29.10.2014 (Day 23 cotd. )
After we came back from our "Midnight pilgrimage" we went to sleep at 6 in the morning. We slept till evening. We woke up and prepared something to eat from our previous day's food shopping. And we started to think about our future plans for the day. The day had passed, and it was already evening.
So we decided to visit a few ashrams nearby. There are some 4 or 5 ashrams in this small town. But we were going to Shri Ramanashram. It was said that there was a chanting or something like that, at 6pm. So thought of checking it out.
Before going to the ashram, we had to find a laundry place. Due to frequent rains during the Sadhana forest days clothes were either not clean or not dry. As there were no solid plans for the coming days, we had to prepare for longer travel days and every other possibilities. At last we found out a place which was made out of Tin sheets and other scrap materials. That was the laundry place.
Being the only Indian in that small group, I had to deal with the local people. You must be knowing that in India, there are more than a 1000 languages, unofficially. Even though my home town is less than a 1000km away, I am not very fluent in this language. I can understand it if spoken rather slowly and reply in bits and pieces. If they are intelligent and I am lucky, they would understand what I really meant. So the thing is that I had to talk, I had to bargain and I wasn't good at any of these.
Even though I was with two obviously non-Indian looking, very fair-skinned people and pretended to be someone from some Latin American country, the people just wouldn't believe it. They simply just wouldn't believe it and start talking to me in the local language thinking that I would understand. Also I used to get all sorts of funny questions. "Where are they from" "How much are they paying you" "Really, friends?? "
It was really fun!
Anyway after leaving our clothes at the laundry place, we headed towards the Sri Ramanashram. When we reached there, some chanting was going on. People were sitting on the floor in two sections, ladies on one side and gents on the other.
I clicked this picture after everything was over. I didn't spoil the decorum of the place 😀 We spent some more time enjoying the silence and energy of that place. At the extreme end is the shrine. You can read more about the ashram from here.
Now I realize that this world, (some people call the universe) has strange ways of fulfilling one's wishes, however irrelevant it may seem. When I was going through the ashram's website to include the link here, I felt a sense of familiarity, like a Déjà vu. The faint memories made its way to active memory and I could remember going through similar content a few years back. I remembered reading in some blog about barefoot walk around a holy mountain done by a girl from US. When I searched more about the journey, I landed on to this website. I remember seeing a few pictures that are still there in the site. So this journey was meant to happen! It was a wish came true!
But I wasn't expecting such scenes from this place.
Don't get the idea that these people are waiting to board the bus. They were waiting for the tourists to get in the bus. And they expect a contribution from every tourist/traveler. They were like "its our right to get money from tourists". First time I was seeing people demanding for alms! And this was happening right in front of the Ramanashram.
This is the entrance to the ashram.
With a perfect timing this guy appeared in my frame. It was like adding a balance to the picture. On the left side you can see the picture of Sri Ramana Maharshi.
He was not the only person interested in being photographed. Check this out if you don't know what 'striking a pose' means.
"Strike a pose". After seeing the camera, he wanted a picture of him and posed and taught me the phrase 'strike a pose'.
Anyway these were not part of our main agenda. Our main attraction for the day was the Music night that was going to happen in a nearby café. We were invited to join. So we headed to the tasty café. First we ordered our food. After finishing our dinner we joined the electrifying, energy packed music night.
They were not some professional music troupe or band performing there. Rather it was a gathering of friends who were musically very active. We also had a member who is a super musician! So we all joined the group. It was a terrific night. You can do a sample analysis by going through this video 😉
We wished we could stay there for longer. But were not in a mood to trek the mountain in that night. Our plan was again to go for an early morning trek the next day. So we really wanted to sleep early. So we reluctantly opted out from the fun. And we started walking back to our room.
But the place still had interesting visuals to offer. At that time of the night we got to see a wedding procession.
Leaving behind those interesting scenes, we walked to our room. And went to bed to wake up early the next day.
Well I forgot to mention an interesting fact about Sleep and Thiruvannamalai. It was told that if you are new to this place and not accustomed to it, because of the energy of this place, you cannot have a peaceful sleep without waking up multiple times during the night, even if your are dead tired! Usually I used to get good sleep even if it is some new place. So I took this as a challenge but somehow I didn't have a nice deep sleep. I woke up quite a few times. My friends also had the same experience. It could be either we were conscious about such a fact and trying consciously to challenge it, or it could really be because of the energy of Arunachala.
If you have similar experience, I would like to hear it. We can discuss it and come to some conclusions.
Anyway that is all for this day. It is sleeping time. One more picture from the wedding procession before the sleep 😉