Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sithurajapuram, 23-25 February 2009

Our friends and neighbors, Gopalsami (the other Gopal) and Mariama, had asked us to come to their home village, Sithurajapuram, for the celebration of Shivaratri on 23 February. Gopalsami left for Sithurajapuram weeks before to fill in for the village's pujari who had been injured in an accident. So we travelled to Sithurajapuram early the morning of 23 February. Shivaratri is celebrated all night, so we planned to arrive in the evening since Mariama could not get away until the 23rd. The trip took 13 hours. It was grueling (several buses and two autorickshaws). We went directly to Gopalsami and Govindharajan's family home.

Mariama and her sister-in-law, Rukumani
Govindharajan with his mother, Venkatalakhshmi

Mariama, neighbr Rajalakshmi, her sons Radhakrishnan and Jaipal, Rukumani
Rukumani, Carolyn, Venkatalakhshmi, Mariam
just before Govindharajan took Gopal and me to the temple before he had to rush off for a meeting in Coonoor!
Gopal in the doorway of the family home (Mariama is on the left grinding cocoanut on a stone grinder, making chutney - great chutney!)

Gopalsami's house is on the left; the family hom (pink) right next door

Little Hari Krishna with his mother (neighbors)
Neelavati, the youngest sister, and friend AdhilakhshmiRukumani, the oldest sister, with her mother, VenkatalakhshmiNeelavati, Mariama, Carolyn, Adhilakhshmi
Mariama, at the match factory at the end of the street, where she used to work (filling tiny match boxeds with matches). The matches are lined up in grooves, just enough to fill a box.

Putting the little boxes into bigger boxes.

Two little people outside the match factory

A match-stick factory - both yards are piles with tiny match sticks.
Sithurajapuram and the larger town nearby, Sivakasi, are known for fireworks, matches and publishing

Our first morniing there, we took food to Gopalsami who had been at the temple all night. I am sorry I didn't take any pictures at the temple the night of Shivaratri.

Gopalsami doing puja at the temple

Plantain trees decorate the doorway of the temple
(Originally, I had labelled this picture "Palm trees decorate the doorway.." but Gopal saw it and said, "Those are banana trees. What are you thinking?" gad
Mariama and Rukumani making chapatis

Rukumani making chapatis (Rukumani cooked for all of us the whole time we were there)

The two Gopals
Monday, the 23rd, was Gopal's birthday. On the 24th we went shopping in Sivagasi, and I bought him a traditional south Indian outfit, white dhoti and white shirt. What a babe!

Gopal and Venkatalakhshmi
Neelavati and Rangarajan's tea shop (with corrugated roof)

Neela making us tea at the shop

Rangarajan, Shankar, Neelvati, Rukumani

Neighbor Rajalakshmi's husband, Krishnasami

The guy on the right was our bus driver the next day, and he recognized us and brought us back to the tea shop from Sivakasi

This guy was the ticket collector on the same bus

Beautiful neem tree across the street from the tea shop

Other temples around the neighborhood

That evening back at the temple

Gopalsami and his cousin, Saravanan

Mariama doing a kolam in front of the temple our last eveniing there

Adhilakhhmi, Dhanalakhshmi, Rajalakhshmi, Mariama, Rukumani
Spontaneous bhajan singing as the neighbors gathered around our departure.

Some children settled near the door

Three teenage girls came to dance.
They bowed in prayer while one of women sang a bhajan.

Then Revati Priya and Vishnu Priya started to dance

Rukumani joined the dancing!

Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. We got to know and love this family and their neighbors. It deepens our connections here.


SQUARE said...

Hi Carolyn,
I am surprised to see my village pic in your blog. Thanks for posting it though.

Carolyn said...

You're welcome, Square. Liked your village and people we met there. Sorry I didn't get better pictures of the village, just the corner we visited.

Gold said...

hi... i am Thangapandian..
i also From Sithurajapuram....
Vety nice you are blogspot...

and Visit My blogspot:

AZAGAR said...

hi.. I am Alagarsamy
i am also From Ramasamy nagar,

Thanks for creating our Native Blogspot....

and very nice....
My e-mail Id

bala_sartorius said...


Hope u had a good trip [.........grueling :( ] to my native.

By the way, Hi..I am Balaji.

Its fabulous..

Nice to see temple photographs of my native.

N Chandran said...

I am very happy to see my native place. thanks for posting. N Chandran. email id