Fog, wind and Meesapulimala

Hey friends,

Its been quite sometime I have been away from blogging. So I have decided to take you to a less explored yet beautiful place ‘Meesapulimala’.

Meesapulimala trek

God’s own country, Kerala regain its charm with monsoon. With greenery everywhere, she looks like a bride in a green velvet gown. Meesapulimala is a trekking spot in Munnar. Though December is the best time to visit the place, Monsoon trek has its beauty.

I chose first week of june to visit there because of 2 reasons. First is that I love rain and I believe nature looks its best during rain and second one is leeches will be less ( which is quite prominent in these areas after rain).

The trek is organised by KFDC ( which is under Kerala government). We were a group of four and booked the trek online from http://www.munnar.kfdcecotourism.com for a day.

Base camp.

They have 3 options for accomodation. Base camp and sky cottage from where we have to trek for 8km one way. We booked Rhodo mansion which is more expensive compared to other options. I personally suggest this as these are beautiful cottages with breathtaking view. Moreover the trek distance from rhodo mansion to Meesapulimala is only 3 km and we can spend more time at the peak without time constraints.

We were asked to report at the KFDC office which is situated at a distance of 2.4km from Munnar town after lunch by 2pm. From the office till rhodo mansion the transport was provided by KFDC as the road enroute was quite dangerous. We thoroughly enjoyed the 28km jeep ride and stopped in between for tea and snacks and yes ofcourse we couldn’t stop us from clicking couple of pics as whole way was a treat to one’s eyes. Rain and fog added the beauty of the place.

 

After 3 hours of drive we reached the picturesque location of rhodo mansion. We were literally shivering as the temperature was 12 degrees and quite windy. Our guide Mr Rajan and the caretaker Mrs Selvi were amazing hosts. They welcomed us with a hot cup of tea which was must required in that weather. That evening we spent there enjoying the view and the delicious hot dinner cooked by Mrs Selvi.

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Rhodo Mansion

We started our climb at 7:30 in the morning next day after a hot cup of tea. The weather was quite rough with rain, fog and strong gust of wind all over the place. Initial 1 km and the last leg of the trek was a bit steep, otherwise I can call it an easy to moderate trek.

The climate was changing constantly with every stage of trek. Initially it was foggy with mild breeze and towards end of the climb the wind was so strong, we were struggling to balance and stand. All four of us were walking holding on to a woollen shawl in a line so that wind wont push us down from the cliff to the abyss below.

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The climb down was quite dangerous and we were struggling to stand on our foot. One point of the trek we literally felt that the wind is going to lift us. The experience was once in a life time one. The next half an hour of the trek was pure adventure. Pushing ourselves against the wind and climbing down holding on to each other was a strenuous task.

Our Guide – Mr Rajan

The magical view during the climb was enough to forget all the risks we endured and the gratification we got after successfully finishing the trek was undefinable. Our caretaker pampered us with a delicious lunch once we reached back and then it was time to say good bye to Rhodo mansion. We left the place at 2 in the afternoon promising ourselves that we will visit this place again soon…

Homecoming

An emotion sharp like a needle

Piercing deep through my heart

Mixed with feelings alien to me

Beckoning me to change my path

Chasing my dreams I flew afar

Never looked back where I began

Life was an abode of surprises

Every trail was a new experience

I searched for peace everywhere

My quest always ended in despair

Finally I went back home exhausted

Physically and emotionally drained

To that comfort undefinable by words

To a realisation where happiness lies…

Sacrifice

I never miss my morning walk through the small farm area behind my house whenever I get time and surprisingly there is always something awaiting me to capture and write about.

Let me share with you what I found today…

This is the fallen petals of banana flower. I saw them on the floor and arranged it like this to click a picture. As always thoughts started to sprout in my mind about the short life of these petals and yes I tried to put those ramblings of my mind into words which you can read now.

I was bright and beautiful when born

Red as blood and skin soft as velvet

I wrapped myself around my little ones

Guarding them from harshness of days

They grew and the day I scared arrived

My protection was a burden for them

Detatched from my life I rested on soil

My colours faded and my skin dried up

I waited there with a spark of hope

Till the day I was embraced by earth…

Have a great day friends!

Last breath..

I felt trapped inside the black cloud

Freedom was what I was waiting for

Move around without being watched

Away from the eyes that followed me

Restricted to move around on my own

Irked being stuck whole day and night

In that cocoon away from the world

Not aware of the dangers on the earth

I set myself free to explore the world

As tiny drops I ran towards my dream

Engulfing everything in my vicinity

Clueless I was inviting my own death

Scattered I lied there shattered in bits

Till the mighty sun took my last breath

Childhood days…

I sat there searching pages of my life

Wandering through my memory trail

My mind disturbed counting my losses

Which was seized mercilessly by time

Where did I lose my unfeigned smiles?

Where did I lose my innocent heart?

Untouched by the pollution and noise

My life started in this beautiful village

Nature filled my mind with its colours

Peace was what I was taught by them

Ego and jealosy was unknown words

Competition and greed was unfamiliar

Yearning to dive back to those days

With a heavy heart I returned back

Day light gave way to the darkness

Reminding me that it is time to leave…

Ananthapura Lake Temple

Hello friends,

Today I would like to share with you the unbelievable story of one of the most beautiful temples in North Kerala, Ananthapura Lake Temple.

I came to know about this temple recently from a local television channel. I did a small research about the temple before making the plan to visit and was quite surprised by reading the story about the vegetarian crocodile ‘Babiya’ who is believed to be guarding the temple since many centuries. I was very curious as I have never heard about a crocodile who is totally vegetarian. The very next day I made my plan to visit the temple which is situated 42 Km from Mangalore where I live.

I started early morning from Mangalore. Mangalore to Kumbla, Kasargod took me an hour and 15 minutes and from Kumbla to Ananthapura village where the temple stands is around 6km drive. I was greeted by one of the temple staff at the entrance who is ardently narrating the legend about the temple. Along with the other visitors I listened to his story keenly.

The legend says Ananthapura temple is the origin place (Moolasthana) of Trivandrum Ananthapadmanabha Swami temple which recently became famous after opening the vaults which contains enormous treasure.

As per the legend, Sage Vilwamangalam used to reside here and do his rituals and poojas. One day Lord Mahavishnu appeared before him as a boy and requested to let him stay with him. When the childly pranks of the boy became unbearable for the sage, he pushed the boy aside. The boy disappeared into a nearby cave and told the sage, “If you want to see me again, you come to Ananthakat” which is now the Ananthapadmanabha temple of Trivandrum.

The sage after realising that the boy is Lord Vishnu himself, went all the way following him to Trivandrum. He found Lord reclining on serpent chief Ananta. The sage offered Lord Mangoes in the dry shell of coconut which is still being followed as part of pooja in Ananthapadmanabha temple, Trivandrum.

One can see the cave when you go inside the temple. The cave is blocked with a gate. Unfortunately I couldn’t click the picture as photography is not allowed inside the temple.

Another unique feature of the temple is the Idol. Normally the idol placed in the temple is made out of a specific metal or from mixture of metals whereas here the idol is made out of medicines through a process called Katusarkara yogam. The Idol is in a real human form with bones , spinal cord and nerves (sapta nadi) made out of medicinal plants and dried coconut fibres.

The legends may or may not be true but I can assure you that the beauty of nature around the place will steal one’s heart. Apart from the rectangular lake on which the temple is built , there are 2 other ponds nearby. There are beautiful carvings and mural painings on outer wall of temple and few remains which shows the traditional Kerala architecture.

After spending some time in the temple I went to see Babiya, whom I was eagerly waiting to meet. I found Babiya’s story more incredible. The legend says when Lord Vishnu disappeared into the cave , Babiya appeared to guard the shrine. You will be thinking about the life span of the crocodile now. The same question ran in my mind too. Thats the mystery here and make this temple one of its kind. When Babiya dies another crocodile replaces it. Where the other ones come from is still unknown. In 1942 , a British soldier shot Babiya and killed it but the very next day another crocodile was found in the lake. Unbelievable isn’t it? The soldier was later found dead bitten by a snake after a week which is believed by the natives as revenge by serpent chief ‘Ananta’.

Babiya is given the offerings by devotees. This image is taken from web as the feeding time is at 12 in the afternoon and unfortunately I went there in the morning. Natives believe that only fortunate ones can see Babiya and it stays under water most of the time. I got a glimpse of its head when it came on the surface twice.

Its quite surprising that Babiya is Vegetarian. I had to believe it when I saw the amount of fish swimming nearby the crocodile without any fear.

My visit to Ananthapura was to quench the curiosity about Babiya and I came back with my head filled with incredible legends about the temple. The tranquil environment and the peace you get from there is worth mentioning.