Expressions of Faith


We were on our way to the Vaitheeswaran Temple, when we decided to take a short detour. The magnificent gopuram* of the ancient temple was visible from afar, and it was on an impulse, that we decided to visit the Chidambaram temple.

Kolam at the entrance
A part of the large kolam at the entrance of Chidambaram Temple

Opposite the entrance stood an intricately carved wooden structure, being prepared, perhaps, for the grand pooja which was to take place only two days after our visit. A long row of shops – selling flowers, pooja items, idols of Gods, colourful kolam powders and filter coffee – lined either side of the path leading up the entrance. We deposited our slippers with one of the shoe-caretakers (for lack of a better word), and stepped inside.

Beautiful kolams greeted us, followed by the grand gopuram which we had seen from afar. There were more gopurams inside the premises. Hundreds of devotees had come, mostly in crowded buses, from different parts of the country. We followed the crowd.

After a long walk from the entrance, we entered the main shrine. Devotees who were closer to the sanctum sanctorum, bent over the railings; those who were behind, stood on their toes; children sat on shoulders of their fathers, all of them waiting to get a glimpse of Nataraja, the lord of dance. As the curtain was pulled apart, temple bells and folded palms filled the shrine.

This ancient temple, spread over 40 acres, is one of the largest temples in the world (fourth largest, to be precise)**. Intricate sculptures of deities atop the gopurams, stone panels depicting dance postures, halls with high ceilings, all supported by massive pillars embellished with floral detailing. With several shrines and tanks, the temple priest told us, it would take one full day to properly visit the temple complex. An hour, was hardly going to be sufficient to soak in the magnificence and grandeur of the temple.

Every year Bharatanatyam dancers converge in this temple during the annual festival to worship, their offerings in the form of dance. I can only wonder what that atmosphere would be like. Hopefully I will visit the temple once again. And on that day, I will spend more than just an hour.

Chidambaram Temple
Devotees heading towards a shrine, Chidambaram Temple

More Expressions here: Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge : Express Yourself

* Gopuram is a monumental tower, usually ornate, at the entrance of any temple, especially in Southern India. This forms a prominent feature of Koils, Hindu temples of the Dravidian style. They are topped by the kalasam, a bulbous stone finial. (Source: Wikipedia)

** The three largest temples are, in order, Angkor Wat, Cambodia; The Srirangam Temple, Trichy, Tamil Nadu: Akshardham, Delhi, India (Source)

Further Information on the Chidambaram temple: Chidambaram Temple on Wikipedia

Death by chocolate!


A sweet entry
Large Candy at the exit of Chennai Airport

Being late December, it was no surprise to see Christmas Trees decorating the airports of Delhi and Chennai. But I should have known the large candy sticks at the exit of Chennai Airport were more than just festive decorations – they were a sign of things to come!

We ate out almost everyday. And for every meal there was dessert! Adirsam, Mysore pak, Jangiri, Badusha, Kesari and many types of Payasams accompanied the traditional meals.  We tried out the local soan papdi sold by a street vendor in Mylapore. And ice cream at the beach was a must.

One particular day, we had a double doze of chocolate. One of the desserts was a sizzling brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, at Haven Sampoorna. The other was ‘Death by chocolate’ at Tangerine.

It was hard to resist the temptation to dig into these beauties. And after eating, I couldn’t help but wish for more! There never really can be enough of chocolate, can there? 😉

Serenity


Every time we go to Chennai, we make it a point to visit the beach as many times as possible. Our last trip was no different.

We visited the beach mostly in the morning, when it was empty. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the softness of the moist sand between the toes and the pleasant sea breeze worked together to create magic.

The water was cold and I was quite content walking beside the waves. The sea, though, seemed to have other plans!

Footsteps in sand
Footsteps in sand

For more serene imagery, check out The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

Do not disturb!


It’s a cold winter morning. The blanket is cozy and you hate to come out of the warmth. You take a look at the clock and think to yourself, ‘just five more minutes.’

This street dog reminded me of my own reluctance to get out of bed in the morning!

Can someone turn off the lights please? I'm trying to get some sleep here
Can someone turn off the lights please? I’m trying to get some sleep here

Year 2014 Round Up


Every year, our newspaper brings out a compilation of the major events of 2014 in the form of a supplement. It makes for an interesting read, and I quite look forward to it. This past month though, I decided to try out my own abridged version of the round-up.

This compilation was part of the monthly newsletter which is mailed to the members of my college’s Alumni Association. I quite enjoyed creating this, and am quite happy with the way it came out. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed making it.

The entire compilation, with a full credit list can be viewed and downloaded in a printable PDF format here: Glimpses from 2014 glyphicons_200_download.

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The file is 1.7 MB, which may, or may not be heavy for you. In case you decide to print it, I’d love to see how it looks! And of course, you are free to share it. After all, sharing is the best form of flattery 😉

‘Sea’ 2015!


Seashell
Seashell

My admiration for the beauty and variety in the world of seashells continues into 2015! Wish you all a very happy new year!