Colorful temples in Chennai…

The skill and years of artful work to carve these colorful figures are mind-boggling.

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Regarding today’s photos, taken two days ago in Chennai:

From this site

There are numerous temples in this one location. Many come to pray here every day. We weren’t allowed inside the temples since we weren’t Hindu.

“Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati that is Arulmigu Kapleeswar and Karpagambal respectively, the temple should be on the top position of your list of temples to visit.

A god with a bull.

The unique facts about this temple are that it was built in the 7th century. The spectacular architecture of the temple featuring stone carving, woodwork, well-designed pillars, and various other attractive points is a treat to watch. Devotees can be a part of 6 different Pooja held daily at different timings throughout the year.”

Peacocks are the national bird of India and are often represented in many sculptures.

From this site: “Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Mylapore, Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Shiva’s consort Parvati worshiped at this temple, is called Karpagambal, is from Tamil (“Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree”). The temple is the most ancient one that was built around the 7th century CE in Dravidian architecture.

This covered outdoor area is a special place for worship and families to discuss and decide if an arranged marriage is suitable for a couple. There was one such group in this area. See the next photo.

According to the Puranas, Shakti worshipped Shiva in the form of a peacock, giving the vernacular name Mylai (Mayilāi) to the area that developed around the temple – mayil is Tamil for “peacock.”Shiva is worshiped as Kapaleeswarar and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Karpagambal. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.”

To the far right, this group was discussing possible plans for an arranged marriage with an arbitrator who helps determine if the union is a good fit. Horoscopes for the potential bride and groom are highly influential in the decision-making process. In the center, further back in the photo, the area was cleaned after a wedding.

Currently, we are in Mahabalipuram, staying at the lovely Ideal Beach Resort, a beautiful oceanfront property. Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of this location, where we’ll wait until Tuesday to head to Pondicherry via another relatively short road trip.

It is astounding these colorful 7th-century structures have survived century after century.

Also, we took photos last night of our anniversary dinner and a lovely chocolate cake the resort provided us for our celebration, which was greatly appreciated, especially by Tom. Food photos were also coming tomorrow when we both had an excellent suitable dinner.

Today’s photos were from two days ago when we toured colorful temples in Chennai on our last day before heading this way to Mahabalipuram, a two-hour drive from Chennai. 

There were many Indian people at this site, but few international tourists from what we could ascertain. We haven’t encountered many Americans while in India party due to the distance to travel and Coronavirus fears which have seriously impacted international travel.

As much as we enjoyed the colorful temples, we weren’t fond of our stark business-type hotel, and we were pleased after two nights to be on our way. After arriving here at the Ideal Resort, we were thrilled to be on the waterfront with ocean views from our room. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, this menu included some continental cuisine and a spacious and charming hotel room with a massive bathroom.

The Hindu women sat on the ground in a circle, preparing offerings for the gods in many forms.

Ah, the little things, they mean so much; a lovely room; good air-con; a comfortable bed and pillows; the food we both enjoy; and reasonably good WiFi, all are greatly appreciated by us. We seldom find a location to offer all of these amenities, but we can sit back and relax when they do, feeling grateful.

The southern part of India, where we will be going forward, is hot and humid year-round. We must remove our shoes when visiting temples, and walking on uneven ground in the heat was challenging for me at specific points. But, no whinging allowed. We continued.

We’re done touring for the next 48 hours. This two-day break is a welcome relief. We told our driver Raj we wouldn’t need him for the next few days, although he offered to stay nearby, sleeping in the luxury SUV, if we needed him to take us out anywhere to dine at other restaurants.

I tried to center this photo, but people were in the way. It was a Friday, the holy day in India.

This made no sense to us. We’re happy with the food here, and even if we weren’t, we’d hardly want him to hang around for us when he can drive two hours back to Chennai to spend these last two days with his family. Once we take off on Tuesday, he won’t see his family until March 29th, when his service to us ends. 

The only other place in the world we’d seen a temple similar to this was in Singapore in June 2016. See the link here for a similar temple.

By the way, a few days ago, I wrote that we wondered how our driver would shower, change clothes, and do his laundry. Yesterday, we asked him, and he explained that all hotels have shower and bathroom facilities for tour guides. 

Unfortunately, it was a cloudy and smoggy day impacting the quality of our photos.

It was a relief to discover, but we feel bad he has to sleep in the SUV that, with bucket-type seats, doesn’t appear to be too comfortable. Sadly, this is life in India for many workers, and we highly respect and appreciate the services we are provided with, not a complaint.

It was amazing to see these colorful temples built in the 7th century.

The tour guide we had for the temple, the first woman tour guide we had, was a little too pushy for our liking. Although very kindly and well-intentioned, she was pressing to ensure we got our money’s worth by extending the talking and the tour much longer than necessary. 

Each structure has a unique design, all of which are colorful and have survived over the centuries.

It was hot and very humid. We were both sweating profusely. I can walk long distances on flat, even surfaces, but walking up and down uneven steps and over rough surfaces is still tricky for me. I’m hoping in time this will improve. In the interim, Tom is helpful and patient with me as I soldier on as much as possible. 

A plane was flying over the temple.

It certainly hasn’t prevented us from experiencing the endless array of stunning sights in India. We’ve seen and done so much. It could take months of posts for us to become caught up.

A road on the way to the temples.

With 26 more days until the board the ship in Mumbai, we still have lots of India left to see, all of which will be in the southern part of the country where it is hot and humid this time of year, becoming more so in the days to come. We’re grateful we didn’t come to India in the heat of the summer months and highly discourage travelers from doing so. 

A sincere thanks to so many of our readers who’ve written to us wishing us a “happy anniversary!” Your kindness means the world to us!

Photo from one year ago today, March 8, 2019:

When friends Lois and Tom visited for three weeks in October, we spotted the Nyala crossing the road from a distance but never were able to get a decent photo. From there, we searched daily, hoping to spot it again, and then he magically appeared in our garden. What a treat! For more, please click here.

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