Best kept secrets of Mahabalipuram 

It’s been a year and in the almost everyday visit ṭo Mahabalipuram or “Mahabs” as we fondly refer to this world famous site where tourist come from around the world there are certain places which are close to my heart.

First time when the  auto stopped at theMahabalipuram bus stand there was nothing which attracted tourists. Then we ask the passers by where is the shore temple in whatever tamil we picked up from the so called movies and our stay in the hostel amongst the tamil maids.. 

And then you walk along a path towards your left and as you progress you slowly find the local vendors with raw mango, cucumber and then colourful stalls with soft toys, sea shells and other products. And then comes into view the shore temple as it is called… With a rustling Bay of Bengal in the background… We will rest the details of temple here and proceed with some hidden secrets on where to eat and where to go shopping in Mahabalipuram..

Mahabalipuram being on the sea shore has numerous restaurants that serve sea food that is tasty… But being a vegetarian by taste I will tell you about this small restaurant come Dhabha named “yogalakshmi” at the bus stand… At first side it is any other roadside food place but believe me the onion Uttapa they serve is one of its kind… Crispy tasty to the extent that you will lick your fingers… The USP of the place is the filter coffee that is served to you in copper tumbler set of two one which is narrow at the base and the other a bowl with flat base… The coffee is poured in the first andtyrned upside down in the second in a mystical fashion that coffee is held between the two and serve to you hot..

The next destination for you would be the shopping street where you would see cotton dresses hanging and trust me this small town owes a lot to its foreign tourists and temporary settlers by. This street has all these tourists need for their fashion needs yet comfortable. 

This street also has a cafe called nautilus which will serve you everything from crepes, pancakes to prawns and has the most tastiest rum fruit punch. Not to forget  the German bakery which has some tastiest lasagna and final Indian touch with variety of pans at ananda Bhavan.

Apart from these small not so known food joints you have the famous radisson blue confluence and latitude which are some star rated resorts with world class facilities… But I would still suggest exploring these lesser known places as they have their own taste and give you that local feel. 

Swayamwar to Arrange Marriage- What Has Changed?

I am very fond of watching Hindu mythological serials or rather read them. Most prominent ones being The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. We have always read about Women being treated at par with men in our ancient cultures rather with more respect. There has been a tradition of “Swayamwar”, choosing your own groom from amongst the guests who have arrived. But when I hear about tales in these to epics of India I have failed to make a connect between the underlying philosophy and what actually happened.

It was never as the name suggests choosing yourself. For Sita Maharaja Janak had a criteria of lifting the Shivadhanush and for Draupadi it was piercing the eye of a fish. Wasn’t it the same as now a father tries to find a groom for his daughter. Only the parameters have changed. These days it’s having a good job, a great salary and being well settled.

When I think a bit deeper I get really intrigued at certain situations which could have happened.

“What If Ravana Had lifted the Dhanush instead of Ram??”

Would Sita have to Marry Ravana inspite of having imagined Ram as her groom. Wasn’t it wrong on Maharaja Janak’s part to put a criteria for swayamwar on the first place, when Sita was allowed to and had the liberty to choose her own groom??

“What would have happened if someone other than arjun pierced the eye of the fish let’s supposing Duryodhan”

Was it fair of Raja Drupad to put a criteria overruling Draupadi’s Wish????

I feel nothing has changed… only the times and criteria is what has changed. I am not against the practice but looking back and pondering into the past I feel we are still the same..