Saturday, July 30, 2005

It is `aadi kirthigai' today and important to the devotees of Lord Muruga. Every Murugan temple attracts hundreds of visitors carrying various types of `Kavadi.' This little village of Thiruporur about 40 km south of Chennai on the Old Mahabalipuram Road has a Murugan temple about 800 years old. The ride along the Old Mahabalipuram Road is a picture of contrasts. The area the road cuts across is an important location for multinational information technology companies that are setting up offices in modern multistoreyed buildings. You can see scores of these new structures as you go along the road but just minutes past these is this village where centuries old traditions are still alive. Posted by Picasa
A procession of `kavadi' dancers enters the temple. Posted by Picasa
A `kavadi' dancer inside the temple. Posted by Picasa
Apart from the devotees there are also the `regulars' who come to make some money. This lady smears a bit of kumkum on the forehead of the visitors and demands a donation. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Getting ready for the day ahead. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2005

To get back to a favourite topic of mine. I've always found it interesting how absolute strangers work together to pull a temple car, weighing several tonnes, around the narrow streets. Except for a handful, most are novices or at best regular visitors. The steering is rudimentary and each wheel has to be nudged around the corners using large beams. Maintaining a straight line is also quite a job. Here are a few pics that try to capture that detail. The temple car here is that of the Parthasarathy Temple at Triplicane, Chennai. Posted by Picasa
Applying the leverage. Posted by Picasa
Getting on to the beam to nudge the wheels around a corner. Posted by Picasa
Stomping down on the lever. Posted by Picasa
Wooden paddles are used to nudge the huge wheels around the corner, to maintain course on the straights and to bring the temple car to a stop. No power-steering or antilock braking here. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A `cinkara' (Gazelle) at Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary, Rajasthan. I guess these must be among the most camera-shy of the deer group. You point a camera at them and they just seem to disappear. Here I struck lucky. Posted by Picasa
Sambhar deer at a waterhole in Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary, Rajasthan. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Getting the Kumkum. Pic taken at Kapaliswarar temple, Mylapore. Posted by Picasa
Being blessed with the `Sadari.' Pic taken at the Narasimhar Utsavam at Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Crowds gather around musicians at the Kapaleewarar Temple festival, Mylapore. Pic taken a few years back. Posted by Picasa
People listen to a temple orchestra at the Kapaleeswarar Temple festival at Mylapore. Pic taken a few years back. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Meet Rajagopala of Thanjavur, the largest forge welded cannon in India. He has been around since the 17th century and in workmanship ranked with the more famous Iron Pillar, near Delhi. He sits on a mound about 25 feet high known as `beerangi medu,' (cannon mound) at Keezhavasal (East Entrance) in Thanjavur. According to information available on the Internet the technique to make this quality of metal was available in South India then and was as good as the Damascus steel, to make which, ingots were exported from here. The cannon ball that would have gone into it would have weighed 300 kg if it had been made out of stone. Posted by Picasa
The cannon in black and white. The `beerangi medu' is a regular gathering spot for the people living nearby. Posted by Picasa
The cannon seems to be revered by the people in the area who come their and pray. You can see it is marked with turmeric and `Kumkum.' Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The following three pics were taken at the Kanchipuram Kamakshi Amman Temple two/three years back. It was lunch time and the young one was hungry. The mahout acted as if he did not notice the elephant was trying to attract his attention. The little guy persisted, it was a lot like a kid pestering his parent. Posted by Picasa
The young guy persisted and finally managed to grab his attention. Posted by Picasa
It was lunch time for the big one also. For it the thatch roof was within reach and it tried to take a chunk out of it -- the mahout immediately called for a lunch break. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A devotee prostrates as the Parthasarathy temple car comes in a procession at the Narasimhar `utsavam' (festival) at Triplicane, Chennai. Posted by Picasa
The Parthasarathy Temple car at the Narasimhar `utsavam,' last week. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

Pic taken at the Garuda Sevai at the Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane, last week. A lady puts some finishing touches to a kolam just before the procession arrives. Posted by Picasa