Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Sadhus, marriage, monkeys, elephants, nationalists and body modification. This morning was wonderful.

We got a bus to Thirupparankundram and went to the Murugan temple there, which is carved from the giant rock you can see behind it. It was the first place we have seen big groups of Sadhus, rather than ones on their own. They seemed as intrigued by me as I was by them.

In the temple we saw a big family, and the females had their hair decorated with flowers, especially one girl, who must have been a bride. She was very nervous and didn't look very happy.

There were many monkeys at the temple, a few of whom sat at a particular place, waiting for the people to pass by with their offerings (coconuts and bananas) so they could jump on the people and steal their bananas.

Then we met the most fantastic temple elephant, Avia. I was nervously standing with a big stupid grin on my face, obviously very excited (if you didn't know, elephants are one of my favourite things in the whole world), so her keeper told me I could hug her!

On the way back from the temple we passed a nationalist rally, playing very loud music proclaiming 'JI Hind!'

Then I noticed that all of the women over a certain age in the town have stretched earlobes, probably around 2" though it was hard to tell as none of them wore jewellery. They looked as though they would have once been big enough for them to wear looped over their ears, but they collectively stopped wearing jewellery quite some time ago so they shrunk. Amazing place.

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