Tag Archives: Rameswaram

have you ever had an oil bath?

Featured photo courtesy of: Katia Flores Torres — Wikimedia Commons

I grew up in a city where summers were sticky and the thirty plus degree heat didn’t subside even by midnight. If I turned on the tap for a glass of water, the liquid was warm. During the high humidity of summers my clothes clung to me from perspiration that stuck like sap from a tree. So Tamil Nadu’s heat would be nothing for a seasoned tropical dweller. Right?

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masala dosa

My introduction to a masala dosa was in a Brahman restaurant near the Ramanthaswamy Temple in Rameswaram. If I timed it right, a boy in a white sarong wearing a Brahmin string over his shoulder whisked past swinging an urn between tables. Perfumed incense filled the air hovering like mist above the hungry crowd.

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Rameswaram’s arulmigu ramanathaswamy temple

Ramanathaswamy means the master of Rama, so the 12th century temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Darvidian structure holds great significance to Hindus and devout believers try to make at least one pilgrimage in their lifetime. As well, the island is believed to be the site where Rama (as told in the Ramayana) stood gazing across the sea to Lanka where his wife, Sita had been captured by the evil king. 

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First glimpse of a tamil nadu island

I arrived in Rameswaram by train on India’s south-east coast over a clanking bridge that connected the island to the rest of Tamil Nadu. In those days, there was only the railway bridge to the island from the mainland, so with no cars, everyone walked or biked along the island’s main sandy street.

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Lamu

I rallied north from Mombasa almost to the border with Somalia. At the end of the bus ride, I sailed by dhow on the final leg around the bend to Lamu Island. It seemed as if I had left an Indian island with no cars (Rameswaram) and arrived at another trafficless destination where mules were the only form of transport. Continue reading Lamu

Bangalore and Mysore, a muted memory

Bangalore High Court — Photo courtesy: Sniperz11 — Wikimedia Commons

I like the sound of these names. But I remember little about these South Indian cities I visited. Perhaps it was the pace of my third visit to India. Continue reading Bangalore and Mysore, a muted memory

Thank you India

Indian train toilet — Photo courtesy: Loganathan R. — Wikimedia Commons

I spied a photograph on line of a father holding his son as he sat on the window ledge of a train. His pants hung around one shin, the bottom half of his body naked, as he peed down the side of the train. Continue reading Thank you India