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Published: October 5th 2011
Gingee Fort Entrance
in Tamil you say Singee
Tiruvannamalai, 4th October 2011
Muthu picked us up at a more reasonable hour of 9.30am on Monday which gave us time to have a decent breakfast and thank goodness it had rained overnight and cooled down considerably to a chilly 32C!!
We set off for Tiru....
and despite it being a school holiday for Dhusera there was less traffic on the road than there was on Sunday.Though David had his doubts about the worth of it, we had planned a detour to see the Fort at Gingee
.It turned out to be magnificent. Though the walls were in some state of disrepair much of the inside was intact. The Granary, the Stables and the Gymnasium were huge halls, bigger than anything we have seen before. We made a fair attempt at climbing up to the top whilst braving the savage monkies (not) but in the heat we called it a day at the ramparts which was a shame really because we later realised that there was so much more to see at the very top. Seemed like you could spend the whole day there and not see it all. There were lots of school trips going on and families enjoying
Gingee Fort Guardians
Wild monkies all the way ahhh!!!!
picnics in the shady gardens below.
Again the countryside was lovely, sugar cane, emerald green rice paddies and coconut palms. We had read about the farmers laying rice stalks across the road using the traffic to thresh it but we found out that what they are actually doing us mashing up the rice stalks into a suitable consistency for animal feed! Clever! Travelling along the State Highway 66 made a pleasant change from the narrow country roads, speed bumps and potholes and all, though the rules of the road are equally puzzling on both. As Muthu quite rightly pointed out. "If you can drive in India you can drive anywhere in the world". Makes the Bristol Road in rush hour seem like children's playtime.
Hotel Lakshmi Residency is definitely a hit with Ann. Bathroom, bedroom, lounge, kitchen, balcony and A/C. (Died and gone to heaven.......). Tiru...
seemed a bit overwhelming at first sight but once we had crossed the city and passed the temple we definitely warmed to the place. The hotel is in a quiet backstreet surrounded by ashrams and nice looking hotels, very close to the famous Sri Ramana Maharishi Ashram (booking essential) and standing at
Hotel Lahksmi Residency
A bit of luxury for 3 days
the foot of the holy Arunachala mountain. At full moon thousands of pilgrims descend on the Temple and either climb or walk the 12K around the holy mountain. Fortunately it is more like new moon t the moment so only the dedicated few are here now.
This morning we visited the Arunachala Temple itself, which is magnificent with 4 huge gopurams (towers) and 3 smaller. David was disappointed that he wasn't allowed to take any photographs inside so we compromised by climbing 'half way' up the mountain to photograph it from above. The first part was steps but the path disintegrated into a rocky scramble which as you know is fine going up but treacherous coming down especially after the overnight rain we had. Muthu then very kindly drove
us around the mountain.........ok, a cop out but we are wrinklies after all !!!
Thinking of our stomachs again, the highlights for us have been finding the great Ramana Cafe Roof Top Restaurant
next door, run by a gorgeous young man called Naresh, from Kerala (he's taking us home to meet his family next time we come) and meeting a really friendly family from Andra Pradesh (13 hours by
An enormous complex as seen from the Holy Mountain
train) in the temple.
Off to see the temple lit up at night later on, then onwards to Pondicherry in the morning. Hope it stays as cool as it has been here!!!
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