Padmanabhaswamy (attempted) and Puthen Malika

Padmanabha Swamy temple and palaceToday Joshu, Nirmal, Osheen and I went into Trivandrum to visit the Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Puthen Malika Palace. I wish I could say more about the temple to Vishnu from which the capital city takes it’s name, but unfortunately (and even though I was dressed appropriately) we discovered that it is not open to non-Hindus (or actually, to people who do not appear as if they are of Indian descent). For some reason this really surprised me, Continue reading

Brides and Weddings and Saris

Pink Sari printToday I left Varkala and caught a bus down to Thiruvananthapuram (otherwise known as Trivandrum), the capital of Kerala. I was about to visit Joshu, Nirmal, and Osheen, whom I met and practiced with at the Zen retreat in Tiruvannamalai in October and November. Reshma bridal sari selection 2They live in a smaller town by the name of Nedumangad, which is about a one-hour bus ride from Trivandrum towards the mountainous western ghats of Kerala. Nirmal was planning to meet me in Trivandrum and take me directly back to their home, but the day turned into a bridal shopping extravaganza when her Amma called with the request that we meet her and around six other members of their family to select the saris they would all wear for Nirmal’s brother’s upcoming wedding in January. It was a fine introduction to her family: mother, several aunties, two cousins, and her younger brother and his bride-to-be. Nirmal kept asking me if I was getting bored with spending all this time in both modern department stores as well as some of the oldest sari shops in the city. Absolutely not!, I replied. Continue reading