After recovering from the 21 hours of travel and the 10.5 hour time difference, it was wonderful to spend the next day or two wandering in Chennai with MB. The main things we saw were tourist sites I had seen on the internet when looking into the city from the US. We also rode in tuktuks, to my delight, ate amazing food and enjoyed the familiarity of a 30+ year friendship in a place of overwhelming beauty. Over and over I realized how lucky I was to have this time and this trip.
This temple is a popular Chennai attraction and also an active place of worship. The temple buildings are roofed in the historic pyramid shape with a flattened top and adorned on each level with many colorful figures from Hindu mythology. I learned a tiny amount about the Dravidian people associated with this type of architecture, and indeed the history of south India, and it is a mesmerizing subject. Besides forming a unique language group that persists to this day, their architectural and math/astronomy accomplishments are marvelous.
Photo above is looking through a decorative peephole in a cement wall that otherwise sequestered a shrine
As for us, we sat on the ground with the worshippers, got blessed by a monk, and were approached by people who wanted to give us flowers and a type of cookie I remember eating in Jaipur last year. I don’t remember spending quiet time at a temple like this last year; usually we were fielding requests from the kids for something or other. It was so pleasant to just watch people, all of us barefoot and in awe of the fantastic structures around us.
This is a complex of buildings with displays of different kinds, including archaeology, biology, geology, and sculpture. We spent time in these exhibit areas and walked around a little outside, but it was hot! Inside and out! We saw far from everything.
The kids below wanted a photo with us, but a guard told us we couldn’t take photos here. No one seemed to object to people, like the little guy at left, sitting on the artifacts, however!