Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day Trips

Most every Saturday the volunteers go on a day trip to a neighboring town. My first Saturday we went to Puducherry. The following Saturday we went to Mamallapuram.

Puducherry, also known as the French Riviera of the East is about a two hour drive from Rising Star. It sits on the south east coast of India, on the Bay of Bengal.

A little history: The French East India Company set up a trading centre at Pondicherry in 1674. This outpost eventually became the chief French settlement in India. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s, they allowed the French to retain their settlements in the country. Pudicherry remained a part of French India until 1954 at which time it merged with the motherland.

The french influence is seen in some of the architecture, little street signs that say "Rue ..." and the presence of the French Consulate. Puducherry is a popular tourist spot for national and international travelers.

 The local market
 My travelling buddies: Max, Erin and Anita

A highlight of the trip was a visit to an Italian restaurant and this Gnocchi Pesto and its accompanying Focaccia
A giant statue of Ghandi

Local Park
Bay of Bengal


Mahabalipuram was another day trip. It is about 1 1/2 hours from Rising Star. Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city.  It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples.

We walked around and looked at everything. I'm not that into ancient ruins, but these were pretty cool.

Highlights of this trip included: purchasing new leather sandals, customed-made right on the spot, eating lunch at the 5 Star Radisson Resort and spending the afternoon at another resort pool, which included ice cream. 


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