We live on the east coast of the peninsular, so the sun sets on the side opposite the ocean. On the foreground is a corn seller.
These flowers are in bloom all over our neighbourhood. I don’t know what flower this is, probably some variant of the Magnolia family (Champanki/champaka), given its heady fragrance.
If you know what tree this is, let me know.
I leave back home tomorrow to tackle the bull by its horns. But until then, I am not letting the summer sun go waste. Visited a third temple of this temple town this morning. Having been misinformed of the time, I went at 10.30 AM, only to have the door closed on me. Not to be deterred, I scaled the long, deserted corridors, up and down, for an hour and a half, until the doors to the deity reopened at noon for the midday worship.
I tried walking along the sidewalk of the main sanctum, but the stone floors that had absorbed all the sun’s blessings didn’t think so, and I took shelter in the above roofed corridor which was a good five degrees cooler.
My yearly pilgrimage to SRGM is usually a very relaxing recharge affair. I was looking forward to it being so this time as well. However, the domestic turmoils just before I left have cast a shadow on this trip. I seem to be going through the motions – visiting the various temples, lazing around on the couch, eating healthy food NOT cooked by me, and reading junk – without really being there. There is a weight on my chest and nagging thoughts in my head, much as I’d like to push them aside for a couple of days.
The one thing about SRGM is that I cannot usually sleep too well here because it is very hot (dry heat, unlike the humid heat I am used to in my home city by the sea) and I sleep on the floor on which the pillows keep sliding. Mosquitoes are fairly violent at this time of the year as well. Usually it has not mattered because the spiritual experience here more than compensates for the lack of sleep. This year, lack of sleep is taking its toll because the mind is already stretched thin on all sides. I have been meditating, but without solace.
But complaints aside, the good things are still there. I just had an amazingly delicious lunch of kadamba sadam, manathakali keerai, garlic rasam and curd rice with orange-peel pickle, NONE of which was made by me. I am lazing on the love seat, right under the ceiling fan which is spewing out warm air, which, along with the full tummy and poor sleep last night, is making me drowsy. V and I had taken the town bus early this morning to visit the fort-temple built on a 3.8 billion year old rock, in the twin town on the other bank of the bone dry river bed, climbed the 344 steps cut out of the rock, to pray at the two temples bored into the rock – one for Shiva (“Thaayumaanavar” – the one who is also a mother) and Ganesha (“Uchchi pillayaar” – upper cave Ganesha). Yesterday I stood in the serpentine queue for two hours for a split second vision of the deity of the main temple town, and earlier yesterday I visited the temple of the lion-headed deity, the one that I call the “beast”. I managed to throw in a decently long meditation session, and a sahasranama chanting session later in the day. As soon as I publish this post, I am going to take a siesta (if that stupid rock in my chest lets me) and embark on more temple visits later in the day.
I keep telling myself que-sera-sera and I had better embrace what comes, but that stupid load on my chest doesn’t want to budge. Hopefully by the time I leave back for home on Tuesday, I will leave the burden behind and set out to do what is necessary.
Some pictures from this morning:
- The temple tower you see in the top picture is that of the lower Shiva temple. Picture taken halfway up the top Ganesha temple.
2. The rock temple from afar.
3. You can see the dry river bed in the background, the one that separates the town in which the rock is located and my marital home. The riverbed scares me – it talks of the horrible famine that awaits us this year.
4. Between the majestic 3.8 million-year old rock and the ugly yellow manmade wall
5. The landing between steps cut into the rock.