TRIP COACH

How Was Your Trip?

By , Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Left to right: Princy, Laura, and Edel

Left to right: Princy, Laura, and Edel

"I Just Had to Have It!"
"I don't usually bring home trinkets from my travels, but I fell in love with this carved stone elephant at a market in Chennai," says Laura. "If you look closely, you can see that there's another smaller elephant on the inside."

Rock on
"Everything surprised and thrilled me," Laura says. "This temple in Mamallapuram, now in ruins, was built atop a huge boulder."

Body beauty
At a crafts center just outside Chennai, Laura had a peacock design painted with henna on her hand. The pattern stayed on for a full two weeks.

Standing by the bay
"I came across a statue of Gandhi on the Bay of Bengal, in Pondicherry," Laura says. "The town was so neatly laid out and not at all crowded. It actually looked like France."

A better welcome
This woman is demonstrating rangoli, Indian sandpainting using fine powder. The designs adorn the doorsteps of houses and temples.

Fresh start
South India is full of shrines to Ganesha, the Hindu deity with the head of an elephant. He's known as the Lord of Beginnings.

Wedding belles
Nuptial celebrations in India are famously big. Laura had the chance to experience one thanks to her friend Edel and Edel's sister, Princy. "Princy knows the groom's brother," Laura explains. "And he told her to invite anyone. There were hundreds of people." Laura ordered her custom silk salwar kameez from a department store just a few days before the wedding. "We picked it up on the way there!" she says.

Pay to play
"It cost me fifty cents to be able to bring my camera into Kapaleeswarar Temple," Laura says. "I couldn't stop snapping pictures. The color and the detail work are absolutely stunning."