Namaste, some thoughts along the way,
My India trip with some dear friends is going very well with intermittent unseasonal rains now and then. Seems southern India has not escaped the effects of seasonal changes due to global warming. We are now on a long bus ride (thank you Ganesh for a comfortable cool transport) from Pondicherry to Cochin, in the state of Tamil Nadu, way south in India on the Bay of Bengal.
|Clay offering horses at the primitive
small village temple of Ilayangudi,
Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu,
Southern India, traditional
Vaikasi thiruvizha festival offerings,
yearly, in May, since the 1700's
|Meenakshi Amman Temple,
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Needless to say it's quite a different world here than I've ever experienced before. All the color of the region appears in the bright and beautifully colored sari and sarongs on both men and especially females. The rest of the area and terrain, if not out of the cities and villages, are disturbingly dirty with trash strewn about everywhere. It's quite filthy to be sure. Somehow and amazingly the locals always appear dressed in clean clothing. Buddha only knows how they manage that.
Tamil Nadu. An enclave
of villas built by wealthy
Indian investors in Burma
during the 19th century.
A feat I've not been able to pull off even using hotel laundries. Some of the countryside, especially in the mountain side tea plantations and lowland rice field areas where nature is at its most lush and gorgeous are visually spectacular. Rarely have I seen such vibrant, intense and varied shades of all spectrum of green. It's actually breathtaking at moments. With the help of friends with superior cameras and photographic talents than mine, we've managed to put together an extraordinary album of photos which I'll share with you at a later date if interested.
The food and cuisine has been very repetitive and one can only consume so much rice and curry, no matter how much you like it. This is the daily fair eaten, in one form or another at every meal. Of course the revered and respected "holy cow" and sacred Brahma roams freely everywhere and is never killed or eaten. Religiously forbidden, hence the local population is more than 90% vegetarian.
| A typical home yard in Ilayangudi
village, complete with the ever
present Brahma bulls.
The people, both Hindi and Buddhist are beautifully gentle and very friendly. Rarely have I experienced such a genuinely sincere and welcoming people so content with their lot in life even though very poor. Also, I've never observed such devotion to family and religion anywhere.
There's a lot to be learned from these remarkably content and happy people and I'm doing my best to absorb, learn and benefit from such an ancient culture that pre dates ours ( Christianity ) and our civilization by several hundred years.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!