Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Punducherry was an uneventful, but nice stop in our tour of the South.  It's a former French colony, with some European ambiance.  We had a great pasta meal for lunch (a nice break from itly and dosai!), and walked around the quiet town.  The Sri Aurobindo Ashram was a must see with it's gorgeous gardens and serene atmosphere.  We scored big time with our room for the night as well - it felt like an apartment complete with couches, tables, mosquito nets, and an ocean view!

Word has got around South India that we are traveling here.   Siva Aunty and Kural Uncle, who are friends of ours in Calgary and came to our wedding, told Siva Aunty's parents who live in Chidambaram of our arrival.  They met us at the bus station and took us off to their house.  (It's amazing that though we have never met face to face we recognized each other immediately at the bus station.)  They are a lovely couple and he is a retired university professor.   After having a great meal it was off to visit the temple that the town is famous for - the Nataraja Temple.  It is huge and with lots of people filing through all the time.  We had great tour guides who showed us around the place and pointed out everything.  It was very nice.  All though we planned to spend only one night in Chidambaram , they convinced us that we should stay another night and that we would go around the area the following day. 

The next we hired a car and with our great guides again we set off.  The first stop was the famous Annamalai University where Muthu Iya taught.  The campus was huge and we went into the hospital where they treat the poor and train doctors.  Then we went to the Engineering school where he was head of the Engineering Math department.  We came back home just in time to watch Obama's victory speach (live!).

In the afternoon it was off to arts museum by the ocean.  The story of Kanagi, Kovalan, and Madhavi was depicted with stone sculptures, and it was so intricate and beautiful.  The Thirkadoor temple is famous for it's santhi (60th, 80th birthday) celebrations.  We saw loads of couples dressed up in wedding finery with their families.  There was even a temple elephant to lead the processions.  The second temple we went to is known for curing people.  The architecture (as in all the South Indian temples we have been visiting) was stunning.

The next morning we had another great meal (Iddiyappan from scratch), said bye to our amazing hosts and new friends, and took another "thrilling" bus ride.  You've got to love public transportation here.  :)

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