An archive of stories and photos from our family trip to South India.

Location: Seattle


"Lourdes" and Rock Fort Temple

After freshening up here yesterday afternoon, we visited a couple of the famous Trichy sights. The first was a supposed re-creation of the church at Lourdes, France, but we had a hard time imagining that the the real Lourdes is painted hot pink inside, with brightly colored plastic statues of various saints in every corner. There are no pews in many Indian churches, everyone sits on the floor. (Lyanda attended mass in the village yesterday, Father Awaraswami presiding barefoot in an outdoor, thatched roof space with an alter. Everyone sat on the ground, right in the sand. Lovely singing--everyone sings...)

Then on to the Rock Fort Temple, a 435 step climb to a temple honoring Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of good fortune, and sweeping views of the city. We made the climb in the late afternoon, with gorgeous light and cooler temperatures. Really wonderful. We were waived into the dark temple, in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be for Hindus only (Claire charmed the gatekeeper with her bindi and flowered hair), and received a blessing from the temple priest--a wave of sacred flame, and a stripe of white powder on our forheads. Back at the base of the steps, Claire also received a blessing from the temple elephant, a beautiful, colorfully painted girl (I think she's a girl), who is much too intelligent to be chained to a temple (but who, as Tom pointed out, maybe has no less freedom than the temple priest, who may also be fulfilling a family obligation...). The elephant held out her trunk for an offering, Claire dropped a coin in its coiled tip, the elephant blessed Claire by touching her head with her trunk, then she dropped the coin into her keeper's hand. Of course, Claire kept asking for more coins!

Claire continues to be an awesome, cheerful, uncomplaining traveler, making herself at home in each new place, making friends, and taking the various inconveniences of India in stride.


Post a Comment

<< Home