During a short trip to Chennai recently, I decided to go to the Marina beach early in the morning to get some interesting shots. Though the weather was overcast, I did manage to click some pictures.
The first thing that caught my attention at the beach was the statue of the Italian Tamil scholar Constantine Joseph Beschi.
I made a mental note about looking up this guy who was here in India three centuries ago. When I read about him later on the net I was dumbfounded.
He was an Italian who landed in Madurai in 1711 to learn Tamil. This would be putting it mildly when one reads about him in detail. I leave it to you to read more about him in Wikipedia.
As I proceeded towards the sea, I saw these guys playing beach volley ball, only the team looked stronger with five on one side.
This boy with his horse was on the look out for some prospective customers for a horse ride.
There was this unusual sight where people were doing some sort of puja as per the directions of the pundit. They seemed to be at a loss about the sequence of the ritual and simply followed directions, while I just went on clicking.
Finally they picked up the banana leaves (on which they were doing the puja), went as close to the water as possible and threw it into the sea.
Meanwhile another set of people sat down and started the whole procedure again.
Curious, I asked one elderly man (who just finished the puja) the meaning of the ritual that was taking place.
The man apparently knew a lot and was happy to explain it to me in detail “Today is Aadi Amavasi - new moon day. It is a day for Pithir Tharpanam, a day for praying for your forefathers. A ghee lamp is lit, manthras are chanted, bells toll, these were done for the souls to rest in peace.
Sesame seeds are considered to be holy and is used in this puja along with grass”
He went on “Aadi Amavasi is special as it is the first Amavasi in Dakshinayam - Sun’s southward journey"
Well that enlightened me a little, something like the ‘All Souls Day’ observed by the Catholics.
Looking at the bundle of leaves, I was sure that they were all prepared to take in any number of people who wanted to do the puja.
From the corner of my eye, I saw that that the enrollment was in progress for the next batch. Maybe the picture is out of focus because it is a view from the corner of my eye :-)
I moved on. The ‘Beach Volleyball’ continued . . . . . . .
and this boy (horse rider) was still looking for customers.
Two fishing boats were pulled up on the beach. The over cast sky made it a perfect setting for Aadi Amavasi.
I think there are more photographs than text in this post, but then, why not let the the photographs speak for themselves for a change.