that we left alone by relying on an agency on the spot and to make it short, I did not sleep at night.
We took so many flights so I was comforted saying, “If they cancel some flights and I do not understand them from ads, well … Patience. They do not get me on the plane so I’ll figure out something’s wrong. ”
But if when I arrive in Chennai, the guide we have to take is not there? But to whom do I ask? But how do I ask him above all? Already I imagined my husband and me at an Indian airport to try to make us understand, gestures ?!
However, the guide has arrived!
2nd day: Chennai – Mamallapuram – Pondicherry
From Chennai, after a couple of hours of sleep we are ready for Mamallapuram, World Heritage Site. Here you can spend a whole day exploring temples and rock carvings in the surroundings.
The Shore Temple overlooking the sea is pure poem carved in the rock. It seems to be the last of a series of buildings stretching along the coast, now submerged. This theory gained credibility during the 2004 tsunami when the waters retreating revealed the shapes of what could have been twin temples.
Five Rathas are other temples derived from individual rock blocks, each temple dedicated to a Hindu deity. Broken for centuries under the sand, they were brought to light 200 years ago.
Arjuna’s Penance, well if the temples were not enough to awaken your interest will surely make this bas-relief.
Left Mamallapuram, we arrive at Pondicherry, a town that in some parts retains the charm of the times it was under French rule: tree-lined avenues, mustard-colored houses, but today is a city of Tamil Nadu with chaos, horns and shouts.
3rd day: Pondicherry – Tanajore
From Pondicherry we move to Chimbaran Nataraja Temple the great religious complex dedicated to Shiva as a cosmic dancer. There are four gopuram (monumental towers at the entrance of the temples) decorated with stone carvings representing various gods. The main entrance shows the 108 sacred places of Tamil Classical Dance.
Here we have attended the fire ceremony that takes place six times a day. Sounds of drums and bells while the oil lumines are passed under the statue of gods, thus ensuring the continuity of the creation cycle.
And then the lunch time
We ate there the rice with chicken offered by the pilgrims, served inside a flat banana leaf sitting on the ground in the courtyard of the temple while an elephant blessed us for a few rows of a long row of Indians (including us) supporting the Proboscis on his head and, immediately afterwards, retrieves the compensation he owed to him. We then go on the tour of the day by visiting Brihadishawara Temple, Hindu Temple dedicated to Shiva UNESCO Heritage. Elephant Man – Tamil Nadu A Tanajore the evening walk before dinner becomes demanding as The streets have no sidewalks, and those few are occupied by ambulances, cows and “various”. So let’s go and dinner, where we are now able to say “NO SPAISI” (do you write that?) So that the spices will be anyway but at least acceptable. For those who like spices instead a delicious breakfast is “Idly” typical of southern India. They resemble roasted rice dumplings accompanied by spices and chili peppers. One thing my husband is holding very much is beer! And for drinking there are only two possibilities (there are no bars here): 1. Or at the restaurant, but only a few hold it because they have to pay an additional fee and so it is only in high-level restaurants, and 2. Or at the state distributors where it costs very little but the tail is very long and the customers (as it is sold alongside the alcoholic) are fair enough. Let’s say that after a few days we were set, we were here to take the beers. And we could talk! So, we did not know a word of English … They were drunk … In short you could understand it!
4th day: Tanajore – Trichy
TanajoreTrichy-Sriranganathaswamy looks like a city more than a place of worship. Great, with colorful gopuram, though the part accessible to non-Hindus is not very wide. As you climb up the wall, you can admire 21 gopuram. Inside innumerable sacred buildings. The courtiers of the beggars, merchants, the brahmans, then of the little gods are overtaken to reach the inner sacred area dedicated to Visnu sleeping on a bed of naga. For those who have not yet been satisfied, Rock Forte dominates the city and houses two temples reachable through A staircase of 540 steps, no need to say that fatigue is widely repaid.
5 th day: Tanajore – Madurai
We are at the end of Tamil Nadu and with Madurai will also end temples. I thought I had already seen wonderful temples but Sri Meenakshi is home to the goddess with three breasts and fish eyes (in tamil poetry fish eyes equals perfect eyes) was defined as the highest expression of southern architecture! You can carry bags, backpacks etc. And above all, no photographs or shootings can be made. One thing I learned in this Tamil Nadu itinerary is that when you ask an Indian to take a photo if you roll your head to the right and to the left it means that it is ‘Agreement’(although for us it would be a no) if you look at it in the eyes it means it does not agree. To end in Madurai we also went to Gandhi Museum, and to tell the truth I was happy! The museum itself tells the history of India, there are no great masterpieces, but after all these temples … a “variety bunch” I needed.