Mannarsala Nagaraja Temple

Haripad, Kerala, India

A change from Sri Lanka. India is dirtier, noisier, and the streets and sidewalks (when they exist) are in much worse shape; but seems more alive. Maybe because Colombo was more modern and therefore less interesting. But unlike previous experiences getting a train reservation and boarding the train was straightforward. Took maybe 10 minutes to book three train reservations. And the station although busy wasn’t hectic. Had to ask to find our car, but a train employee led us to our car. Even had some air conditioning in the station and cooled down to a decent temperature shortly after we got moving (on time).

We got up before 4 a.m. to catch our flight from Colombo to Trivanduram. Bought our train tickets and unsuccessfully tried to get a SIM card (anti-terrorism security!). Hung out in Anita and Bob’s room waiting for our 5 p.m. train and avoided the heat.

Arrived in Haripad to visit the Manarsalla Nagaraja Temple. Arrived at the Mandaram Guest House expecting a cold water dingy hotel, but found a tiled spacious hotel with hot water. But still basic, simple food, bucket showers, and tiny towels. Up in the morning to visit the temple. A bustling place. Walk in through a 2-inch deep moat to clean your feet. Music and ceremonies going on everywhere. One selects from a list of maybe 15 ceremonies and pays at the ticket office, gets a printed receipt and a temple “priest” performs the ceremony. One ceremony involved putting an infant on one side of a large balance scale while the other side is loaded if and equal weight offering—bananas, rice or other items. Music is played and words spoken. Hundreds of people and many ceremonies being performed. Photography and video recording was not generally allowed, so Louisa asked permission and was told the musicians would be available after the noon time closing. We ended up meeting them in a small room one of them occupied in front of the temple. A short iPhone recording attached.

Food is much cheaper here than Sri Lanka. Last nights basic dinner and two liter bottles of water was 100Rs or about $2.20. A thali plate in Trivanduram was about $1 each.

Yesterday was hot and humid, but it rained last night and today was overcast and cooler.

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