Mysore Day Trip

This is an account of a day trip which I made to the city of Mysore by bus from the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe in March 2018.

Been feelin’ rough these last few days, little appetite for food but still managin’ to get some down me, little appetite for meditation but still knockin’ in those sittin’ hours as well, but it is all a bit flat.

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Sringeri

This is an account of a journey made to the temple town of Sringeri in the state of Karnataka which I made in February 2017.

It was an early morning start for the trip to Sringeri as we rolled out of Bylakuppe at 7.15, heading west on the road past the Coorg town of Kushal Nagar and up into the hills. For this little trip it was me and Anita, Sonam Tashi and his daughter, Passang Dawa. It would be Sonam Tashi doing all the driving in his black Mahindra Scorpio, his bulky four wheel drive we had to take us there and back. The reason for us going to Sringeri was to see the holy Hindu temple at Sringeri, which lay by the river Tunga in the hilly Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, north east of Mangalore on State Highway 169. It was an ancient temple, or math, and had been founded by the great Advaita Vedanta teacher, philosopher and saint Adi Shankara in the 8th century. Sringeri has been a place of pilgrimage, and spiritual learning more or less ever since and is the seat today of the Jagadguru Shankaracharyas who can trace their lineage back to Adi Shankara himself.

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Travelling from Madurai to Bengaluru on a Sleeper Bus

This is an account of a journey by sleeper bus from the Tamil Nadu city of Madurai to the mega city of Bengaluru in Karnataka and occurred in February 2017.

It was early evening when we got back to the Residency in the centre of Madurai, time had moved on quite quickly if truth be told, it hadn’t been such a drag after all, my fears of it being an unmitigated bore fest had turned out to be unfounded. After all we were not due to catch our sleeper bus to Bengaluru until 9.45 pm and yet we had officially checked out of the Residency at 1 pm, leaving our bags there behind the reception leaving us with over 8 hours to fill.

In fact it was not long after I had settled back down in one of the comfy chairs in the lobby, stomach still full from the meal we’d eaten, that our man from the travel desk came over and advised us that we take the taxi ride over to the Maduthavani bus stand sooner rather than later, due to the fact that some parts of Madurai were likely to disrupted because of the thunderstorms from earlier on. This kind of made sense to the both of us, me and Anita, as there was simply no point in hanging around the lobby anymore if truth be told, we might just as well get on with it, and thus avoid any last minute hiccups. We had agreed a price of 500 IR with the man from the travel desk earlier on in the day for the ride over to the Maduthavani which, although well above what we could have got a ride for if we had stepped outside to negotiate with one of the numerous street taxis, was OK for us. This was mainly due to the fact that we had been able to hang around the lobby and safely store our cases behind the reception until it was time to go.

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On the Shatabdi Express

This is an account from 2016 of a journey I made on the Shatabdi Express from the city of Mysore in Karnataka to Chennai, state capital of Tamil Nadu.

The Shatabdi Express from Mysore to Chennai was due to depart Mysore at 2.30 pm so I got to the ticket office at around 12.45. As soon as I saw the queue that had already formed at the reservations counter for the departure that afternoon I had a bad feeling. This was confirmed when 20 minutes later, after I had gone to the trouble of filling out the obligatory reservation form, I was told in no uncertain terms by the man behind the counter that I would only be able to travel as far as Bangalore, just a couple of hours down the line. I would not be able to go the whole way to Chennai as the leg of the journey between Bangalore and Chennai was already fully booked.

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Ramana Mandiram

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This is an account of one of my visits to the Ramana Mandiram in Madurai in 2017 when I was travelling with a friend through Tamil Nadu, South India. It was in this building that Sri Ramana realised The Self in 1896. We had first stayed in the Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai before making our way to Madurai to visit both the Ramana Mandiram there and the Ramana Maharshi Sundaram in Tiruchuzhi. The visit described below was made on the evening of the day we had gone to Tiruchuzhi. I was feeling tired from a day on the road in South India and we had just walked in to the building after an end of day thunderstorm, a common occurrence in that part of South India when the weather is hot.

Ramana Mandiram
17/21 Chockkappan Street
Madurai – 1
(opp: To Meenakshi Temple South Tower)

It was gone 8 by the time we got to the mandiram, it felt good to be able to step back inside the building again, where the evening puja on the ground floor, with men on one side of the room and women on the other side, was just coming to an end. It did not take long for Anita and I to make our way back up the stairs to the first floor, to those two virtually empty rooms, save for the large framed photograph portraits of the guru Ramana Maharshi.

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Ramana Maharshi Sundaram

001RMSmallThis is an account of a trip I made in 2017 to Tiruchuzhi, birth place of Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi in 1879. In the 1940s the Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai bought the house in which Sri Ramana was born and where he grew up with his family. It is called the Ramana Maharshi Sundaram and is open to visitors. I was travelling with a friend of mine and we had based ourselves in the city of Madurai which was about 45 minutes away by car. In Madurai we had first visited the Ramana Mandarim on Chockkappan Street, close to the south tower of the Meenakshi Temple, the place where Sri Ramana realised The Self in 1896 before making his way a few weeks later to Tiruvannamalai, where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

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Face of the Guru

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It wasn’t for a couple of years before I retrieved my Ramana Maharshi book from John, not until after he had died in fact. This was in 2011 which meant I would have lent him my copy of Talks With Ramana Maharshi in 2008 or something like that. I was in his bungalow in Clayhall, East London, clearing out his bedroom with Leigh, his son and my work colleague in the small company we ran together, first in Walthamstow and then in Ilford, going all the way back to 1989. By 2011 the company was entering its last phase of existence which on a business level meant five years of pain before we finally pulled the plug in 2016. We did this by way of going into voluntary liquidation, after which things changed overnight, seemingly rendering the previous 27 years’ work if not completely redundant then something pretty close. Anyway, all that lay in the future, so back to 2011. Continue reading “Face of the Guru”