My wife and I moved to Tiruvannamalai in November 2007. I had recently retired and felt called to Arunachala for spiritual practice “in the embrace of Arunachala.”
I will be writing from time to time on the experiences of a Westerner in South India, and on my spiritual experiences at Ramanasramam and Tiruvannamalai.
Life in South India is filled with God. Business people perform pujas when they open business for the day. Most people have altars at home and perform daily rites there. Also God is a much more a part of daily life. In the West, God is mainly ‘kept in’ churches. temples and synagogues. In India, God is found on the streets. As one example, during religious festivals, they will put the ‘temple Gods’ on ‘chariots’ and pull or carry these around the town or village.
In this area one of the biggest events every month is the full moon night. During this night usually several hundred thousand people from around the world gather for Giri Pradakahina, where they will walk about 15 km around Arunachala. This is in a town of 100,000, so perhaps three times as many people who live in the town make pradakshina. Most do it in the moonlight, barefoot on the road. Traffic is halted for this night or redirected.
Here is a photo from our house of moonrise the January full moon night.