in xanadu did kubla khan etc. etc. etc.

on the way to srikalahasti, we came across this building, the mandapam of the oneness movement. it is the largest pillarless hall in india (the movement claims), able to seat 8,000 people. the oneness devotees are followers of sri amma and sri bhagwan, a holy couple that preach … actually, i have no idea what they preach. love, compassion, a higher power … ma nishtana, one might say.  oneness’ adherents say it is “a world changing phenomenon that is helping people of all faiths and paths move into higher states of consciousness,” and the temple is supposed to be “endowed…

rocks

as we drove through andhra pradesh, we saw granite rock formations that looked as though they had been built by hand. quoting from one website: andhra pradesh is endowed with spectacular rocky formations, which at many places, are simply awe-inspiring. they are indeed a natural wonder of stony ridges and hillocks shaped into picturesque balancing forms through millions of years of weathering and wearing. the deccan plateau, that is the vast expanse of peninsular india, south of the vindhyas and composed mostly of grey granite, is among the oldest and hardest rock formations in the world. geologists date these rocks…

150,000 bricks

my comrade-in-cameras james and i took another roadtrip, this time into andhra pradesh. on our way to the temple town of srikalahasti, we stopped at a brick kiln, one of many along the road. the bricks are stacked up and the fire is built underneath. they are not as sturdy as bricks made in the u.s.; if one has a crack in it, you can break it with your hands and it will crumble into pieces. there were two or three families living in thatch-roofed huts (with brick walls, of course) on the site. i didn’t ask the head of…