We arrived in Chennai…Food issues…Another long travel day with a few worrisome moments…

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 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 Chennai after changing planes in Bangalore.

The first flight was relatively smooth. No food is served on Indigo Air unless pre-ordered and paid for online, although the flight attendants will serve coffee/tea and nuts for a fee during the flight.
We’re always in awe of the detailed carvings, many of which require 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, I was hungry and thirsty by 5:00 pm when the flight was in the air, and the flight attendants began serving.

I ordered a small bag of almonds and a cup of green tea, enough to hold me for a few hours until we’d expect to arrive at our hotel in Chennai, sometime after 9:30 pm. There’s nothing I can eat at the airport stands that are available after we’ve gone through security.
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 were 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 words, they become bland.

Generally, there are other visitors when we visit temples.

He doesn’t eat dark meat. For example, he’s ordered plain chicken, but pieces of dark meat are often cut into smaller pieces with the bones. 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 daily. 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 a 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 out for Tom, although he’s ordered vegetarian fried rice and potatoes on several occasions. The reality is, we are making the best of it, somehow not starving and filling up on foods that do work for us.

I order omelets for breakfast each day. Tom has eggs and toast, enough of each to fill him up. There’s no bacon, no ham, no meat side dish of some type. Dinners are challenging when most are buffets with literally nothing I can eat and nothing Tom will eat.
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. 

If we missed the connecting flight, we’d have to spend the night at the airport until the first flight in the morning. What a dreadful thought that was. As we rushed to our gate at the second airport, having to take a bus from the plane to the terminal, we thought we were going to miss it.
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 they 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.

Once in Chennai, our new driver Raj explained he would be with us on all tours and road trips until March 29th. He sleeps in the nicely appointed SUV, which, much to our delight, even has WiFi, which will be great on the long road trips. 
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, at 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 another road trip to our following location, which we’ll share once we arrive. Tomorrow, March 7th, will be our 25th 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 a lively conversation ensued. We are always so delighted to meet beautiful 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 following location.

This is such a good experience for us, unlike anything we’ve done in the past almost 7½ years, which we’ll carry with us into the future, God willing, a long and healthy lot… For YOU, too!

Photo from one year ago today, March 6, 2019:

Little came looking for me, wondering why I hadn’t been sitting outdoors after the primary surgery as I’d usually done. Oh, Little, you put such a smile on my face. For more photos, please click here.

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