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About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

[Skywatch Friday] Buddhism within the Theosophical Society


 It was one of those things in my list of things to do in Chennai. So when a Photowalk was being planned, I added my name to the list even thought the last date had gone by. Luckily, I got in and it was one memorable walk. 

Whilst inside, we discovered this Buddha temple with a beautiful lotus pond near a large tree. When I questioned the presence of a Buddha temple here, I discovered this was the 2nd one in Chennai [ I have visited the 1st one in Kenneth Lane, Egmore earlier].

Apparently, plans for the Buddhist Temple happened in 1883, the construction began under the guidance of Shri. Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa (1875–1953), the 4th President of the Theosophical Society and was consecrated in December 1925. This was during the Golden Jubilee convention of the Theosophical Society. 

The design of this shrine was, in the words of C. Jinarajadasa, the fourth President of the Theosophical Society, "a combination of two styles, both contemporaneous, though one is at Buddha Gaya and the other in Nepal. The base of the shrine, with its rounded arches and pillars, is taken from Buddha Gaya, while the cornices and the dome are from a Buddhist temple in Nepal."  

The shrine is a small and quaint,white in colour. The wooden doors had lotus and swastika motifs on them, the seven steps were flanked by elephant-head balustrades that lead you to the main sanctum. While the doors were shut, I have read that the grey stone image of the Buddha inside the shrine was a gift from Dr. Annie Besant, the second President of the Theosophical Society.

Just beyond the lotus pond stood a tall Tree that had been planted by Shri. C. Jinarajadasa to commemorate the the 75th anniversary of the Theosophical Society. One can walk around the tree, down the steps leading to the pond and the main Buddhist temple as well. The entire space is open and lush greenery welcomes you everywhere you turn. 

If you were to turn left from the tree and walk, there was a small shrine of sorts with a black stone slate that stood as a tribute to the teachers.

Quite apt for today, Teacher's day!! 

 







For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday ...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Chidambara Ragasiyam and my birthday!



My birthday comes with a lot of fond memories, one of them quite special. Few years ago was on a road trip with a friend down the Coromandal Coast. And on Sep 4th morning we got on the road towards Chidambaram. My friend had spoken to her mom and got the number of the priest at the Chidambaram Natarajar temple so we get Darshan without much hassle. I have been to Chidambaram couple of times before, but only once to the temple and that was an incomplete visit. The place had been packed and we were unable to see anything, leave alone the main deity. 

So, this time I was curious to see the famous Chidamabara Ragasiyam [rather figure out what it was]. We waited near the temple chariot [ther/ratham] for the priest who came by in a few minutes. He then took us inside, showed us around the outer column of deities and shrines. He then asked us to wait so most of the crowd will leave and we can get a good Darshan. He even gave us permission to click pictures of the temple [just the outside ofcourse], photography is prohibited but he went on to say that many who came clicked on their mobile phones on the sly.  



And thus began our time at the temple. We visited the shrines around the main temple and then he took us inside. He told us we will also get to see the Chidambara Ragasiyam. My friend knew of it but I was quite blank and ergo curious. 

Legend has it that Chidambaram is where Shiva and his consort Parvati are present, but invisible to most people. In this temple, the Chidambara Ragasiyam is actually hidden behind a curtain right next to the main shrine. Our priest beckoned us towards the front and parted the curtains to show us what was hidden behind. It is actually a curtain of golden leaves from the Aegle Marmelos tree [[vilvam elai], signifying the presence of Shiva and Parvati. It is believed that saints can see the gods in their physical form.

It was quite a moment! We did a small archanai for my B’day and made our way out of the temple, thanking the Priest for his time. From there, we headed towards Porto Novo….
 

Joy of travelling alone...

Couple of days ago I was part of a conversation that nearly ended up in a heated argument and what was it about- travelling, well not just travelling, it was about travelling alone. 

I love travelling solo and I know not everyone will enjoy it. And am ok with that, but when you start throwing fancy words and psychology #%$@ into the conversation, that is where I draw the line. This person with who I was chatting with was sharing stories from the recent holiday he had been on. It was a new destination and so I was curious to learn more. As he was winding down, he suggested I plan a trip with friends/family and go for it. I then commented that it sounded like a place i want to explore on my own, which is when he took off on a tangent about how it is not safe to travel alone and how depressing it is that i enjoy travelling alone. 

I was appalled to say the least. I started retaliating and gave up at a point where I realised he was never going to understand. We spoke about movies where the heroine travels alone, like Queen for example and then there were movies Vicky Christina Barcelone that was thrown in as well. Oh and not to forget the episode in FRIENDS where Rachel goes off on her honeymoon alone... And then came EAT, PRAY,LOVE where the heroine sets off on a self discovery path. 

Hmmm... I wasn't done! He argued that I travelled alone only cos I did not have a partner to travel with and how bored I must have been during the trips I had taken. Had he been in front of me, he would have seen how smoke was coming out of everywhere and how pissed off I was.. Luckily, he was in another part of the world and so escaped my wrath! I just ended the conversation before it came to blows and told him to get back to work!! 




So, what is it about travelling alone that I love? 

1. Best company
I am my bet companion. I don't want anything fancy, I dont get tired that easy nor am I fussy. And best off it all , I don't have to wait for anyone. I enjoy walking aimlessly, exploring the place, I stop and eat when am hungry, I shop what catches my eye and I dont have to worry about how the other person likes the bed/bathroom or fight to keep the light on late in the night when am catching up on my reading.During my visit to Tanjore/Kumbakonam, I chose a room with Ac and no TV. It worked just fine as I was home just to zzz and shower.

2. Agenda
Since I am on my own, I can create my own agenda, or not! During my Goa trip, I knew there were a few places I wanted to visit and rest happened on its own. When I was talking to the locals, they added a few more places and that is when I discovered a tour operator who helped me explore as much as possible during the few days I was there. And when I was done with the tour, I started taking the local buses and taxis to go back to some of the places that caught my eye. It was fun and quite safe.



3. Boosts confidence
I never thought I would be out travelling alone. And when it did happen, I want worried or scared, I was quite excited. There was a new found confidence in me, the way I spoke to people, made plans and figured my way around. I guess it comes naturally, you just learn to be bold and go for it when on your own. It is like being stranded in a new land on your own- you either sit and cry, or pat yourself down and go exploring! I did the latter and there has been no turning back. I have had people gape and ask me if I was out of my mind. Some even went on to ask if I got out of my hotel room or not. And then there are those who look in amazement and comment "I wish I could do all that". 

4. Meeting people
In almost all my solo trips, I have visited a local, dined and chatted with them, only to realise it is such a joy to meet the locals and learn about their culture, food and customs. There was a family in Goa who I met during a walk, who invited me home and got me to try some of their local dishes. There as nothing weird or scary about it, they were quite caring and as I left, the couple dropped me off at the resort with a small gift. 


All said and done, the other rules of travelling does apply- packing wisely, staying safe and remembering to be cautious.. well there is a thick line between being cautious and being paranoid!! ;o) 

Off I go to plan another trip..hopefully it will happen soon..