Trichy and Tanjore

Having reached the very bottom of India we now turned our attention to Trichy some 200 miles to the north of Kanyakumari. We travelled by train happily putting the dirty coastal city behind us.

Trichy is pretty much in the geographic centre of Tamil Nadu, and its main attractions were some large temples which we visited over a couple of days. At this point we were looking forward to some hot water and clean accommodation. What we received instead was the usual lacklustre lodging, boasting none of the aforementioned pleasantries, instead piling on a busy kitchen above our room which began its morning preparations loudly, and at 3am. The icing on the cake here, were some neighbours who liked to watch their TV on full volume with the door to the hallway fully open.

The next day, fatigued, we made it to the base of the temple which is situated on a large rock jutting out from the middle of the city. We climbed up four hundred red and white striped stairs to the summit, where we were rewarded with some impressive vistas of the surrounding city.

At last our departure came around and we jumped into a rickshaw which motored at unbelievable speed and recklessness to the train station. We got out a little shaken from the journey. The driver paused a moment to collect his fare and then tore off with a screech of rubber on the tarmac.

Next we headed due east to Tanjore which has a good collection of, yep you guessed it, temples! The chief of these is actually known as the Tanjore Big Temple and appears on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Fortunately our hotel here turned out to be much nicer than the last one and we settled in and slept for most of the day to make up for Trichy.

The next day we walked to the Big Temple and explored the complex. A large statue of a bull looked out over the courtyard which housed the interior temple, and Hindus queued up waiting for the doors to open for worship. The architecture was impressive, and the temple towered above us. Each building was adorned with intricate carvings, and much more detail was present than on the other temples we have seen.

This evening we found a cinema showing the second Hobbit film, and so rested our legs while we marvelled in the sheer magnificence of the epic. The best part of it was our tickets only cost £1 each!

Tomorrow we leave for Pudicherry which is an old French colony. I’m looking forward to it as we should be able to get hold of a nice bottle of wine there, or at least a few beers, a treat which has been missing from the majority of the south of India.