A series of notes on the experiences of an ETI guest on her 2nd trip with us that took her across the length of India from Mahabalipuram in the deep south all the way to Shimla in the lap of the Himalayas and then onward to scenic Bhutan and back to Ladakh!
I arrived in Mahabalipurum on the Bay of Bengal, famous for incredible 8th Century rock cut sculptures made as models for temples, manmade caves of sculptures and my favorite; the world’s largest bas relief in stone of daily life. So charming! Students here are given bicycles to encourage them to stay in school. In uniforms biking everywhere.
Then went to Kanchipuram, the Golden City of a Thousand Temples all very different from those we saw last year and all still in constant use. Our guide finagled my wearing my boot so I could enter but had to take off other shoe. Thank goodness for my walking sticks! Thrilled because the largest temple was beautiful with halls of stone with smaller temples where we actually received blessings from the Hindu priests.
Saw statues dressed in emeralds, rubies and diamond jewelry and halls of brightly painted merry go round looking animal figures that carry the deities in festival parades. So bright and different from temples in North. In contrast a charming small temple with carvings reminiscent of Angkor Wat, ancient frescoes still visible. Our guide was a wonderful interpreter of his Hindu faith.
For my girls... during lunch at our hotel,I noticed a table of 30 something women surrounded and hidden by staff. Thesewere wives of wealthy businessmen in Chennai. Wish I could have photographed but didn't dare. The latest in Indian fashion gorgeous colors but very different with nose rings attached to diamond hair Pins on some. My guide said that his wife has 300-400 saris!