happiness

Sunday In My City – The Little Things

One of the specialties about visiting any temple in India is the series of shops that welcome you and literally usher you into the entrance of the main shrine. Of course, there are the hundreds of touts who promise you the heaven and earth on the presiding deity’s behalf :-). If you’re new to the place and have no idea of this standard operating procedure, a very long and expensive ride is guaranteed.
Thanks to family tradition, we always made trips to temples during vacation time and really enjoyed all the trinkets and unusual things the shops offered along with mementos and keepsakes. Often, we would come across stuff we never see anywhere else. Even if we didn’t really need something or had no use for it later, we would still shop like crazy. The icing on that cake was the stories the shopkeepers would have to share with us. This would include local legends and miracle-based stories. I loved that!
The Vishwa Shanti Ashram, which we visited on Jan 26 and about which I wrote in my last Sunday In My City was no different. Inside the ashram, there was one shop with a lot of stuff. I did not take photos of the shops outside the gates as they were mostly roadside eateries. 🙂
So, as promised, I am continuing with the post. Today, however, I am going to focus on the little things around this place which touched my heart.

For a closer look at the photos, click them – they’ll open in a new window.

This is the entrance to the ashram. See the stones? They weigh down the rod you see on the left so that it does not lift to allow vehicles to pass. The parking lot is another way. Ingenious and simple, eh? Can you see someone tampering with the stones? Didn’t think so.

Next,  is the sacred bull, the Nandi (Lord Shiva’s mount). This is usually placed right in front of Shiva’s shrine. 🙂 I think they just put it here temporarily, outside the Hanuman Shrine. It looked somewhat lonely and pensive.  I actually felt like giving it an hug.

Past the gate, as we approached that huge Vittala Statue you saw last week, there’s a little vendor on the right who sells these worship items. We did not buy any. He also watches over devotees’ footwear, which must be taken off at this point, for a nominal fee. From here, it is barefoot all the way until we exit.

Once we get past this point (barefoot) there’s a large shrine to Goddess Durga, outside which is this tree. See the little bunches of baskets hanging from the tree? These are cradles. Tradition has it that women who are unable to conceive can pray here and tie their own cradle to the tree and their wish will be granted. 🙂

Here is a close up of the basket. The shop on the premises sells these, each with a little doll inside.

This is the shop. The lady who owns it lives in a room behind it.

The shop also has toys and eats, ice cream, cold drinks..

Popcorn, puffed and flavored rice and lots of other stuff:

And hundreds of necklaces – beaded, metal, plastic – all in different colors.

I loved these bracelets. Elastic. Sadly, they were too small for my wrist. Aren’t they sweet?

How about this lovely swan keychain? (Ignore the hand, please)

Or these cheerful hearts with arrows and the cute pup? (Oh, I know my hands are large)

Mmnmnn…this is Lord Murugan – Shiva’s son. Yes, I bought this one for Rs.10/- and took him home. Money can buy God.

Money can also buy money. I only paid Rs.10/- for this nicely laminated bunch. It has a sample of every paper money denomination used in India.

I enjoyed seeing some kids pestering their mom to buy them some stuff. The little girl wouldn’t let go of what she wanted. 🙂 Would you blame her?

I could go on and on, you know. My album from this little trip has hundreds of photos. Yes, very shutterbug. My country fascinates me so.

But let’s head over to the fabulous Unknown Mami’s blog who hosts this wonderful link-up and see her lovely city. From there, we can travel the world together!  What a treat!



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Cheers!

Vidya

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog
    February 5, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I really like the sacred bull.  Wonderful photo.

    These shops amaze me.  Always have.  Its an honest living for sure.  The one you mention the owner lives behind made me think of a couple of older women who live right behind their shops here in Hawaii.  Very wise women I get the chance to talk to in person.

    Lovely photos.

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    🙂 BLOGitse! I love that you wear rings on both your thumbs! I hope you visit India  and Bangalore in particular.  I’d love to take you to places!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Dear Fran! Thank you for your wonderful words! I love that we have an endless number of places to visit.  i have also realized that it is possible to walk down the usual road and look at everything with new eyes. You know, the things the shops near the temples and ashram sell very very cheap. And some of them last years! 🙂  So glad you came by!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Jt! You’re spot on about the honest living part. The shop owners are so kind and affectionate even when we buy just one thing that hardly earns them anything! Thank you for coming by!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I know, Tara. They always make me cry. There are variations of this ritual in all the temples. 🙁 Faith does wondrous things.. Thank you for coming by. Your photos always make my day!

  • Reply
    Fran Sorin
    February 5, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Vidya…

    The first words that came to my mind as I was reading the post was ‘colorful’ and ‘celebration’.  What a great way to spend a Sunday. Your photographs are really good…I could easily spend an afternoon just observing and photographing.  The simplicity of the ashrams contrasts perfectly with the flamboyance of all of the goods being sold.  Reading your post is a great way to start my Sunday….Thank you…xxoo-Fran

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you Profwaynewsmith! Glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Good morning to you, Betsy! i enjoy having you over, too!

  • Reply
    Sibylchavis
    February 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Vidya: Thanks for the tour through the Ashram. It is definitely on my short list to actually be able to visit one in person, but seeing it through your eyes will hold me until I can make the trip:) I loved the pictures (and your hands:).

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 6, 2012 at 4:13 am

      Hi Sibyl, happy you came by! And you’ll definitely love visiting an ashram – the ambiance is so different from any other place!

  • Reply
    Terri Sonoda
    February 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Ahhhhh, Vidya, your country fascinates me, as well!  Thank you for again taking me on a colorful tour.  I fell in love with the little bull.  And the cradles?  You know, I’ve seen those before.  I can’t pinpoint where…maybe in a movie.  I LOVE the cradle baskets.  Just beautiful.  And thanks for taking us shopping with you.  My favorite?   The ring you have on your thumb?   Tell us about that ring.  Well, if you want to.  I’m nosey, huh.   HUGS, my friend.    I just adore these Sunday visits!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 6, 2012 at 4:15 am

      🙂 Hey Terri! Hugs to you, too. My thumb-ring is just a cheap trinket made of some white metal and copper. I have a few different ones and really love wearing them. Hmm. I also wear a thick copper-gold anklet on my right ankle. I am thrilled you come along, too!

  • Reply
    BLOGitse
    February 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I really, really want to visit India asap. I miss the food, sounds, smell of incenses…
    I have rings in my both thumbs 🙂
    Have a good week ahead!

  • Reply
    Tara R.
    February 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    All the shops are fascinating. There are a lot of interesting things to see. The cradle tree was a little sad. So many women longing to be mothers. 

  • Reply
    Betsy @ Zen Mama
    February 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Good morning Vidya,
    I look forward to reading your Sundays In My City each week.  Thanks again for sharing the little things that make up your world.

  • Reply
    Profwaynewsmith
    February 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    What a fun post…The shop is a fascinating view into life in India.  Thanks for your post!

  • Reply
    unknownmami
    February 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I have abusurdly small wrists. I bet those cute bracelets would fit me. Love these pictures and the explanation to go with them.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 6, 2012 at 4:11 am

      🙂 UnknownMami – actually my wrists are fairly slim, too. My fist is large 😀 So that rules out most pretty stuff. Sigh. I’d love to get you bracelets!

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    February 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    –Ahhhh, Vidya,
    The little things seem abundantly BIG, dont’ they?

    I love the little horse statue w/ the flowers around her neck!

    I love all of the photos of your Sundays. 

    I love that your country still fascinates you.

    YOU. FASCINATE.  ME. xxx

    My Inner Chick
    http://myinnerchick.com

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 6, 2012 at 4:16 am

      Dear Kim! 🙂 I love that you enjoy these trips! Hugs all the way from India to you!

  • Reply
    Molly
    February 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing this amazing view of a land and life very far away from mine.

    Mollyxxx

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 6, 2012 at 4:17 am

      Hi Molly! Thanks for visiting! 🙂 I am loving your fascinating Twitter feed!

  • Reply
    Maggie
    February 6, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Vidya it’s always such a treat to stop by here and tour the temples with you! It is all so colorful.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 6, 2012 at 4:19 am

      Dear Maggie! So happy you came by! I loved your feathered visitor this week!

  • Reply
    Vidya Sury
    February 6, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Dear Friends,

    This is a test message. I just had to remove the Disqus commenting system because quite a few people complained that it was giving them grief. This blog is about love, not grief :-D. And to have those comments appear, I found myself spending a lot of time synchronizing comments between Disqus and Blogger.

    So, for those of you who prefer Disqus, my apologies. 🙂 I really tried!

    Hugs to everyone!

  • Reply
    qandlequeen
    February 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I liked seeing the trinkets for sale!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 7, 2012 at 6:35 am

      I love them too! They drew me like magnets! 🙂 Thank you for coming by!

  • Reply
    Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition
    February 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Vidya,
    I loved this trip! I especially loved the laminated money. There were so many great photographs. I so appreciate that you share this with us each Sunday.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      February 7, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Thank you, Angela. I loved that set too! Especially because it was an excellent reproduction. 🙂 i am so happy you came by!

  • Reply
    vanita
    June 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    you kill me with that money/god joke. we have guyanese run places similar to these in new york, but i’ve never seen moorties so pretty as the ones here

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      🙂 India is so pretty, Vanita. I just love it, with all its crazy things!

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