India – Musings in the South, Part 1

Well, why no posting during the holidays?  Blame it on India.  Of course the trip was appropriately lovely.  It is nice to get caught up with the extended family.  Indeed my eighty two year old grandmother feeding us until we had to tap out UFC-style was a consistent scene over the two weeks.  Of course, coming with a family visit is a lack of travelogue for Week 1 – aside from taking in some carnatic music concerts (and sleeping through one as jet lag destroyed me).

* A quick note though.  The food of course was wonderful – not just because it was homemade and whatever.  But Indian vegetarian cooking – unlike most of the bilge that passes as vegan/vegetarian in the States, does not start with a thesis that a protein needs to be substituted.  They never ate meat, so there is no horrific meat substitute used.  Without having to genuflect to the meat altar, the imagination is free to run wild  – and flavors are not frowned upon!

That said, the second week did contain trips to Tiruchi and Tanjawur, the seat of the Chola Dynasty which had a very long reign of prominence in South Indian rule.  It also is where my family is from.   Tanjawur will be in a later post.

Tiruchi

Tiruchi contained a few magnificent temples, one of them the Srirangam Vishnu temple:

The tower ... with a few more drawings that sculptutres, the tiers look almost Mayan
We descend through tower after tower to the inner temple

A chicken - yep the stores and stuff on the way to the temple have much around.

The second big temple in Tiruchi is the Thiruvanakkaval Siva temple.  This is a more water themed temple, located on the banks of the Cauveri river.  The theme is underlined by running water in the inner sanctum (not a Stygian level where we were rowing or anything, but it is clear).  It is also appropriately magnificent.  I wish I could communicate the fascinating inner sanctum (and the bats screeching) but alas, such are the rules of the building.

Note the more intricate carvings than the first temple.

Finally, Tiruchi is where my father went to college – and he remarked about MalaKottla, the Ganesh temple sitting on top of a hill which creates a magnificent overlook over the otherwise rather flat city.  The best aerial shots were there.  In addition, we saw the outside of Saint Joseph’s, the college he went to, as well as the church of its namesake.

The Siva temple also part of the hilltop.

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