Jan 14, 2009

Indian Solstice

Today is the auspicious day in India – Makara Samkrânti – Indian version of Solstice. This is the day that marks the beginning of sun’s northern course which is called Uttarâyana (second half of a year) – a day that’s very auspicious to Sun god – Sûrya. Sun is considered the most supreme god right from very ancient times as he’s a manifested being and sustains life on earth. This day everyone worships him specially by offering him special prayers.

In southern India, it’s extra special, called Pongal in Tamil Nadu, where people cook a mixture of rice and jiggery and offer it to Sun along with sugarcanes. Tomorrow, the cattle are worshipped, especially the cows and on this occasion the farmers harvest their fields. We city dwellers invocate the sun god in our homes, pay homage to him and sit back to enjoy the holidays – I know that sounds dull, [sigh] but are left no choice.

I planned to post this the day after New Year, but couldn’t and thought today is the right day to do it. On the day of New Year, we went to the temple of our family deity (Well, every Indian family has a family deity who protects them from wicked forces and if you fail to pay homage to that deity at least once a year, you become vulnerable to wicked forces), which is in the outskirts of Trichy in Tamil Nadu.

I was awed by the countryside scenes and went crazy with my camera. Since we had to start early morning and return that very night, there was no time for in between stops except for food and toilets (sorry to be so verbal, but what the heck! Everyone knows it!), I had to capture the beauty of the village scenes from the car. Most of them were blurred – we saw a PEACOCK in the fields, but the photo came out blurred and that was the only one. Too bad. Anyways here they are:

The herd of caught my attention. It's sweet to watch them:

What a lush carpet !

How great a summer would be amidst these forest of coconut trees, drinking from their sweet nectar!

Wish I could stand on this bridge and enjoy the sunset!

A lone Palmyra m (Borassus flabellifer) caught my attention:

Nature's beauty can be felt here:


tina said...

What great coconuts! I simply love them.

Chandramouli S said...

They taste great, Tina! Especially those sold in villages taste sweet and are cheap too!

Anonymous said...

How nice to enjoy your photos of green and growing things, when we are buried in snow with bitter cold temperatures. Thanks for warming my soul with them!

Chandramouli S said...

Robin: It's my pleasure, Robin. May these warm scenes thaw the sleets of snow and give warmth to your yearning hearts!

Bob said...

It is just so green every where there. We have only a few months of green a year, here in Texas. Your pictures were so refreshing.

Green thumb said...

I see, with all the beautiful greenery around anybody with a camera will go berserk.
South has always enamored me; all that tropical greenery, vast open spaces, beautiful temples with breathtaking architecture, it is all there. I hope I get a reason to visit South soon.

Chandramouli S said...

True, Bob. If I'd been there today, I'd be more greener and merrier with people engaged in celebrations. Pongal is celebrated pompously in villages especially.

You should sometime, GT. Right said about the temple architectures here. Even today when I go to the famous Kapaleeswarar temple here, I cannot keep myself from gawking at the figurines on the temple pyramids.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing info on this celebration with us. :) You have some lovely green scenes at this time of the year with the coconut trees and fields of grass.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Palm trees = warmth. This all looks so good to me right now while we are having single digit high temperatures today and tomorrow. Brrrr......

Marie said...

Thank you (again) for sharing your culture.

Your pictures remind me of the Hawaii I visited for the last 2 weeks. Ahhh, for sunshine and warmth.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Chandramouli, the post is there now. There are a lot of things I still need to learn or there's a technical Blogger snag.

Loved going through these photos. I did take some shots of pastoral scenes too on the way to Pondicherry. It's interesting to know how different states celebrate Sankranti. In Assam we celebrate Bhogali Bihu, a harvest festival with a lot of feasting. I think the roots are similar--agrarian origins.

I left Mr. Kumar's add and phone number on my commentsection for you.

gardenerprogress said...

This was fascinating! I love seeing your photos of how different it is there!

walk2write said...

Different but similar at the same time! We have palm trees, herds of goats, and celebrations here too. Somehow, most of our celebrations don't seem as respectful or family-oriented, though. What a shame! I'm enjoying my ongoing tour of your country and customs, Chandramouli.

Chandramouli S said...

perennialgardener: Thank you :). Only I couldn't participate in that gala event. I've never seen Pongal in Villages except in TV :(

Lisa: Ah! I understand. I'm glad I could warm you up with my photos :)

Marie: It's my pleasure, Marie. Almost always, there's never been a deficiency in it here. :D

Kanak: Thank you, Kanak. I'm headed to your Blooms post... And yea, thank you for the address will check it out soon.

Right said, Kanak. It's the agrarian festival, just celebrated in accordance to the regional practices, but it's all about fun and showing your gratitude to Sun and Cattle for all their generous gifts to help us subsist.

gardenerprogress: Thank you so much. Will try to keep you fascinated.

walk2write: Oh! May be it's because of these festivals are ancient? I don't know. As I said it all comes to fun and prayers to god. It's important in all India festivals that one pays due respect to their family members. Glad you liked the post.

Kerri said...

How interesting to learn a little about your culture. It's lovely to see your coconut palms and green fields when all we have to look at is snow!
Thanks for visiting and saying hello :)

Chandramouli S said...

I'm glad I did warm your eyes :). Welcome to Plantville, Kerri

Gail said...


As I was reading and looking at your photos I thought that it looked a bit familiar...there's the green field, the blue sky and those palm trees...It could be someplace I've been! Thank you for introducing me to more about your culture...We have been watching a really good PBS broadcast about the history of India. We are loving it!

Have a great weekend.


Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I took time to read carefully what you wrote about your culture and beliefs and rituals that you do there. I found it extremely interesting and learned something I never knew before. Then when I read Kanak's comment, I learned that even in India there are differences between what you do in your area versus what she does in her area. I am so 'uneducated' about these things...sorry! But, it was fascinating to me to read this post Chandramouli!
I am hoping you feel better by now...and the sneezing is going away??? Please take care, Jan

Jean said...

I'm ready to invite the Sun inside today. We are having true winter weather for a few days.

Wendy said...

I like to hear of other cultures traditions. We celebrate the return of the Sun on December 21st. There are no holidays associated with this. Christmas comes a few days later (as I'm sure you know).

Nice pics. It is good to see grass and animals instead of the snow we're buried under here in Canada.
Love & Light

Chandramouli S said...

Hi Gail, I'm glad you loved it. Will try to maintain it and improve better :)

Hey Jan! It really is fascinating how different parts of India have different practices, but the reason and intention is all the same.
Thank you for your concern. It seems I've become a victim of some virus so it'll take sometime. But, what the heck! It can't stop me from gardening! I'm feeling better :) Thank you again.

Jean: I hope the winter goes away soon and I quote my favorite phrase again, 'The Spring's just round the corner,' hold on.

Hi Wendy, Oh! I never knew that. I too love learning about other cultures. In fact I always wanted to know why the Grecians stopped worshipping their Gods and so did Norwegians? What suddenly made abandon their religion? I mean, it's such a rich religion and how could it have become extinct? Why are those gods no more worshipped and made heroes just in poems? These questions always haunt me!

Oh, I hear from from the people that I speak to everyday that it snows terribly in Canada. Stay safe and keep yourself warm.

garden girl said...

Beautiful scenery. I especially love the palm trees!

I enjoyed learning more about Indian traditions and culture.

Chandramouli S said...

garden girl: Oh, I love 'em too. Don't they exude warmth?

Glad that I did pass on some knowledge to my friends out there :).

Wayne Stratz said...

I found your sharing of your spiritual traditions very interesting. Thanks. The lengthening of days is a blessing.

Chandramouli S said...

Hi Wayne, Thank you for the comments :). I'm glad I'm teaching people something. It sure is welcomed, but it's gonna get really hot in few months and that's dreadful here :(