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Apart from the general chilled-out nature of the place, why do I love South India so much?
A South Indian veg thali costs about £1 and is a banana leaf as a plate, with dosa (a wafer-thin pancake wrapped around spicy potato and veg), idli, papads with dips made from coconut and beans, some curd, and rice. Many venues top up for free.
Who needs meat, when there is vegetarian food this good? Then there is the strong black Indian coffee.
Southern Indian temples have tall structures above the gate, convered with statues of the gods and painted in bright colours.
(Check out the super hi-res version.)
Women here are so beautiful because they have almond eyes, dark dark skin, and they look proud and walk tall.
Kerala, for example, is the state with the highest rate of female literacy in India and has a proper level of female births, as female infanticide and aborting female foetuses is less common in the south.
Many women plait intensely aromatic Jasmine in their hair, which smells gorgeous when they walk by.
Akka Mahadevi (or Mahadeviyakka as I first encountered her in Speaking Of Shiva, which I bought in 10 years ago Nepal) was a 12th century female mystic who wrote of an intensely personal relationship with god. She renounced the world and wrote her songs to Shiva whom she calls Chenna Mallikarjuna (“Lord of White Jasmine”) which are almost modernist in their approach:
I don’t know anything about meter/ I don’t know anything of rhyme/ As nothing will hurt you, My Lord Siva, I’ll sing as I love…
For hunger,/ there is the town’s rice in the/ begging bowl.
For thirst, / there are tanks, streams, wells.
For sleep,/ there are the ruins of temples.
For soul’s company/ I have you, O lord/ white as jasmine.
(More Mahadeviyakka poetry)
She’s a household name in the Southern state of Karnataka, although time didn’t allow me to visit her birthplace.
See Chennai photos, Hyderabad photos.