Tag Archives: religion

India ‘101’… Spirituality and the conflicted in timeless Varanasi, part one

A very beautifully written post… which will leave you awestruck and thoughtful on many, many levels…

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I had hoped it would be as magical, as compelling as it had been that first time. During the two-month Indian leg of our backpacking trip in 1989, we had saved Varanasi for last. Positioned on the sacred Ganges River and considered to be one of India’s holiest sites, it was now the first destination of our ‘India 101′ trip with our sons and their girlfriends. It had been a difficult decision. Though we live in Southern India, should we venture north to travel this iconic route – Varanasi, Agra, and Dehli – or stay in the more gentle South. We decided on the former.

You want to get it right when your loved ones have traveled from afar, when you only have six days together ‘on the road.’ And I had been reluctant to revisit some of these treasured sites from our young traveller’s days. I wanted to…

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Wat Kam Sanot, Udon Thani.

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Lying East/ North East of Udon City heading almost due North towards Sawang Daen Din for about 75km, lies Wat Kam( Kham) Sanot which is a Buddhist forest temple. There appear to be various spellings and it is also know as Kam Chanod.

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Naga Buddhism is practised here and it is believed that the ” Naga” a mythical large snake still lives in the nearby lake.

Locally this temple is also known as ” superstition temple” .

It is a fairly old temple, the age of which I could not ascertain with a long dragon shaped path leading to the “lifting stones” It is also advisable to walk in the shade as this walk is done in bare feet and that path gets mighty hot!

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It is believed that if you make a wish and can lift the stone then your wish will be granted. Indeed I saw men, women and some children who could lift the stone and it had no relation to stature or anything..just some could and some couldn’t.

Our grandson had visited this temple before and could not lift the stone, on this occasion he did…..I think it has to do with mind over matter somewhat but that is not the general belief here, hence ” superstition temple”

He can however on every occasion make the brass gongs  “sing” many cannot you just seem to have to  be one of those will the knack..many try and fail.

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This lady monk was really selling her wares and the 20 baht notes were forming a very long orderly queue what she was saying was apparently old Thai language and my grandson couldn’t translate it all to me. She was actually quite scary and she got very vocal  at some points , arms a waving..scary.

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There was  also a local market here selling their wares , souvenirs and the like which is a permanent feature. Some of the lovely hand-made things which are given to Buddha and which adorn trees, pillars and posts around and in the temples are a sight to behold so bright and  colourful.

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I hope you have enjoyed the tour of this lovely forest temple and if you get the opportunity to visit you will love the sights and sounds.

Until next time stay safe, laugh a lot and enjoy your week 🙂

Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.

Hello from sunny Phuket where some will say I am living my dream ..well never wearing stiletto’s again is one of them realised…Long live bare feet and flip-flops!

Anyway, I digress by popular demand especially for Susan and Ian ( and let’s see how close mine is to an Aussie staple.

 

Ta Daa!

Beetroot Chutney:

Ingredients:

1.5k Beetroot.

3 Brown Onions.

3 Apples (Granny Smiths)

450ml Balsamic vinegar.

80ml Fresh Orange Juice.

350gm raw sugar.

1/2 tsp ground cloves.

2 large sprigs Rosemary.

Method:

Set oven to 200c. Wrap Beetroot in foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Chop Onions and Apples finely, chop cooled Beetroot and put in large pan.

Add remainder of ingredients. Except for Rosemary.

Stir until sugar dissolves, add Rosemary, reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hr or until mixture thickens slightly. When ready, remove Rosemary and spoon into sterilised Jars.

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This can be enjoyed in Burgers or with cold cuts meat.

My next recipe for those of you who love fish is a Thai Squid Salad. This is one of the very first Thai dishes I was shown how to make  and a favorite with my grandson and for me who had only ever had the dreaded rubbery battered squid a revelation and a converted eater of squid whether it be in a salad or curried which is also very yum and the recipe to follow in another blog post

Thai Squid Salad.

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Ingredients:

6 small baby squid, cleaned and sliced in 1/4 in strips.

2 birds eye chillies, sliced.

3 shallots sliced.

10 cherry Tomatoes, quartered.

Bunch coriander chopped, I use stalks as well as love the taste of coriander.

1-2 tbsp Fish Sauce.

Juice of half Lime.

Method:

Cook squid in boiling water for 1 to 1 half mins (too long and it will be rubbery)

Remove from water. Add chopped tomatoes, chillies, shallots and coriander.

Mix gently to combine.

Add fish sauce and Lime juice and Taste and taste again..if more fish sauce or lime juice required then add a little at a time and taste. I use quite a lot of fish sauce and lime but this is not to everyone’s taste so I can’t say it often enough “taste” and if more is required add.

 

This is a lovely refreshing salad, serve with steamed or Thai sticky rice and enjoy.

Have a lovely relaxing Sunday until next time ..Enjoy…Love you all x

 

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Do you remember taking your 1st step?????

Neither  do I

But I remember my children’s, my grandchildren….. My tentative steps at writing and the encouragement I received…… My 1st driving lesson… ( brave man) ha ha……the first time and this will make you laugh..my mum is a great home cook..traditional British food….newly married ( me)…Hubby says to pick something from the cookbook….if we don’t like it then we won’t have it again….fair enough…so I did…..recipe looks simple..1 clove of garlic etc….mmmmm…never used garlic ( this was a few years ago)…mmmm  40 ish….. I now know that the whole garlic is a ” bulb ” and a segment is a  ” clove “…guess what folks..can you see the picture…I still can….and he ate it…That man encouraged me to cook and I now can…Thailand has taught me to be an even better cook.

I now look in my fridge ..see what there is and make something…. as it’s very much a culture here of if you haven’t got it what can you substitute for it……so it has freed my mind where cooking is concerned and I love it!

Miang Kham Recipe.

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Ingredients: Filling

3/4 cup grated coconut (this is often available in the baking section of most supermarkets) if you are not as lucky as me and can buy from our local fresh markets.
2 small limes, unpeeled (try to get limes with thin skin), cut into small cubes
6 tablespoons shallots, peeled and cut into small cubes
6 tablespoons roasted peanuts
6 tablespoons small dried shrimps4-5 fresh Thai chillies, cut into small slivers
4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small cubes

Ingredients: Sauce

1 tablespoon shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant
2 oz fresh galangal, cut into slivers and roasted until fragrant (see note below)
1/4 cup grated coconut, roasted in a low-heat oven until lightly brown
4 oz small dried shrimps.
2 oz shallots, peeled and coarsely cut
1.5 teaspoons fresh ginger, sliced
8 oz palm sugar (broken into small chunks)
2 tablespoons table sugar
salt for seasoning

Method: Sauce

In a pestle and mortar, pound together the shallots and galangal until fine (note about galangal: it’s ok to use dried galangal as long as it’s placed in a dish of lukewarm water for a few minutes to reconstitute). Add roasted shrimp paste, ginger, coconut and dried shrimp, and continue pounding until smooth. Remove the mixture and place in a pot with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add palm sugar and table sugar, then reduce heat and simmer, wait until reduced to 1 cup or a bit less. Taste, and adjust by adding a bit of salt. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.

Wrapping Leaves

Your choice of what leaves to use is up to you. Some use lettuce or spinach leaves due to ready availability, but to get an authentic flavour you should use the fresh Betel Leaves, or Piper Sermentosum. In Vietnamese language, these leaves are labeled as La Lop.

Serving

Roast the coconut in a low-heat oven until lightly brown. Spoon the roasted coconut into a serving plate. In separate small bowls, arrange each filling ingredient listed above. With a fresh wrapping leaf in hand, fold it once across the bottom then sideways to form a pocket. Place about 1 teaspoon roasted coconut in the leaf together with a small amount of each filling to create a bite-sized quantity. Spoon the sauce on top, pop in your mouth and enjoy!

Although this can be a little time consuming to prepare it is well worth it.

Next blog I will make it easier and give you a rrecipe for a lovely Massam Curry which we are having for our evening meal tonight…..just thought i’d tickle your taste buds…ha ha..I do have that wicked streak don’t i?

Marbles!!!!!!!!!!

I just thought of something funny…but until next time…….and remember have faith and take that first step …that leap of faith….love you all xx

Life doesn’t just happen, it requires our participation.

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My week has been a mixed bag and  I have got quite engrossed in  ” The Commons” and realised I haven’t blogged since 10th Jan…normally my brain is buzzing and I am away…and not with the fairies…haha.

I normally don’t comment on world affairs…but I have been truly saddened and continue to be so at the world and current events …does anyone not learn? why do some make excuses…are we all not in charge of our own destiny? and yes I know about people who are not as well-educated, had a bad or impoverished upbringing but is that really a reason for some actions that have been taken…

Malala Yousafzai the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Prize laureate has been shot and nearly killed… has that dampened her quest for peace and education in her country…NO actually…….

Would I have given up under those circumstances…would you take that same stand she has  …I don’t know……but I do know that we have to be accountable……true to ourselves and I am truly sad and have listened to a lot of the debates etc….can a person just not be truly evil?…….

I know 1st hand how one person’s life was lived under such a regime where every step, phone call, letter was monitored, recorded…. the fear that if you didn’t conform then not only yourself but your family would suffer……it was endless……did they become what a lot of their fellow countrymen did …No!…

They worked hard and tried to be a good person. So although I acknowledge that fear and terror is a large contributing factor, I struggle to understand why well-educated people seem to see some sort of …. don’t know…is it the quest to be infamous?..the glory they perceived they will receive……either here or in the afterlife……

I know politics must play a huge role…and that I don’t want to understand…accept to ask why? Why do people continue to suffer and be killed..children, mothers, fathers it must stop…..will it? No…

I don’t believe it will …from the inception of our lovely world there has been killings in the name of Politics or Religion and all faiths and party’s have or are guilty of this through the ages……

It is such a shame that in the aftermath of all this that some inflammative articles are in print. Iyad Madani, Former Culture Minister for Saudi Arabia and now head of Jeddah based OIC has a valid point when he says ” Freedom of speech must not become a hate speech and must not offend others.

No sane person, irrespective of doctrine, religion or faith accepts his beliefs being ridiculed.” And now churches are being torched around the world and although I have every sympathy for the victims of some of these abhorrent acts of violence, kidnapping’s, hostage taking….. there must be better ways of dealing with these atrocities……..

My mum always taught me never to argue about Politics or Religion as there would never be a winner and I think she is correct…… but it still saddens me …….

 

Normal blogging service will resume with my next blog…….   I just had to say something……XX