Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pradakshina – The Inner Path

 When I say “Inner Path” that could of course mean, “Inner Path” or “Inner Path”, depending on which perspective you are looking at it from. Either way, today (Tuesday) I walked the Inner path around Arunachala. Last week I walked the Outer Path (which in and of itself could also be considered an “Inner Path”)  on the 14km of various public roads and footpaths by the many millions who do so every year. The Inner Path follows the hill around but for the most part is on bush land close in at the very foot of the hill. A fairly rough path in most places means you have to watch every step but it’s very beautiful and very peaceful most of the way as it is far enough away from the madness of the roads, the crowds and all the noise. Interesting to note also that very few Indians will do this route but those of you who have spent time in India will not be one little bit surprised by that. I’m guessing it’s maybe 12km-13km on this path and I must have really taken my time as it took 6 ½ hours. I had lots of little stops and wandered off the track here and there to look at different things, chat to a few people here and there.
One thing I can tell you that there is no question this is a very powerful place. I can’t explain this as I just don’t understand how these things work but one thing I am coming to understand is that there is a real reason why so many millions of people visit this hill and why for several thousand years so many saints and holy men have gravitated to this area and lived on the hill itself. I’m not going to say any more about this because I don’t want to come across as loopy but all I can say is that we all know that we have certain places we prefer to live, like to visit or just be close because they make us feel a certain way, this place seems to be quite extraordinary in that way.
Tomorrow I am going to the top of the hill, as Arnie would say “It is time !”


More General Photos

Most of the time I'm walking around I have my camera at the ready. So many of these images are split second opportunities, hesitate and they are gone in an instant. The other thing with people I find is that the moment they realise they are being photographed the whole dynamic changes and something is lost, or at least becomes something entirely different. The new 18-200 lens I bought in Singapore means I can get so many of these shots from across the street where they don't know they are having their privacy utterly invaded !!!

I am absolutely fascinated by these Swami-Baba-Homeless-Holy Men. They are such characters and make such awesome photographic subjects.


Most of them are very used to posing for the photos and, of course, very used to asking for cash. This guy had actually been lying down asleep but he clearly used his yogic powers to sense an income earning opportunity.

I love the stick people. they spend the day collecting sticks for fuel for the fires.

This young man was at Ramanashram and is obviously of the Brahmin class, studying to be some kind of priest or expert in their scriptures, however that works here. very nicely dressed and a real air of privilege about him.

This old couple sit outside the gate to the ashram that goes up the hill. A couple of real characters I paid them both individually a small amount for allowing me to take these photos.

Later on in the day here they were down the alleyway having a small feast. I would like to think my small contribution helped pay for their food. They probably live right here on this footpath so of course I paid them again for this photo.

I like this family, they have a real and genuine joy about them. Hard-working, they have this sort of little farm-type enterprise on the side of a busy road, I pass them by most days. Here he is doing the coconuts but they seem to have goats and some cows and a few other things going on. Hard to see but he has a long steel spike coming out of the ground and he is removing the outer part of the coconut which they dry off. Eventually these are made into a kind of rope apparently.

This is Mrs Coconut Man

These are the daughters, notice how well they are all dressed ?

Especially considering where they live.....

I see this guy all over town, he really gets around

These two images are a fantastic example of the need to have the camera in my hand, switched on and at the ready. All I have time for is to adjust the zoom, and that's if I am quick. As you can imagine this guy is riding along at at least 20kph so you really only have a moment to react. There's no time to reach into a bag, take the lens cap off, get ready to take the photo, suddenly realise the camera is not switched on yet, then actually adjust the lens and take the photo. I saw this guy coming along the road with his load of "wares" and managed to get the before and after shots which is not easy to do as the traffic on this road get quite heavy, so often I miss these opportunities, sometimes I get them.