Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Holy city of Tiruvannamalai. Tamil Nadu. India. IZG. December 2017

It was around mid morning that I arrived in Tiruvanmali after an overnight train from Hospit. The previous visit had been in 2004, and upon arrival I had to navigate through the rather large town with a busy network of streets. Vague recollections of temples and familiar cafes near the tourist precinct only hinted of the direction I should follow so it was necessary to take guidance from satellite navigation.

Tiru hosts an important south Indian temple that is one of five south Indian Shiva temples associated with classical Indian metaphysics. The Arunachaleshwar temple is dedicated to the element fire, and is situated within the city, taking up 10-hectares, which is one of the largest temples in India

After navigating a maize of streets eventually I found the foreign tourist accommodation hub. Its just one street near the Ramana ashram. I found a small room in a house that's run by a couple of retired government employees.

My first days were spent checking out the scene around the sacred mount Arunachala. There is a plethora of Sadhus (professional religious folk) that throng the area along with householder pilgrims who come to circumnavigate the mountain. 


Upon visiting the Ramana ashram each day I found a basic routine that involved cycling around Tiru by day and visiting the bookshop in the afternoon where there are readers of the philosophical works of Ramana Maharshi's message. By late afternoon there is the opportunity to observe priests offer food and chant in the main precinct of the ashram.