Our caravan left Trichy after a yummy south Indian breakfast. A piece or two of Idli, some uttapam and lots of sambhar. Gulp a glass of fresh pineapple juice and it’s just perfect to get the day started, isn’t it? But in case you are thinking that what’s different, there was everyone’s favorite Alu paratha to surprise in the land away from North India! 😀
In an hour or so, our car was packed in front of Brihadeshwara Temple. Carved out of a single granite rock, its Dravidian architecture was astounding. No wonder that it’s one of India’s most prized architectural sites. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, it turned 1000 years old in 2010. A 13 feet high statue of Nandi (sacred bull),again carved out of a single rock, sits at the entrance. The temple itself being 216 ft (66 m) high is counted amongst the tallest of its kind in the world and is also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple’. The temple is even part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples“.
After being stupefied by the grandeur of the big temple, we inched closer to our destination. Meanwhile, the hot and humid weather left us searching for water. Fresh coconut water by the roadside came to our rescue. I bet no soft drink can match ever match it, in taste and nutrition alike. By the time we checked-in to our hotel, we were literally starving. Lavish lunch at the hotel itself was much a respite.
After an hour’s break we went to explore the city. Sri Aurobindo Ashram was out first destination. It is a spiritual community (ashram) that grew out of a group of disciples of Sri Aurobindo. There is a interconnected block of houses, called “the Ashram, which surrounds a tree-shaded courtyard. At the centre of this, lies the flower-covered “Samadhi”. These two separate white marble shrines hold the physical remains of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. We sat there in silence for sometime and the silence of the place filled our hearts with peace. But we had to leave for the next place soon.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple, devoted to Lord Ganesha, was next on the list. It’s existence dates back to 1666 even before the French came to settle in Pondicherry. With the donations from the devotees, using 7.5 kg of gold, a Golden Chariot was made which runs outside the temple only once a year on Vijayadhashmi day. The temple was full of colorful idols of Lord Ganesha describing interesting anecdotes at various stages of his life. We took the blessings of the God from the elephant that sits outside the temple to showers them.
After seeking blessings, it was time for my favorite place : the beach. The Promenade beach is the popular beachfront of the city along the Bay of Bengal. The sea waves striking the rockshore beach made a pleasant sight. We enjoyed the scenic beauty as the sun said goodbye for the day. Having chocolate shake at La Café by the beach was like icing on the cake. Wow, what an evening!
After strolling around for more than an hour, we went back to the hotel. The roads and houses of the city spoke clearly about the French impact. Houses painted in Various shades of grey gave the city a French feel and a classy look. The names of the city roads mentioned in French gave my french vocabulary a much needed wake-up call! Delicious dinner welcomed us back.
After an hour of chitchatting and re-viewing pictures of the day, we went to bed to recharge ourselves for the next day.
>> Day 4 <<
Place of Stay : Sunway Manor, 155/D 100 Feet Road, Puducherry.
My Take : 4.5/5
- Ambience: 4.5
- Interior: 4.5
- Housekeeping : 4
- Food: 4.5