As soon as I tell people about the Fulbright, people ask me…Where? And I usually just respond with India. But that doesn’t explain much, does it? India is huge. About 1.21 BILLION people. The second most populous country in the world! And it takes up almost the whole South Asian Subcontinent. India is made up of 29 states and 7 territories, 461 languages, 4 major religions, and so many different traditions that would be too many to count.
I’m really going to Chennai, a large city on the southeastern shore of India. It’s the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu and located on the coast of Bay of Bengal. It’s the 3rd largest city in the country. If you want to compare it to an American city, it’s larger than Chicago but smaller than Los Angeles. The language they speak is called Tamil. And I’m hoping to pick up a few phrases before I go.
One of the arts they are known for is dance. Bharathanatyam is a classical style of Indian dance that originated in temples in Tamil Nadu. The style represents the elements (earth, wind, fire, water and ether). I’m looking forward to seeing some performances when I go.
As far as I know, it’s going to be really hot, the average temperatures from January through April range from 80-95 degrees (I’ll make sure to leave my parka at home). It’s located on a coastal plain, where it’s really flat. There are 3 rivers that go through and around either side of the city. I’ll have to see how it compares to Pittsburgh’s 3 rivers. There are beaches in the area! Chennai has the second largest urban shoreline in the whole world. There are two popular beaches called Marina Beach and Elliot’s Beach. I’m not sure if they’re swimmable, but I will gladly check them out for sure.
So what’s not to like, so far? A cosmopolitan city, arts and culture, hot weather, and beaches!! Sounds like a dream. I know there is much to learn about where I am going, and I’m really just pointing out the highlights of the area. But stay tuned friends, much more to follow.