The object of all this devotional fervour is and has been the local mountain - called ANNAMALAI in Tamil and ARUNACHALA in Sanskrit - and the temple dedicated to it on its eastern side. The image of God in the temple and the mountain which rises up behind it are held to be one and the same entity: Siva, the Supreme Deity for millions of...more
I took this photo around 7 in the morning when there was already a lot of activity around the great Arunachaleswar Temple walls and in general in the town of Tiruvannamalai. The feel was great. We had to take off our sandals and leave them with a lady who at a stall across the road from the temple. As this temple is some 10 hectares, one of the...more
The tower of the eastern entrance gopuram, located in the outer wall, dominates the eight other ones that crown the gates made in the walls at the four cardinal points.With its massive stone base and its pyramid-shaped tower of STACCU-coated bricks, this gopuram is 54 m high.more
In ordinary circumstances the sacred temple elephant stays with his MAHOUT under a pavillion supported by columns near the hundred-pillared hall. He gives his blessings by placing his trunk over the heads of the devotees who, in return, give him an offering of a small coin.more
The innermost shrine, called the 'garbha graha', houses a small square room, cramped and dark, wherein resides the 'Sellai', the image of Lord Shiva, almost always in the symbolic form of a 'lingam'. This is an upright stone, square at the bottom, octagonal in the middle, then cylindrical with a rounded top. The base is embedded in a circular or...more
The location of the shrines dedicated to the deities and the buildings used for rituals are strictly laid out so that they are oriented to the east. In the corner of a courtyard , and always on the south-eastern side, are the kitchens where Brahmins prepare the offerings consisting of cooked food.Trees, one of which is sacred and is 'the tree of...more
This is a newly opened restaurant with a very relaxed, laid back atmosphere provided by the owner Naresh. It has an amazing view of the mountain and awesome food. I tried two other restaurants that were suggested by others and I tried the same items (mixed fruit porridge and vegetable biryani) there as I had at Arunchala Ramana and Arunchala won...more
I ate in this restaurant regularly for three weeks, I was never ill as a result. The food was freshly cooked, tasty and plentyfull. The service was very nice and the atmosphere too. Cooled by the fan's, it is situated on the roof top and is very nice indeed. I would recommend the local Lassi, this is a drink and tastes like buttermilk, you can have...more
If you like your breakfast in a natural setting, surrounded by Peacocks, black wild pigs, coconut trees, etc... then go eat in this place! It is an Indian rural house with seating area in front of it , under the trees and a under a colourful canopy. I enjoyed the food here and the setting. I often saw Western people eating here.There is an outside...more
This is my impression of shopping in various shops in Tiruvannamalai, a pure delight.
"I have been very busy the last two days with having a great time buying presents, doing my christmas shopping so to say. Shopping here is an experience, you sit down with the sales person and he lays out all his wares, you then look and look and he will show you more and more, you take out some stuff indicating that you are going to buy it. You are then offered tea and you talk about your relatives back home, your mother and your sisters and brothers. I had a wonderful time picking stuff and it took most of the day yesterday, we visited four different shops."
What to buy: "In this shop they had cd's with a cd player and I was entertained for ages listening to the various cd's of traditional Indian music, I bought a variety; One with Classical Carnatic music, one with some very ancient musical instruments, a drum and a large flute, and one with more traditional music. They also had a lot of New age sort of music but i did not bother because I am here to saviour the real india and learn about the people and their ways and music etc."
There were a lot of books too, some in English, German and ofcourse Tamil.
This particular shop also sold beautiful art painted on silks.
What to pay: However much you like, I found the cd's very cheap for a European pocket.
The decorative artwork drawn on the floor in front of houses in Southern India is called "Kolam". Usually the woman of the house would early in the morning clean and draw these often very beautiful and intricate kolams using finely ground rice flour. and the floor would be somewhat wet because of having been sprinkled with water. Sometimes colors...more
Vasanth is a portraits' painter & sculptor, a researcher in Vedic symbols & sounds and Master Yoga.He was my guide to Tiruvannamalai's Temple.Vasanth gets inspiration from proximity to Arunachala, the Holy Hill. He told me that he heard voices from the hill, instructed him while painting:"go left, now up, go down..."more
Luggage and bags:
A strong rucksack is great, I took a small suitcase on wheels which was very handy and I was able to take my small rucksack on my back. I did not travel around though.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A good pair of sandals and light walking boots
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I would travel very light, the main thing to bring would be insect repellent. I used Mosi-guard in a stick, it turned out brilliant. I also carried Citronella oil which I used too.
While in India I used Prebio 7 which is 7types of friendly bacteria and 2 types of fibre combined. No need for refrideration and I did not have any tummy trouble, I think that it helped.
Photo Equipment: I took my digital camera with scan disks
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I would travel totally light and buy some cottons there, I know that last time I brought too much and did not need it.
Miscellaneous: One of the things that I used most was my travel journal, a thick copy book. oh and my camera of course. I had a silk sleeping bag that rolled up to the size of a packed sandwich, this I use d every night and I also brought a mosquito net because I am very much loved by the little critters, so this I also used every night.
'Bharata Natyam', sacred dance as a religious ceremony, is very much appreciated by the gods. Shiva, under the name of Nataraja, the 'Lord of the Dance', with either a fearsome or a light step governs the rhythm of the unfolding of the Universe. And Parvati, His slim-waisted consort, taught this art to humans.
'Bharata Natyam' , in the Tamil land, involves not only dance but also chanting, music and dramatic miming. The great dancing masters and the consecrated dancers have handed it down from century to century in the temples to which they belong.
Towards the end of the 19th century it gradually disappeared under the Puritan pressure of the British. From 1925 onwards, and especially after independence, great Indian artists, in search of their cultural rootes, are reviving the ancient sacred dancing.