Friday, February 6, 2009

Back in time

Back in time on Sunday before I left Sadhana forest, I spent my final afternoon hanging out in some hammocks by the ocean with my friends Paul and John after having a wonderful lunch at the quiet healing center. The lunch was part of a lecture called Peas vs Pills which is a health seminar on eating vegan and the benefits. One of the benefits to this day, run by Dr Nandita Shaw, is 3 fantastic fully vegan meals. Having already taken the class, we three decided that the food was so good we had to go back for some more to which the fine Dr. acquiesced much to our gastronomic happieness. We relaxed, rode bikes around, stopped for some more food at a small store called fresh farm in Auroville, which had a delicous vegan cake, and took a tour of Bernard and Dipika's farm which is called Pebble Garden.

The next morning it was off to Tiruvannamalai via the bus and Tindivannam. I would call the ride, part fun, part tireing and part terror. The roads are narrow, covered with crowds and other vehicles and you are in a bus. If passes and constant horn honking dont get to you, the bus switching and thinking you might run someone over might. With all that, the drivers are experts at what they do, even managing to drive a manual through all that India's interstate system has to offer.

Upon arrival in Tiruvannamalai I made my way to the Aruna lodge, which has descent rooms and a fantastic view of one of the Anchalwar temples 6 sculpted towers. Not a bad backdrop, especially in addition to Mt Arunachala, my first evening was spent touring the temple and walking the busy streets surrounding it. The roads are small, the people are many, and the beggars are in abundance around the temple. The temple itself is quiet and scerene with a wonderful garden and to my enjoyment, at least a few monkeys. More on that soon. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

to the top

Took a hike to the top of Arunachala this morning. Even in the early hours of the day, the sun is relentless and I was laughed at (in a nice way) because I was sweating so much. Hiking here reminds me of hiking in Taiwan, it is generally more of a rock climb/bouldering adventure of steep nature. The views from the Mt were outstanding, it is easy to pick out the places in the city that I have been, the fog/smog clouds made photographs a little blurry though. It was pretty crazy to see the temples 6 major statue pillars which loom over my guest house shrink underneath my feet as I climbed higher.

Upon reaching the top of the mountain there is a small hut, sticks and tarps, for meditation and an open rock layer at the very top. This open rock is covered entirely with a layer of greasy black soot and smells like butter. Why the butter smell you ask? Well, during the full moon festivals there is a 2000l tub of Ghee that has a wick placed in it and burns at the top for all to see. Not exactly a Vegan ritual, but to each his own :). The streets are already busy with action setting up for the next festival which is on Feb 10th. Apparently over 100,000 people make the trek around the mountain each full moon on village roads and highways. I Imagine that the town business look foward to this monthly influx of people, I read that hotel prices can go up by 1000% for the surrounding nights.

As for myself, I am looking forward to returning home to spending lots of time with Laurel and plan for my own mountain excursions with my Dad. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I will post more updates in 2 days while I am in Amsterdam airport. Take care and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

moving on

I have left Sadhana forest, yesterday morning I took a bus from Auroville to Tiruvannamalai. It was tough to leave, but there are also about 65 volunteers right now, so I am sure that there are plenty of eager hands. I have decided to return to the US earlier than I initially planned and wanted to be sure to come and walk on Arunachala. I accomplished that today, I spent about 4 hours walking around and up the mountain. The views are gorgeous and it is nice to get away from the bustling street traffic for a while. Tomorrow I will visit the caves where Sri Ramana meditated to achieve out of body elightenment, I will let you know how it works out for me :). Sorry for the lack of photos, there is little to no wifi that I have found yet. I have quite a few, some final updates on SF and the Earthbag home as well as Tiruvvannamalai and the bus ride, I will post as soon as I can. Thanks for reading