Gallery: Madurai and the awesome Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple!

One of the other sites we found in Madurai... a Sci-Fi themed bar in the Supreme Hotel!

One of the other sites we found in Madurai… a Sci-Fi themed bar in the Supreme Hotel!14-Nov-2009 17:15, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100

Our penultimate stop in India, Madurai; the oldest inhabited city on the Indian peninsula. Home to the magnificent Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple it was definitely one of those places we picked almost purely based on the photo of the humongous Gopuras stretching to the sky like a scene from Blade Runner. The entire time we were there we saw hardly any other travellers, and even then only on a package tour. It certainly wasn’t set up for backpackers to visit en masse. This was made very evident when a quick forage for some emergency toilet roll (often not supplied with the room) turned into an unsuccessful ninety minute sprint around the town just to find it simply isn’t for sale! How did we find the elusive bum paper? Was the temple everything it promised? Was anything else squeezed in before we headed to Thailand!?

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Gallery: Virupaksha Temple and the Vijayanagara Empire in Hampi!

The awesome Virupaksha temple rearing up from the centre of Hampi town.

The awesome Virupaksha temple rearing up from the centre of Hampi town.11-Nov-2009 06:04, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 5.0, 38.0mm, ISO 800

Having escaped the threat of a torrential ten days in Goa, we arrived late afternoon in Hampi, a famed area chockablock with ruins and history, as well as being a chilled out spot that allegedly some find very difficult to leave. I expected swathes of dry desert liberally sprinkled with boulders; we actually found grass, palm trees, great bushes of flowers, and of course rocks and sand although this wasn’t immediately obvious as we arrived to blackened clouds, torrential downpour and no power to the whole town. From the relative safety of a candle lit roof top restaurant, only the occasional fit of lightning reminded us that if the world was coming to an end, it still existed for now. Did the deluge of water stop? Would our successful run of no Delhi belly continue? Would I eat something that didn’t involve a curry?

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Gallery: Chilling on a beach in Palolem, Goa!

Lynette and I going for a Brucie Bonus.

Lynette and I going for a Brucie Bonus.06-Nov-2009 13:58, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400

After our first overnight bus in India, we arrived in Goa. Heading first for our chosen section of Goa in the South, Agonda, which the guidebook reliably told us had a hostel with Wifi, we found the hostel was undergoing renovation and there was absolutely nothing to see or do, including no other people. We quickly revised plans to go to Palolem, a slightly bigger area of Goa beside Agonda and hitched a taxi there. Would we find a hostel with wifi? Which film does Palolem beach appear in? Who is Polish nappy man? And NO MONUMENTS TO TALK ABOUT – YAY!

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Gallery: The Enchanting Ellora and Amazing Ajanta caves, our first real stop(s)!

Another family who wanted a group photo with us involved, the situation completely spun on its head from other countries we have visited.

Another family who wanted a group photo with us involved, the situation completely spun on its head from other countries we have visited.31-Oct-2009 07:42, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 6.3, 28.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 800

After our marathon first twenty four hours in India, we pulled up in Jalgaon train station – our launch pad for the famous Ajanta caves, Buddhist monasteries carved out of the vertical rock face of a horse shoe shaped gorge. Thirsty for more, our next stop would be Aurangabad and the renowned Ellora caves, a fusion of over thirty Hindi, Buddhist and Jain caves signifying the religious harmony that has sporadically yet rarely in India’s history. They are both beautiful for different reasons, and represent something we hope to find more on the second leg of our travels; a completely different approach. Did we avoid getting fleeced by local touts? Were we victim to the notorious Delhi belly after our first Thali? Would the locals go as far as actually asking for our autograph?

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First 24hrs in India as we continue our travels!

We’ve arrived safe and sound! All of our fears have been to to rest! We’d been told we’d either fall in love, or get the first plane back out again. We’ve completed out marathon journey from Heathrow to Jalgaon, and so far we haven’t booked a flight back. So we must be loving it!

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