I love this map that so clearly shows the intermingling of the great templewhere and the streets and lives of the people. It is difficult to see where one begins or ends as they intertwine.
From the first stop (Chennai) on our south field trip, we saw preparations in progress for this longest of Hindu festivals during the whole month of April, the Chitiral Festival. It is a joyous festival of love and marriage and the Hindus know how to throw a wedding party!
We saw huge carriages on platforms hooked to poles and enormous ropes used by hundreds of men carrying it through the city. Flowers everywhere in women’s hair, on the idols and on the floats. People were milling around, first waiting and then walking in the parade.
Our wonderful guide suggested returning the next morning at 6:30 before our departure to see some of the areas that had been closed off the day before. Not only did we see the huge tank of water, but we walked around and saw the areas in the pale morning light. Indians are not early risers, as a whole, and 10-11 o’clock is more their time to start the day. The students have been great with their punctuality , early rising and appreciating each wonder of Incredible India!
This video is of the parade taken a few years ago in the smaller town. At the beginning are the wonderful animals. We saw two young camels, a baby elephant and mom and a huge dancing elephant met with cheers from the crowd. Oh I wish I had images of her swinging her trunk and taking small steps (as small as an elephant can ) side to side and then together. . . a sort of “pachyderm two-step!”
For me because everything is all about the animals and the children, I loved it. The parade, the throngs of people, the laughing pushing children, staring and smiling at us, taking our pictures. As happened over in over in India, we stand out like “sore thumbs!” The funny thing is that we felt completely welcome and safe in that huge crowd. It never ceases to amaze me!