Off a little side street in Helensburgh is the Sri Venkateswara Temple - with crowds of women in their saris and kids running around with jet black hair, it feels like you have stumbled through a porthole into Southern India.
Although the seed for this temple was planted in 1978 the temple itself has only been open since 1985 and is still in its infancy with the grounds and services of the temple growing every day.
For us, however, the experience rests on the South Indian canteen that operates on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Once you have taken in the grand exoticness of the building, walked around the inside and marvelled at the fragrance of incense and its many deities - the smell of the food lures you out.
Set under a magnificent grove of trees, the simple alfresco dining area is a cool, welcoming place to taste some spicy treats. My favourite is the Masala Dosa a large rice flour pancake (crispy at the edges) wrapped around a spicy potato filling. Our little group ordered 1 of everything and shared (gorged) until we had to be rolled away for a nap.
With the highest price on the menu being $7.00 you can afford to invest in a Pooja (prayer/blessing) that can help you with love, career or prosperity in general.
Where: Temple Rd, Helensburgh NSW 2508
Cost: Free entry
Opening times: The temple is open every day however the canteen is only open on weekends and public holidays 10 am - 4 pm
Dress: Modest and sensible. Take a scarf