Going Solo…

Every day is a new day, every moment a new . Still the change of numbers in the dates gives a fresh start to our goals, and to all that we want to do & achieve. Here is my first post of 2014.

The last december summed up my entire 2013 beautifully. Again, I travelled solo and literally was living one day at a time. After visiting a friend in Bangalore and travelling to Pondicherry together; I continued my journey from thereon travelling solo.

I visited Ramanashramam in Tiruvanamalai where I experienced a deep sense of harmony and unity among all that is living. You can read about this amazing place here.

Next was Madurai where my film was screened at an international film festival. I also got a chance to visit the magnanimous Meenakshi Temple & an old palace in the city where sculptures dating back 5th- 6th Century are preserved.

At Madurai
At Madurai
Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace
Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace

                  After Madurai, I instinctively headed to a quiet village near Ramanathapuram, where once my teacher lived. Initially, he was hesitant to tell me the address as he was very sure that it is impossible for a non-tamil person to locate the place. Well! he was not entirely wrong. The journey to this small interior village was quite thrilling… changed 2 buses and the route scaped through green lush rice fields and coconut trees. Loud tamil songs, equally loud people, the strong smell of fresh flowers that decked local women’s hair fused the bus environment. I was thoroughly enjoying the ride. I marvelled at my ability to communicate with signs without talking too much. 🙂 Every moment was a revelation on this journey. I arrived at my destination with quite an ease and was received with lot of warmth and love even though I landed there unannounced. May be it’s just my mind but it actually felt like coming home.

The village near Ramanathapuram
The village near Ramanathapuram
The village near Ramanathapuram
The village near Ramanathapuram

My hosts didn’t understand English or Hindi and I knew no Tamil. The only familiar word they heard from my mouth was my teacher’s name and that was enough. They welcomed me with open arms. I ate the yummiest idli & dosa there and not only my tummy but even my soul felt satiated at that place. Transcending the language barriers and having a direct heart to heart talk is rare to experience these days in today’s smart world. I feel blessed to have gone to this tiny, quiet village and meeting these lovely souls.

It was time to take leave; my next destination was Rameshwaram. Am not really a temple going person; I get irked by the fancy rules of the temples, no camera, no phone, 10Rs darshan, 20Rs darshan, 50Rs darshan. I wonder how much will it be worth to pay to get a glimpse of god. But keeping aside all the extravaganza around these temples; the ancient temples were highly energized centers around which the cities were built so people could benefit. We need to detach from the hustle bustle around and attune to that center.

Coastal Village in Rameshwaram at Pamban
Coastal Village in Rameshwaram at Pamban

Rameshwaram; an island town separated by Pamban channel, welcomed me with a not so pleasant fish stench that’s spread across the entire town. The moment the bus entered the town; I held my breath for as long as I could. I found pamban bridge more beautiful than Mumbai’s sea link and it’s view is far more Blue! Also visited Dhanuskodi a mysterious looking place where stands the ruins of buildings lost to a cyclone and where the waters of Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal meet. More on it later in a photo essay.

Next destination was Kanyakumari, the southermost tip of India. It’s more of a touristy place famous for its triveni sangam of 3 seas. During my visit to Kanyakumari temple, a special pooja was going on in its sanctum sanctorum in a very traditional way with dhols and nagadas which was a unique experience to witness. Having only half a day at my disposal, I couldn’t explore places nearby Kanyakumari.

Vivekananda Memorial & Statue of Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar
Vivekananda Memorial & Statue of Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar

      My last destination was Salem where I went to visit Mahajeev samadhi of Mayamma. A jeev samdhi is a place where a saint consciously drops the body and the prana (the vital life force) is still intact in the body that means the energy of the spiritual saint is very much still present. Meditating at such a place is blissful.  No better way to end this chapter of travel.

I’ll also be posting pictures that I found interesting in the still stories section.

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