After Mumbai we went down to Madras for 2 nights to go visit Tiriputi, the temple of our family deity. That was quite a ridiculous experience. Apparently, it’s the richest temple in India, and attracts millions of people to visit it. On average, people have to wait in line some 24 hours to see the ‘idol’. However, if you have money and pay for a time slot, your wait is cut down to something like a couple hours. (we did the latter) People have been known to wait in line 2 to 3 days. In addition to such a ridiculous line, devotees just throw money at the temple. They have income of over a million a month in donations alone. Rich, poor and the middle class all just donate huge sums in hopes that ‘god’ will grant them their wish. There’s a story of a father who held is son up to drop in the money in the hundi (that’s the donation pot), and dropped the son in by accident. The temple claimed rights over the child, saying the child was given since he went into the hundi. After two years of a legal battles, the temple and family now have joint rights on the child. India is a strange place. After Tiriputi, the next day we went to Mahabalipuram, which is where a whole lot of statues and temples from around the 6th and 7th century are preserved in a UNESCO world heritage site. Very cool. While there, I bought a stone statue of Ganapathi (Ganesh) that was hand made for $3.00. The same day we departed for New Delhi, where we currently are, staying with my aunt. We’re here for another 8 days, and most likely will be doing some sight seeing of Delhi and perhaps taking a trip to Jaipur.

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