So this weekend was amazing.
On Saturday afternoon Sriram took me out shopping and touring around Chennai. It was very neat. The city is big and I got to see first hand how traffic can get.
We checked out a few shops and I bought some gifts to bring back home. The hand crafts here are pretty neat.
It was getting pretty late by this time and we tried to get over to a temple near by Sriram’s house. Because of the traffic we didn’t make it to the temple but I got to meet Sriram’s parents. I had a very interesting conversation with his father about Hinduism and how it relates to music.
On Sunday Sriram, Gokul and Paddy picked me up at about 7am to start the 90km drive out to Mahabalipuram. We stopped for breakfast on the way. It was really good. As we got a little out side the center of the city (not very far), we started seeing what I can only describe as stray cows. I say stray here in the same way you’d say stray dogs (which Chennai has a lot of).
About half way to the temple at Mahbalipuram we stopped at a very old temple called Tiger Cave. This was a cluster of several very large rocks that were carved in to huge temples.
We drove for another 45 minutes and finally reached Mahabalipuram. This was one of the more impressive sights of the trip. This temple was build in the 8th century.
After walking around Mahabalipuram we continued on to another area that for the life of me I can’t remember the name.
We hiked around in this area for close to an hour. Beyond that first structure there are about 5-10 other temples most of them quite a bit larger.
After hiking around for a while Sriram took me in to a active temple and I got to see first hand how Hinduism is currently practiced. The mythology (their words not mine) is really interesting. Similar statues to the ones I was seeing in the other older temples where here, and they were usually dressed up in gold armor or garlands and many of the had attendants the were nice enough to explain what I was seeing. The main priest event said a prayer to Vishnu to protect my family and friends, you’re all in luck!
On our way back we took a detour in to the rural areas. It was beautiful. Lots of Rice paddies and a few small villages. The country side is amazing, but it is clear that it is very underdeveloped. After we turned back towards the city Paddy and Gokul wanted to stop at the beach. The water here isn’t very sanitary (there’s a fishing village a short ways a way), but the water looks amazing and the sand goes on forever in both directions. If I didn’t need to worry about hepatitis or parasites I’d have been out in the water in a second.