Posted by: dalefaio | January 4, 2012

Thanjavur to Madurai – Leg 3

Yesterday morning, Team Tuk and Roll headed out of Thanjavur on a 207 KM run to Madurai but not without first stopping at the temple in Thanjavur which some simply refer to as “The Big Temple.”  This temple was built by RajaRaja Chola I in 1010 and was constructed from granite.  The vision for the temple came to RajaRaja, who was a Tamil emperor, in a dream and stands true as a massive monument to what was the throne and the central place for the Cholas to woship their deity, Shiva.

After finding the answers to our challenge questions at the temple, it was time to head down the road to Madurai.  Along the way, we stopped at Thirumayam Fort which is built from massive slabs of rock and granite and has a sweeping 360 degree view.  In the middle of the fort there is a raised platform of about two stories with a cannon atop of it that made for good photo ops for the teams participating in the race.

On the way out, yes it is true, a monkey cornered us and demanded that we open one of our cans of Red Bull, set it on the ledge and slowly walk away.  We were scared!  Terrified even!  And so we complied and then proceeded to take a lot of pictures so that we would have plenty of evidence showing how ruthless this little dude looked.

After the fort, it was off to Madurai but not before a great Thali lunch and a quick photo op with the fellas at a nearby rickshaw stand.  Thali lunch for those who have not partaken, consists of heaps of rice, several types of curried (subzi in Hindi territory) vegetables:  spinach (although our version yesterday had an indigenous green that had a little more of that mild bitter that you get from mustard greens – delicious), coriander, tomato, sambar, with curd and yogurt all served on a banana leaf.  You start working all of the tasty sides into your pile of rice with the fingers of your right hand, get it globbed up into tasty spoonful heaps of goodness and shovel ’em into your mouth.  The attendants come by as often as you need them with little tripod holders with stainless steel pots and refill your leaf as often as you like (kind of a south Indian version of dim sum).  Yesterday’s meal plus a couple of bottles of water for the Tuk and Rollers came to about 200 rupees, or $4 USD.

Then it was on to Madurai.  The cruise into town took about two hours with a stop to check on a couple of other teams having mechanical difficulties, more photos with guys with awesome mustaches (and man are there a lot of those in this neck of the woods), and a stop for tea.  Getting tea down here is a really neat experience.  Everything local, strainers that look like they have been used maybe a couple thousand times, thatched shop fronts, plastic jars of sugary treats, and local folks who frankly give you a look at first that could be interpreted as the hairy eyeball but is more like “what’s up bro, haven’t seen you in awhile.”  We always get as many handshakes as we can handle, a few words of English, and a friendly wave when we jump in the rigs and cruise out of town.  The people down here are great.  Unassuming, welcoming, and pure, the interaction with the people here is what I am going to remember the most when this adventure is over.

We had an awesome dinner and dessert in Madurai at a couple of place that Bose had been jonesin’ for all day.  I don’t want to leave anything on the table in the interpretation so I’ll let Bose tackle that post if he likes.

Tuk and Roll!!!

– DAVE

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Responses

  1. Sounds like you are having a great time! Bill and I agree that interaction with people in another country is the highlight of the experience and it sounds like you are getting plenty of that! Wish we were mice in the corner of your rickshaw ~ watching the experience!

  2. Sounds wonderful. Do you need a fork? You are much braver when it comes to food than I am. But you knew that. Remember, I’m a white bread person. Love the way you write. Enjoy!

  3. I am throughly enjoying your posts. You should be a travel writer! Keep safe and best wishes.

  4. Was that a Cub’s hat??????

    Sounds like you guys are having a great time and eating well. I hope you’re not needing any of the high potency medicines.


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