India – Day 1

It is good, really good, to be back in India for Navaratri. Even that first moment when you walk out of the Chennai airport at 1 AM and feel the humidity and smell the exhaust…it is still India and the excitement is never diminished. Of course reaching Kanchipuram, which is fairly rural, is even better. The palm trees sway in the breeze and look exotic and the air smells fresh and clean…as long as you are away from the streets which are as crowded as ever.

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The yagya house is still the same and up on the roof the dal processing plant has finished adding on a second floor. When I was last here for Shivaratri, the work had just begun. There is still an endless stream of ox drawn carts coming here during the day loaded down with dal to be processed.

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Even though we got back at 2 AM, at 8 AM the next morning, we start the daily yagya. It is nice to hear the familiar sound of Rudram being chanted and to hear Seetharam’s voice chanting the vedas again.

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We are joined by Ganeshan who is a Rig Veda pundit. Together they perform the Rudra Abishekam and all the other pujas for the nine planets, and the goddesses. Here you see him covering the little murtis with perfumed sandal paste. The smell fills the room…another one of those association with being in India.

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After the pujas and abishekam we head up to the roof to perform the fire ritual called havan or homam. Since it is still early in the morning, the breeze is cool and the brilliant blue sky is delightful. By the time we are done it is 11:30. What a great way to spend a morning.

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