After having worked for nearly two decades, I decided it was time to take a break from work, to stop myself from chasing the needles on a clock day after day, to stop and reflect upon myself and rediscover myself. To begin with I went on a self imposed pilgrimage trip to temples which I had visited as a young university student. Here is a little excerpt as to what prompted the trip.
In the late nighties, I visited with a group of friends, the cities of Madurai, Thanjavur, Kombakonam, Salem ,Erode and Tirunevelli. As having grown up in North of India, I had very limited exposure to temples in southern India up until then. Up until then my visits to temples were mindless and predominantly with parents. I have vivid memories of that trip with my friends. I looked at the temples in a different light for the first time in my life ,during the trip. I saw splendid architecture with such exquisite sculptures, marvellous art work and constructed with such mathematical precision. The temples dated back to 8th and 9th century. These had survived the tests of time, lived through the ravaging wars, floods and other acts of god and humans, and it must have seen some beautiful and wonderful times too. There was something surreal about these temples. In the late nighties, a student in India , would not roam around with cameras or smart phones, but yet I have such lovely and beautiful images of the trip in my memory. At present I am an avid smart phone user, a texter, a talker and an amateur photographer who is a pro at taking selfies !!!! I am incapable of stepping out of the house without my smart phone and have forgotten how the world worked before the advent of mobile phones. Yet I have such vivid and wonderful memories of the trip in late nineties with my friends, the beautiful temples, the lush green countryside, paddy fields, coconut groves, and River Cavery meandering through and delicious traditional food served on banana leaf. Over the years these memories were overshadowed but never faded away.
Such were the memories of the trip and had left a profound impression on me as a young student. I wanted to revisit these temples and experience the places again. Will I be enchanted and mesmerised with the place once again ? Had the modern world altered these places and would it be a altogether different experience now?
I will write on another day about my experience of Temple visits of Tamil Nadu in 2016.