Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mahabalipuram

Tomorrow, we leave South India for Mumbai, where we will spend our last few days in India, before we fly to London. We are in Mammalapuram, aka Mahabalipuram (this renaming business makes for great confusion). It is most famous for its beach resorts, impressive examples of Dravidian architecture, and the Shore Temple, which was in fact part of a complex, but the rest is now under water. I am told this discovery was made by the common man in the wake of the Tsunami, when the waters receded dramatically.

It seems to be a poorer town than Pondy or Chennai, with many, many people using the beach for all their ablutions (yes, everything.) It is sad, because on the whole South Indians look quite prosperous, and most seem to have their basic needs for sanitation and clean water met to some extent. I think perhaps the government is concentrating its infrastructure efforts in the larger towns and cities.

Seeing the poverty and filth in this little town, like so much else about travelling, especially in India, shows up all the habits I have in thinking, seeing, judging (see the Auroville post!). I notice again and again how I dislike change, and fight against it, even if I instigated it - case in point: the way I was disappointed that our current hotel is not as nice or homely as the wonderful Le Dupleix in Pondy. I also notice that if I feel my needs, for example in terms of cleanliness, are not met, I get uptight. Then there is the spending. India's beautiful goodies erode my self-control and I always buy more than I need to or should! Watching my husband do the same, but on a larger scale, with art pieces, has been educational too. I am not as flexible as I should be, but again, travelling forces the issue, because sometimes, if you are not flexible, you will be without transport or accommodation! How lucky I am to have such a mirror: the yoga of travel.

3 comments:

Regina Clare Jane said...

Hi Nadine! Still traveling I see! I always found when I was overseas I really had to broaden my comfort zone- and it was a struggle for me, no doubt. But I learned so much and came back a much more tolerant human being...
I really love hearing all about your travels... makes me want to start again...

Linda (Sama) said...

Nadine, how interesting that we all react differently to the same things.

My first trip to India, everything was wonderful. My second trip is when I began to notice the beggar children, the mangy dogs, and all the garbage garbage garbage, everywhere. Maybe you've read some of my posts about it.

But I love traveling alone through Tamil Nadu, I wouldn't have it any other way, I love experiencing things through my own filters, and not the filters of others.

I can't wait to go "home"....

rand(om) bites said...

Sounds like you have been learning a lot about yourselves on this trip. I know I can react badly when I don't have my creature comforts but I need to be challenged to keep me on my toes. Can't wait to hear about your London travels.