Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hampi: The Land of Balancing Stones

a diverse land of rice paddies,  
sprawling ruins from many different time periods
& monolithic granite rocks which have been gradually eroded
over millions of years
leaving them to find themselves
balancing in some awe inspiring asanas.
Here you can see the Virupaksha temple
nestled in the distance.
This land is home to Vijanagara (sanskrit- 'The City of Victory),
a city where at the end of the 15th century 
it was believed to be the second largest on earth, 
the home to over 500,000 inhabitants.
This being the capital of one of the largest & most powerful empire's 
India has ever seen.
Upon our arrival here,
 we met another backpacker who had described how
he observed how 10+ acres of paddies had been hand planted in less than a week!!
Oftentimes complete families will arrive shortly after the field has been
tilled & set out to plant thousands, if not millions of rice plants in mere days.
Astonishingly, there are still over 200 million women in India still 
honoring this tradition & being paid approx. 50 rupees/day (about $1 us dollar).

Left &Above, carvings from the Virupaksha.
This Shiva temple site has a uninterrupted timeline dating back to the 7th century.

Our first morning in Hampi visiting the Virupaksha Temple, after a 5:30 sleeper bus arrival time.
The preparations for the ceremonies of the day are well under way.

The markets I have visited here are among some of the most diverse, colorful & 
oftentimes quite repetitive - of those that I have seen sofar!
It is quite common to come across numerous booths that are selling virtually exactly the same items (though arranged in a different presentation) as his neighbor 3 booths down!~ One of the more effective things that one can learn for their travels here, is learning how to clearly say "No"! Setting boundaries with eager business people who are more than willing to offer you the "best price" quite forcefully, is
really crucial! Otherwise they will pursue with the perseverance of a sprout in springtime!
This land offers an incredible diversity of abundance.
The fertility hosts bananas, coconuts, mangos, papayas & rice plantations just to name a few.
Oh how I dearly love fresh raw fruit, locally loved, harvested & sold by some cute old lady!
 Being cautious around fruits that you can't remove the peel is essential though. 
Cleaning fruits & vegetables with food grade hydrogen peroxide is a common practice by savvy travelers who take extra measures to keep themselves happy, healthy & hungry for the next delicious meal!

Some school children we encounter
 at lunchtime, quite dedicated to quenching their thirst 
with the sacred waters of the earth.

Freshly harvested & raw chickpea & pod resting upon my palm.
A friendly snack to add some bulking fiber to the traveling diet is very useful!

Recently harvested, drying yellow lentils (right) & one of the largest (most expensive &clearest) shards of Moldavite that I have ever come across. The shopkeeper had it listed at 37,000 rupees ($740 cnd or so)!!
An incredible piece of an asteroid frozen in crystalline form.
One of the most alien-feeling stones that I have encountered... sofar!

My sister + one incredibly cute baby goat = memories that will last a lifetime...
One morning, we were out exploring the hills & came across this 8 year old goat shepherd.
He had quite the vivid imagination & decided to express his dominance in his own unique way!

The grounds moving up towards the temples are lined on both sides with these structures
which were at one point used to provide infrastructure for the marketplace which
would be hosted on each side.

A couple of Langur monkeys, monkeying around - you know surreptitiously making mischief..
We spent some time feeding this pack of monkeys bananas & at one point Aya had purchased
a bag with about 10 inside. Seconds after she walks away from the vender a mischievious monkey makes a move - jumping up Ayas leg bitting through the bag, removing a couple bananas and quickly retreating to relish on the fruits of his labor!

Just as the sign says~
I say be careful of that Monkey Business!!!


Friday, 10 February 2012

A Beginning: Goa

30 some-odd hours of traveling, 
dodging numerous questionable airline meals,
& many hours of journeying between
sleeping/waking states..

This is
our First sunrise in India,
 this photo was taken on our
way northward to Anjuna, Goa.

A magical land
 of intentional community, beautiful beaches & incredible opportunity for embodiment activations.
Goa, the origins of what is known as 'Goa Trance', 
a galloping & relentless form of electronic trance music which has inspired
a generation of techno, psychedelic trance & dubstep.
This land harbors some of the best dancefloors I have seen in india thus far.
With consistent full moon parties, yoga retreats, contact dance & performance arts festivals
this place is a melting pot of inspiration.
International Jedis, fire spinners, yogis, performance artists & empowered individuals 
from all walks of life gather here.

Above, a mural in 'Curlies', one of the clubs located right on the beach
that plays host to gatherings here in Anjuna, Goa.
modern electronic dance culture, Shiva, Ganesha
& various other symbols in a rapturous presentation
which provokes an otherworldly sense about this place.

A video of the Upright Elephant Eared Taro plant,
`ape (pronounced ah-pay)
aka : Alocasia macrorrhizos,
which depicts the unfurling of these beautifully large leaves.
Extending upwards and expanding out to a width of
2 feet and a length of 4 feet
& sometimes larger.
This plant has been used as a food source for thousands of years,
the underground stem & root need to be cooked thoroughly
before consumption,
so as to break down the Calcium Oxalate crystals
which are liable to irritate human digestive tissue.
 the bitter sap has been used topically to relieve irritated skin conditions &
the leaves have been used to wrap a feverish patient to
'frighten away the negative spirits causing'
the symptoms.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

India 2012: H2O - Whats Essential?

Is there a better way
 to welcome in this chapter of my life than with reviewing the basis of life & what does that mean..
lets see~

Living in the western world,
 I have grown accustomed to many things, though most notably fresh organic produce, clean streets with reliable waste disposal & wild fresh mountain spring water - these are among some of my favorite things! 
Just to mention a few.. Lets return & start with the basics …


(n) an odorless, tasteless liquid composed mainly of hydrogen & oxygen that forms rivers, lakes & oceans, and is a major constituent of all living matter.

 For close to a decade, I have journeyed to the Rocky Mountains (just west of my hometown Calgary, Canada) to harvest fresh spring-water. I began doing so with my father when I was young & it has expanded my awareness. It is now so much more than simply an aspect of how I nurture my body with the cleanest available water. It has turned into a ceremony & my relationship with water, is a window for me into the greater cycle of life that we are all a part of. 
I love my water so much & I hope you do too!

 Now as I backpack throughout India,
the luxurious taste of wild water (which I have harvested) filtering throughout my oral cavity, 
is but a distant memory. 
I am beginning to recognize this sensation with a deeper sense of gratitude. 
For now I shall journey, equipped with my best intentions in my back-pocket, infusing every bottle 
I come across with them & knowing that this too is a ceremony. 
That each bottle is sacred unto itself including this one!

Transitioning to bottled water with consciousness
is a part of this process,
releasing from the old
embodying anew...

The Dragonfly Totem

  Alas my adventures have begun to move into a new format!

 It is time to transcend the archives of journal entries, picture albums & the field of years of accumulated memories.. I have seen how useful blogs can be for so long, though I have not taken the time to dedicate myself to one - until now! I am super excited~ To share, explore, potentially inspire... & offer a unique way of looking out into this miraculous place. In traversing this majestic planet that is collectively referenced as Earth, pancha mama, gaia or any other of the plethora of names used to describe this third celestial body we ride upon, around our nearest star - The Sun!

  I would like to honor the creature totem of the Dragonfly as it has graced me in so many moments & in so many ways. It reminds me about how volatile life is, with being so sensitive to the slightest of breezes & how important it is to learn how to move with the proverbial wind, rather than struggle against it. This totem is associated with the water element & the subconscious or the 'dreaming state', which is generally when it comes to visit me most - when I am daydreaming! It purveys the message to 'pay attention' to the deeper thoughts & subtle currents within which can be so easily overlooked.

   In almost every part of the world the dragonfly is associated with change & the maturation of the self, a learning process to see beyond into the deeper meanings of life. The ability for it to hover in one place & to move in any of the six directions at will exudes a sense of prowess, power & poise. I welcome into my life this totem spirit & all of the lessons it has to teach & challenge me with as I continue this journey upon the winds of inspiration~~~
 ps. The dragonfly above, I met at Harbin Hotsprings this past summer.. one morning after yoga while I was enjoying some Kombucha. What an incredibly marvelous place that it is, go there if you are around San Francisco (aka-the bay area) & have a day(or week!) to relax & revitalize!