Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Some Tales and Pictures from Last Week

I went to my own paradise Madikeri last week to watch the rains. And what rains! Slashing from the sides and freezing to the bones, quintessential Madikeri weather it was. I loved it, though the last two days there were spent nursing a viral fever.
I sat up in my room with the three windows and three great views, drank litres of coffee, read a book, worked, walked around in sweaters and warm clothes and watched the rains for hours. When I could see through the thick mist, that is.
As is our monsoon ritual, my parents and I travelled across the district to go see the waterfalls. Abbi Falls, the nearest, is also the filthiest. It carries the town’s entire sewage water (no matter how many times I and my town people say it, tourists insist on bathing in it and carry bottles of it away, calling it holy water. Yuck!). Plus there are too many people there.

So this time we drove about an hour and came to Soorlabbi Falls. It’s right before the Soorlabbi village, one place I had long wanted to go to. Until a few years ago, this village was one of the most inaccessible with rather hostile people. When a jeep drove by, the kids in the schools and their teacher would run to the door and windows to watch. Like in those old movies. It is also a village that is known for being shrouded under thick mist almost throughout the year.
The Falls looked, and is, quite ferocious and is just by the side of the road. There wouldn’t be any party revelers here. It was bitter cold and the rains wouldn’t let up. I played my favourite game of staring hard into the water till you feel like you are falling into it and floating away.

Driving along ahead, we reached the village. Not a soul was in sight, but of course. On the side of the road were these stones, no doubt from the raja’s times, with carvings of warriors maybe. They lay abandoned, a little path running through and a house behind. Kodagu has several of such stones lying around everywhere.
Straight roads ahead with pretty meadows, moss laden trees and purple violets growing underneath, a crisp air and mist waltzing in at a distance. These are moments when I want to throw my head back, spread my arms wide, smile and cherish the joy of being alive. But to do that, of course it was raining then.
On the way to Mallalli Falls, close to Somwarpet. I love these roadside shacks that sell dubious coloured liquids in dirty bottles, calling them forest honey, Coke and Sprite for the city people (blah) and gum and odd shaped sweetmeats. At least there are hot piping cups of tea and watery coffee you could buy here. Our picnic lunch was eaten inside the car because, of course it was raining.
Mallalli Falls. You reach the top after a steep walk down and up a road through coffee estates on either side. In the summer you can risk walking down a narrow path and get close to the falls. Once June starts, don’t even think about it. It isn’t too clear in the picture, but there is a little house that overlooks the falls on the other side. Trust me, those people would not be relishing the inaccessibility, the cold.

Misty, misty Madikeri street, taken from the warm inside of our car.

For a day, I was at Uppinangadi, at uncle’s, where it was raining like mad again. The coastal rains are even more ferocious than those in the hills, just that it doesn’t get as cold. We are a family looking constantly for excuses to take little trips. Doddappa, whom I am very close to, was telling us of Naravi for a long time. I loved the name because it sounded so exotic and unlike the names of other places in the region. Sure, the fever was still running but I am not one to refuse a trip. So off we drove to Naravi.
Hinduism’s most revered mantra, the Gayatri mantra worships the Sun. But there are very few temples in the country dedicated to Surya. Naravi is one such. I didn’t pay much attention to the road we took, though I know that it is a little off the Uppinangadi-Dharmasthala road.

The temple is quite nice, though the canopy work is still being done. There are quite a few good wood carvings on the ceiling. A Jain basadi close by looked pretty too, though we didn’t go in. Naravi is quite a major Jain religious centre, I was told.
There weren’t many pictures to take, except a tall lamp and the gold coated door and the beautifully arranged plate of theertha and gandha and flowers. The white flowers are the singaara, used a lot in religious ceremonies. It was earlier used to make garlands for Brahmin weddings earlier, but these days roses are preferred.
Naravi was a little cute village with a bunch of shops and curious villagers. It is on the edge of a previously Naxal- inhabited area. We had some dosa in a village hotel, chatted with the Konkani owner, got drenched a little and drove back, me sleeping on Ma’s lap and listening to boring adult conversation. I get away doing that because I am ill.
When I have been to two of my homes in two of my most favourite places in the world, I shouldn’t be saying again what a good time I had, should I?


Chandra Shekhar Balachandran said...

I want to visit those places -- particularly that waterfall by the roadside!!

Loowed reading your evocative (i have long been wanting to use that word in a sentence) writing!

As a tambrahm of a certain generation might have said, "Sarassodhi is dancing on tongue."

Deepa Bhasthi said...

Chandra, you have made a habit of making me loff, I say!!
I am happy I gave you the chance to use big big words too! Sarassodhi will be benevolently (there, another big word!) smiling at us tonight!

And come home, will take you to these places.

Radhika Vitla and Mahesh Bhat said...

I wish I was there with you :) Nice blog post, loved it.


Deepa Bhasthi said...

Thanks Radhika. Told you, you are both welcome to come anytime you want. :)

Captain Nemo said...

Another set of places to add to my ever growing wishlist... Great stuff, as usual...

Deepa Bhasthi said...

As always, thanks a bunch Achyutha! You ought to plan some trips.

Suraj Athreya said...

Ua dairy of coorg is very beautiful Deepa...
I suggest you to visit "charmadi ghat" once also "kudremukha" and nea by places which will take you to nother world... :)