Today’s plan was to go to the Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Siva at Lewisham. The original plan was to pass some time in Greenwich and then go to the temple by evening. As usual, we missed the train by a whisker and did some window shopping in Tesco before catching a train. There are two routes available to Lewisham – National Rail from Charing Cross and DLR from Liverpool Street. Both the routes are scenic in their own way – DLR is a remotely operated train in glaring red with tracks in a roller coaster mode for some distance while National Rail has a beautiful crossing of Thames. Both of them give excellent views of Central London. The map which I saw was an old one not showing DLR from Liverpool Street. So, we settled on Charing Cross. When we reached the station, we found out that there are no trains to Greenwich and we had to change our plans to accommodate the temple first.
The temple is just back of Lewisham High Street by the river Quaggy(if only you have a heart to call that trickle of water a river!!) and is built in Darvidian style.
As like any other London temples, it contains an array of subshrines with a main shrine to the main diety, in this case, Lord Siva. The shrine is well maintained and is a candidate for regular visit. That done, I had a horrible lunch at some Tamil outlet and after a fruitless quest for Maplin store and a bus to Greenwich, we left for Woolwich.
The route to Woolwich skirts Shooters Hill which has a nice ancient wood, a small castle named Severndroog Castle built in commemoration of the fall of Suvarnadurg Island Fortress giving excellent night time views of the city. When we reached Woolwich there was a helicopter before the town hall, may be an ambulance which just took off. Woolwich was one of the arsenal towns of the British Empire and is nothing but a shell of what it was. Only, the entrance arch
and a few buildings and weapons here and there are what are left of it’s days of glory. But the pier gave excellent views on both sides, one side an open expanse and the other, Canary Wharf, Thames Barrier and Central London with an occasional flight disappearing on the other side of the river, landing at the airport there.
From there, we left for Greenwich. Greenwich is famous for the park, University, Maritime Museum, Prime Meridian and Cutty Sark. First it was the Maritime Museum. It was closed by the time we reached there, but the pillared corridors are a highlight. We walked up the hill through the paved avenue ending at the Observatory. The observatory is located at the end of a hill, the other end sloping into Greenwich Park and Blackheath. This side of the hill is famous for it’s views.
After a futile attempt at sketching the panorama, we went towards the observatory, which again, is closed . The observatory actually is a museum with various displays of electronic equipment and the famous Prime Meridian. For those who don’t want to shell that money, there is a marker just outside.
There is a twenty four hour clock, working but which still pointing to the older timezone.
Our work done at the scenic park, we went to Cutty Sark, a ship put on display near the river in the public square.
Just beside it is the entrance to a foot tunnel under the Thames, ending in Canary Wharf. Chapter closed; we returned back home in bus via Lewisham and Croydon.