Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Temple, Traffic and Safari

Kapaleeswarar Temple One of the most beautiful places of interest you have to visit in Chennai is the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, which is located in Mylapore and build in honour to the god Eeshwarar, an alias of Shiva. The legend behind this temple is the following: Brahma failed to show the due respect to Shiva. Therefore, Shiva plucked one of Brahmas heads (kapalams). Brahma came down to the side of Mylapore and installed a Lingam (symbol) to please Shiva. Another legend says that goddess Parvathi once playfully closed Shiva’s eyes which made the world fell into darkness. So Shiva cursed Parvathi to become a pea-hen and do penance here to get back her original personality. You can visit one of the four yearly festivals or one of the six daily rituals.

Once you stop inside Chennai or any other cities in India, you will come across a new experience in traffic. For example if you’re inside the streets Screenshot_2015-05-18-19-09-42~2with a car you got the feeling, you will be inside a living anthill. A two-lane road turns into a four-lane road, populated with cars, buses, hundreds of motorbikes and auto rickshaws that turn the traffic into a metal landslide. It is noisy, dusty and chaotic, while the hooter is the organ of traffic speech. If you try to cross the road without any pedestrian light, you feel like going through a swarm of wasp without being bitten. This was my firstimpression when I reached here. Nowadays, it’s totally normal and I will cross the roads, like any other Indians do: waiting until a slow vehicle is coming, giving a hand signal and just go.

DSC_0379Beside the roads you can go with the train. It’s very easy, cheap and sometimes even faster than the normal traffic. If you’re inside a wagon you will mostly see men and just a few women. Why? The women have their own wagon, to avoid sexual assaults and harassment. It’s fun to stay at the open doors, to feel the wind on your skin. The wagons are much better acclimatised than the German trains during summer. To go from Chennai to Vandalur (30 km) and back you just pay around 20 Cent.

We went to Vandalur to go inside the Arignar Anna Zoological Park. It was set up in 1855 and was the first public zoo in India. It is the largest zoological garden in the country and one of the largest in the world, spread over 6 km², including a 1 km² rescue and zoo-maprehabilitation centre. In 1975 the zoo which was located near the Chennai Central Station could no longer expand and had to be moved out of the city because of space constraints and increased noise pollution. One year later, they decided to build a new zoo at Vandalur Reserve Forest. The zoo houses 2.553 species of flora and fauna, around 1.500 wild species, including 46 endangered species. You can decide if you want to go by small buses, electric cars and bicycles or by foot to see the unique surroundings. The Indians had also a view on really rare species inside the zoo: European people. Pictures were taken as much as possible with a lot of “Hellos” and “How are you?”. Here you can enjoy the nature, peace and fresh air, faraway from big city life.

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