A young Hindu has his cheeks pierced during a ceremony at Katargama, southern Sri Lanka. There was no blood...just a single tear appeared after the piercing. The combination of his stoicism with the heat and clanging temple bells made for a surreal experience I will never forget.
Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka and South India refer to the place as Katirkamam. Out of love for Lord Murugan and to mitigate bad karma, bhaktars pierce their cheeks and tongues with vels, pull large chariots carrying murthi of Murugan with large hooks pierced through the skin of their backs. This practice is known as kavadi.
I am a retired professor at a college in Toronto and taught critical thinking and communications. In the past I also taught literature, creative thinking and problem solving.
I've also had the opportunity to teach about and lead tours to a variety of world destinations including backpacking through the Canadian Rockies, traveling above the Arctic Circle in Norway, into the Sahara in Morocco, and throughout Southeast Asia with a special focus on Thailand. It was my four tours to India that formed me most profoundly, both as a person and as a photographer. It is a magic land of extremes in every sense of the word. More recently I had the opportunity to expand my world view with travel to the Peruvian Andes, the back roads of West...
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