Thursday, August 16, 2012

Marina Beach Chennai

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.


A said...

In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as too many photographs Joe.
Anyway, loved the post. I've been to that beach believe it or not.

Daisy said...

Very interesting post, Joe. You got some great photos!

Marina@Picnic at Marina said...

Lovely post and beautiful photos!

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Enjoyed the stories and pictures. The Aadi Amavasi is interesting.

rama said...

You took me down the memory lane. I remember, the bajjis, the thengai, manga pattani sundal, the beautifully sliced raw mangoes,the shell crafts. Our grandparents lived near the beach, and our summer holidays were spent there.
Of course, now it is very crowded and also not so clean, however going there early in the morning is always a good idea.
The pictures have come out so well, especially the last one with the two boats.

anilkurup said...

You have drawn a pictorial life

Lazy Pineapple said...

Photographs always tell a story.
I have heard the beach is quite beautiful and clean. Have yet to visit it.

People down south are still quite ritualistic whereas most people are doing away with them because of lack of time and enthusiasm..

Susan Deborah said...

Being a resident of Chennai, I have never been so early to the Marina. This post was a treat. Thanks.

Joy always,

Smita said...

Lovely set of pics, have been there but never witnessed such a beauty.

Bikramjit said...

beautiful photo's the only thing I would say is throwing all that into the sea.. not good what about the sea life..

I remember the horse rides up and down the beach :) enjoye them


sujata sengupta said...

Lovely captures. The enrollment for the next batch was so typical. Made me smile. Loved the two boats.

Jaya J said...

great pics and story. many cultures observe this praying for the departed thing. my chinese neighbours are always burning something for their great grans. my only grouse is that the dust end up on my living room floor, swept by the wind since we live on the 18th floor!!

Theresa said...

Fascinating stuff! I love your shots and your story. I really felt like I just spent the day walking through that journey with you! Thanks for sharing :)

Lowell said...

So very interesting. Now wouldn't it be something if there are no "souls" or afterlife? So much time and energy wasted. Or maybe not. Maybe the rituals serve some other purpose, too.

Love your photos. And I checked out the Tamil especially talented person, I'd say.

Weekend-Windup said...

Lovely capture, Joe. This is one of the longest beach in the World.

dr.antony said...

Reminded me of my younger days when I studied at Madras Medical is a lovely beach,but not well kept even those days.
Your pictures are perfect!

TaNuja said...

Thankyou for leaving your comments on my blog the other day. :)

I have some faint memories of marina beach as I have spent some of my childhood days there. :)

Your pictures and stories are really nice. :)



D.Nambiar said...

Nice pictures especially that of the rituals for the deceased. I'm not sure we can say that the people were at a loss about the sequence of the rituals, coz generally commoners do not know about what has to be done. I believe the priests generally guide the people who are doing the rituals; that according to the mantras he recites.

It's nice to know that they had extra banana leaves and other things for more people who might want to do the rituals. That's interesting because people living in cities find it difficult to carry out such customs. Great pictures, once again :)