We got back to Toronto on March 5th hoping that we had missed the worst of the winter in this part of the world. We have been dramatically mistaken as it has been a very long and freezing winter in this part of the world. Today I drove to work and it was – 5C, it is a little warmer this after noon about + 5 C.
I feel it this year more than any other time that I have lived in the USA. Perhaps the sunny warm and hot 2 months in India had some part to play in that, also as I get older, I am 68 this month, I ask myself why do I have to live here in this country and in the icy cold city. I really have felt very uncomfortable the last 6 weeks.
We had such a wonderful time in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu and were so grateful we could spend time there with you in Kanchipuram. I must say that the Jain temple we finally got to see was one of the most incredible of the many that we saw in our travels, it was just stunning and emotionally moving to see the beautiful artwork, that had been so painstakingly applied to the ceilings of the entrance, and the stories that mostly of course we missed, being foreigners. Some of the big cities that had very active temples, we felt were too busy to sense any feeling of spirituality of the place. I can say this especially of the big temple in Madurai, our last stop in TN before flying back to Mumbai.The Meenakshi Amman temple – it was crowded, noisy and left me with no feeling of being a holy place. Yet closer to our hotel was a smaller Vishnu temple, no tourists, many local people, that we just loved and spent hours here – the Koodal Alagar Vishnu temple. It was beautiful and special for us and even praying here was a joyous experience for us. It had a much ‘nicer’ feeling than the big temple. Also very special for us was the Ghandi museum in Madurai. we liked it so much we had to go twice, it was such a shock for us to understand how the British had mistreated the Indians. The yhad the cloak in which Ghandi was shot.
Altogether an amazing place, the only area that was sometimes a problem was the rickshaw wallahs, they were at times a little nasty to us, but we never wanted to argue over 30 or 40 cents American.
We so much loved the food your wife had prepared for us, I try here at home to do a poor imitation of a sambar soup. We can get sambar powder here at out local Indian store.
We also very much enjoyed the Chettinad area. The food even in the resorts was just a mixture of TN styles not too much Chettinad, but eh mansions, even the neglected ones, were simply amazing. We spent a morning walking around Kanadukathan, where there were many ruined mansions, but just such incredible architecture. And the Chettinad food has become our favourite style of Indian food. If we ever see it written on the menu we will always order it.
I will include some pictures for that region. I must add that I really got to love being in India, in so many ways it was such a wonderful, interesting place, which gave us such unique experiences.