When I first kicked off my sandals, walked up the flight of stairs and entered the German Bakery in Thiruvannammalai, I thought I had accidentally interrupted a meditation session. Everyone's back was to me as people sat gazing at holy Mt. Arunachala. Soothing Indian mantras played over the sound system. "Om shanti om shanti om shanti om." From the terrace of the guesthouse opposite a man in a red loin cloth did yoga. And all the people adorned in varying arrangements of soft Indian clothing soaked in the holiness of the holy mountain.
After 2 weeks of soaking up all the spirituality of Tiru (or Guru Junction as I like to call it), I was pretty much saturated with goodness and light and decided to hit the road. Mammallapurum, is like Tiru, an enclave of foreigners, but with some major differences. Mammallapurum is touted to be an "artists's colony. Indeed, everywhere in the tiny town you can hear the tuk tuk tuk of hammers hitting stone as men fashion carvings, sculptures large and tiny. Ganeshes and Hanumans, Shivas and Lakshmis.
In search of some coffee, I entered the German Bakery in Mammallapurum. I sat down at an outside table. First shock: pounding bass and driving unaltering beat of drum machines. A rapper spits out the lovely lyrics: "Hey bitch, I wanna slap yo mother-fuckin ass." And all the tourists are clad not in flowing saffron sarongs, ali baba pants and draped shawls. No. They're wearing normal western wear.
I think it's time to return to Gokarna and rejoin my lost tribe.