My Sunday in Chennai centered on religion and worship of various kinds.
I started the day attending church at the beautiful St. Andrew’s Scottish Presbyterian Church in the heart of Chennai, known locally as the Kirk (church in Scottish). The church was constructed in 1818 and has stood as a Protestant house of worship continuously since then. Originally intended for Scotsmen in the British Army, it now is attended by mostly Indians. It was the first Sunday of the year, so the church was holding a Covenant Service, which is traditionally more a Methodist practice than a Presbyterian one.
Anyway, it was a beautiful service of music, singing, fellowship, and preaching. One of the joys of travel is always to meet Christians around the world and the coffee fellowship after the service was a great chance to speak to many locals…we ended up staying for over an hour talking to various people. And the sanctuary and pipe organ were magnificent.
By the way, this was a 7:00 AM service…we still had the whole day ahead of us. We had a guide with us and after patiently sitting through our church service, he took us to his Hindu holy places. What a juxtaposition to go from the Kirk to the Dravidian-style Kapaleeshwarar Temple.
We also visited Marundeeswarar Temple, a shrine to Shiva, as well as the beach and British World War II Memorial.
I think the most interesting thing for me was the anthropological lesson on religion. Of course the topic of faith and religion came up since the morning was practically centered on it. Our guide had absolutely no concept of the Christian faith just as Heidi and I had very little concept of the gods and deities he lit candles to and bowed in worship. It led to some interesting discussion on many issues. And that becomes the joy of travel.
Chennai is a fascinating, bustling city. There’s much to see and do. Be sure to take time to visit the religious aspects of the city as well.