The lingam in the temple in Adianamalai village predates the one in the famous big temple in Tiruvannamalai town by many centuries, I believe; the rural area surrounding the village lends grace and style to the beautiful old settlement that was once appropriately described as The Daggiest Place in the Universe.
Today after swanning serenely through the great old doors I found this most ancient and beautiful of temples has now become a storehouse for crowd-control barriers: I was forced to ask for directions in order to negotiate the circumnavigation of the inner sanctum. But I didn’t take photos inside the temple, that would be disrespectful.
Let’s begin at the beginning of the village:
An ambience of stylish austerity always graced this house but the lovely tall coconut tree has gone now, taking much of the immediate charm if this residence with it.
The priceless shade surrounding this school will be replicated, evidently, around the new High School to be built on the other side of the village, although the growth of such cooling capacity will absorb forty years of precious time.
Fortunate little boy to grow in such surroundings.
Such a big fat rock in such a distinguished position has always impressed me.
The Annamalai Reforestation Society held our most successful puppet theatre here many years ago, hosted honourably by The Forest Department who forgot to bring the audio equipment, which didn’t seem to matter as much as expected.
Now let’s go into the Temple in honour of the goddess.
The temple was renovated some years ago – in pink.
Looking down into this well reminds me always of the myth that the ancients built a tunnel from the inner sanctum in the Sri Arunachalaeswara temple in Tiruvannamalai town under or through the hill and up into the inner sanctum of this Adianamalai Temple, and that when Ramana was a young man he insisted on blocking the entrances at both ends because he considered KaliYuga sufficiently established for such tunnels to invite malpractices of some kind in this age of ignorance. So he expected us to be generally up to no good already, in other words!
However to be just I should mention another widely endorsed myth that claims the mountain to be made of solid granite extending down two hundred kilometres. Imaginations flows freely in WooWooWorld.
Here you see the great teacher, DakshinaMurthi – the Lord who faces South, with some Rishis. I’m not sure why some of them are blue-colour. Dakshina is an aspect of the formidable Lord Siva but then there’s no essential difference between Siva and Lord Vishnu . . . . whose incarnations are sometimes painted blue. Unlike locals, my mind is not graced with encyclopaedic iconography.
Now I’m wishing I had photographed the maize of crowd-control barriers engulfing the entire front part of the inner shrine because in retrospect it seems funny – one of those huge cultural gaps between our respective cultural expectations. We westerners would think: Man, couldn’t they have put them somewhere else! But then, nice they didn’t stack them all around the beautiful open spaces of the collanades.
So, without that funny foto, let’s meander around the village a bit more – there are a couple of specialities I’m hoping to have remained intact . . . let’s see:
Now for the first Adianamalai speciality, I do hope you can join me in gasping at the unexpected beauty:
Zoom in. The beauty only increases with size. Let me add some orientational clues:
This image could inspire a story-teller’s imagination – a fairy tale perhaps. Further up the road is a sweet little junction that always seems very friendly to me:
Also this innocent frieze about the small temple:
The beautiful Adianamalai Thirthum was in good condition, no conspicuous plastic bags this time:
Those bundles hanging from branches are the placentas of new-born calves, wrapped in cloth and strung up away from the reach of carrion; the belief is that violation of the placenta will inflirt harm on the baby calf.
Right behind me waiting for attention is the second speciality of this homey village, look:
It seems to be sinking, it recedes further into the earth each year; I suspect that as with most of us, it grows heavier with time, I’ve kept an eye on it for forty years and it’s definitely sinking. Maybe Pachamamma adds to its weight day by day with moss in the monsoon and creepers other times of year. There’s a small Thirthum behind it so in future in a good monsoon it might become an underwater paradise for the imagination, fish and frogs . . . A ruin of mystery.
Always this little temple is fresh, cool and shady. It’s naturally a convivial place, neat and clean, sweet-smelling:
And over the road guess what’s going on . . . . . .
. . . . nothing less than garbage collection! Wow!
By now hot and tired, I took an auto-rickshaw back to Nerudi Lingam, stopping on the way to catch a lovely sight:
So many ladies!
They were workers from the quarry – the exposed, mercilessly hot quarry nearby; it was lunch break and they’d walked here to sit in some shade. Good idea!
Later on, walking home from Nerudi there were a few snaps:
It seems the last three images furnish motivation to make a future post devoted to the extraordinary Tamil Male Ego.
There are no less than nine Enfields here . . . recently I asked one of the daughters about them and she told me her father likes them.
This image is repeated because I only now notice the goddess . . . she gives meaning to the Lions faces along with the boys/young men: her vehicle is a Big Cat, you see. The young men might be hoping the goddess will help them in some professional way. Maybe.
Oh Ooops, I forgot two important images:
With these two lovely faces we conclude the village-cum-rural aspect of Simply Urbane. Now for the town: Tiru – The Town of Tizz:
Tiruvannamalai town rests on the east side of the hill, encroachment now expands up onto the foothills and the streets of the older parts of town all slope up towards the embodiment of Lord Siva. Although the artery roads are unspeakably chaotic, the residential areas tend to be very gentile. I find an endearing softness about much of our urban surroundings here, discounting entirely the foul drainage and sordid rubbish, so inextricably mixed. And the pain that intermingles so forlornly with the joy of life.
As usual here, a feminine grace is pervasive . . .
The older houses are built for the climate even though less spacious, they are cooler than the lavish modern styles..
Life is not easy for anyone here . .
I think this cow must live here – she could only have taken her place in this cool spot from inside the house . . . The space is far too narrow for her to have turned her big body around after entering from the street.
How could we have anticated that the cohesion of human community life would be shattered by the transformation of the well in modern times? We could not. It all happened in front of our noses. Now we know how valuable these gifts are. Allow me to usher in the entrance of pain here, now that you are perhaps receptive to the commonality of our shared life . . .
These women are chatting on the steps of a small temple, one of many scattered throughout the urban area along with what we call ‘convenience stores’ and other merchant go-downs.
As you may realise India is very people-friendly. This gentleman asked me to photograph him before calling his wife and showing her where to sit:
You should know that these images were taken while walking from the Ramana Residency opposite Kids-World up to the Western entrance of the big temple.
From these very sweetly renovated and embellished old town houses I now move on to show you images of the beautiful homes in the village of Adianamalai taken yesterday, on other side of the hill. So I will begin at the beginning . . .
Hinge-Pin-Press : Writing across borders
‘Writing across borders’ is a suitable sub-heading to this blog called “hinge-pin-press”.
I’m creating this blog after many years with one foot in my native Australia and the other in my adopted place, Arunachalam: an area within thirty or so kilometres radius of a famous sacred mountain in South India. The person who straddles these tiwo divergent cultures tends to be a communicator – either visual or verbal, hence the metaphor of the hinge-pin for this blog-venue is designed to draw all the threads together.
Of of all the threads and beads thereon, some will be published vainly, some self-published optimistically, some will link to other sites where long ago images or words were cast out into the vast unknown and some will be fresh from the horse’s mouth.
For the time being there will be ads interspersed herein although remember that only the best things in life are free.
Since images take center-stage for me, there is a strong motivation to add a couple of images right now, one for each side of my bi-cultural nature. . .
This images encapsulates best perhaps my love of India . . . A nation that strongly believes that worship is a basic human need.
Excuse me for being facetious in choosing this image here, but one of the best things about Australia is the fact that we all have access to enough to eat. This kind of store is an affront to human dignity I know but it is the kind of place where probably most Australians buy their food. Not me. I only buy powdered skim milk here. It’s a fascinatingly gross place!
There are many images that encapsulate what I most love about Australia. Food-wise, what I love is not found in Supermarkets like that above but in Farmers’ Markets like this:
Farmers’ Markets: all as fresh as fresh can be, all totally organic . . .
. . Freshly baked, beautifully presented . . . Nothing’s better than this . . .
The bees who make this honey aren’t dying!
It’s not just the food at Farmers’s Markets, it’s also all the doggies . . . .
Forget about the vegetables, this is Big Day of the Week out for all our canine friends and babies also.
So. . . . more on that next market day. . . . now focus with me on something else special about Australia: CULTURAL EVENTS!
As you probably know, White Australia doesn’t have any authentic cultural events of its own because we haven’t been here long enough for culture – perhaps except for football where the green grass is so special. Here’s to football:
But this is what I call culture:
In the city last night a man pushing a shopping trolly walked up Flinders street beside me, he had one of these Lions in the trolly – a Black one, very fetching. I asked him where he was taking it and he said ‘Home’.
Australia is part of Asia – I knew this before I knew what it meant. China is the big male PowerShop in our world here, not America . Only materialists align themselves with the capitalists. The many of the rest of us take refuge in the Buddha.
Buddha Birthday in Fed Square – the active heart of Melbourne. What a Great day!
Here are some vehicles in the Parking Lot of the Buddha Birthday Baby-Blessing Ceremony – it was a full house:
And here’s auspiciousness for you – another cultural event: Chinese New Year. The Dragon is taking a rest:
It’s the immigrants from ancient Asian cultures that give Australia cultural vitality although it’s such a simple thing: it’s just about us putting effort into something together for fun, for its own sake, over and over again until it makes tremendous sense. . . Somehow the Anglo-Saxon-Germanic heritage of ours is missing spunk and spark, while the Asian communities can create it for us right here in the heart of town, no worries:
We are so fortunate to be Australians.
This continent is a very ancient land and as all the world knows, surely, the White interlopers who turned up on these shores as conquistadores in the early eighteenth century simply declared the land empty and proceeded to massacre the inhabitants who had sustained a profound spiritual link with the country for more than forty thousand years.
The fact that the conquistadors spoke the King’s English – as its called, set the tone for the predominance of white-skinned genes until the lovely brown skins and almond eyes began to spread engagingly through city crowds and school playgrounds during the last ten years. However long before this transformation got underway, the diversity of Europe infiltrated and established itself in ripples from the docks into the pulsating heart of the business sector with tremendous character and hard work. My very most favourite example of this is a lively Greek family business originally initiated by the now Patriach – a minister in the Orthodox Church nearby, who never fails to come to the shop even nowadays when his strong sons have long since taken over. Only trouble is that the next generation has set its sights on uplifted status. they aspire to a desk job over a computer.
Regular customers to this shop like myself, all appreciate the slower pace and tremendously good advice and suggestions given freely by one particular handy son . . . . waiting to be served is almost always an education. We are all grateful not to be forced to go to one of the huge MacHardware supermarkets sprouting like poisonous toad-stalls everywhere in urban shopping centres of this vast land . . . .unfortunately since Americanised Cheap-and-nasty encased in tough plastic sells, ugly uniforms and dog-tags fake it further and endless corridors of the same stuff seem to be attractive to the masses.
You can never find anyone capable of giving you any good advice whatsoever in one of those wimp-traps.
The disabled Scouts made this little wheel-chair especially for Charlie and he loves it . . . . This family is salt of the earth. There is also photographic mention of this remarkable family on another Blog which carries stories from both sides of the fence: India and Australia:
And now for something-completely-different: a blog for Artwork including little books, decks of cards, silk banners and water-colours . . . . hope you like to visit:
Now I am in the process of returning to India and will continue with more panache from beside Annamalai Holy Hillock in Tamil Nadu. There is brief account of the reforestation process on which I was engaged here for many years on this site:
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Filed under Bi-cultural observations, creative non-fiction, cultural quality of life in South-India, migrant vitality in Australia, photo-documentation, social ecology, transpersonal orientation, writers across borders
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