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Published: January 24th 2014
Holy man outside the temple
selling things for offerings
We went to the Kapaleeshwarar temple for sunset. Legend tells a story that in a fit of pique Shiva once turned his consort Parvati into a peacock and instructed her to worship him here in order to regain her normal form. Parvati supposedly did as instructed at a spot just outside the northeastern corner of the temples central block where a shrine commemorates the event.Terry is wearing a special shield for his ankle so it’s not easy for him to take his shoes off so I went inside by myself. Deities surround the temple and some areas are more holy than others. Temples within temples and queues of people lined up to be blessed by the priest inside these inner temples– for this they pay extra maybe 20 or 50 rupees depending I suppose on the holiness of the area. I love the flashing disco lights that abound amongst the ancient carvings. People sitting around eating blessed food, others prostrating themselves before their God but unfortunately or perhaps fortunately you cannot take pictures inside. Once, out of the temple we stopped at a self help soup cart and was encouraged to try banana stem soup which I am so glad I
did by an elderly man who said he was a retired banker. Whilst drinking our soup a procession came up the road to the temple - effigies were carried under umbrellas accompanied by a band and many priests. We meandered our way through the streets which were packed with fruit and vegetable sellers. As it was dark already it seemed late for people to be out and about buying vegetables but as I found out the next day later working hours obviously necessitate that. Eventually we arrived at the beach which was not in the direction we thought we were going at all but it was lovely and with a warm breeze blowing so very comfortable. Even at this latish hour about 9 o clock the beachfront was busy. I totally understand that living conditions are cramped for most people and so to be out and about is freedom, space and also away from prying eyes.
The following day I was taken for lunch by Mr Singh who is a business associate of my sister and her husband. I had heard for many years about this famous pomegranate and lime drink they had experienced in India and had been
Priests, musicians and people throng around this procession
looking for it on my journey only to find out that it is a specialty of the Annalaksmi the restaurant I was being taken to. Sometimes restaurants are in the oddest places and this one was no exception on the first floor of what looked like a regular business block. Once the doors were opened and we were ushered into a beautiful restaurant that really transported one to somewhere else. Rich colours greeted us,there were carved wooden pictures on the walls, water features with marigolds – they are so symbolic of prayer to me in Asia I just love their absolute cheerfulness. Outside every temple you are sure to find them waiting to be given as offerings to the Gods. But here inside I was to find the elusive pomegranate and lime juice pure no added sugar! It was a set menu starting off with tasty snacks and soup leading up to a thali with about 8 different dishes to eat with chapatti, roti, nan and rice. The dishes consisted of palak (spinach) paneer with pinapple (curd cheese) a carrot salad, dhal (lentils) gobi (potatoes) and raita (yoghurt) every dish more delicious than the next. I loved that there was
even pomegranate with the carrot salad. A digestive drink along the way was made from hot water, tomatoes, chilli and coriander with a mixture of spices. To end there was a choice of ice cream and I had mango along with a pudding I have forgot its name but not its taste – it was a rice pudding but more liquid with bits of gelatinous rice pieces very yummy.
After lunch I went to the factory where I met all the workers – they were making and packaging shirts. The first thing that struck me was that the room was airy and light, the conditions looked good and all the staff seemed happy. This in contrast to what we hear about sweatshops which I am sure there are a multitude down alleyways in some bazaar areas. They were busy packaging an order and checking that there were no pins or needles (which sometimes break off during stitching) left behind as if there are they face huge penalties. Each garment is carefully screened. We were then off to the retail outlet which was for me a treasure trove of Indian apparel – Sari’s of every colour which, I believe an
Loved this sign
outside our hotel for the ramp - good on you Ramada Hotel
Indian woman needs a new one every month! Lungis, bedspreads and towels. How I wish I did not have the problem of having to carry stuff - I could not buy anything!!!! I did take lots of pictures in the hopes that maybe one day I could order some things. In fact I was graciously given a gift to take back to my sister and that is too bulky even though I implored I could not carry it there are just times when you have to take what is offered otherwise it is an impolite offence!
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