Chazzies – an’ all!

2010-10-22 15:02

Visiting Chatsworth is akin to being transported to a different world rich with tradition, mixed cultures and religions, and interesting architecture.

Affectionately known as Chazzies, Chatsworth is one of Durban’s largest suburbs with a predominantly South African Indian population, due to its history.

Finding your way around can be tricky, but Florence Nightingale Road takes you to two of the main Chatsworth attractions.

1. Sri Sri Radhanath Temple and Govindas

First stop is the spectacular Temple of Understanding, also known as the Sri Sri Radhanath Temple, said to be the largest Hare Krishna temple in Africa.

The lotus-shaped building is capped with three soaring white-and-gold domes and is surrounded by a moat.

Before entering the temple, I respectfully take off my shoes, leaving them with the others in neat little rows.

The interior is a breathtaking spectacle of marble floors, pillars, chandeliers, golden statues, and large gold windows and skylights that allow light to stream into the sanctuary.

Most impressive is the magnificent ceiling decorated with elaborate golden panels and huge, detailed murals depicting the life of Lord Krishna.

Happy to find my shoes where I left them earlier, I head downstairs to Govindas.

This excellent vegetarian cafeteria offers inexpensive Indian cuisine – from snacks and sweetmeats to curry and biryani meals.

A plate of curry, rice and sambals costs about R22.

Buffet lunches are available every Sunday for a meagre R50.

After a meal, take a walk in the temple’s ornamental gardens or sit on a bench next to the moat and enjoy the tranquillity.

2. The Bangladesh Market

Next up is the Bangladesh Market, just behind Florence Nightingale Road.

This vibrant and bustling indoor/outdoor market is an amazing treat for the senses.

Mingling aromas of spices, incense, herbs and fruit welcome you.

Walk down rows of colourful stalls selling an array of flowers, fresh produce, atchars, Indian foods, clothing, pictures and even goldfish.

Vendors compete for attention by shouting out prices to entice you to purchase their produce.

The atmosphere is lively and friendly, and people are there for the social experience as much as for the bargains.

Prices are incredibly cheap.

You can buy a lettuce for R2 or pay R5 for a plate of lemons, mini-aubergines, chillies or green mangos.

At the rear of the market is an impressive fresh fish section and a meat stall selling lamb offal, including whole sheep heads.

There are also bakkies full of live chickens in cages.

You choose your chicken for R35 and it is then taken to the abattoir where, for R3.50, it is slaughtered and cleaned faster than you can say banana bhajias.

It comes back to you freshly packaged and ready for your Sunday roast!

» Govindas is open on Monday to Saturday from 10.30am to 8pm and on Sundays until 6pm.

The Temple of Understanding is open for visitors daily from 10am to 8.30pm 0?031 403 3328

» The market is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 6am to 7pm 0?031 307 7595

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