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Newer Page 951 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
India Chennai Temple

15 December 2005

Visiting a temple

A more relaxed day in the morning, but in the afternoon the realisation that there will be very little time tomorrow results in a flood of questions, people now more confident to come talk to me on their own.
Also, I am informed that tomorrow theres 2 hours scheduled for a joint meeting of all teams for me to address them on my time here.....

After work, things have been arranged, I am not sure exactly what, but Leo is accompanying me again and we return to my hotel to fetch the camera. Soon we are on our way to a temple, today in India is the festival of light, and all houses are lit up with oil burning in ceramic pots.
Somewhere near chennai theres a mountain with a massive cauldron full of oil on top which lights up the whole sky.
It takes a long time to get to the temple as theres heaps of people, but somehow we park immediately out the front.

India-Chennai-Temple - The temple from the outside...stay tuned later for much better photos.

The temple from the outside...stay tuned later for much better photos.


We have to remove our shoes to enter, most men are topless and theres lots of chanting and water being splashed. The temple contains many areas of worship, with people lined up behind barriers to see the idols inside smaller temples inside the temple walls.
We meet Vaigunth inside, and many people from his family, and somehow, embarrassingly, I am ushered past the 1000 people waiting patiently in line to see everything, I am getting a lot of weird looks in here.
The highlight is the big idol is strapped to long wooden poles and theres a lot of screaming, and they set a few things on fire, 20 guys lift the idol and tear off around the temple with it.
I get to stand right behind the idol as they do all this with Vaigunth, no one else is permitted.
No photos whatsoever are permitted inside the temple unfortunately.

We eventually exit the temple, and outside they are having a re-creation of the mountain cauldron lighting, theres so many people that you cant move and for extra degree of difficulty, fire crackers are being set off by kids everywhere.
I keep ducking and flinching much to the amusement of everyone, but then in the middle they raise a wooden structure, which has been soaked in oil and has rocket type fireworks attached!
I was quite concerned for my safety as rockets are shooting off this thing thats only 6 feet high, what happens if it gets you in the face?

India-Chennai-Temple - The rocket propelled bonfire - I stand well back and duck behind cars but manage to take this picture.

The rocket propelled bonfire - I stand well back and duck behind cars but manage to take this picture.


India-Chennai-Temple - Some store owners behind me laughing at me for ducking and flinching.

Some store owners behind me laughing at me for ducking and flinching.


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