The theosophical gardens in Chennai, India

When visited:  March 2014          Weather:  Hot   28C

In Chennai for a meeting over the weekend and had a morning free; it was between visiting Guindy Park or The Theosophical Gardens and I chose the latter just cos it was a little nearer our hotel, the Taj Coromandel…and here’s a tip:  if you want a cheap 5 star hotel in India…there was an offer going for 5000INR or about USD80….what more could you ask for?

So we hopped into a tuktuk which is really the way to go…

old fashioned meter on our tuktuk

old fashioned meter on our tuktuk

 

and we arrived at the Theosophical (which I think means a non-religious brotherhood type of philosophy) Gardens and made our way inside on foot…

Just after the main entrance, the road splits....

Just after the main entrance, the road splits….

There were a few birds around

common babbler?

common babbler?

crows were everywhere...

crows were everywhere…

the ubiquitous rufous treepie

the ubiquitous rufous treepie

and walking further in, we found the grave of Olcott, the man who founded the Thesophical Society in Chennai…

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Close up of Olcott's headstone

Close up of Olcott’s headstone

there was a nice dirt track along the side of the river...which we explored

there was a nice dirt track along the side of the river…which we explored

and a beautfiul building along the way...

and a beautfiul building along the way…

colourful local ladies keeping the place clean...

colourful local ladies keeping the place clean…

And as we walked along this trail, we saw some interesting things…

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probably the prettiest bird this morning...the Asian Paradise Flycatcher

probably the prettiest bird this morning…the Asian Paradise Flycatcher

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and the ugliest....bats!

and the ugliest….bats!

this handsome fellow popped up..otter or mongoose?

this handsome fellow popped up..otter or mongoose?

And as we were following the side of the estuary, there were also crabs and some waterbirds..

crab in hole

crab in hole

black winged stilts

black winged stilts

huge flock of gulls

huge flock of gulls

which were a spectacle when they took off!

which were a spectacle when they took off!

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go right to the mouth of the estuary…so had to turn back…and we also then encountered an officious fellow who said we had to pay some money to take pictures…which we would have been happy to do so had we been so informed when we came in…so we stopped shooting…apart from these beautiful bugs…

interesting bugs just before we left...

interesting bugs just before we left…

Another officious fellow tried the same thing as we were leaving and asked for money…totally ‘unofficial’ I’m sure.

holy man image on the tuktuk screen...

holy man image on the tuktuk screen…

Rejoining our tuktuk…we headed back to our hotel well pleased with our morning’s jaunt.  My friend was not a birder but I think he found it fairly interesting too….all in all, I would say that it was a pleasant enough way to spend three hours in Chennai especially when it was so accessible.

And so on to dinner…in a previous post on Agra I wrote about a restaurant found wanting and thankfully in Chennai we found a restaurant completely the opposite!  We were recommended the restaurant Jamavar in the Leela Palace Hotel by the waterfront….and this is what greeted us as we arrived…a tasteful fountain with floating elephants behind..

entrance to the Leela Palace Hotel

entrance to the Leela Palace Hotel

very tasteful entrance

very tasteful entrance

and we just had a feeling that we would be in for a treat at the restaurant..

The awesome Jamavar restaurant

The awesome Jamavar restaurant

We’d eaten in the highly regarded and expensive Southern Spice Restaurant in the Taj Coromandel for lunch, which basically tarted up the very common southern indian dishes we normally get in Singapore and Malaysia and were presented very prettily. The food was acceptable but unremarkable and certainly forgettable.  The meal at Jamavar in the Leela Palace was totally the opposite…it served northern indian food and as we love tandooris…we ordered tandoori king prawn which was out of this world..and if it were in my power to award Michelin stars…I would! Sorry about the poor picture…handphone pic.

King prawn tandoori

King prawn tandoori

But equally awesome was that well known but seldom seen ‘mulligatawny soup’….just delicious..deserving of anther michelin star!

We then had a brilliant tandoori chicken with wonderful vegetable dishes which had even our vegetarian friend purring…the most ordinary dish of the night was actually the lobster curry…mainly because the sauce which was nice..masked the lobster flavour…

lobster curry and vegetable curry

lobster curry and vegetable curry

We met the chef..who was only 30 years old..amazing! With lots of beer and brilliant pomegranate juice, the bill was a reasonable USD150 for three of us and this was certainly a memorable meal to have before we set off for the airport..highly recommended!

3 thoughts on “The theosophical gardens in Chennai, India

  1. Pingback: The love after the storm: Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary | verseherder

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