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.

a0062410_1911788.jpg


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 | 2006-01-18 18:56 | Birthday & Moonday

A Birthday and a Moon

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.

a0062410_19124352.jpg


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.

a0062410_19131491.jpg


a0062410_19125864.jpg


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.

a0062410_1911788.jpg


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.
a0062410_19122847.jpg

[PR]
# by dcaplan | 2006-01-18 18:56 | Birthday & Moonday

Lost Cities 1

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 | 2006-01-18 18:53 | Lost Cities 1