Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thiruvannamalai-Spirtuality at Its Highest

I arrived into the main central bus station, which is always madness as a female solo traveler.  You have rikshas targeting you immediately as your bus arrives and when your feet hit the ground-you are mobbed.  This part I dread the most coming to a new city because I strongly dislike riksha’s.  They are in a dishonest class of their own that I do not want to contribute my funds or energy to them at all.   
The bus stops, I get mobbed, and run over to the convenient store (yes I literally run away from them).  I stop in the store to use the phone to call my host, Sony.  I put in a 2 rupee coin and the phone machine eats my money-oh india.  I use a local’s phone and get directions and he immediately tells me to take a riksha.  I tell him that I do not take riksha’s. 

He offers to give me a ride over there he says “Okay, Okay” and points for me to get on the bike.  This is the response of most Tamil men who know little English, “Okay, okay.” I hop on his bike and he drives me to the Sri Ramana ashram.  

He calls my host and kindly waits with me up until his arrival.  I am sitting there with my backpack and blue bag with a large duck on it.   I am chomping on my 10 rupee papaya very contently  and I look up and smile big at him.  I thank him for waiting with me and caring about my safety.  After this, I have many experiences with local guys that are pretty incredible for a solo female traveler.

Up on his motor bike comes my host looking cool and suave with long black hair and a nice gray sweater and pair of khaki pants.  I hop on and immediately I feel the positive energy radiating from him. 

Walking in we sit on the couch and we chat while staring at a large portrait of Sri Ramana.  We chat about his many careers including: painter, designer, Ayurvedic masseus, yoga instructor, astrologist, etc.  He said he is from Kerala, but he has been living in Trivunalmalei for the past 3 years.  He comments that the town has amazing spiritual energy and many devotees and visitors attend the local ashrams.  

He has work til 8 so we both go our separate ways and I decide to head to the big temple.  He kindly drops me off at the back entrance, which is in front of a large alley of men   There are many beggars outside the church and many Indian santas that melt my heart with their towels on their heads, cains, and orange dorgas.  I walk through smiling and waiving “hello” to the nearby street vendors

The big temple, Arunachaleswar temple, has 5 main temples, which are triangular in shape and have incredible details of the various gods.

As I slowly walk into the temple, people are staring and start to approach me asking my name and where I am from.  A woman approaches me wanting to do my astrology, but she only speaks Tamil and little English.  The disappointment in her eyes pokes at my heart, but I realize that I can not help everyone. 
Next Sri Ramana ashram where I enter into such a peaceful. serene environment.
Sri Ramana ashram has a nice energy where you see people chanting and serious devotees whether local or foreign. I just feel at peace in this ashram.  To actually stay there, you have to have visited ashrams in the past and have some connections otherwise not just any foreigner can stay there. 

I decide to go take a hike up the holiest mountain, which lies directly behind the ashram.  Devotees go up to the top to grow, learn, and to find themselves....

No comments:

Post a Comment