Today dawned hot and clear, again! No lie-in as we had to get going early so that the Littlehampton team could visit the temple with us before flying home (they have to be home for Sunday evening, so are having to shorten and squish the last bit into 24 hectic hours!)
We went to school for breakfast as it is on the way to the temple and near to the wonderful ladies who have been feeding us so well all week. It was strange to get to the school and not be greeted by swarms of smiling children all wanting to ‘high-5’ us, but it did mean we were less distracted in getting to the breakfast!
The journey to the temple took about 45 minutes, through lovely rural India, and it was potentially a great chance to see a bit more of village life – but the heat and the pace of the week caught up with most of the team and it turned into a bus of predominantly snoozing team members!
The temple is massive, and was full of Hindu worshippers. It was very busy, and lots of chanting etc going on. We got fast-tracked through the queues which was nice – probably easier for the temple authorities than having a load of lost of Brits wandering into the wrong places and going the wrong ways! After the TLA team had whizzed off early to go to Rajahmundry airport for the flight to Hyderabad, Helen had to do her first spontaneous TV interview of the day when a TV reporter spotted our team and wanted to know what we were all about. After that, and a few more photos, it was back to the bus via painfully hot ground made worse by the fact that we didn’t have shoes on as the temple is shoes off, and its safer to leave them on the bus.
Now just the Windlesham and SJA cohorts and Helen, we next popped up the road and saw an Indian elephant – most of the team had a quick go at feeding him and some gave him coins which he accepts in his trunk and then passes to his keeper – great show of the dexterity of an elephants trunk.
Back to Janaki’s home for a delicious lunch – the food just kept coming: rice, spiced potato, carrot salad, curried chicken, omelets, chapattis, poppadums, little puffed up crispy things. We all had more than our fill. And then whilst some of us took up the delicious challenge of eating custard fruit, Janaki told us her story of how she started her work following a miraculous healing from an incurable illness and her conversion from Hinduism to Christianity.
When everyone was done we travelled back to the hotel, and had a bit of time trying on the saris that had arrived this morning, before going out for tuc-tuc rides. That was great fun, and a brilliant way to see around the city and experience one of the most common forms of Indian transport.
So the day ends with the TLA team in Hyderabad having a quick look round before flying home tonight, and the Windlesham and SJAers packing and journaling in Tadepallegudum, before a slowish morning tomorrow and then flying to Hyderabad in the afternoon. We will then have a day of sightseeing on Monday before flying home.
Love to all our families and friends, and hopefully will post the next blog from Hyderabad.
PS from Helen at the internet cafe trying to post the blog: 'computer refusing to upload photos today, so it's just words this time - sorry!