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1989/90 - India Overland (Part 1 - Chennai to Kanyakumari)

To the sub continent for the first time.

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This trip was an overland trip, using an orange Bedford truck and staying in small hotels and camping. The company was called Encounter Overland and are now part of Dragoman.

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Our truck for 4400 miles around India.

Thursday 23 November - Arrived in India at 1:30 am! The pilot landed the plane like a tank and everything shook and rattled. It is not fun at all arriving in any country at that time of the night. After waiting a very long time to get my bags I got to my hotel at about 3:15 am. A few hours later, I went for a walk to find the hotel where the trip was starting and made some bookings. It was hot. Very hot. Moved hotels and met up with some of the others on the trip and Eddie, the EO driver.

Friday 24 November - A very hot night and so did not sleep at all well. The fan only had one speed, a force 10 gale and it sounded like an airplane propeller. Went for a walk through Poonamallee until I found the old part of town. Lunch was in a restaurant with a balcony that had great views of the traffic and the markets. Back to the hotel for an afternoon nap. More of the group arrived and seven of us went out for dinner to the Ritz. Very good food.

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NS Bose Road.

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NS Bose Road.

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A bullock cart and passengers.

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The markets on NS Bose Road.

Saturday 25 November - The official start. We had a free day to wander around the city and we ended up near the beach and Fort St George. A decent dinner at the Riviera (Ritz) again. When we got back to our hotel there was a wedding in full swing. We were immediately invited and we sat down to more food, very loud music, us taking photos of the wedding party, guests, the guests taking photos of us, and so on. The party did not finish until the wee small hours and was great fun.

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North Beach Road.

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The Central Court House.

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The bride, groom and family.

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Sally, Rachel, An, some guests, Glynn, Eddie and lots more guests.

Sunday 26 November - On the road at last and we drove to Mahabalipuram via Kanchipuram and Tirukkalikundrum. Each place had serious temples that we could wander around, or in the case of Tirukkalikundrum, climb 500 steps up to. The view from the top was however spectacular. The countryside is very green and well watered.

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The Ekambareshwara Temple.

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The Ekambareshwara Temple.

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The inner courtyard of Ekambareshwara Temple.

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The Hill Temple at Tirukalukundram.

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The sacred tank at Tirukalukundram.

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The gopurams.

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The Shore Temple.

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Krishna Mandapam.

Monday 27 November - Morning in Mahabalipuramm. We then drove to Puducherry (previously known as Pondicherry), arriving about lunch time. This is an old French territory. We visited Auroville, a model utopia town that offers spiritual and physical guidance. We had a typical Indian thali dinner eaten off banana leaves.

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The markets.

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How much for the elephant?

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A soldier in the city.

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The Matrimadir at Auroville.

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The beach at Puducherry.

Tuesday 28 November - Drove to Tiruchirappalli (Trichy). I was navigating for driver and managed to get us lost in city centre. We stayed in town and visited the Ranganathswamy Temple and climbed up to the Rock Fort Temple. This being an overland trip I was on dinner duty (chief spud peeler) and Jacq and I managed to put together something quite good.

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The Ranganathswamy Temple and the Cauvery River.

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The city of Thiruchirapalli.

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The Ranganathswamy Temple.

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Detail of the Ranganathswamy Temple.

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The Rock Fort Temple.

Wednesday 29 November - A short drive from Trichy to Madurai. This city has more great looking temples. It was however very hot. We all went out to the sound and light show at Tirumalai Naick Malai Temple. I do not seem to have any photos of Madurai. Not sure why.

Thursday 30 November - A long drive to Kanyakumari, India's southern most town. There was a nice sunset but did not appreciate it due to having a dodgy tummy. Did not sleep very well due to a headache, up to the loo regularly, people coming into the room to use the showers and toilet and noisy dogs outside.

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Rural Tamil Nadu.

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Fishing boats at Kanyakumari.
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Posted by nzhamsta 12:00 Archived in India

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