|This blind priest prays in this position all day, standing outside the Eklingi Temple. As a functioning temple, no photos are allowed. Silver was used in embellishing the interior and it was stunning.|
Yesterday afternoon at 1:00 pm our driver, Vishnu, picked us at the hotel in Udaipur to begin the harrowing drive to the airport for our 4:00 pm flight on Indigo Air with an expected arrival time in Chennai after changing planes in Bangalore.
|We’re always in awe of the detailed carvings, many of which required decades of diligent work to complete.|
Since my breakfasts are somewhat skimpy due to a lack of foods I can eat other than eggs in one form or another, by 5:00 pm when the flight was in the air and the flight attendants began serving, I was hungry and thirsty.
|Every carving has a special meaning.|
No doubt, food has been an issue for both of us in India. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian food, although most dishes are laden with thickened sauces, lentils, and potatoes, none of which works for my way of eating.
|Sacred cows kept safely on the grounds of the temple.|
Tom, on the other hand, is struggling more than I am. He won’t even try most Indian dishes when his taste buds don’t allow for heavily seasoned or spicy foods. If spices are left out of most dishes, they become bland and boring.
|Generally, there are other visitors when we visit temples.|
For example, he’s ordered plain chicken, but its often pieces of dark meat cut into smaller pieces with the bones. He doesn’t eat dark meat. The chicken appears to be boiled and, without the Indian sauces and spices, doesn’t appeal even to my less picky tastes.
|Nagda Temple is not a functioning temple, but the Gods contained therein are attended to on a daily basis. They are symbolically brought food, flower offerings, and bathed each day. No visitors are allowed when the Gods are sleeping.|
We’ve yet to see white chicken breast offered as the main dish option. We’ve asked but they don’t seem to know what that is. It’s a cultural thing. We keep reminding ourselves we are in an entirely unique culture and what they eat is different from what we know.
|Many Gods are represented in artfully crafted stone and marble.|
Vegetarian dishes are totally out for Tom although on several occasions he’s ordered vegetarian fried rice and potatoes. The reality is, we are making the best of it, somehow not starving and filling up on foods that do work for us.
|A ceiling in one of the temples.|
Anyway, when our first flight was 30 minutes late taking off, we were worried we wouldn’t make the second flight with only a one-hour layover. We checked out flights online only to discover there were no flights from Bangalore to Chennai after our scheduled flight at 7:30 pm.
|Many God sculptures in temples have been pillaged over the centuries. And yet, the Hindu people still treat the temple with the same symbolism and respect, as if he or she were still there.|
As it turned out, when we arrived at the appropriate gate, we discovered the connecting flight was delayed by 45 minutes. Relief! We could sit back and relax until it was time to go.
|Tom takes a photo of me taking a photo of one of several beautiful temples.|
We couldn’t believe Raj sleeps in the car, but apparently, other drivers and guides in India do the same. I’ve yet to ask him where he’ll shower and do his laundry. I assure you I will ask and report back here.
|The temple structures were made of marble which is abundant in India but over the years the white color has changed to this light brown coloring.|
When we arrived in Chennai at the most peculiar hotel, the Ibis City Centre, it was already 9:30. It made no sense to have dinner that late. Tom wasn’t hungry. I was starved. He explained he’d sit with me if I wanted dinner. There was nothing on the menu that appealed to me. Thus, I passed on eating and went to bed in our (as stated above), the most peculiar hotel.
|These massive pillars remain along with these 400-year-old temples.|
As for the peculiar hotel, it’s clean, friendly and ultra-modern, circa the 1990s with lots of colorful molded chairs and black lacquered tables. There isn’t a single bit of evidence that we’re are in India, anywhere in the entire facility. It has the fastest WiFi signal we’ve had anywhere in India so that helps.
We’ll leave again tomorrow for yet another road trip to our next location which we’ll share once we arrive. Tomorrow, March 7th will be our 25 year wedding anniversary and we’re excited to spend it overlooking the sea, in a gorgeous traditional Indian hotel.
|We met this lovely French woman, Stephanie, a yoga instructor who’d come to India with many of her students. After chatting across tables at dinner, we invited her to sit with us and the lively conversation ensued. We are always so delighted to meet wonderful people like Stephanie in our travels.|
This morning we visited some temples, unlike anything we’d seen so far, reminding us of our visit to Singapore in 2016. More on that tomorrow while we prepare the day’s post in the WiFi-enabled vehicle on our way to the next location.
Photo from one year ago today, March 6, 2019: