Friday, February 28, 2014

Journey of a Pilgrim (iv): Life at Isha - by Nethianathan KrishnaKutty

I am very happy that this time I am able to write about a place that has been lingering in my mind for sometime - Dhyanalingga @ Isha Centre, Coimbatore.

Image of Isha Centre from Isha Blog.
 KL - Tricy

First, I will begin with my journey to Trichy by AA on 3 Feb 2014. I reached at 8.40 am, took 45 mins for Immigration Clearance. Changed some money at airport, I normally don't as the rate will not be good, but had to as I had mostly MYR only. Tried to get a taxi outside, but they quoted INR 400 for hotel 12 KMs away! Was trying to bargain, but to no avail. I saw an auto and stopped him. He quoted INR 250, so I jumped in. The ride to the hotel was a roller coaster one. Well, at least on a roller coaster you sort of know the next bend or turn.  Sitting in a fast moving auto which only gives inches gap with other motorists is an experience. Respect, bro! 15 minutes of adrenalin rush is worth every rupee spent for this ride.. Haha.

Beautiful Church

Room was not ready at hotel, so left bag and walked around. Ucchi Pillayar Temple is walking distance from the hotel.

Walked along Burma Bazaar where they sell everything from slippers to head gears. 2 guys in their late 50's were offering exchange for 19, which was too good to be true. I accepted to change RM1000 and he gave me 20 notes of INR 500 and 8 notes of INR 100. I told him according to his exchange rate, I should get INR 19,000. 20*500+8*100 is only INR 10,800.
As expected (well, we know that this is a normal practice around 'certain' countries to cheat while exchanging money), the guy started giving excuses that his friend can't hear well etc. he told his friend to give INR 8000, like an innocent man. Anyway, he asked me for a discount from 19 to 18. For me, it's a win win situation. So I took the INR 18000 and gave him RM10 as I know he would have been disappointed for not being able to cheat me.

Took a nap after a heavy meal, then off to visit Ganesh Ji @ 5 pm. Sun was setting and weather was good. Paid INR 20(camera) + INR 30(entrance).

Shady walkway as its mostly covered. Steps were well constructed, accessible by elderly, too. Nice mid day view, overseeing the church and some goats below.

Able to get into the 'sannithanam' and pray at own pace (which is quite rare as in most temples you get pushed away before you even get a glimpse of the altar). It was not so crowded, perhaps it was the timing.

It is a nice small temple at the peak. It it also known as RockFort Temple. It's about 300-400 square feet (the temple). One round and you're done seeing Ucchi Pillayar. Ample space to hang around at the peak as its granite flooring provides good sitting area for hot weather. Spent 1 hour to cover whole temple, comprising of Amman and Sivan. Huge Sivalingam on the other side of temple.

Once down, I planned to window shop but ended up buying Kurta's, cotton pants and shirts.

 Lots of choices for kids but kept some to be shopped before I leave to KL. After light dinner, back to room to have good rest before I continue my journey early on the morning.

Trichy - Coimbatore

Checked out of hotel @ 5.15. Got an auto and reached Sentral Bus station @5.45am.

Wanted to get a quick bite as its going to be a 5 hour journey. Ordered some poori's at restaurant in bus station. The set comes with Vadai and coffee. As I was having my breakfast, a guy approached me and verified wether I am working in Westports. He said he had seen me at Beekay Restaurant, Port Klang many times, (thats where we usually have lunch) and he works there as driver. He was on his way to his hometown, Velanganni and invited me to join him and was offering to show me all the nice places in his hometown.Told him that I already have plans but shared contact details with him. He quietly paid for my breakfast.

Journey from Singganallur to Coimbatore : 5 hrs and ticket price is INR 116 only! From Singanallur took another bus to Gandhipuram @ INR 5 only!
Reached Gandhipuram @ 12.15pm. Bus to Isha was @ 12.45- (14G). As hunger kicked in, I went for quick lunch. Came back @ 12.35 only to find out that 14G has left. Next is 14D, scheduled for 1.25pm. Ordered a tea and waited.

14D came at 1.05 and left by 1.15pm. Ticket price at INR 25 only for a journey close to 2 hours. Isha Centre is the last stop.

At the entrance itself, the volunteers informed that photographs are STRICTLY PROHIBITED . Now I will have to take you through a journey through my very own lenses. As I walked in, I had mixed emotions; puzzled as well as excited. Greeted by a huge Nandi, near a large pond filled with lotus flower and Koi fish.
Image of Nandi from Isha Blog

I went straight to register myself and get room keys. There are dorms and also private rooms. I booked a room for myself. It took about 1 hour to get my keys.just before I left the counter, the volunteers informed that Sadhguru will be coming in and we will have Satsang @ 6pm. The time was about 4pm as I quickly dashed to Isha Shoppe. Looking at my clothes, I will look very odd with a group of people at a Yoga Centre. Thank God, they were selling cotton pants and shirts.grabbed 2 pants, 3 shirts and a pranayama pillow. That cost INR 3390. Also bought a Rudhraksh and Dhyanalingga picture.
Image of Isha Shoppe from Isha Blog

Came back to the room, which was up to expectation with basic amenities.

Image of accomodation from Isha Blog
Left my stuff, took shower and got ready to meet Sadhguru. Was there by 5.30pm and as time flies, the place was filled. I was sitting a mere 10m away from Sadhguru and it was such a good feeling. He gave a short speech about the importance of human being to be conscious and act responsibly. The session was over by 7.15pm. Came back to the room, changed and headed to Bikhsha Hall for dinner.

Image from Isha Blog
 Meal was very 'different'. Boiled nuts, sprouts, cucumber chutney, vermicelli porridge and pickles. Had a healthy dinner, though. . Went back to room for a good rest.

Image from Isha Blog
Image from Isha Blog

Image from Isha Blog
Image from Isha Blog
Image from Isha Blog

Image from Isha Blog
Image from Isha Blog
Image from Isha Blog
Image from Isha Blog

Shoonya - Day 1

Got up at 7 and left room at 8am. Went to Peppervine for a hot cup of coffee.

Image from Isha Blog
To confirm the time for Shoonya Registration, I approached the VRO (Volunteer Registration Office) . She told me registration started at 6am. I had about INR 1k with me so I had to leave to the room  to take some more as I heard that it costs about INR 1750. I took around INR 3k anyway, as if I was gonna shop at the registration booth.. When registering, they told me it cost INR 2750. Thank God, I had enough with me. They asked if I could help to manage the valuable counter as they were short of volunteers. I agreed and helped as much as I could and passed it on to another volunteer at 1.15pm. By that time, program is about to start.
Meditation Image from Isha Blog
The first day was extremely tiring (coming from a person who goes to gym everyday without fail) Kriya's from Inner Engineering + 2 Asanas was physically demanding. I was wondering how I would survive the next 3 days. The program was over at about 9.15pm. Came back to room, took some medication and straight to bed!

Shoonya - Day 2
Program starts at 6 am. The medication I took managed to reduce my body ache. However, Towards the evening, body started to adjust to the asana's. Could sit for longer hours. Program was done by 9.25pm. My universal adapter malfunctioned. Managed to borrow an adapter from Martin, from Norway attending the same course.

Shoonya - Day 3
Program started at 6am. Body was feeling great. Asana's and Kriya's were manageable. Had good experiences. Program ends at 10pm;quite late, but I am still energetic. Started to like the session but missing my babies back home very much. Called it a day by midnight.

Image from Isha Blog


Image from Isha Blog

Summary of few days @ Isha.
5 days in Isha Yoga Center was an experience that I never felt before. Being around so many wonderful people makes you to think the quality of life that we have been living so long. One important thing I've learned is that living life without ego is so wonderful. There is really nothing to lose in losing your ego.

Came back to Trichy on 9th Feb 2014. Had 1.5 days at my disposal before my flight back to Malaysia. Reached Trichy at around 2200hrs on 9th Feb. The journey back from IYC was quite tiring. 10th Feb was busy shopping. Most of the shopping was done as Saratha's. It's an enormous shop filled with clothes for cradle to grave. Checked out at around 1100hrs on 11th Feb to catch my flight back home.

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