Native Religious Practises: Keda Vettu

(A word of caution: this blog post, adopted from an old blog post of mine, is about animal sacrifice as practiced in the villages of Tamil Nadu, India. If it is not your thing, give it a miss.) What do you think they do in villages if their cattle fell sick one after the other…

Madras Moment

Chennai is a city, Madras is an emotion. Or so goes the popular refrain. But what does it mean? How does a significant geographical area of 8 million diverse people goes from a city to an emotion? It is not for me—an outsider—to define what Madras is (if at all that is possible), but by…

Leave It To Professionals

(This was written two days ago on Ayudha Poojai.) Today is Ayudha Poojai. In our enterprising small town of forty thousand—full of SMEs giving employment to diverse set of professionals like turners, welders, plumbers, electricians, automobile mechanics, auto/taxi drivers, doctors, nurses, load men, civil engineers, masons, charted accountants etc., not to mention a whole lot…

Hindu Excess

It is a grand temple, built according to shilpa shastras, dedicated primarily to Goddess Meenakshi, the eternal ruler of Madurai. She reigns supreme from the inner garbhagriham (the sanctum sanctorum) of the temple. She is the one worthiest of worship. For most people, she alone would have been enough. Hindus are not most people. Just…

Maha Sivarathiri at the Village

“மேன்மைகொள் சைவநீதி விளங்குக உலகமெல்லாம்,” the priest implores at this tiny temple in a remote corner of India.