Monday, September 15, 2008

The Maha Swaha

Whew! What a journey this has been!

The group arrived at Manaltheeram Ayurveda Resort between Saturday and Sunday, the 6th & 7th of September.

After 23 hours of travel, we landed at the Trivandrum airport a bit weary, but filled with excitement and anticipation. Our transport was waiting for us (something that was a bit surprising to Jill, given her previous experiences in India) and that ride to the resort was an unforgettable experience. We shared both sides of the road with rickshaws, pedestrians, transport trucks, and so many mini-bikes/motorcycles carrying groups of 1 - 4! The smell of petrol burned the insides of our nostrils, and the blast of the horn was our soundtrack.

We were greeted at the resort with a mala of fresh jasmine flowers and coconuts to drink out of. A table had been set up, perched at the edge of the property, peeking over the fluffy caps and swirls of the Arabian Sea. Palm trees swayed their applause at our arrival, and the staff was incredibly gracious. After 3 plane rides and many hours of transit, this was paradise!

The resort so beautiful! We stayed in bamboo huts. Practiced yoga in an open-sided building facing trees, listening to a symphony of birds accompanied by the sound of the Sea. We each got Ayurveda Massage, many with Shirodhara, all of us coated in oil to nourish the skin and hair, and to rejuvenate the spirit after the arduous journey to the sub-continent. Unfortunately the treatment fanned the irritation on my husband's skin. He spent quite some time in the airconditioned hut, playing his guitar and drinking scotch.

On the fifth day we signed on for an incredible journey to the very tip of the continent. It's a point of convergence where three bodies of water meet: the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Here we boarded a boat for a quick jump to the Swami Vivekananda Memorial. This temple was profound and filled with Shakti. Here we learned that when the Tsunami hit in 2004, 1500 people were inside this temple. Right next to the temple, maybe 100 feet away, stands an enormous statue of a famous poet from the state of Tami Nadu. That statue was completely submerged in the Tsunami, but the temple wasn't hit at all. Miraculous.

We spent the next day on a very lazy houseboat floating on a lake in Kerala. Our hope was to cruise the backwaters on this boat, but the boatmen were all on strike. Swaha. This was just the first of compromises we had to negotiate.

Next we headed to Delhi. More later.

Sending Shakti and Love from the Motherland,


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