Wednesday, 20 April 2016

India: Tiruvannamalai

My magic-carpet ride journey through Middle Earth.
Here is my attempt to document it.

Right now I am sitting in a Xerox shop overlooking the misty Himalayan tea fields just outside of Darjeeling. I have just eaten a plate of vegetarian Momos (Tibetan dumplings) and organized my permit to enter the northeastern state of Sikkim. Yesterday my travel companions and I parted ways; Ellie from Italy back to Melbourne and Maria from Spain to Thailand. And I rest still and slowly move my way North, as mother Himalaya calls me to find shelter in her foothills.

I truly could never have planned for the occurrences of this journey. I came here with no real fixed plan and a mindset of plunging deeply into the unknown, with a heart open to exploring the depths of myself through yoga, meditation and whatever means may manifest. And I ended up staying at a holy mountain, volunteering in a reforestation community, painting with artists in the Western Ghat mountains, doing Vipassana meditation and sitting under the Bodhi tree where the Buddha became enlightened, and now venturing into hidden Himalayan Tibetan landscapes. Mountains have souls. We are connected to them in ways in which our minds will never comprehend.

So, here is a snapshot of the past three months. Funny thing, I lost my camera charger, but have managed to find some battery charge through using friends' chargers. But the moments in which I find my camera dead are those in which I find myself surrounded in the most heartfelt company, moments that I am forced not to capture with my lens but with my heart. So as a result I have few photos with those whom I spent some of the most quality time. But I've tried to resurrect some photos captured by their smartphones (mine disappeared into the ether some time ago). Internet here is incredibly slow, so I am slowly but surely adding photos.

Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu.

Monkey in my bathroom. Siva Sinnidi Ashram. Right before this, I was lying on my bed and nearly had a heart attack when I saw him sneak into my bag and steal this banana.

Shiva Temple, from the top of Mount Arunachala

Bardi, her cousin, two little ones and a pup.

The lovely Zen, Sri Ramana Maharishi Ashram,

Me, Sri Ramana Maharishi Ashram.

Ambika. Lovely girl who took me on a walk and ended up kidnapping me for a day. A laugh that filled my heart.
She also dressed me up in a Sari and put Jasmine in my hair
And her Amma was something special. She wouldn't let me go. She cooked me a special Briyani dish and insisted I sleep at their house even though I was staying at the ashram.

Ambika and some other children from the village pulled me up the mountain during sunset. Holy Mount Arunachala in the background.

Pup in paradise.
This sadhu showed me around the huge Shiva temple in Tiruvannamalai town. Warm heart.
Kolam (chalk art) with a smile

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