|From Mysore I headed over to the east coast by train to Chennai and then headed south by bus to Pondicherry. Better known locally as Pondy the town is an old French town and one of the main centres in India for ashrams. Whilst the ashram philosophy of free love may be appealing, the no alcohol and no TV (which would of meant no World Cup) rules meant I decided to forego the chance of communal living and checked into a hotel with satellite TV and a mini-bar - even after 10 months on the road I still don't consider myself a true backpacker as I need a bit of luxury from time to time.
However I did go out and visit one of the ashrams called Auroville set-up by The Mother in 1968 as "an experiment in international living where people can live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, politics and nationalities". Which was pretty interesting.
From Pondy it was then onto Mahabalipuram (Mamalla) a small fishing village about half-way between Pondicherry and Chennai. Mamalla has turned into a bit of a hippy/backpacker hang-out due to its laid back atmosphere and various temples and rock-carvings in the area. I chilled out here for few days by the beach and hired a motorbike to explore the local area.
I'm now off to Sri Lanka next to visit my friends Richard and Sarah who live in Colombo with their two children. Looking forward to a few home comforts, some home-cooking (that's a subtle hint to my hosts) and watching England lift the World Cup.
Journey distance from Mysore to Chennai (plus return trip to Pondicherry) - 760km or 472 miles
Total distance traveled - 105,104 km or 65,309 miles