Italian women to offer Bali at Varkala

Deccan Chronicle.  | Archana Ravi

Nation, Current Affairs

The VTDA representatives hope that this will go a long way in repositioning Varkala as a sought-after destination among spiritual seekers.

Varkala beach.

Thiruvananthapuram: On Tuesday, 28 Italian women will visit Varkala beach, not for its sun, sand and sea, but to offer ‘bali’. This will be the first organised ‘bali tharpanam’ for foreign tourists, according to Varkala Tourism Development Association Joint Secretary Lenin Kumar. The VTDA representatives hope that this will go a long way in repositioning Varkala as a sought-after destination among  spiritual seekers.  Government Medical College Hospital faculty Dr Sanjay Sahadevan, who serves as an advisor to VTDA, says, “Varkala is not a mere beach destination. It has great significance as a spiritual destination. However, with growing tourism, Varkala’s spiritual significance is getting obscure. The visit of the tourists will be a new beginning.”

He recalls how Varkala used to be frequented by ‘sadhus’ from Gujarat who would offer ‘bali’ but now, they find it difficult to find affordable accommodation. Meanwhile, some of the projects being considered as part of Varkala’s development could end up destroying its spiritual legacy, according to Dr Sanjay. Usually, it is the son who offers ‘bali’. “But the Sanskrit word ‘putran’ only means one who offers ‘bali’. Their purpose is spiritual healing. Our aim is to help them do that,” says Dr Sanjay.

After ‘bali tharpnam’, they will visit the Janardana Swamy Temple. Afterwards, they will head to Sivagiri for its famous simple ‘sadya’. Finally, they will have a meeting with the monks of Gurukulam.  “We will share the history behind its mixed Pandyan and Kerala style architecture. We will explain the significance of everything including the lunch which is nutritional, despite being simple,” says Dr Sanjay. In a day, the spiritual Varkala, which according to VTDA is the real Varkala, will be presented to the 28 women.

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