when in tirupati (part 2) …


the truth is, i didn’t look that much different after the shave. (photos courtesy of james)

the following day, we procured a car at our hotel to take us to the sri venkateswara temple, on the hilltop village of tirumala. the first order of business was to have our heads shaved, or “tonsured” as they call it. because so many pilgrims come to tirumala every day, there are a number of haircutting halls at which you can have your head shaved for 10 rupees.  at each one where we stopped, however, our driver told us it would be a 2-hour wait, until he found someone who would take us immediately, for 200 rupees each. james and i considered our situation; we could have waited the two hours, if that’s what it really would have taken, but we knew it was more likely that our driver was simply ripping us off; and he had conveniently poor english comprehension skills when we tried to argue this point with him.  in the end, we decided it wasn’t worth the time and aggravation, so we took care of business and  then went to a more crowded hall to photograph other people being shaved.

after this, we joined the “special” line to see the god at the temple. most pilgrims will wait 8-10 hours in line for a two-second glance at the god, but visitors who are willing to pay 300 rupees can get into the special line that takes only 4-5 hours. however, we were there on republic day, a national holiday, so even the expedited line was estimated to take 6-8 hours. we moved 20 feet in one hour, so we gave up and took some more photos around the temple before heading back to town. i wish i could say i took some amazing photos here, but i think i was too busy rubbing my newly-shorn head to really concentrate on my camera. when i went shooting back at the sri govindarajaswami temple that afternoon, however, i took my hat off; and after that, i didn’t have to lift my camera, because the indians wanted to take their pictures with me.

Author: cohn17

Photographer and baker of macarons.

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