Friday, May 03, 2013

A Tour Around Chennai By Tuk Tuk

One day at the end of the days play at the cricket, a new Flagger and I decided to seize the chance to get around and see a few of the sights around Chennai. We negotiated with one of the persistent tuk tuk drivers that took us from the hotel to the match each day, and he was waiting for us and ready to drive us around when we walked from the stadium.

Travelling away from the stadium, and indeed to and from the match every day, we drove along the Marina Beach Road. Marina Beach is a vast, seemingly endless stretch of sand between Chennai and the Bay of Bengal - and the sight of food stalls, quirky sideshow games, cricket and volleyball matches, spruikers hoping tourists want a horse ride along the sand, and beggars. It really comes to life at dusk, with crowds of people, families, young couples, groups of lads, filling the beach.

 One of the first places our driver took us to see was at the end of Marina Beach, and the area effected by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. The area of buildings was where people lived, and were swept away from the wave of water. This neighbourhood is still in a state of total disrepair, and a slum for the people who live there now - despite the new high rise apartment buildings being built around them. People living like this, with no assistance or help with rebuilding. Shocking!

The next stop on our driver's tour was the stunning, white San Thome Cathedral. Originally built by the Portugese, it is now a Roman Catholic church. The complex holds the tomb of St Thomas the Apostle, but the church itself was the sight for me, with it's wooden open windows and doors. Prayer was in process when we were there, so despite the urging by our driver, I didn't venture in too far. The white neo-Gothic rebuilt was stunning in the fading sunlight.

Greg and I then took in the traffic jam and all the commotion around the streets surrounding the amazing Kapeleeshwarar Temple. This Hindu temple is Chennai's most active religious site, and with prayer due to commence shortly after we arrived, the chaos around it certainly confirmed that!

Taking in the towering gopuram, we walked around the entrance to get a closer look at the sculpture figures depicting Hindu mythology themes. Such detail, with stories right there, crowded all the way up to the top.

It was jammed with people inside, so we did not venture in out of respect for the rituals taking place. But we could see the Indian women dressed in their best saris for prayer, and also the colours of the offerings on sale to be taken in as part of the session.

Garlands of colourful flowers, fruits and other foods, were available on all the stalls around the temple, and it was a frantic time of last minute buying, as the crowds ushered inside through the gopuram gate.

A pretty quick tour around some of the sights of the Indian city we used to called Madras, we learnt a lot about so many places, and the way of life for people who live here.


  1. I lived in Chennai for four months and the San Thome Cathedral was close to my hotel. I loved it and always planned to visit, but never did. I went past one day while a wedding was on. It was very strange - they had Christmas carols as wedding music - this was nowhere near Christmas.
    I did not enjoy living in India at all, but I'm enjoying reminiscing through your blog, because it's India without actually being there.

    1. It's a tough place! I am still too close to my trip to say otherwise....but also some amazing, beautiful places to see in India too. The old love/hate could not be more spot on!
      So glad my posts are having such a positive effect!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...