Monday, 18 January 2010

bloody mosquitoes

cos its rather disconcerting to get one of the little so and sos
to grab it or squash it
and find a smear of blood on oneself or the wall
cos its most likely some of either of ours' blood


yes its a bit hmmm...


Last of our temple towns

P is not well, and templed out, and deadlined

So its me in the hot dry and shabby streets of this poor and flyblown town of friendliness and mess where few tourists stay overnight

And there’s five temples

The Kailasanatha, one of the two famous temples, is chiefly famous cos its so old … but only so much to look at or feel… and there's only tourists there for its antiqueness... inside tha high wall around it the wall is lined with intricate carving... and behind the carvings are little person-sized niches for unobserved meditation

While the Sri Ekambaranathar is big and much used and crowded, is a living thing... black shirted men in black slightly embroidered dhotis swarm in lines towards it, intent with devotion and excited by the proximity of the hallowed

And the Vaikantha Perrumal is just as old as the Kailasanatha but has a great cloistered feel … and, academically, might be where the Mandapam style first kicked off

And I’m wondering… this year I’ve been to Norwich Cathedral… and those gorgeous Chinese temples in Vietnam… and the stupas in Lao… and Notre Dame in Montreal... and temple after great temple in Chiang Mai… and so, well, how do they compare?

And the best answer is, they don’t

Norwich was big and high and cool and beautiful and slow and empty and clean

The Chinese temples were cool and ultra-intricate and clean and exceptionally beautiful

And the temples here, in Trichy, Kumbakonam, etc, are old and shabby-edged and cool and… which makes them different, massly devotional… full of people of crowds and swarms and lines

And Notre Dame is beautiful and coloured and trippy and calm and cool and slow

but its all about the feel, don’t you think?

so it’s the Chinese temples in Vietnam, or Norwich, or Notre Dame which have had the most effect on me

For some reason they throw bags of puffed rice in the giant temple tank at Sri Ekambaranathar

And the fish go mad for them

In movie piranha style frenzy

Hundred of dark shapes beneath the bubbling water

Jumping over the bag in excitement

and for some other reason

unlike anywhere else

they paint the bullocks' horns

cos in many cities its the same pair of long horned bullock pulling the carts

while here they paint them orange and green and black and red and blue
... next stop another wholescale relocation... a very bold three trains in one day, via two hours each in Chennai and Bangalore... to Hampi

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