<   2005年 11月 ( 6 )   > この月の画像一覧

Lost Cities, Friday November 18, 2005

Friday, November 18

Lost Cities

Today after practice, several friends and I went on a day trip to visit two historic sites: Talakadu and Somnathpur.

Our car seated 7 of us comfortably; our driver spoke little English but was cheerful and helpful, and pointed out interesting sights along the way.

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The road to Talakadu was rough, often unpaved and with many large potholes, but we were treated to beautiful scenery and a glimpse of Indian country life not seen in downtown Mysore.

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At one point, we were driving behind an overloaded three-wheeled truck.

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Shortly after this photo was taken, one of the boxes fell off as it hit a bump. The truck driver didn't realize his loss, but our driver collected the box, caught up with the truck and returned it, much to everyone's amusement. After nearly two hours of bouncing in our car, we reached Talakadu.

The first impression was a little disappointing... a fairly ordinary looking temple next to a hill.

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Inside the temple, as we were looking around, several people offered to guide us, we eventually hired a very helpful local man.

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He told us that the temple, which was about 1500 years old and dedicated to Vishnu,

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one of the 3 main Hindu gods, was buried under a giant sand dune about 500 years ago-the hill next to the temple was actually this sand dune! He explained that this city had once been the capital of the Ganga and Chola kings who ruled this area, but after one of these kings tried to force himself on the wife of another man, she cursed the king; he was left without a successor and his city was buried under the sands.

Other temples are still being uncovered by the Archaeological Survey of India, and as our guide led us to the top of the 50 foot (about 15 meter) high sand dune, he explained that an entire city was buried underneath our feet!

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Here, Ayuco stands on the roof of one temple that has not yet been excavated.

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Here is another small temple. From the top of the sand dune, we walked down a steep flight of stairs to reach the entrance.

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The entrance must have been above the original ground level-here we can see the top of a column, and our guide says that this column extends another 10 feet (about 3 meters) down into the sand.

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At the temple entrance, we bought supplies for a puja (blessing/purification ceremony). Inside the temple, the priest placed the offerings in front of the god, burned incense and prayed.

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Our guide showed us another much larger temple that is currently being excavated; the stones have all been removed from the temple grounds and will eventually be reassembled. The stones were expertly cut by the ancient builders, and carefully fit together without using cement.

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After an interesting but hard day of climbing sand dunes under the splendid Indian sunshine, we were ready for some refreshment, and fortunately, there was a coconut seller nearby, operating from his bicycle. The coconuts here were some the of sweetest and tastiest I have ever had! We enjoyed them under the shade of a large tree, next to the shadow of a sand dune which conceals a buried city.

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To be continued
[PR]
by dcaplan | 2005-11-23 23:30

A Birthday and a Moon Day, Nov. 16, 2005

Wednesday, Nov. 16

A Birthday and a Moon Day

Today was the first day of practice at the shala after a 4 day break. Practice felt good and light; I started to work on second series and got as far as supta vajrasana. Sharath and Guruji both appeared to be very happy and enthusiastic despite their 6 hour trips to and from Mangalore, where Guruji was a special guest for the inauguration of a Yoga research center at the University.

I ended up staying in Mysore for the 4 day break. I had considered traveling to Kovalam beach or Bandipur natonal park, but having just arrived in Mysore, it seemed better to take it easy and get some rest.

Although the shala was closed on Sunday and Monday for Guruji's trip to Mangalore, these were not rest days, I practiced at home before breakfast. During practice, the early morning sunlight coming through my living room windows made beautiful patterns.

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Two things stood over the long break: a friend's birthday and the moon day.

A Birthday

On Monday, several people from Japan helped Yasuko celebrate her birthday by starting off the day with an ayurvedic massage at the very luxurious Indus Valley Ayurvedic Center... her birthday was a good excuse to pamper ourselves! The center is about 20 minutes from downtown Mysore, in a very quiet and scenic area, the motorbike ride there was pleasant. The staff were very professional; two masseurs gave me a "synchronous" full body massage, meaning that one did the right side at the same time as the other did the left. Their synchronization of timing and pressure was almost perfect-when I thought about this later, I was very impressed, but during the massage I was too relaxed to notice! The massasge was followed by shiodara, pouring a fine stream of warm oil on the forehead, it felt wonderful, and left me even more realxed. Then came a steam bath, and a shower using herbal preparations instead of soap and shampoo. I left feeling refreshed, relaxed, and satisfied.

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That night, we had a birthday party for Yasuko, which included chocolate cake and apple pie from the Southern Star Hotel, and lots of good conversation and laughter. Overall, it was one of the most fun and full days I've had in Mysore.

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A Moon Day

Tuesday was a full moon day, there was a splendid veiw of the full moon, and most of Mysore, from the roof of Ayuco and Yasuko's house.

The sky was mostly clear, and the light from the full moon was surprisingly bright. There was a cool breeze blowing. Yasuko sang songs about the moon, and her beautiful singing took the chill out of the evening air.
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[PR]
by dcaplan | 2005-11-17 19:20

Breakfast at Home, Part 2, Sunday 13/11/05

Breakfast in Mysore, Part 2

While Yasuko and I were working on the Chai, Ayuco worked on the food, which included bread, organic macrobiotic scones brought from Tokyo (thanks Kayo!), fruit, kesaribath and Indian sweets.

First, Ayuco sliced some freshly baked sourdoug bread.

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Oh, and don't forget the assorted Indian sweets, from Bombay Tiffany's.

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After that, the fruit: a papaya, a pineapple, oranges and apples, all bought that morning.

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Ayuco looks happy with her work.

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And in the meantime, I prepared some kesaribath, sweetend semolina with nuts, raisins and spices. I cheated... used a ready made pack. Add water and ghee (refined butter) to a deep frying pan, add the kesaribath mix, and stir until ready.

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Excellent!

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And then we sat down for a great breakfast!

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[PR]
by dcaplan | 2005-11-13 20:22 | Dan in Mysore

Breakafast at home, Day 7, Saturday 12/11/05

Breakfast at Home, Part 1

Yesterday, after led class, we had breakfast at my place. A few friends came over and we prepared an excellent breakfast of chai, fruits, bread, scones, kesari-bath (sweet seminola), and indian sweets.

Here is how we did it:

1) The Chai

Chai is spiced indian milk tea-I love it, but since doing
a fast last August, I have not had any caffeine. Luckily, there is a good substitute for black tea. Rooibos tea, also known as bush tea, comes from a tree grown in South Africa, and has a strong flavor, but no caffeine, and is supposed to be good for digestion and to have a relaxing effect. My friend Michiel tells me that "rooibos" means "red bush" in Dutch. This tea has become popular recently thanks to the very charming "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" books by Alexander McCall Smith, a series of detective stories set in Botswana. So we used Rooibos tea to make our chai.

First, boil some water and prepare the spices: cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger.

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I usually open the cardamon, crush the cloves, cinnamon and black pepper, and finely chop or grind the ginger, and add them to the boiling water.

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While I was working on the spices, Yasuko was busy preparing the ginger:

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When all the spcies have been added, it smells very good!

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Then add the tea, or rooibos tea, and allow to boil for about 10 minutes.

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Then add milk, I usually try to use equal amounts of milk and water. i usually add some sugar at this point.

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Allow this to boil for about 10 more minutes, and you have some excellent chai! Adding some more sugar helps to bring out the flavor of the spices, especially the ginger. Enjoy!

(Thanks to Mamiko Aida, who first showed me how to make chai, Alice Caldwell, for introducing me to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Natsuko, for introducing me to rooibos tea, and to Yasuko and Ayuco, who helped to prepare the breakfast!)
[PR]
by dcaplan | 2005-11-12 19:39 | Dan in Mysore

First Few Days in Mysore

OK, I'm having some trouble with my lack of blogging skills; every time I try to add a new entry, all the old entries get deleted. If you're still reading this, please bear with me, I hope to solve this problem somtime soon!

Below is a copy of my first entries, which were deleted by mistake.

Day 1-Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005

HI Everyone;

I'm now safely in Mysore and having a great time! This is my first ever try to write a blog, so sorry if it takes me a while to get the hang of it. I'll write all my entries in English, but of course feel free to write responses or comments in Japanese!

My first day was long, but lots of fun. My flight landed in Bangalore on Saturday, at 10:15 pm, and after a very long wait for my bag, I left the airport at 12:30, and reached the Green Hotel in Mysore at 3:45 am, put my bags down, freshend up a little, and then it was off to the shala for the 5:00 am led class. Guruji was in fine spirits, smiling a lot, and practice felt good, but after all that sitting in an airplane, the balance poses were wobbly. After practice, while enjoying cocounut milk in front of the shala, I caught up with many friends including Mae, Natalia, Ayuko, Kumi, Juha Javainen and many others, and also met Yasuko from Nagasaki, Maki from Niigata, and Sayuri from Tokyo. Practice was followed by an excellent breakfast of pancakes, upma, parathas, toast, pineapple juice and french toast at the Green Hotel, and then we headed downtown to buy sandals, food and other supplies.

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There was a conference at 4:30 pm, and Guruji talked about the 8 branches of Yoga and explained that asana practice is the starting point and gateway to the other branches.

After conference, Ayuko, Maki and Yasuko and I had light dinner at Green Leaf, and headed out to Mysore Palace and got there just in time to see the illumination display. We capped off the evening with some traditional Inidan sweets, and a long talk about yoga and backbends... it was a wonderful day and a perfect way to start my stay in Mysore.

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Day 2-Monday, Nov. 7

Today was my first Mysore style practice, and it felt good. I'll be doing primary series only for the first week. There are probably 100 or so people practicing now; the shala is full, but not too crowded, and the waits aren't too long. Guruji, Sharath and Saraswati were all smiling a lot and giving lots of ajustments.

Mae took several of us to the Gokul Chats for an excellent breaskfast, and the Dosa filled with Kesari Bath were excellent. Did some more shopping and caught up on e-mail in the afternoon, and after dinner, Ayuko, Yasuko, Maki and I shared some lemon ginger tea and chatted about Yoga.

Day 3-Tuesday, Nov. 8

One thing that really strikes me here is how intense everything is. The smells of food, spices or garbage, the explosion of colors one sees in the local markets, the differences between the rich and poor, friendly or rude behaviour, all seem much more intense than the relatively subtle variations I have grown used to in Tokyo. This can make a stay in Mysore much more interesting, but also can be a little overwhelming at first. This is not my first visit to Mysore, but it is still taking a while to get used to!

Day 5-Thursday, Nov. 10

After chanting this morning, Sharath announced that the shala would be closed on Sunday and Monday, because Gurji was traveling to Mangalore to receive a government award, and Tuesday is a moon day. Since the shala is usually closed on Saturdays as well, this leaves 4 days in a row without practice at the shala. I'm debating whether to hop on a plane an go to Kovalam Beach, for some self practice near the ocean followed by an intense oil massage, or head up to Bandipur national park to see some jungle and wildlife, or just stay in Mysore and do morning practice with my friends.
[PR]
by dcaplan | 2005-11-10 17:53 | First Days in Mysore

First few days in Mysore

OK, I'm having some trouble with my lack of blogging skills; every time I try to add a new entry, all the old entries get deleted. If you're still reading this, please bear with me, I hope to solve this problem somtime soon!

Below is a copy of my first entries, which were deleted by mistake.

Day 1-Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005

HI Everyone;

I'm now safely in Mysore and having a great time! This is my first ever try to write a blog, so sorry if it takes me a while to get the hang of it. I'll write all my entries in English, but of course feel free to write responses or comments in Japanese!

My first day was long, but lots of fun. My flight landed in Bangalore on Saturday, at 10:15 pm, and after a very long wait for my bag, I left the airport at 12:30, and reached the Green Hotel in Mysore at 3:45 am, put my bags down, freshend up a little, and then it was off to the shala for the 5:00 am led class. Guruji was in fine spirits, smiling a lot, and practice felt good, but after all that sitting in an airplane, the balance poses were wobbly. After practice, while enjoying cocounut milk in front of the shala, I caught up with many friends including Mae, Natalia, Ayuko, Kumi, Juha Javainen and many others, and also met Yasuko from Nagasaki, Maki from Niigata, and Sayuri from Tokyo. Practice was followed by an excellent breakfast of pancakes, upma, parathas, toast, pineapple juice and french toast at the Green Hotel, and then we headed downtown to buy sandals, food and other supplies.

a0062410_19514579.jpg
a0062410_19502680.jpg
a0062410_19522169.jpg
a0062410_19524699.jpg
a0062410_19513829.jpg


There was a conference at 4:30 pm, and Guruji talked about the 8 branches of Yoga and explained that asana practice is the starting point and gateway to the other branches.

After conference, Ayuko, Maki and Yasuko and I had light dinner at Green Leaf, and headed out to Mysore Palace and got there just in time to see the illumination display. We capped off the evening with some traditional Inidan sweets, and a long talk about yoga and backbends... it was a wonderful day and a perfect way to start my stay in Mysore.

a0062410_19515563.jpg
a0062410_19521298.jpg


Day 2-Monday, Nov. 7

Today was my first Mysore style practice, and it felt good. I'll be doing primary series only for the first week. There are probably 100 or so people practicing now; the shala is full, but not too crowded, and the waits aren't too long. Guruji, Sharath and Saraswati were all smiling a lot and giving lots of ajustments.

Mae took several of us to the Gokul Chats for an excellent breaskfast, and the Dosa filled with Kesari Bath were excellent. Did some more shopping and caught up on e-mail in the afternoon, and after dinner, Ayuko, Yasuko, Maki and I shared some lemon ginger tea and chatted about Yoga.

Day 3-Tuesday, Nov. 8

One thing that really strikes me here is how intense everything is. The smells of food, spices or garbage, the explosion of colors one sees in the local markets, the differences between the rich and poor, friendly or rude behaviour, all seem much more intense than the relatively subtle variations I have grown used to in Tokyo. This can make a stay in Mysore much more interesting, but also can be a little overwhelming at first. This is not my first visit to Mysore, but it is still taking a while to get used to!

Day 5-Thursday, Nov. 10

After chanting this morning, Sharath announced that the shala would be closed on Sunday and Monday, because Gurji was traveling to Mangalore to receive a government award, and Tuesday is a moon day. Since the shala is usually closed on Saturdays as well, this leaves 4 days in a row without practice at the shala. I'm debating whether to hop on a plane an go to Kovalam Beach, for some self practice near the ocean followed by an intense oil massage, or head up to Bandipur national park to see some jungle and wildlife, or just stay in Mysore and do morning practice with my friends.
[PR]
by dcaplan | 2005-11-07 23:32 | Dan in Mysore