Our journey up the East coast of India has been a whirlwind, covering about 2000km in a shade under 2 weeks.
First port of call was Madurai, whose main attraction is its massive temple, Sri Meenakshi, which rivals the Taj Mahal as one of India’s great wonders.
Next stop was the French colonial town of Pondicherry, where we enjoyed ambling through the shady streets enjoying what’s left of the Gallic heritage.
From Pondy we had a long train ride north into Orissa, staying in a small town which we used as a base for visiting a nearby tribal market. We thought we had been on some packed public transport before, but that was nothing compared to the bus to Chatikona market - luckily we were inside, there were at least half a dozen people on the roof and the conductor spent most of the journey swinging from the door!
The Orissan capital of Bhubaneswar was our next destination where we took in more temples and the seaside resort of Puri.
Finally, on this leg, we made our way to Calcutta which for us was a gastronomic extravaganza, visiting lots of great restaurants recommended to us by our good friend Arijit who comes from this most vibrant of Indian cities.
We are now leaving the hurly burly of mainstream India behind to head for the small Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim.