Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bazaar in a Temple town

I think that trade in present-day temple towns is as much for international tourists as for the local or domestic pilgrims who come from nearby towns or neighbouring states. As you walk along the Chengam road in Tiruvannamalai, the temple town which is 185 km from Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 210 km from Bangalore (Karnataka) you see the ‘Tibetan Gifts Store - Manufacturer & Wholesaler for Tibetan Jewellery, Pashmina shawls, Carpets, Cloths, etc’. There is also the ‘Authorised Forex Money Changers-Indian Boutique’ that sells postcards and cotton blouses that foreigners visiting India often buy. This is on one side of the Chengam road.

Sandalwood paste and other puja items for sale near the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai

On the other side, you see Muggulu or Kolam – freshly done floral motifs in rice powder on earth that has been settled with sprinkling of water by the lady of the house. There is the shack of the local paan-shop that continues to exist, outside one of the community water tanks or the shop ‘Manjula Coffee bar’ with the traditional copper container for the filter coffee – a container that is smeared with ash and red kumkum. The acrylic board above the shop entrance advertises ‘Brooke Bond 3 Roses Tea’.

There’s the Tailor shop and the Ironing shop inside a remnant of a stone pillared pavilion along the roadside. Further down, another tailoring shop called the ‘Swiss’ Tailor next to the ‘Ellora Hair Style’ housed in a concrete structure, its frontage protected by the shade of a peepal tree. Under this tree, a stone ganesha idol with turmeric powder all over it. Its only one of the many little shrines that one would find if one walked the Arunagiri path around the mountain in this temple town.


radha said...

What are in those 'cages' under the stall? The bazaars outside temples are so quaint.

Kiran Keswani said...

There is a cat in each cage and a small steel container for feeding milk.