Monday, July 7, 2014

Around Chennai: Mylapore

Saturday we were fortunate enough to have our upstairs neighbor take us on a mini-sightseeing trip around Mylapore, in Chennai. Mylapore is one of the oldest residential sections of the city and is known for its tree-covered streets. It's probably even better known for Kapaleeswarar Temple. We started the day off by heading to a small temple that I never knew the name of to see their managiery of animals. These animals are 'kept' by the temple, in the sense that they provide them with a place to sleep. Otherwise they are pretty much feral, finding their own food and water. Our guide wanted to stop by this specific temple, because they regularly have an emu hanging around and as luck would have it, the emu was sitting just outside, apparently waiting for us.

I Think He's Jay Walking.

Long Earred Goat.
I'd love to share where this temple was (and maybe I'll edit this post in the future), but for now, it'll remain a mystery to me. 

After seeing the emu and long-earred goat, we headed to get breakfast at a very popular local place: Saravana Bhavan. The breakfast here is traditional South Indian and followed up with "filter coffee." The coffee is served with milk and sugar, however they boil the milk with the coffee, so it is served so hot that you have to pour it back and forth between two containers to cool it enough to drink. Breakfast was idlis with four "gravies" or curries to dip them in, served on a banana leaf. Breakfast and coffee for 3 people was around 220 rupees, or $3.75. This place was yet another great example of the "jobs jobs jobs" mentality in India. We caught the end of the breakfast crowd, but it was pretty close to a 1 to 1 ratio of tables to employees. We couldn't figure out what they all did, but I'm pretty sure our waiters had waiters... (Ok, that might be an exageration, but there were tons of employees.)

You can see the remanents of Breakfast.
Also, I'm definitely burning my fingers on those cups.
With full bellies, we started walking toward Kapaleeswarar. Temple streets are big market (and traffic) centers, so the streets were lined on one side with stalls and the other with stores.

Temple Market Stalls.
The Temple's "Tank."
Rarely, if ever used, according to our guide.
A Large Kolam
The main attraction at Kapaleeswarar.
A recently repainted section of the temple.
The side streets around the temple are also filled with fortune tellers. Several of which employ small animals. This guy has a small parakeet that rifles through a stack of cards to pick the custmer's fortune. He then interprets the card. It was neat to see the trained bird in action.

This wasn't an extensive sight seeing trip, but it does have the honor of being the first "around town" post in Chennai! I guess that's the nice thing about having two years to explore a place, we'll be back later.

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