Carol and I traveled through Viet Nam, Cambodia and Thailand in February. It was interesting and enjoyable to see these other places. I was also surprised to find Hindu influences in South View Nam that date back to about 400 AD in the Champa empire, far earlier than the sea-going Hindu explosion of the South Indian Chola dynasty. We will write about the trip, with a number of posts over the next month.
Returning to Tiruvannamalai, I find much has changed since we left early in Feb. Most of the seasonal tourists have returned home, so Tiruvannamalai is much more of the small temple city and quiet spiritual center that it really is. Also the forests and hillsides of Arunachala are starting to dry out. The green is gone from the grasses. Tree leaves are turning to yellow and falling off. All the natural environment is getting ready to April and May, the hot two months of the local season, Agni (Fire), where daily temperature may beach 106F – 42C. In June will come the first rains from the Southwest Monsoon, and things will cool a bit (to daily maximums up to 100F – 38C). Often Westerners who live here year-round find some way to leave for a while during these hot months that are coming.