Traveller’s seek…….. a forgone conclusion

There is only one species that is going to change the consciousness of the planet – the seeker and the cross cultural traveller!

Some 30 years back the planet opened up. Countries that were closed because of internal policies, wars and turmoil became peaceful and opened their door to visitors. People left borders behind and took travel as a human right. They went out exploring, learning and connecting to other cultures, continents and places. Of course it was not all sunshine out there. Many western people realised the power of their money and brought suffering in forms of prostitution, drugs and other human abuse to many places and unfortunately to some extend continue to do so.

Yet, travel became the means to connect and getting to know each other. Because of this keen seeking to keenness to understand the world enjoys today a variety of wonderful manifestations.

We enjoy fusion music, world cuisine, student exchange programs, international researches in almost all fields, and so many more. Without the curious seeker, on whats beyond the boundaries of his home land much of this would never have happened.

If I look at todays world, it seem that travel is often no longer a human right, but slowly turning into a privilege. Right wing politics, racism, religion and “the so called war on terror” are closing down ever more borders and from the look of it, travel will even get more restrictive in the years to come.

Even the knowledge that it is just a few big conglomerates that benefit from the present war mongering is not going to change the situation as it stands.

However we can live without Avocados from Chili that turn vast landscapes into desert.

We can live without mangoes and beef from the amazon, who’s production destroys thousands of hectares of land each year. We can exist without changing the car every two years and we certainly can live without the handbags and shoes from high end fashion brands, because we know that they produce them at minimum wages in horrible conditions in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

What we should not live without, is travelling the globe. Experiencing new cultures, learning new ways of live and fill our memories with un-deletable pictures from what we experienced. Even the carbon print produced by travelling is offset by a long shot if we live a little bit more local at home.

Tourism is the only industry, not dominated by the very few big and dominant corporations. Its core drivers are local hoteliers, local money and local employment. Tourism weaves a string between cultures and is by all means forged by human spirit. If you choose well, you will always find the local spirit in where ever you go.

Easter is symbolically the resurrection of the spirit and if we travel, we will continue to use the experiences we make to transform our inside. Even Emperors like Akbar realised it in his vision of “Din-i Ilahi”; which says that if you merge all your knowledge and experiences of all cultures and religions, your wisdom and tolerance will be without limit.

Darasuram

Darasuram is not a living temple these days. Yet it is a wonderful place to see the astonishing temple architecture in a smaller form. Its nice to roam the premises in a place, where the intricacies of the workmanship are not in neck craning heights. The temple really boasts a wonderful insight into the temple art of South India including many fine and wonderful sculptures adorning walls and pillars.

Chidambaram

Chidambaram might be considered by many just a stop over on the way to central Tamil Nadu. Yet just passing by would be a pity, because to the locals this is one of the most important places in the land. The Shiva temple in the town center is considered to be the magnetic equator of the world. The place is sacred to Hindus, because it is here, where the energy streams criss crossing the globe form a knot. And it is here that Shiva danced his Tandava, the dance of destruction and creation. It is from here that the dancing image of Shiva in the form of Nataraja was formed, multiple arms, surrounded by flames and balancing himself dancing on the body of a demon. It is said, that if you conquer your ego (the demon, destruction) the universe will open up and grant you all its secrets (ring of flames, creation). To Hindus this place is therefore holy as it is said to grant passage from our limited intellect into the knowledge and wisdom of the universe, known as Moksha. The temple is open to all visitors and allows us to witness the rituals at the main shrine.

Kerala’s CGH Earth – the one and only

Kerala, so amazing, so colourful, so friendly and such a treat for your soul. Its time to pack your bags.

Come stay with us at CGH Earth.

wide awake ears and eyes wide open. The song of a bird, the rustle of the wind and the sound of monkeys. Confined into a space of a resort – yet wide open to nature and its smells, whispers and songs – Spice Village

Palms sway gently in the evening breeze, amazing sunsets. Sitting on a bench surrounded by a cloud of butterflies. Ancient houses give the sense of tradition. – Coconut Lagoon

The sound of the sea, the soaring eagle above, sandy beaches to wiggle your toes in while the sun dips in thousand colours into the Arabian sea – Marari Beach Resort

CGH Earth – where humans meet humans, where any other distinction falls away. Come stay with us, connect with us trough a smile, a chat and a gentle gesture. Come home!

All pictures here are taken by Beat Germann. In case you want to use any, please ask with a smile 🙂

Mamallapuram

Our journey starts at Mamallapuram, a small and town right by the bay of Bengal. The are sandy beaches where you can wiggle your toes into the sand and take a swim and inhale the fresh smell of the sea. What better place to start a tour? The small coastal city has however more to offer. There are remnants of temples and kingdoms hewn out of granite rocks reflecting the wealth and riches of centuries of culture and trade. Here you will stand in front of the massive granite relief, depicting the arrival of the Ganges. One of the oldest mythological stories where the Goddess Ganges (the river) brings wealth to a rain starved land. Its a tribute to water, the nourisher of all things.

The five rathas, five temples (the elements, fire, water, earth, light and ether) have been carved out of single rocks to form a chariot. The temples are said to be dedicated the the 5 Pandava brothers, the hero’s of the epic Mahabharata, where they symbolise righteousness in various aspects, much like the attributes of the elements.

The shore temple once submerged has been excavated some years ago. It stand within a fortress of stone, shielding it from the waves of the Bay of Bengal. Rows of Bulls (Nandi the mount of Shiva) decorate the complex.

If you walk or drive between the monuments, make sure to stop at the numerous stone carvers along the road. Sure they use today more modern means to cut trough granite, yet most of the finer works are accomplished like millennia ago. Even the subjects of their workmanship hasn’t changed, Idols of Shiva, Ganesha and other gods are in high demand and created in all shapes and sizes.

The story of a masterpiece

Recently my daughter gave me two shawls she was given by her mom after our divorce. She thought that I might like them since she had no use for them. I could not believe my eyes, she handed me  the very two shawls I had bought from a small cooperative shop in Leh, in Ladakh in the early 90ties. The cooperative was an initiative of two elderly Ladakhi, to assist their people to get a decent price for their pure pashmina wool. They told me that most of the wool was bought over by merchants from Kashmir and the local people were given a very small amount of money for their precious products and then sold with huge margins in the cities.

Since I had just spent times in the plains of Chang Thang and had taken shelter with the goat and Yak herders I knew about the effort to collect the wool and look after the goats that were grazing the plains around Tso Morari.

Sadly a lot of my pictures I had taken those days got lost during my travels and shifting of residences over the years.

Goat herding is a job mostly for the elderly men. They bring their animals to the grazing places during the day and return them in the evenings to the summers camps that were setup by the shore of the lake. Collecting wool is their job as well. They look out of the goats touch shrubs and leave some of their fluffy fur behind. Sometimes they take out their combs and brush them gently to get the fine and soft wool from their chest and below their chins. Herding goats is also a walking exercise, since goats are very picky eaters. While following their herds these men become artists and weave the wool into strands that could be used for weaving. Weaving was then mostly done by the women between their daily chores.

These days the wool we get is mostly from China and Mongolia, where thousands of goats are kept in corrals and sheared like sheep to extract the maximum amount of wool, which is then processed by machines. Fortunately the traditions of keeping goats in the Himlayas has not changed since ages. Till today you can see the grazing herds on the high altitude plains in summer.

What my daughter handed me back was an act of love. The respect and care of the herder to his animals. The caressing comb that the goats enjoyed and the wool that was all woven by hand and finally sold by two humorous and story telling grandpas that were looking out for the wellbeing of their people.

Thirty years later I still have this wonderful piece of workmanship.

One of the pictures I had taken from the website: http://nomadicwoollenmills.com

Please have a look at the site.