Really enjoying your report, Spindrift. Yes, I found tea to be mostly milky in India as well - unless you specifically ask to have it prepared another way.
My son liked it prepared the Indian way so much he wondered how it was made and if we could try and make it that way too once back home. I told him, I knew how as my mom always makes it that way. Of course once home, I've gotten lazy and so far haven't got around to it...
Just caught up with your latest additions to this thread Spindrift. Really engaging commentary and photos.
Mamallapuram is charming, in a way similar to some of the coastal villages in parts of Sri Lanka ( as is some of the geology) which I guess is not surprising really given their proximity and the Tamil links. It also reminded me of one of Tod's posts where she explained continental development as some of the geology looks similar to South Africa. I will now have to try to find it.
It is remarkable to see how a covering of sand and being set back from the sea has slowed the erosion at The Five Rathas in comparison to the Shore Temple. I think I would have been quite anxious standing in the same position as the man in your panorama of the Butter Ball.
Back again! I've been dealing with JetAirways who lost/stole my baggage and they've finally sent me some money (not much). I've also cobbled together 24 pages of information and sent them to my Travel Insurance people.
Yes, back to Chai...well it's always but always been given to me sweetened. To me this is part of being in India. Sweet and hot! I made a terrible faux pas on our train ride up to Alleppey...The chai wallah came round at last and I was quick to order two chais; he was carrying a boiling hot vessell with a tap on the end of it to let out the chai. When someone wanted a cup he'd crouch and hold the vessel between his knees and open the tap holding a small paper cup underneath. He then handed it to me. I stupidly grasphed it at the rim instead of (one sec)
Spindrift-- Jet Airways was having bankruptcy problems. You're lucky you got anything.
I flew with them to Canada two years ago. Fine on the way there. On the way home, when I got to the airport I was told there was no room on the plane for me (I had even confirmed the flight) because the plane was smaller and all those getting off before Mumbai had no priority. So much for Jet Airways.
yes Kingfisher is definitely in trouble. I heard the old man who owns it is/was trying to hand it over to his son who couldn't organize a pissup in a brewery, so it has gone downhill... Yes, I'm so glad I got something out of JetAirways. Maybe I already said that airlines (perhaps not all) compensate on so many dollars per kg of baggage. That's how they calculated my compensation.
But I was lucky to get anything out of them because on the internet I've seen a lot of people being given nothing!
Back to the Chai story, well on the train the guy handed me the paper cup of boiling hot tea and I grasped it with finger and thumb on the rim - which immediately collapsed! the result was that boiling chai poured over my fingers and my reaction was to drop the cup but as we were sitting so close to other people I couldn't do that, the whole carriage would have been in uproar; so I suffered the burning until the wallah kindly took the cup from me and burned his own fingers. Oh I felt dreadful. The trick is to handle the cup holding it from the rim to the bottom. As anyone but me could see!
Several days into the trip Mike felt that he needed some relief from the burning sun (we were not far from the equator) so we went looking for an um brella. The rickshaw driver took us to this shop. The owner was delighted to see us coming and offered Mike a coloured umbrella saying the price was Rps 300. This sounded outrageous to me so I sent him back to get a black one priced at Rps 100 which was still a lot of money. Rps 80 to the pound! This was India after all.....
I don't know what caused the glitch with the post button, although I think I've had it happen once or twice when previewing. I've gotten into the habit of copying my posts before previewing them, just in case.
In Tamil Nadu this design is known as a 'kolam'...in other parts of India it may be called a 'Rangoli'.
It is a form of painting that is drawn in front of a house every morning using rice powder, chalk or white rock powder and filled in with colours. It is a geometrical line drawing composed of curved loops drawn around a grid pattern of dots. In South India it is widely used by female Hindu family members as a welcome to deities and good luck. A different pattern is used every day. The ancient symbols have been passed down through the ages keeping the tradition alive.
I found this 'kolam' in a temple....
Here is another very interesting temple. We are still at Mamallapuram by the way. It is so stuffed with antiquities that it takes many days to see them all.
On a lighter note here are two typical South Indian dishes..
Sometimes I used to start my day with this treat for breakfast. The rice is cooked in the form of 'idlis' and there is 'sambar' in a little bowl. All is set on a fresh banana leaf. Above these are little bowls of chutneys. There must be a fine art to cooking idlis because some of them tasted much better than others. I find rice to be much more appetizing if I can eat it in this form.
Then here is a picture of Mike who is going to eat his first Dhosa...! He didn't know where to start... neither would I.
I love eating Dhosa when they're filled with Masala which is a very spicy mixture of potatoes and vegetables.
Bixa - sorry about that large picture. It was Imageshack's fault as I specified a smaller size. I should have known and fixed it myself. I think I'll have to return to Photobucket where re-sizing is much preferable and where I'm able to re-size to my own dimensions. I am finding it difficult to get to grips with Imageshack.
Kolams - well the lady of the house sketches it out on the ground at lightening speed. She draws the outline with rice flour (or similar); I suppose it's because she's been doing this ever since she got married. It is one of her duties . They do it in Goa too. Like life itself, which we know is impermanent, the Kolam also disappears after one day, is swept away in the early morning and re-done... India is full of symbolism.
I do not know how idlis are made. I'll have to find out. They are not so thin in the middle and they stick well enough together so that you can pick them up with one hand. This would be the right hand. No-one ever touches food with their left hands (does everyone know why?). Everyone uses their fingers to eat in a dainty manner; the food is quickly manipulated into a little ball that is then put into the mouth. Of course it takes a lot of practice to get it right so most of the time I opted for using a spoon but at least I never used my left hand
Lugg - I found that shop very interesting. It was full of everything you would want for the house. And in such nice bright colours too. I wanted to buy a pink bucket and bring it home but I didn't have a suitcase although on my last day in India I was forced to buy a small cheap one. Do you see those long brushes at the front of the shop? They are wonderful for sweeping the garden or yard. Also a little difficult to bring home.
bjd - I felt sorry for the horses on the beach. It was roasting hot and they had no shade. I didn't see anyone riding them.
Last Edit: May 11, 2013 17:02:21 GMT by spindrift1
Before we left for Pondicherry we spent a day at the old temple city of Kanchipuram which is about 2 hours' drive from Mamallapuram. I was determined to go there and I wish we could have stayed there. Kanchipuram has a population of around 188,000 so it isn't very big and it's a compact town full of famous old temples. I should mention that Kanchi is famous for its production of silk and we were inveigled into a Silk Emporium and shown dozens of shawls and sarees and finally bought a couple of pashminas...I wish we hadn't. Part of the time we were intrigued by the sales pitch, chatting and so on and so we' d go into these places just for a laugh really. We didn't always buy something. I am pretty strong-minded when it comes to buying things I dont really want. Sometimes it was nice to be able to get out of the fierce sun for a while and stop walking around At the silk place we ended up with a pashmina each, i bought a red one and M bought a blue one. These had elephants on them and were a mixture of silk and fine wool. They were presents for our childlren. However having few clothes I was driven to wearing one over one of my white tops and very soon there was a stain of red on the white. This means it was bad quality. We should have known. The laugh was on us!
Kanchi was the old capital of the Pallava dynasty and is a treasure-trove of art from the Chola and Pandyan dynasties too.
Here is my first big South Indian temple.... It is the KAMAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE dedicated to the goddess Parvati in her guise as Kamakshi (She Whose Eyes Awaken Desire).
This is the temple tank.
In a large paved area there is this 'Shakti' tree which more or less translates as a Tree with Divine Energy that might be awakened to grant boons to those who ask who are mostly women seeking to be fertile and probably to bear a son.
People have tied all sorts of devotional objects onto the tree itself...
Last Edit: May 11, 2013 17:26:58 GMT by spindrift1
A goddess sitting on a Lotus....maybe this is the goddess Parvati herself...
This temple had its own three elephants. These elephants work at the temple. They are each dedicated to the Lord Shiva or the Lord Vishnu depending on the temple itself. You can tell which is which by looking at the markings on their heads when they are taken out. During the mornings and afternoons the elephants work by collecting money or donations of other kinds for the temple. You go up to the elephant, she reaches out her trunk and takes the offering. If it is food for herself she will eat it at once; if it is an offering of another sort she gives it to her mahout, and then she 'blesses' each person by touching them on their head with her trunk. It's lovely. I kept giving elephants different things in order to receive their 'blessings'.... they are such gentle creatures.
Here is an elephant being washed down by her carers whilst the other elephants await their turn. She is loving the water and the scrubbing. I climbed a high wall to get these pictures without bars intervening.
....and so we left this temple and found our way to the next one....
Last Edit: May 11, 2013 20:18:33 GMT by spindrift1
On our way we stopped for a moment to see a Pandal in the street which was being prepared for a festival.
A Pandal is a fabricated structure, either temporary or permanent, used in a Hindu religious ceremony; mostly on festival days, I think. It is set up to honour gods and godesses. It is pulled through the streets in a procession with people milling around it. I have seen pandals in Kathmandu but have never been around at the time of a big festival...