During Festive Occasion-Pongal
It is the harvest festival of thanks giving to Sun, Earth and the Cow. The festival is celebrated in the month of January for three days. Sugarcane, turmeric, sheaves of paddy, newly prepared jaggery, vegetables and pulses are offered to the Sun god. The earth and the cow are also worshiped and offerings were made. The festival ends with 'Kanum Pongal' on the third day when children enjoy watching the celebrations.
Plenty of Restaurants which...
Plenty of Restaurants which are good. South Indian Food - Idly,Sambar,Dosa.
Beach Castle Restaurant
Carnival Multi - Cuisine Restaurant
Copper Chimmey Restaurants
Chennai Snake Park.
Guindy Snake Park, next to the Guindy National Park. See the deadly King Cobra, pythons and vipers as well as other reptiles. There is a Children's Park adjacent with collections of animals and birds. It was created awareness about the reptiles among the mass as they are friend of human being. Many Indians feel the Snakes are enemy of human being and nature courtesey our Hindi movies propagating superstitions.
The snake show is arranged every hour by experts, who shows how a snake reacts. It attacks anyone only when it is threatened or provocated. It does not drink milk as commonly believed in India, it survives on small animals, birds etc.
We enjoyed the show very much as it was an education for Munu who was seven years old that time.
My Trip Started In Chennai...
KUALA LUMPUR <<<<< CHENNAI >>>>> MAMALLAPURAM
15th May (Tuesday) :
My Trip started In Chennai.
Flight was about 3 1/2 hours from Kuala Lumpur.
Arrived at about 8 pm (late by 15 minutes due to air traffic).
Custom was easy.
I could feel the heat once I was out from the airport !VIDEODidn't have any Indian Rupees; Tried to change at the airport but all the money kiosks were 'off-line'.
So, like...if it's off-line, they couldn't make any transaction ?!
Changed money from a street guy, good rates.
1 USD to Rs 39.90
Supposedly it's about USD 1 was equaled to Rs 40.
Changed USD 100.
Then, I had to reach Chennai central.
Eggmore train station to be precise.
An auto came to me & said, "Rs 300, standard !"
Didn't feel like bargaining or even arguing about it.
I said okay.
I experienced my FIRST of dangerous driving in India !
Amazing !VIDEODropped me in front of Eggmore Train Station.
Found the hostel that I wanted to stay.
Then, a guy approached me.
Asking me if I wanted to stay anywhere cheap ?
I quoted my budget.
He tossed a card.
Fan, TV, bathroom with hot shower.
Wanna see how's my room looked like ?
Well, click on the video on the right !VIDEOI was happy with the room I even tipped the tout Rs 50 !
Settled in, that was about 10.30 pm or so...
Out to take some night photos.
Walked to Eggmore Train Station.
Caught my first glimpse of Indian train...VIDEOAt Eggmore station, asked the station master about buying Indrail Pass.
He asked me to come the next day.
Felt so thirsty but was very cautious when buying a bottle of mineral water.
MUST check if the bottle was still sealed.
I was hungry as well, but didn't know what to eat.
Rather I was indecisive which was clean & which was not.
Well, the smell of urine was shoving up my nostrils all the times !
Slowly, walked back to my hotel, watched some Indian TV.
The next day would be another adventure...
16th May (Wednesday) :
Following day, checked out from the hotel.
That was about 10 pm.
I actually had asked the previous night, for the reception to walk me at 7 pm, but the bed in my hotel room was so comfy I had to sleep extra more hours !
Asked the hotel to look for an auto for me.
I wanted to go to Chennai Central Station.
The ride was Rs 50.VIDEOOnce there, looked for a cloakroom (luggage room) to put my luggage.
The guy asked where's my ticket ?
I said I didn't have any.
He said, "Cannot put luggage !"
I said, WHY !?"
Then, his helper asked me, "Passport ?"
I showed it.
Then, both of them said, "Ahh, okay..."
Then, I had to look for Reservation Ticket Office.
I must bought my Indrail Pass (India railway pass).
So many people at the railway station & it's not even a holiday.
I caught the best glimpses of how busy an Indian railway station would be like !
Somebody warned me NOT to smoke around the station or I'd get fined !
Put my luggage at the 'cloakroom' (luggage room).
Made a day trip to Mamallapuram.
Actually a taxi was supposed to meet me for the day trip, but couldn't find the person.
Negotiated with an auto driver, he said Rs1300.
I said okay.
Back from there, had a bit of meal.
Didn't know what I ate but damn ! I was hungry...
I had a few hours walking & wandering around Chennai train station.
Took some night photos as well.
Even had time to check The Waiting Room.
Seeing people freshing themself up (shower etc.), eating, talking & laughing with their loved ones (while waiting for their trains...) is an experience that could stay with me in a long time.
It's a jolly good feeling !
Caught my first Indian train on that evening at Chennai Central Station.
Read about this train experience HERE.
ALL MY VIDEOS AROUND INDIA
Hindu Wedding - Sindhu weds Madhav
The main reason that my wife and I traveled to Chennai was to attend the wedding of our good friend Sudarshana's brother, Madhav. Madhav is a pilot in the Indian air force and he was marrying a beautiful young woman from Chennai, Sindhu, whom he met through a matchmaking service only a couple months earlier (with a lot of help from his eager mother).
Both families were Tamil Hindus of the Brahmin caste, and the wedding ceremony was traditional. The first day was comprised of a formal greeting ceremony between the two families. Later that evening was the reception, which was attended by approximately 700 guests. During the reception, the wedding couple had to stand on stage for hours in order to greet every guest and have photos taken with them. The actual wedding ceremony started early the next morning before sunrise and lasted until midday. It was filled with countless rituals and a lot of pagentry, none of which I understood. But it was all quite fascinating and lovely. Then later that afternoon was a more intimate final meeting of the two families, where they played various games with the newlywed couple and generally just had a good time.
My wife and I traveled to the wedding with the groom's sister Sudarshana and her Australian boyfriend Paul, who live in Hong Kong, as well as Paul's parents Judy and Peter from Melbourne.
My wife Trisanna bought a lovely burgundy Saree for the occasion, and she looked simply beautiful in it, don't you agree?
It is traditional for Indian women to get elaborate henna tattoos, called Mehendi, on their hands for their wedding. Sindhu was kind enough t show us her's.
This wedding taught me the importance of family in Tamil culture. The overall wedding focused as much on building ties between the couple's two families as it did on the couple themselves. It was not just the couple who stood on the alter taking their vows while everyone else sat and watched, as in Western culture, but the entire family actively participated in every single wedding ritual. It was more a marriage of families than of individuals. Quite a wonderful and sincere expression of family bonds. I felt honored to have been invited to share in it.
Please visit the India page on my personal website to see many more high quality photos from the wedding.