This sunday was a long awaited fun family sketching day. My parents, cousin and I went with our sketching bags to the Thiruvanmiyur temple in the morning and each found our own nook to settle down in and sketch. I chose the sacred tree of the temple. It's supposed to be the oldest part of the temple and has some old mythological link to the sage Valmiki's resting spot on his travels here.
All large temple complexes have a sacred tree. This one is medicinal and called locally as the Vanni tree. It is very very old and gnarled and has been protected by a fencing. People go around the fenced enclosure praying. Inside the enclosure are very old black snake-worship idols. I don;t know the story behind that, I'm afraid. And on the eastern side of the enclosure where I sat there was another altar with seven more idols which are accessible to the public. These are smeared with turmeric and kumkumam dots.
There was a constant coming and going of worshippers on sunday morning. They would first go around the tree and then come to the eastern altar and either offer flowers or light a small lamp and pray. This spot was secluded from the main outer walkway of the temple compound. It was tucked away in a shaded grove of trees and I found a nice flat stone on the ground with a lovely brick wall as a backrest. It was bliss.
My cousin sat herself down on the main walking thoroughfare and had to persevere through bright hot sun and a lot of crowd. You can see her final sketch here. My dad (check his blog here) went into another shaded corner to sketch the gopurams and my mum, ever the quick one, did two sketches in the time I did my one. Then we met back at the car and went down ECR to tryst cafe in neelangarai.
The cafe has a wonderful display counter at one end with all kinds of breads stacked up in a tantalizing display but it was crowded and we couldn't sit facing the counter. So we just cooled off, looked at each others sketches, drank and munched some stuff and sketched each other. It was so much fun!