With hefty ambitions for the next day, we decided to splurge on a car with driver for the first leg of our journey, down from the mountains in Munnar crossing the Western Ghats, to Dindugal in Tamil Nadu, 4 hours of beautiful, yet small and windy roads. From there it was a painless bus to get to Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) to see some classic south Indian temples. After a fabulous banana leaf thali, we headed to the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, which has seven gates that are beautifully adorned with sculpture and definitely overshadow the actual temple. Really cool:
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Trichy was super dusty and super hot, but we made one more stop at the Rock Fort temple. It was literally a huge rock with a small temple built on top, so about 500 steps later we were at the top and could see Trichy from above.
If the morning was easy, getting out of Trichy proved to be a difficult task, but we finally made it on to an express bus to Villuparum where we changed to one more bus for our final destination of the day, Pondicherry.
Almost all of the (budget) accommodation in Pondicherry is associated with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and therefore have a 22:30 curfew which was a tad problematic with our 23:00 arrival. Luckily, one overpriced dumpy location was willing to take us in after all.