Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dec 24 with additions

Our room at Mamalapuram $13.50 per night

Mamallapuram is a seaside town mainly known for 10 monuments/temples, many of them carved right out of hillocks of rock - the original 12-15 foot diameter boulders seem to have inspired the stone-cutters or the priests or both to construct temples.  We decided there was enough to see to stay a couple of  days.
  1. The beach guest house we found was clean and cheap and staying seemed a great option right on the beach, especially after our two hour trip
from Chennai and numbed bums that needed a break!  It was bare as you can see and very minimal, but adequate.

The bathroom (no hot water)
 We were given towels but supplied our own toilet paper, soap, shampoo...
Happy travel in India depends on 3 things:
1.cell phone
2.toilet paper
3. patience

Thus equipped, the good nature and willingness of everyone overcomes any impediments.
The apparent owner of the guest house was an energetic young man who also seemed to be running a stone sculpture shop, a laundry business and a roof top restaurant, the area for which he was opening the day before we left, apparently expecting an
 influx of visitors, who were not much in evidence as guests. 
One young couple with a 5 year old boy moved into the room next to us.  They had come from Germany to volunteer, she in a hospital and he on a farm for four months - they were travelling on a motorbike as well.

Buying crockery & cutlery

We have seen stalls laden with fruit but generally haven't eaten much nor had the salads we are used to - so we went to buy bowls and plates and forks with the idea of making ourselves a salad sometime. We're wary of the water used in washing veggies so have not sampled the raw mixes that are for sale on stalls.

Truckload of singers & Father Christmas bring cheer
 We were out having a meal in the evening when
suddenly the street in Mamallapuram was resounding with a big clanging and,
to our ears, raucous untuneful singing - it turned out to be a loudspeaker belting out the singing and a truckload of young people supplying accompanying percussion.  The Santa jogged around ahead of the truck shaking hands with passers-by.   That was the extent of Christmas in Mamallupuram.

The roof-top restaurant opens in our hotel

View of beach hotels (incl ours in the distance)

7-8th Century shore temple

The temple at the end of the beach was this fairly large complex that was actually two buildings with  an amphitheatre and what appeared to be rooms  adjacent.

Bats live in the temple

Side view of temple carved from living rock

These school-girlswanted to be photo'd with Wendy


While it is usually us taking photos of the people we see, this was a shift.  Batches of school girls, one leading, asked to have a photo taken with me - Richards was included in some as well!
They spoke English and when asked, one of them said it was their mother tongue. She said where they are at school, but I didn't understand. We have been delighted to see so many girls
in school - a big contrast to what is happening to girls to the north.

One of the monuments was at a lighthouse - there was a broad pathway up to the steps, along which most people walked to climb up to a lookout.  Richard, of course, preferred his own route that required squeezing
between the boulders and defying gravity to
"Why do you make me do these things!!!"
scale the smooth rounded head. 
I was less  than eager but it was not much easier to go back and my shoes have good gripping soles and it was not far to slide back
so I went up only to see ahead the path we could have taken!
Inland lighthouse

Elephant carvings
  This bas relief is apparently one of the greatest of its age. Inscribed into huge boulder, Arjuna's penance "bursts with scenes of Hindu myth and
everyday vignettes of South Indian life. A herd of elephants marches under armies of angels, while Arjuna  performs self mortification so he can be granted Shiva's most powerful weapon, the god-slaying Pasupata."

Vishnu's butterball held in place with one hand!

Wendy's ankle - burnt by m/c exhaust when we fell

 Since it was getting to be around time for a beer after our treks around to the sites, we set off to the liquor store.
Unfortunately, it was nearly dusk and by the time we were to return to town, it was dark and Richard discovered that he could not get the lights to work.  We were thus driving along with all the traffic without lights.
At some point, almost in the town,  there were heaps of sand along the side of the road that would have been quite visible, if clearly in the way and having to be got around, but without lights, they were visible only when we drove straight into one of them and the wheels, meeting some resistance, came to a sudden stop and the bike fell on its side and we fell off - me with my leg caught.  I yanked myself out as fast as I could, but got some burning on my ankle.  No great harm done and useful to know what happens when the bike tips over  :-)

The Bay of Bengal

Still standing !
 The surf was very strong and the waves high - our waiter told us that two 20+ year old guys were drowned the day we were there. We figure they were not great swimmers or went dangerously near the rocks. The water was lovely and the waves fun.  Hard to keep my bathing
suit on though!

Kids find a great plank for a see-saw.
They laboured for some time to haul it to  a bundled net
 and lay it across so they could play on it.

The log goes on the fulcrum

1 comment:

  1. Katharine PattersonDecember 27, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Hope this comment "sticks"! I've written several but they seem to disappear. I love the picture of the two of you on the open road. Good thing Richard has had so much practice loading a bike. It looks about normal! Beautiful beach and, of course, all the photos are fascinating. Hope you had a good Christmas Day. We were thinking of you. Looking forward to the next posting. Katharine