Ancient texts and not so modern people at Chidambaram

With much anticipation I ventured to Chidambaram, hoping to find bits and pieces of clues to the much hyped Secret of Chidambaram. But, without proper preparation and preemptive research, I found myself in the middle of an old temple; not knowing what to do.

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The ritual in India, is to remove the footwear at the threshold of every temple. Amidst the burning sun, the rule was followed – I must’ve got blisters, luckily I have a thick skin. Unlike Christina from Spain.

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She was resting in the shade, wearing plastic covers for her feet. We had a dull conversation as my nascent Italian and her fluent Spanish didn’t find a common ground. After a few clicks and a selfie after – she dared to give me her email ID; and I settled for her FB instead.

Christina has travelled all of Europe & Mexico, Agra, Cochin and a lot more places. I innocuously promised to meet her in Spain; let’s hope she’s still young when I reach there.

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The statues and the scripts are vanishing on their own, due to the improper maintenance. It was a pain to see the history of my land being destroyed in front of my eyes, only slowly.

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The bustle of humans exterior to the main temple was contrasting to the interior. In the open sun, the people moved about a little slow with much noise; the interior however was with slightly faster movements and yet revolting calm. I felt a moment there, sitting in the shades of the temple near the garbhagraha (womb of the temple). Wondering how the architects of the ancient have brought about a specific area where all the negative energy vanishes, leaving room only for positivity.

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That’s coming from a devout atheist. I could feel a fleeting moment in the ethereal calmness that surrounded me, a temptation to nirvana. I resist, there’s still time for that phase of my life. The last 25, maybe one ought to push it to the third 25 at this ridiculously fast world.

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Somewhere in Vedanta the life is split as 25s, first 25 for brhamacharya, the single life; second 25 – family, third – preparing your progeny to have a meaningful life; and the last 25, vanavasa – the walkabout phase, where one must walk the earth seeking wisdom. At this point of time, it would occur to the reader – how can one prepare her progeny if she is yet to attain wisdom. That’s the ironical and cyclical events we call life. So, it would be usitham (prudent) to gain wisdom as fast as we could when our progeny is on her way to have a family of her own. And, help her out if she desires.

Prior to.

Please visit the temple with some prior research and proper gear. I’d urge you to buy a wooden sandal, or visit the Temple at first light. Taking photographs inside the main temple is prohibited, so do what you can with the sculptures and fading texts. If you know the local language or have a friend who does – you can muster viable information from the people; provided you have ample time and patience.

The food.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of fluids, availability of juices and quality food close to the temple complex is slightly rare. But, the food at Ramesh Hotel, near the ‘Police booth’ was decent and service spectacular. You can find only vegetarian meals there, adjacent to which there was a Ramesh juice shop – didn’t try it so can’t comment.

Memorabilia.

There are a few small and one big store that sells bronze statues. Ask for the big store and you will have a plethora of modern designs amidst traditional religious statures of Nataraja, Parvathi & Gautama Buddha.

The small shop adjacent to the entrance of the temple, holds lots of religious, non-fiction and regular fiction materials all the in the Tamil language. It also has small statues, which are ridiculously overpriced. The shopkeeper doesn’t endorse bargaining and isn’t that helpful chap either.

If you want to buy small and decent statues for your household, or for your loved ones – go for the smallest shop that’s next to area where we ought to keep our footwear.

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