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Namaste Caminando

Welcome to my part of the world (well, sort of)

Trust you are having a great time. India and the camino cannot be more different, in so many ways !

The cultures in Asia are very diverse and yet in some ways, similar.

I would be interested to know your thoughts on how you view the differences and where you think the similarities are.

Enjoy your journey.
Rebecca
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
RestlessRose said:
Namaste Caminando

Welcome to my part of the world (well, sort of)

Trust you are having a great time. India and the camino cannot be more different, in so many ways !

The cultures in Asia are very diverse and yet in some ways, similar.

I would be interested to know your thoughts on how you view the differences and where you think the similarities are.

Enjoy your journey.
Rebecca

Hi RR
Yes I'll give a few brief comments as I find out more.

Yet it seems that for many, distance covered is not important, tho' a few sahdus walk the length of India. The idea of holy places being clean does not seem to matter here, and I have seen some unspeakable filth beside temples, and in them; full of excreta, pigs, dogs etc. I find there is personal cleanliness but public filth. Maybe Europe was like that too at one time. Some horrible souvenirs on sale, as in Europe! I saw cricket being played inside one temple at Maheshwar, and people sleeping everywhere, which is nice. People seem to feel ok about safety, and thats good.

I havent yet got my head around their concept of pilgrimage here, but I'm working on it. What is clearly similar is the journey across the land to a holy place; I dont yet know if the journey is as important as the goal. But thats contentious on the Caminos too.

There are pilgrim shelters called daramsalas, which are I suppose, refugios or albergues. Very low cost. I must say when I saw the filth here, I laughed to remember some posts about dirty refugios; one sniff here and theyd never moan again!
:arrow:
 
Hi Caminando

Hope you are doing well.

LOL as said the two worlds could not have been more different ! Yes, India can be a shock to the whole system; in all ways. It was for me despite having travelled around varouis countries in Asia. And it did not get any easier with each visit. This is especially so for South India. Generally North India is much more pleasant.

Pilgrimages in India typically do not involve walking any particular distances but to visit with the temples and to pray in them. In this case, the destination is the objective, not the journey. Maybe beacuse the journey is perilous. If the general conditions around you are abject poverty and little concern for cleaniness and hygiene, then you can expect that daramsalas, which caters for the poor, will not be in the best of conditions.

If you can overlook the filth, maybe you can enjoy the colours, the spices, the people, the food, the mad and constant activities (there is never a moment of peace!), the car horns that never stop balring even then there is no one and nothing to honk at.....

I do strongly advice that you drink only bottled water, with no ice cubes.

Despite all the sensory overload, I hope you are enjoying yourself.
Rebecca
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Hi Caminando,
Hope you are well now
RestlessRose said:
.....
I do strongly advice that you drink only bottled water, with no ice cubes.
...........
Rebecca
I would like to add 'and for cleaning your teeth!'
A seemingly small thing, but equally important.

I am enjoying reading about India
Walk well and safely.
Tia Valeria
 
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Caminando

Veteran Member
Hi to both :D This is my third visit to India, and I'm getting used to its ways. And I usually drink the water and so far am ok.

Today I was in Ellora, those fabulous carved caves full of Buddist icons, from 200BC. Yesterday it was Ajanta, same thing. It's stunning.

Thanks for that info about Hindu pilgrimage - it ties in with what I see, and makes sense. The destination is the goal, not the journey. I suspect it was the same in mediaeval Europe. I'll check when I go back. But some bishop or other in Spain is claiming that the destination is the goal, not the journey; I don't think he has walked the camino at all. That pointy hat would be hell in the hot sun anyway.

I'll restrict these posts to strictly pilgrimage stuff, to keep it on topic of pilgs.

I'm looking forward to the holy mountain pilg. around Arunachala; but that's later. If I can get help in uploading pics, I'll do so.

Buen camino :D :arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
I'm now in Hampi, an ancient site which is astonishing. Its about 25 sq kms of temples of all shapes and sizes. We have nothing like it in Europe.

I got to pat an elephant today.

Back with stuff more specific to pilg. :) :arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
On a beach in Goa today I was amazed to see on a fishing boat an image of St Roque, with mutt, clutching that leg. I always thought that the dog bit him.

This is of course the Portugese influence, but surprising to see, just the same, so far away...
:arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
I'm now at Amritapuri, which is a site of pilgrimage to see Amma the Hugging Guru. India is of course very much involved with live spirituality, so travelling to see existing saints is very much the norm. I dont think Europe had living saints - they had to be dead before they were worthy of pilgrimage.

This place is on the Backwaters of Kerela, next to the sea in a coconut palm forest - so unlike our routes through Spain! The weather wont kill you here. The temple also has a big elephant - the best we have is the cockerels in Santa Domingo de la Calzada. Oh and the bedbugs on the CF. :shock:

I will try to find how to put pics with these brief accounts comparing experiences.

Buen camino to all - especially any now walking....
:arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Just a quick point if anyone is thinking about India - at the level I travel, my accommodation is around 2 euros a day, a meal is 30-40 cents, and I travel by train for around 3 euros for 18 hours of travel (sleeper). You can do it cheaper but you need nerves (or something) of steel.

You can do it for a little less by using dormitories.
 
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Caminando

Veteran Member
grayland said:
What accommodations does that provide? Meals where???

The accommodation is in guest houses, which are very basic. No AC, just a fan. Bathroom usually shared, outside. Not always though. Last night I had a double room with bathroom for 4 euros ish.

Meals are thalis, dhosas or biryannis, all vegetarian. I eat often where the locals eat and avoid mad tourist prices. They sometimes call this 'meals' , e.g. 'meals' here means a set dish like thali.

:arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
On the night train from Cochin to Madras/Chennai I was speaking to a bunch of pilgrims. They told me that they should ideally purify themselves by fasting for 3 days before starting. Ideally they should walk for 40 days to the temple, sleeping outside or in the forest. However, many are now using bus and train to do the whole pilg. Sounds familiar!? This shrine (I forget the name)is of a saint from 2000yrs ago; Christians and Hindus go there. It seems to be even busier than the CF, if that is posssible..... :lol:

I'm now in the place with the Holy Mountain, Arunachala. When I recover from the train ride I'll walk there- it's nothing , only a day's walk to you tough Camino pilgrims!! But it's 30 degrees and humid, so it's an early start, just like the VDP!

I discovered that last year there was a group of so called sadhus who threw tons of rubbish everywhere, and hassled pilgrims for money. The rubbish has been removed, just as Reb does with friends in Spain. Environment counts for nothing here, as the burning rubbish and filth everywhere testify. I've been in a temple where pigs and dogs roamed, and the ground was covered in faeces. Nearby, a river was black and sluggish with pollution. This isnt typical, but it happens.

I have also been told that many men take to the road as sadhus here when they are sick of job, wife, brats etc. The great thing about India is that there is such a safety valve for people (well the men anyway). This can, like anything, be distorted.

I had an Indian friend in the 70's who, as a young man, abandoned family and education to live in Rishikesh with real sadhus. He burned all he had and left. I have heard of one or two people who walk the camino endlessly, and if true, then it's a bit like my Indian friend (who stopped after 5years, and rejoined society).

I'm keeping this little thread fairly close to pilgrimage, so I leave much out.

Buen camino to you all, especially those now walking :arrow:
 

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