12 March 2007

Keep Your Cool

Generally, it seems that Summer in the South is often reckoned to start around the time of Mahashivaratri. Well this year it has a come a little late and it is only now beginning to heat up. The seasonal transition seems to literally change overnight from warm to hot. The Summer season at Tiruvannamalai is a long one, extending from around March all the way through to September-October. Tiruvannamalai is particularly hot because of the radiating heat generated by Arunachala; which is often the case when a mountain is located in plains or a plateau.

Even now air conditioning is very much reserved for a small minority of people of this area, so others are well advised to utilise well proven folklore and commonsense in keeping cool throughout the hot Summertime.

An important factor in keeping cool is between frequent bathing, to wash the face as often as possible. To avoid nasty rashes, use specially formulated talcum power to help prevent prickly heat. Also sandalpaste on the forehead is very cooling.

Stay away from synthetic fabrics and stick to cottons and linens in light, pastel colours. Sun glasses are essential and medium to dark lenses with a grey, brown or green tint are preferred.

Certain delicious foods such as; mango, pineapple and papaya are regarded as hot foods and increase body heat; so keep their consumption to a minimum. Cooling foods include; butterfruit, chickoo (sapotta), watermelon, grapes, lemon, tender green coconut, musk melon, palm fruit. Heat reducing vegetables are; cucumber, radish, snake gourd, bottle gourd and ridge gourd. Drinks to avoid are coffee, tea and carbonated beverages whereas drinks that help in the cooling process are; buttermilk, aloe drink, sugarcane juice, fresh juices and water.

Bamboo screens covered with aloe vera are traditionally used near doors and windows in Tamil Nadu, to combat the heat. These screens are known as Vettiver Thatti (aloe vera screens). Bamboo is also a great option for a roof cover and if properly erected will decrease the ground floor temperature as much as 5 degreees centrigrade. Avoid using such materials as asbestos, fibre sheeting and Mangalore tiles on or around your terrace or roof.

Also to visitors to Tiruvannamalai please remember the sun in South India is a tropical one and much fiercer than that of more temperate, western climes. Thus, its best to stay indoors during the hottest times of the day and if forced to venture outside either wear a sunhat or use an umbrella as a sunshade.


Divyakka said...

Great advice, thanks! :-)

Arunachala Living said...

We got to keep our cool!