I received the opportunity to go to Chennai, India for 2 weeks and stay at an ashram. At first, I was apprehensive to agree to go. I know, I know. You must think I am crazy to think twice about a trip to India. But I had been to India 10 years ago and my opinion of it was chaos at its worst. So when this time came around, I was determined to experience India in a different way the second time and man, am I glad I went.
Because cows are considered sacred in India, they are everywhere. Roaming the streets and eating what ever is on the ground. They are frequently walking next to you on the road.
There are hundreds of tropical flowers. I think it is funny that the only picture I took of a flower is at dusk and does not, in the least, capture the amount of its vibrance. But this flower, there is something very special about it, isn’t there?
There was a wonderful looking group of women from a place in Northern India visiting the ashram while I was there. They told me that they all wear the same colors scarves there. Another Indian woman overheard my conversation with them and told me that wasn’t true. So, I am not sure what the truth is! They were radiant either way.
Dusk was such a wonderful part of my days during the trip. It was a time to transition from the hot days to the cooler nights. It was my favorite time. Usually, the sun would just fade and the nighttime come. But on one night in particular, there was the most glorious sunset.
The ashram provided us with 3 meals a day. Every day the food was wonderful. Each meal was mostly dal and rice, however, this meal is breakfast. Those white circles are idly: almost like cream of wheat pancakes. Delish!
We took a 35 minute rickshaw ride (I swear it was the reason for my sickness) into downtown Chennai to go shopping. We shopped for saris, wonderful gold jewelry, henna and kurtis.
The sari stores consist mainly of floor after floor of fabrics. It is hard to wrap your head around. All Indian women pick two patterns to create a full sari. Usually, the fabric is 9 yards long and is wrapped or draped around the body.
This picture shows the massive amount of fabric that you can choose from. It is really overwhelming.
The fruit was extremely refreshing. We generally bought oranges, bananas and these cute little miniature cantaloupes. One day we bought coconuts to drink from.
At a quarter to 6:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. a bell rings in the ashram to alert you that there will be a meditation in 15 minutes. This is a picture I took before the 9:00 a.m. sitting in front of the meditation hall.
I saw this sign and laughed hysterically. It is so funny. I could not tell if it was a joke or serious. I found out later in my stay at the ashram that it is where you go to register your marriage after your wedding.
Stay tuned for part 2!