Meenakshi Temple & Courtallam

So Thursday I finally made it to the Meenakshi Temple and it was amazing. The entire temple was beautifully decorated and it was so colourful. It was marriage day and I was invited to join every ceremony and all the families wanted me in their wedding pictures. It was very, very odd.

On Friday, Jenna, Celine, Emerence, Christine and I took a train to Tenkasi and then a bus to Courtallam. All in all the journey took about four and a half hours. The only way to get a seat on the train is to either climb through the window or push in the door as people are trying to get out. Its not very polite or comfortable but its how its done here and we certainly didn’t fancy standing for almost four hours!

Courtallam is the Spa of the South and is a big tourist destination for Indians. The town was packed and there were little stalls everywhere, just like the German Market in Edinburgh at Christmas. It was very obvious that a huge number of Indians had never seen a white person before and we got a serious amount of attention from families, women and children. Generally the young men here seem to be terrified of us! I am SO glad I do not live in the public eye. It was exhausting. Even in restaurants people would be taking pictures of us as we were eating. Families constantly wanted us to take pictures of their children and absolutely everyone wanted to know where we were from.

On the Friday night we went to the Main Falls which were beautiful. Saying that, all the bins from the stalls are emptied in to the water which we just couldn’t believe. Beautiful but definitely not clean.

On Saturday we took a bus from Tenkasi to Papanasum. The plan was to then visit the dam. However, it emerged that the info we had been given was very wrong and the dam was actually another three hours away and we’d already travelled for about two hours. Instead we went to another waterfall about 3 km away. Before reaching the falls, there was a set of steps which we decided to climb. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been. We were in the mountains between the two states (Tamil Nadu & Kerela) and the views were spectacular. I have SO many photos. At the top of the steps was a tiny temple. The whole thing was just gorgeous. There were also a lot of monkeys; they were very cute until they decided they liked the look of Celine’s jacket!

When we got back to Courtallam we went to see the stalls we had missed the night before. It was seriously packed… until the monsoon rains started! The streets emptied instantly and everyone ran for cover underneath the shop/stall roofs. The next thing, the power goes and everything was plunged in to darkness. We were stood there trying to find our torches, soaked to the bone with rats running around our feet… not an experience I will forget. We found our phones (with built in torches) in our bags and followed the crowd of people heading back in to town. It was too dark and wet to do anything else so we just headed back to the hotel and had a chat before heading to bed. Yesterday we got the train home and today we were back in the hospital.

Today is also Celine’s last day in India so we’ve been for the traditional ‘a housemate-is-leaving’ ice cream. I’ve brought the wrong memory card with me so there are no picutres of the temple/the weekend but I’ve attached some of the leprosy hospital. I was in the Cath Lab today at MMHRC and I’ll hopefully be in the paediatric unit tomorrow but I’ll post about that later in the week. x


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. maya allen
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 10:12:39

    sounds like you’re having an amazing time! everything you’re doing is incredible, i miss you lots 😦 love you xxxxxx


  2. myindianadventure2010
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 07:52:20

    Hey Pumpkin, missing you all but will be home (for a week!) very soon 😀 Hope you had a great time at Ballet West and I’ll deffo see you soon. Love to all xXxXxXx


  3. Gaynor
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 10:34:33

    Hi Steph,
    What an amazing time you’re having. Sorry I haven’t replied earlier but I looked all over for the site and couldn’t find it. The link was on Maya’s server, so here I am.
    I’m really proud of you!!!!!! India such a shock to the system, but you are obviously dealing amazingly well with it. Your descriptions are wonderful and really taking me back. I’m soooo jealous.
    We all miss you, but I’m so pleased to have contact now. Have a fabulous time.
    Are there lots of cockroaches? Rats never bothered me, but cockroaches gave me the creeps.
    Take care,
    lots and lots of love,
    Gaynor xxxxxx


  4. Imogen
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 11:32:11

    Hope you are having a good time in India it all sounds very intersting. Sure you are learning lots. Missing you! Immy.


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