LITTLE
INDIA 2

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'VE WRITEN SUCH A LONG ARTICLE YOUR WEB DESIGN PROGRAM CROAKS?
CUT IT IN HALF! THIS IS THE SECOND HALF OF
LITTLE INDIA: A Bit of India In Southern California

Dear Readers,

I just realized that my web program has been cutting off the lower extremities of this article for an unknown period of time. I decided to cut the article and put it on two pages, thus increasing reading ease, and also letting you read it. Can't read it if it's not there!

I'm also including the map section. Please print the directions––no looking at your laptop while driving.

    Okay. Let's go to Little India. Readers have written me requesting that I add a map! What a good idea. Unfortunately, this writer uses a 1945 operating system––my brain is old and so is the rest of me. I never expected to be attaching maps to anything. Not only did one reader say he wanted a map, he wanted MapQuest and Google. Well … I'll be lucky to get one up, but I'll try.

    The value of a map is obvious. Here we go …

    I googled the Little India Chamber of Commerce, which is right in the middle of the action. 18600 Pioneer Blvd; Artesia, CA 90701; (562) 809-8000, and got a beautiful map. When I followed their directions to attach it I got an 'forbidden access" message. I suggest just getting on Google searching for the above. I had the same result with Yahoo.

    Now to try MapQuest.

    MAPQUEST LINK TO LITTLE INDIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The the world marches on: I have a Magellan now, a little map screen thing that you program with your destination. It gently reminds you of where to turn before you end up in Iowa. That's the best way to get around.

    DIRECTORY: For your convenience, I've included the following directory to shops and philosophical/cultural topics mentioned in this article.


    A BRONZE ELEPHANT FROM PRASIDDHI ARTS

    Another must visit is Sari Kiketan, at 18423 Pioneer, in the same strip as Ambala Dhaba restaurant, which I talked about above.

    Another wonderful feature of Little India is the multitude of sweet and chai shops. They're everywhere. One of the fine shops is Rasraj Sweets & Farsan. Owned by Senjal Patel, Rasraj Sweets & Farsan offers take out service via its Web site. They are located at 18511 S. Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, Ca 90701 Ph 562-809-3141 Fax: 562-809-8283.

    We stopped at a couple of sweet shops between meals. I didn't know what most of the delicious looking sweets were-- so I was cautious in trying. The chai was good everywhere.


    LILY CHATS WITH THE STAFF OF SARI KIKETAN
    Note the rudrakshasa on the counter.

    purchased lovely pendants with Hindu deities-- Durga and Hanuman. The store has very good service and a friendly staff, as well as good prices.

    Do you know what rudrakshas are? They are the seeds of a plant which grows only in the Himalayas. Rudrakshas are known as the "Tears of Shiva". Yes, the very same Shiva shown in the Shiva Nataraj-- "the Dancing Shiva"-- that we talked about before. Shiva is known in the Hindu pantheon as "The God of Destruction." This is oversimplified. Shiva is the God of Destruction in the sense that, on the spiritual path, some things have to go before you can get other things. This destructive force is very powerful, and contains a massive creative component: Whenever something is destroyed, the vacuum left behind implies creation of something else.


    SHIVA AND SHAKTI
    This painting depicts Shiva and his wife, the goddess Shakti.

    The legend of the rudrakshas is this: Lord Shiva looked down on the earth from his home on Mount Kailasa in the Tibetan Himalayas. Shiva was so distraught when he saw what we humans had done to his perfect creation that he cried. His tears fell to earth in the form of rudrakshas-- they are his gift to us, a blessing and a protection. Rudrakshas are said to take away the effects of your bad actions, in this or previous lives. People use strings of rudrakshas to count their prayers (mantra repetition) in a manner similar to a rosary. Many paintings and statures of Shiva show him draped with rudrakshas-- brownish, crinkled, round seeds anywhere from 3/4 inch to less than 1/8 inch in diameter. Rudrakshas are ceremonially presented to spiritual seekers when they join religious orders.

    People wear rudrakshas the way Native Americans wear a medicine bag: As a protection and a remembrance of the divine. They work: I've worn rudrakshas for over 20 years and can testify that they have protected me. Not once have I been run over by a truck-- no physical trucks, anyway. A couple of emotional ones. Rudrakshas have a lovely, fine feeling when you hold them. I'd wear them just for that. With rudrakshas, smaller is better. Price varies inversely with size: The smaller the rudraksha, the more expensive. I got a very nice neck mala (108 beads plus the "guru bead") set in real silver at Sari Kiketan for $39. This is a deal. I've paid $150 for a set not much better. Unstrung rudrakshas-- strung on wire or heavy cord but not finished on gold or silver wire-- went from about $18 for 1/4 inch size to $24 for microscopic ones. You can string these yourself. My older daughter made herself a really pretty neck mala using some Sari Kiketan rudrakshas, tiny silver beads and a plastic covered wire.

    Back to Directory


    CUSTOMERS AND STAFF AT THE UDUPI PALACE
    Note the Nataraj on the shelf.

    After all that shopping, we were hungry again. Lily and I found ourselves in front of The Udupi Palace, a vegetarian restaurant. I noted it's "A" rating by the door. This was a great choice. The restaurant is fastidiously clean and elegant. It was packed when we arrived, but we quickly got a seat. Only to discover that we didn't know what anything on the menu was. All around us, people were being served delicious looking food. How did we order it? We had an experience typical of Little India. My daughter and I sat laughing at ourselves, feeling really stupid and wondering what to do. Four turbaned men sat at the table to my right. One noticed our discomfort and graciously offered to help us order. He was so nice about it.

    Our waiter arrived at that moment and did the job, but the incident left a warm glow. We were soon eating our own delicious food-- soups, a dosa and lassis-- and chatting with the young couple on my left. Who had great looking meals. I would like to go back to this place and eat my way through the menu. A lassi, by the way, is a yogurt drink often made with pureed mango. Delicious. A dosa is a giant (18" or so), crisp crepe rolled around a filling, usually potato. It came with two spicy dipping sauces. This is almost too much to write about-- it was so good. The young woman next to me was drinking a pale pink drink she said was made of rose water. If it tasted the way it looked, it must have been ambrosial. We've gone back to the Udupi Palace several times-- still great.

    Back to Directory


    LILY AND COTTAGE ART OWNER, JYOTI NAGRANI

    All that eating built up a powerful appetite for shopping. We moved on to Cottage Art, owned by the Nagrani family. 18619 S. Pioneer Blvd., (502) 924-6268. You can reach their web site by clicking on the name. Cottage Art used to be called "Sari Boutique" but changed its name when they added furniture, home wares, statues and many fascinating things for the home. This is a lovely, lovely place which features items from all over India. India is a huge place with may regional art specialties, many of which are represented here. Cottage Art sells beautiful pictures and statues of Krishna and Ganesh and other religious figures, wonderful saris and salwar kameez (tunic and pants outtifits). And pillow covers, bedspreads. I found the most wonderful-- what to call it? Banner? A very ornate hanging that would go over a doorway. You can see a similar one above Jyoti's head in the photo above I bought it: it's wonderful in my house. Fabulous shawls. These ranged from embroidered Indian wool shawls, to block printed wool shawls, to Indian shawls with the pattern woven in, to the most wonderful Kashmiri paisley shawls. These latter were fine, soft wool, also with the pattern woven in. Lily bought one with a reversible pattern. Mine was heavier with the pattern on one side. I have seen these shawls in Santa Barbara and elsewhere for twice the money. Subsequent trips yield more treasures: a selection of Western clothing made in India. I bought a beautiful long silk dress sooo reasonably. She also had short velvet dresses, great shiny brocade jeans with embroidered fringes-- a whole rack of hip, cute things. For you decorators and seamstresses: Jyoti has many antique embroidered pieces that would make great valances over windows or trims on you name it. Lots of pillows, spreads. Home stuff. Exotic! Their customer service is among the best I've ever seen; they've accommodated me above and beyond anywhere.


    LILY AND I IN THE COURTYARD BEHIND COTTAGE ARTS
    They've had this wonderful mural painted and created a courtyard for social and business events. Lovely.

    On our first visit to Cottage Art, Lily bought a metallic gold sari to use as a window treatment in her room. We'll swag it over the window to complete the opulent look. As a former interior designer, I can tell you that saris offer a host of possible uses beside their intended use as saris. You can cut them up and make them into Western style clothing. You can use them as window treatments. Or pillows. Bedcovers. Whatever you can think of. They're much cheaper than fabric by the yard, and offer so many color and pattern possibilities it boggles the mind.


    HERE WE ARE WITH SOME OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU CAN FIND AT COTTAGE ART

    Jyoti had photos of a Beverly Hills wedding party all dressed from her shop. The bride and all her maids were dressed in traditional Indian outfits in every color of the rainbow. Beautiful! And the groom and his men wore Indian clothing. One fellow had the most novel approach to his baldness. This man had a shining pate-- completely painted with mehndi, the traditional henna designs usually worn on hands and feet. Isn't that better than hair transplants and all those drugs guys take now? Another great photo was of an African American actress decked out in white by the Sari Boutique. I don't remember her name, but she played the sister in Eve's Bayou and she looked wonderful in glistening Indian silks and beading. Great photos of Hollywood and celeb customers here.

    Every visit produce new treasures: we loaded up on padded embroidered jackets for Christmas gifts. Bought several terrific batik wall hangings of Hindu deities, also for gifts. Jyoti had all the wonderful things described above plus more Western fashions made in India. Terrific skirts. The greatest little tops, from bustiers to halters to shells, in silks and embroidery. Fantastic pure silver antique jewelry. A new line of paisley shawls, pashmina. Plus her own sweet self and helpful staff.


    PRASIDDHI--A beautiful new store in Little India.

    Click on photo to go to prasiddhiarts.com

    Every time we visit, new shops have opened. One of the most beautiful is Prasiddhi, which carries the highest quality art and home furnishings from India. Lily and I stopped by on our last visit and were blown away by the quality and variety of fine arts shown here. These are absolutely top quality pieces, so many of them I won't attempt to list them. Beautiful art work in various woods and metals. Particular favorites of ours were "paintings" made of various types of wood. The wood grain was worked into the design so that it seemed brushed on––but it wasn't. They're located at 18709 South Pioneer Blvd. Hours are: Tues - Fri 12 Noon - 8:00 PM, Sat - Sun 11:00 AM - 8:30 PM Closed Monday, like the rest of Little India. Phone: 562-402-3222 Fax: 562.402.3404 email: info@prasiddhiarts.com


    CARVED WOODEN STATUE OF JESUS

    Beautiful Hindu and ethnic statues abound in Little India,
    but you can also buy Christian statuary such as this gorgeous rendering of Jesus from Prasiddhi.


    LILY WITH THE PROPRIETOR OF ONE OF THE NEW STORES IN LITTLE INDIA
    Every time we go, several new stores have appeared. This was a lovely store. Sorry, we don't have the address and name.
    Friends in Little India: if you know, could you drop me a line with the name and address? Thanks. E-MAIL ME.

    AND NOW WE COMPLETE THE SAGA OF THE SHOES: We couldn't find that shop where Lily saw the traditional shoes the night before. It completely vanished. "Do you think it was on this side of the street?" "Yes." "I think it was over there." "No, it wasn't. It was over here." We never got the shoes. Hence, the parable: If you see something you like at Little India, buy it. You may not be able to find that shop again. Or you may.

    Back to Directory


    LILY AND JAWAHAR SHAH AT INDIA SILK & FASHIONS

    I saw a stonewashed cotton salwar kameez at India Silk and Fashions on Friday, and was able to find it again the next day. This salwar kameez was on the Sale-Sale rack, really marked down. I love it. It's tunic is a soft mauve cotton with pastel fabric animals-- elephants, dogs, birds-- hand sewn all over it. Incredible workmanship. It came with mauve pants and a huge shawl. It's something I can wear everywhere. $50 for all three pieces. Wow. India Silk also had a full range of other traditional fashions.


    A PAINTED, CARVED WOODEN PANEL FROM PRASIDDHI ARTS

    WHAT ABOUT BINDIS? Did we come away with the red dot between our eyes? Or paste-on jewels? No. Traditionally, the bindi was worn by married women. It was made of fine red powder called Kum Kum, which was rolled into a tiny ball with a bit of water and pressed on to make a perfect circle. In modern times, unmarried Hindu women and girls wear bindis, often of easily applied liquid Kum Kum or the fancy, painted and shaped stick-on type. Members of religious orders also wear traditional Kum Kum bindis. In Hinduism, the spot between and slightly above the eyes is associated with insight and intuition. The red dot is applied to honor this site. It may have other religious significance that I don't know about. Wearing a bindi is not about making a fashion statement. So we didn't buy even the fanciest stick-ons-- no matter how well they matched our outfits. How about mendhi? Didn't we get our hands and feet painted with henna designs in the traditional way? Didn't we have our eyebrows "threaded"-- unwanted hair removed by being pulled out with a thread? All over town, beauty shops would have gladly performed these services. Not this trip.

    However, we made discrete inquiries as to where to get our noses pierced. (Lord's Jewelers) We would have done it, except that I don't think my husband could stand the shock of us returning with the Master Card bills and pierced noses. He'd probably lock us up. (But maybe next time...) 11/29/00 My daughter took the plunge. Read about it in LORDS JEWELERS above. Will I get my nose pierced? Time will tell...

    nata
    NATARAJ
    The Dancing Shiva. Click on the photo to be transported to this lovely sculpture, for sale on Exotic India

     

    Sign up for our email list here for the latest news:

    Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
    For Email Marketing you can trust

    C

     

    STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

     

    A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION

     

    B

    NUMENON
    A T
    ALE OF MYSTICIAM & MONEY MENON

     

    "BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."

    D

    TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD

    BORN PREMATURELY ON A FREEZING NIGHT, THE COLT HAD TO FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE.

    A

    THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

     

    A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN

    Click the covers above to go Sandy Nathan's books on the Amazon Kindle store. All Kindle books are 99 cents.
    They are also available as print books at Amazon.
    The Angel and Numenon are also at the Nook store. The Angel is an iBook, as well
    .

    AUTHOR SANDY NATHAN IS THE WINNER OF SEVENTEEN NATIONAL AWARDS!
    r
    SANDY NATHAN

    NAVIGATE OUR SITE:

    | SANDY NATHAN.COM | SANDY NATHAN'S BLOG | YourShelfLife.com SANDY'S BLOG FOR WRITERS
    Spurs Magazine Index
    | Little India in SoCal | Spurs Writers' Corner |
    I Rancho Vilasa Home | Facilities
    | The News | Hit the Trails |
    | Vilasa Press | Links | E-mail Us |

    Copyright 2011 Sandy Nathan, All Rights Reserved.

     

    Back to Directory

    BACK TO PART ONE!

    SPURS MAGAZINE INDEX
    RANCHO VILASA HOME

    E-MAIL US

    Copyright 1999 - 2008. Sandra Nathan. All rights reserved.

     

     

tttt
Rancho Vilasa & Spurs Magazine