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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Tamil Nadu, India

Dec 19, 2010 - Madurai

So, I am now in Madurai. I spent my final night in Thanjavur, moved on to Trichy for one night and am now in Madurai. Thanjavur: My final night in Thanjavur I was sitting on my bed eating a bag of chips when a huge sewer rat streaked out of the bathroom. I immediately jumped up on to my bed and screamed. The rat went under my bed and wouldn't come out. I started jumping on the bed to get the rat to get out and go back where it came from. Instead, the damn thing leaped onto my bed. When it leaped, I leaped I ran to the door so fast. But do...

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Kia Shnette 2010

Dec 15, 2010 - Thanjavur

So I skipped Kumbakonam. It is another temple town and I have had about enough of temples. I am now in Thanjavur about 4 hours by bus from Chidambaram. My plans for the next few weeks are: 2 more nights in Thanjavur, a couple of days in Tiruchirapalli, and then possibly Kodaikanal which is in the hills and I here it is much cooler there. Then Madurai, and maybe Rameswaram. Then to Kanyakamuri the Southern tip of India and on to Kerala state. It is a lot I know. I stayed last night in Thanjavur at the Ashoka Lodge near the old bus stand for...

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Kia Shnette 2010

Dec 14, 2010 - Chidambaram

I was unable to stay another night at the guest house so I went ahead and traveled by bus to Chidambaram. I walked around for an hour in the heat and humidity before finally finding a guest house. I am staying at the Mansour Lodge on East Car Street. Tomorrow,I am leaving for Kumbakonam where I may stay for a few days just to rest. There is a huge temple here dedicated to Shiva, the Lord of the Dance. It has classical dance motif designs all over it. The temple is run and owned by Brahmans (the highest Hindu caste). They shave the sides and...

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Kia Shnette 2010

Dec 9, 2010 - Mamallapuram

This is a very touristy but small town. It has two World Heritage Sites (places that are supported by money and authority of the United Nations) as well as numerous temples. On top of that it is a beach town and fairly cheap. My hotel is about $6.00 a night. The cheapest one yet. It is only about 5 minutes walk to the beach. The beach is lovely but the undertow is deadly so no swimming, but you couldn't pay me to get in the water anyway. At the moment I am being eaten away by mosquitos. I even have bites on my face. That has never happened...

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Kia Shnette 2010

Dec 6, 2010 - Kumar-Evening School

I am now in Mamallapuram. It rained for 2 days while I was in Chennai and also while I have been here. I slogged through the muddy streets of Chennai yesterday often up to my knees in water for hours. I am very surprised that I am not sick at present. I have met a cool guy who runs a book shop where all the proceeds go to support 4 evening schools that support 160, primarily Dalit (Untouchable caste) children. I am trying to help, unsuccessfully of course to add paypal to the website. The tourist season is very late this year and most...

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Kia Shnette 2010

Dec 5, 2010 - Madurai

Day 7- Sun. Dec 5- Madurai We left our hotel in Chetanid this morning and travelled west to our destination. Along the way we stopped at a bird sanctuary where Jamie got his fill of viewing nesting of migratory birds like egrets, herons, ibises, etc. While we were there several local children came up to see us, as happens wherever we go. We asked them if they would sing to us, which they did, and then we sang to them “head and shoulders, knees and toes…” Of course there was lots of laughter all around. We continued on our way, over dirt...

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Dec 5, 2010 - Chennai-briefly

Okay it has been a few days since last I wrote. A few interesting things have happened to me since then. A pigeon took a dump on my foot. That was fun, and the next day, a crow took a dump on my hand. Yeah. I didn't spend too much longer in Kolkata. I took a train from there to Bhubaneswar, and guess what? There was a big festival. I went to about 12 different hotels either by walking or on a bicycle rickshaw. The hotels were either full or completely overpriced for the poor room quality. Finally I just gave up and paid 600 rupees for a...

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Kia Shnette 2010

Dec 4, 2010 - Chettinad day two

Day 7- leisure in Chettanid Today is Saturday, the end of our first week here. We had a wonderful day, starting with breakfast near the pool and a walk around town to visit a couple of the huge homes built by the wealthy merchants here. One was from the 1800s and had 3 tons of teak inside. It still belongs to the extended family of the builder but no one uses it so there are 2 caretakers living there and they make a little money from allowing tourists in. The other was newer and is occupied by descendants of the original builder. Life is...

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Dec 3, 2010 - Chettinad

Today I am starting to write the update mid-day as there is much to say even from just this morning. We left our hotel in Thanjavur at 7:15. In case you are interested breakfast has been fresh fruits like pineapple, papaya, and banana, along with yogurt, pastries, and eggs cooked to order. There was even an Indian version of Coco Puffs at the last hotel. Our plan was to visit a school this morning, but because of the recent heavy rains the school was closed. The children sit on the ground in their classrooms, so you can imagine the problem...

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Dec 2, 2010 - Temple Times Two

Today was a long day of travel and temples. While Jamie stayed at our riverside hotel to enjoy some birding and the jungle like surroundings the group started out bright and early with a 2 hour drive to the first temple. Along the way we drove on the first 4 lane highway with curbs. Of course, the curb was the preferred place for goats to take a rest. We also passed a large factory where they make parts for windmills. The temple was on an island called Srirangen, in a river. It was a large complex of 7 buildings all decorated with carved...

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Dec 1, 2010 - Temple Time

Day 4, Temple Time While yesterday was full and busy, today was mostly a day of bus travel and rain. Lots and lots of rain. They say it is the monsoon which was supposed to be over by now. We left our Pondicherry hotel in the rain and made our way through village after village, heading south east until we arrived at an 11th century Hindu Temple. Along the way Sanjay told us his views about India and marriage, education, and other social issues. The Temple, a World Heritage Site, whose name I cannot begin to spell, was very large and made...

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Nov 29, 2010 - First Temple visits

This morning and late afternoon were spent visiting the temple site very close to our hotel. The temples are not buildings one can enter, but instead large carvings from huge granite boulders which one views from the outside. The carvings depict Hindu legends, which were described to us by our very knowledgeable guide Sanjay. They were spread among 3 local sites, one right next to the Bay of Bengal beach. We saw few other non-Indian tourists but it was fun to see the families and groups of young people, all dressed in traditional garb. The...

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