Kanchi is verily the City of Temples. Poems composed in the 2nd century ce refer to a shrine dedicated to the love goddess (Kamakshi – eyes of love). The current Kamakshi temple (Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Peetham Sri Kamakshi Ambal) was built by the Pallavas in the 8th century.
After immersing ourselves in Shaiva philosophy at the Kapaleeshwara Temple in Chennai, we journeyed for darshan to the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. This temple was commissioned by the Pallava King Nandivarman II and built circa 770 ce. Then Kanchipuram was the capital city of the Pallava dynasty and at the cross-roads of the North – South trade within India. Through their port city at Mammalapuram, trade and Indian civilization were spread across the bay into Thailand, Cambuja (Cambodia), Shrivijaya (Malaysia, Sumatra and Java) and present day Vietnam. The thriving Kanchipuram was also a seat of Sanskrit literature and Buddhist, Jaina, Vaishnava and Shaiva philosophies.
Yes, Guys! That day will surely come. You will have to accompany the wife or significant other for saree shopping! How you respond to the not-so-subtle hint is going to mark you for ever.
In the good old days of the joint (or extended) family, you were safe. She may go saree shopping with her MIL, SILs, or other relatives. And you could just give the money safely curl up with a book. With modern nuclear families – no such luck! You will have to do the accompanying.
On our trip to Chennai last month, M and my mother both planned saree shopping. They conspired on the research and identified the store. Believe it or not, they planned it for the same day we arrived in Chennai. I softly recommended shopping at the end of the trip. My argument: “you won’t have to carry the sarees around for the entire trip” did not go far. “We’ll just put the sarees in the car, which will be with us the entire trip,” was the quick rebuttal.
I resigned and with a big smile, went along. I survived, and you will too!
Here are Ten Survival Tips!
And pics from our shopping extravaganza at Nalli’s (Nalli Chinnasami Chetty), Chennai. Apparently THE place for sarees! Don’t fret, all cabbies know the place!
- When your hear the first hint of going saree shopping, be enthusiastic and jump to it!
Elephants and wives have great memories in this regard. She will remember if you try to dodge your way out. Eventually she will get her way, so might as well go along and get it over with.
- Plan! Plan! Plan! Who? What? How much?
Talk to her and identify who the sarees are for. What event are they for? What general color (s)? This may all change once you get to the store, but get her to start thinking. It will save a lot of time and indecision later.
In Nalli’s for eg. they have four (or five) levels of sales areas with different pricing and styles. They must have about 25 sales folks on each floor. As soon as we approach a counter, the salesman would bring out and unfurl 20 – 40 sarees in a matter of seconds. Completely overwhelming! Even her head will be spinning. My mother’s vast experience in saree shopping was apparent. She quickly honed in on a style and selected her picks within an hour. Poor M was still darting from counter to counter, and floor to floor, in a daze!