So many flights, without getting out of this big tin machine in one way and coming back. Dubai – Delhi – Dubai. Dubai – Bombay and back. Dubai – Cochin, Hyderabad, Bangalore … and back again. So many times I landed in this country, but I could see it only by small aircraft window. Until today, or actually, the day before yesterday when I landed in Chennai in the south of India, but this time instead of quickly eat something warm and prepare the plane for the flight back to Dubai, I got out with the rest of the crew shortly after the passengers. Finally my first visit to India became a reality!
Chennai, with a population of approx. 8 million people isn’t a destinations of mass tourism. Because from the tourist point of view, there isn’t much to see. In contrast to the region where the beautiful attractions and places to visit are endless.
However such a place where I can just stroll among the locals, who aren’t used to see strangers, I like the most! And it’s even better, when the city is showed by local! And of course with the help came couchsurfing.com, thanks to which I contacted Prakash – very positive 52-year-old guy. Who sacrificed for us whole day! Not only transporting our butts all over the city, developing our knowledge with curiosities about the city and the whole India as well, but also showing where to eat well. Thanks my friend!
Prakesh invited me, charming Lu Li from China and hilarious Heybin from Korea, for coffee in his own house, where we also had the opportunity to meet his beautiful daughter and see for the first time homemade Hindu shrine.
Staying within the Hinduism we went to a Shiva temple from the XVI century. I learned that this Shiva was a quite temper temper. In fury he turned his consort Parvati in peacock and ordered her to worship him until regains its natural form. And so the whole neighborhood took its name from this event – Mylapore, which in Tamil means “peacock town”.
Maybe the whole outrage was just a result of a misunderstanding. No wonder if in one country the have 21 official languages! Slightly shocked watching as fellow crew (Indian) talking with passengers on board from her own country in English. It’s like I’d be talking to someone from Szczecin (city in Poland) not in Polish! Surprised, I ask why not speak in Hindi? Well, I learned that in this state is used Tamil language, which she doesn’t speak, and they, in turn, don’t know Hindi. So, without English country would be quite hard to manage.
It turns out that within the 1.3 billion population, which inhabits India, are also a few Christians. And most of them live in South India. We went to the most important place of worship for them, which is Basilica of St. Thomas.
In place of the present temple was buried St. Thomas the Apostle, who came to the area in 52 r. Century AD, and about 20 years later, he died in Chennai. Apparently inadvertently shot an arrow by a man hunting for peacocks…
Admiring above-average ability to drive a car by Prakash (considering the chaos on the streets here, I rather wouldn’t decide to rent a car), we reached the district of T. Nagar. Neighborhood is just one big market where you can buy almost anything. From clothing through electronics to gold.
Since we were receiving from the local people greetings and smiles I was giving back fine Polish sweets :)
Hungry for more
The sundown we admired from the lighthouse, and at once I realized that I have to visit India during a real long trip. Not just 24 hours in a random point of India’s map.
Especially considering the fact that the majority of Dubai’s population (where I live) are immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Similarly, passengers traveling in airlines in which I work. So there’s plenty of them around me. I’m tempted, therefore, to understand their culture better.
See you soon India!
Check out the video from the trip here: