This week’s WordPress photo challenge is ‘Repurpose’. We’re to submit an image of something of our own that we’ve put to a new use. I couldn’t come up with anything worth a snapshot, even though I’m rather keen on ‘repurposing’.
Instead, I want you to come with me to Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. I was there almost ten years ago as part of my Indian Adventure. I loved this town. It’s not quite on the tourist trail, as its glorious and extravagantly carved temples remain unpainted. They are not vibrantly painted like those in nearby Madurai, so Madurai gets the foreign visitors.
I stayed* with a young American academic, Gwen, who for seven years had made Thanjavur her home. She whisked me about on her motor bike, introduced me to her Indian friends and neighbours, asked me to run errands for her in the market where nobody spoke English or saw tourists much, and took me to tiny back street shops to buy freshly prepared and sizzling-hot evening meals.
I was by myself though, when early one morning I came upon these goats. They’d found a new use for the adverts pasted on the walls of a house. Look.
And here’s the cow that was tethered outside Gwen’s window. It’s found an unfortunate use for the pile of rubbish tumbled into a pile on the corner.
Finally, here’s a different use for a pavement. It’s become a canvas for traditional drawings in fine sand. These designs frame the lights which lit our path homewards every evening during Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light.
And here are three picture postcards – temple views.
Thanjavur: Breehadeeswara Temple.
Temple elephant, Thanjavur
Thanjavur: Periya Kovil Temple
* via ‘Couchsurfing’, a scheme which matches travellers with locals, who offer beds, local knowledge and friendship.
Almost ten years ago now, I had my Indian Adventure, when I travelled first of all with a small group of like-minded English travellers, and then solo round southern India. That’s when I started blogging, using TravelBlog, though I later transcribed it onto WordPress which may be more user-friendly.
The culture shock of arriving in Bangalore with its constant traffic noise, its motor horns, its street-cattle, its monkeys, its people, its eagles and vultures wheeling overhead is unforgettable.
Arriving in Pondicherry some three weeks later was just as much of a jolt. Suddenly I was transported (after a motorway journey which included goats grazing on the central reservation) to colonial era France. Here were policemen in kepis, elegant public buildings, corner shops selling baguettes and croissants.
My guesthouse was a charming 19th century throwback which would have been totally at home on the French Riviera.
Yet I was undoubtedly in India. There was a spot of building work going on outside my bedroom window. Here’s the delivery wagon:
Here’s a more up-to-date delivery lorry:
Here’s the school run:
And here’s the beach:
Here though is the photo which answers this week’s WordPress photo challenge: ‘Names’. A street sign which represents the many-faceted cultural references of what I thought of as my favourite Indian city.
In a couple of days I plan to re-blog an old post of mine which has something further to contribute to the ‘Names’ theme.