Magic number

I received a gift yesterday
So precious that no other yesterdays presented me

What is it?
Why do u treasure it so much?
Who gifted it to u huh???

Questions pop up, I know.
But answer lies in my eyes alone.

It’s not gigantic like one of your Teddies
It’s not attractively hued like the red red rose
It’s not fragrant like my Blue Lady perfume
It’s not delicious like the yummy chocolate fantasy
It’s not expensive like a Nakshatra Diamond
It’s not promising me that “I’ll die for you” (%@*...)
More than all
It’s not a living one, like the Vodafone Pug

But the moment I opened my eyes to it,
Felt myself flying weightless on cloud nine.

Whatever, I cherish it like
A simple chain, to a bare neck
A sweet jalebi , to a diabetic one
A magic box, with all chocolates
…pickle is to liquor.


The Vibrato of Silence

 “In silence, you can talk to yourself like you never did”.
Travelling can be something which can be discussed globally as a beneficial as well as an energizing hobby. Mind blowing! Yes, sometimes the breeze is too strong that your mind ‘goes with the wind’. Until the last of them are chopped down, until O2 is balanced with CO2 ,until the colour green is not prone to extinction ,will the exclamatory expressions of all languages remain accepting the fact that beauty lies  in the eyes of the beholder.
‘Incredible India’ is the idea of Indian government’s idea of tourism. It sounds the same for ‘enchanting Tamil Nadu’. Though ‘apartmentisation’ and ‘collegification’ has ruined a ¾ of this state, there are still places worth visiting.

My fair introduction has created a guess in your mind that it was propitious this time, I guess…! Yes it was when my bus took me through temples in green, red and blue, vineyards and coconut groves and red and yellow sareed women planting onion in the fields in the straight bent yoga posture to a place which the modern tech savvy man will have to once go for seeking peace. The sacred land of India has been witness to the lives of countless yogis, sages and enlightened beings. The Dhyanalinga Yogic temple, situated at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains in Coimbatore,is very much a part of this glorious tradition. The Dhyanalinga was consecrated by Sadhguru, a mystic and realized Master, after three years of intense prana prathishta .In the metaphysical sense, the Dhyanalinga is a live guru, an energy center of tremendous proportions and a doorway to enlightenment and liberation.

Other than all these, what attracted me most in the Isha yoga centre is that it does not ascribe to any particular belief, faith or religion. The whole pathway is created in granite and the first time your naked feet feels the stone you get the essence of the place. Nobody ever forces you to be at one place or so like in a normal ashram. A lot of visitors go in and out every time. Most of them are from various parts of India and even the world. Some of them come in search of the place, and some others consider Isha as a tourist place. Lot of swamis with cloudless faces can be seen walking with a white gopi and cream real patyala pants. Isha is not just a yogic centre. It is a happening place. A Sanskrit school, dance school, meditation centre etc are some other interesting programmes there.

For people who go there as pilgrims, it’s a perfect place. The main temple is to be reached after so much of sightseeing and experiences. First is three huge sculptures of Lord Shiva in his three forms-srishti, sthithi and samhara. Another one is the Linga Bhairavi temple which was recently made. Another one is the Theerthakund which is a consecrated pool of water energized by rasalinga made of solidified mercury. Crossing all these one can reach the Dhyanalinga temple wherein the 13feet 9 inches, mercury based live linga (consecrated energy in the form of an ellipsoid) is placed. The moment you enter inside the soundproof dome, you can feel what I mentioned as “the vibrato of silence”. It is all quiet and peaceful inside and one should meditate for 15 minutes in one of the twenty eight aura cells within the granite masonry wall. When I sat in one of those cells I heard only me and the sound of water dropping from the gold plated copper linga on the top. The silence was not forced, but created.

An eternal feeling of oneness with ourself is attained in one of those silent moments. And that I think is the main reason for the flow of people to this yogic place. The Pepper Vine Eatery which provides delicious dishes is another exquisite feature here .My journey was made complete when some people shared my same view of the speciality of silence there and when they whole-heartedly encouraged me to write about the experience.

Mighty mountain of medicines

Sometimes we know that we have a lot to say, but words don’t come. A situation where we can’t express, that is what I am facing at present. Marudhamalai is the place I have travelled most after my advent in Coimbatore. Despite being a pilgrimage, this gracious place has played a very remarkable role in making me a lover of travelling. The Marudhamalai hills are the reason for the comparatively better climate that we enjoy here. A view from a distance itself makes one say “I have made the right choice of place to visit today”.

Fifteen km west of Coimbatore, on the Western Ghats, situated in a lush, green milieu is the temple of Marudhamalai, dedicated to Lord Muruga (Dandâyudhapâni).  Said to belong to the 12th Century, the temple is surrounded by the hilly range on three sides set against the backdrop of hazy blue hills dotted with shrubs and bushes of varied hues, the sacred shrine verily reflects the picture of Lord Muruga, magnificently mounted on his vehicle peacock, flaunting and swaying its feathers and plume in full bloom. The name ‘Marudhamalai’ means ‘Mountain of medicines’ which is derived as it is overgrown with shrubs and bushes of medicinal properties. The holy shrine of is believed to remove both physical and mental afflictions and attachments as the hill abounds in medicinal herbs. The story behind the temple is that a thirsty Sanyasi was walking through the forest and took some rest under a Marutha tree. To quench his thirst, he prayed to Lord Muruga. Muruga answered his prayers and sprang water from Marutha trees.

There are two ways to reach the top, one by climbing the 700 stone steps and one via bus. Being a lover of different experiences I chose to climb the steps to top and via bus down the hill. On the way to the steps is a ‘mini market’. Numerous small shops of all fancy and gifts, pooris like pyramid balanced from toppling down, ladies selling buttermilk with fried and hot chillies making our mouths watery, ever-time favourite elandavada, lots of coloured threads to tie on our hands, all kinds of fried grams so on and so forth. If one has to climb the steps in deep faith they can remove their slippers down there.

What interested me most was the scores of beliefs associated with the temple and surroundings. If a couple climbs all the steps with their hands locked they have easy chance to get married. The steps are wide enough for ten couples to walk at the same time and also its one of their unforgettable places during love-life. On the left and right sides the green forest gives calm breeze and healthy oxygen. But another belief caught my eye. There are many groups of stones kept on top of another. The believer assures that this helps him in building a house faster without tribulations. There are many small idols on the way. Nearing the top is a tree of wishes. Lots of yellow threads tied expecting to take the marriage oath soon and many cloth cradles to feel her baby’s movement in her stomach. By now anyone would be perspiring, and myself with healthy physique was not an exception.

On the top is the  Adhi Moolasthanam  in the shape of a lingam, where Lord Muruga is seen with Valli and Deivanai. Before praying to Shiva is Nandi in whose ears we can whisper our wishes. The other small deities are Thaan Thondri Vinayakar Temple, Idumban temple, Kudhirai Kulambu mandapam, Uchchi Pillaiyar Temple, and Pancha Vriksham . The Pambatti Siddhar Cave is another shrine drawing our attention. It is located on the slopes towards the east and can be approached by a narrow path, protected by a stone hedge or parapet. I have found it a special place of peace where I could hear the sound of water drops falling somewhere at a distance.

There is a view point at the top covering a huge area of Coimbatore. But it would be a waste if one does not stay till dusk and watch the illuminated city of Coimbatore. From the top the city looks like a sea of lights, “simply beautiful”. To return one can board a bus which will show us the lit city still in detail. I always treasure each of my visits to Marudamalai which gave me different experiences always.

The expression called “Awe”

Writing a travel experience is almost like travelling once more through those places. Here one considers himself an apprentice of the aesthetic world and tries to drink a drop from the ocean.
Unlike the previous ones this time I am taking you to a distant place, a small district in Kerala, a place known for its cool and soothing climate-Wayanad. Being a very small district one can finish seeing all the main tourist spots in a day itself. Many tourist packages to Kerala include Wayanad as one place. Being in close proximity to Ooty , one can also choose such a joined package. Tourists flow from all parts of the world in all seasons especially in summer. The air conditioned climate pacifies body and mind.

This green paradise is nestled among the mountains of the Western Ghats, forming the border world of the greener part of Kerala. Wayanad hills are contiguous to Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Bandhipur in Karnataka, thus forming a vast landmass for the wild life to move about in their most natural abode.
As all sides are covered by hills main occupation of the people is in the rock quarries. The name Wayanad derives from ‘vayal nadu’ which means the land of paddy fields. But a recent visitor won’t say so because the paddy fields have been converted to plantain fields. But greenery still remains in all its shades. Westernization has changed the face of the “Africa” of South but not ruined. The topography does not allow much of the fads and fashion to reach there which in one way is fortunate. A train service is only a dream for the localites. The endearing fact about this quaint little hill station is its large tribal population of about fifty-strong tribes and their fascinating lifestyle. Travellers can stay at the tree top houses and mud huts and enjoy the thrills of jungle life.

Pookot lake is one unavoidable destination which is the largest natural fresh water lake in Kerala, surrounded by evergreen forest and rolling hills. An aquarium here consists of variety of fishes.  Banasura Sagar dam holding a large expanse of water, bounded except on one side, surrounded by magnificent hills and verdant landscape, has heavenly charm. The dam when full, along with the landscape, offers a mesmerizing sight to the visitors. Chembra Peak, the highest peak in Wayanad, stands at a height of around 2100 metres above sea level. The elevation makes it an ideal spot for trekking and mountain climbing. Edakkal Caves are famous for their exceptional rock art depicting human and animal figure carvings by Neolithic and later civilizations. Wayanad is blessed with some of the best falls within the state of Kerala. Three such breathtaking falls are the Meenmutty Falls, the Soochipara Falls and the Kanthampuram Falls, which are a must visit for every tourist to this part of the country. Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary and Begur Wildlife Sanctuary are ideal places for anybody to see different species of deer, monkey, wild goat, wild boar, elephant etc.

A new culture emerged in Wayanad is the “resort” business which results in gathering immense money. There are lots of resorts offering accommodation and tour which demands high amount of money from the travellers. The charm of the place attracts the attention of people all over the world and so this culture is still growing.

Whatever said and done, Wayanad is a worthwhile place to visit during any season of the year. Even the rains are special that the roads almost flood. Visiting Wayanad at least once in a lifetime is a must at least for South Indians who hold a passion for travelling.

So near, yet so far

world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
When this qote inspired me for the first time, I decided to explore. Explore the fastest growing and the third largest city in Tamilnadu, known as the Manchester of South India, but now thickly packed with architectural extravaganza in graduation giving, convocation day oriented buildings. But my crazy mind demanded me to search “information G od-Google” for some radiant place in and around.

“Vaidehi Falls is situated at Narasipuram in the outskirts of Coimbatore. It is at a distance of about 30 km from Coimbatore. The main attraction here is a perennial waterfall. It is a fine picnic spot for trekkers, ”was the first my eyes picked up. I also found an alternate way of reaching their in comparative cheetah speed by boarding a bus from Kalveerampalayam to Thondamputhur and then to Narasipuram.

The voyage makes one feel overwhelmingly nostalgic and fascinated juxtaposed. A village after village scene where people try hard to make the both ends meet, people who consider the cattle as their best friend, whose bullocks are far better than the in-trend-NANO, who dry their turmeric in Uninor posters, whose house walls are painted  yellow and written in deep red “The Chennai Silks”. A sign board in Narasipuram says another 5kms to our destination, but fortunately no bus service. When the goal is prime nothing else matters. But the reason behind the word fortunately comes up when I got a lift in a bullock cart. What an experience sirji!!!

Palanisami a farmer and the cart’s owner described all about Narasipuram which comes under Vellimalai Panchayath. It is a village where people adopt cultivation as their complete occupation. We see fields of coconut, onion, gooseberry, gingelly, corn, tomato, turmeric, cauliflower and more, where the whole family including the smallest kid is out in the field helping the parents. Though the place is dry, the effiicient irrigation system shows sufficient greenery on both sides of the road. Unresistingly I asked about the government’s involvement to help the farmers and understood that it was a loud “NO”. The channelised irrigation system with water flowing lavishly into their sweat mixed fields from the bore wells imprints Gandhiji’s golden words in our mind that “India lives in its villages”.

Another half an hour walk from his house took me to the entrance to the Vaidehi waterfalls, a favourite place for trekkers. A small board was kept their on which some fading Tamil words said “Vaidehi neerveezhchi sella anumathi illai”. What a bad day! But I was only one among the unlucky lots. Even people from Chennai drive into this guarded sign board where a lousy forest guard says “please go back before the elephants come”. On further enquiry I found that elephants come in a group of 5 to 9 from the forest and eat whatever they want from the well grown fields of the villagers and go back. The camera hung on my neck sent me an immediate reflex asking me to stay back till the elephants came. But the power of press did not work there. I had to come back forcibly by just dipping my feet in a small river originating from my destination.

What can a simpleton do if one of their holidays was dedicated for a wasted journey? The answer is look for somebody else with the same gloom and just share. Right then I found a family from Vadavalli who thought they could spend their rare holiday in a beautiful place because their daughter came from States. They had just one opinion to make tourists know that Vaidehi has not become a tourist spot yet and it is only a reserve and nobody is allowed to go inside. An elderly couple who spent their 35yrs near the forest said that entry was restricted even before two years in fear of wild animals. But guess the number of people coming their everyday just to see the green board and reverse their vehicles saying, “What a bad day!” Should the people keep themselves ‘mum’ till the government release their lips open from the all pervading ‘mum’???


An 'about me'..

Today is a 13th. A number that people look at with some disrespect. A number combined of two odd numbers. But I joined for my job today, proudly on the 13th of July, 2011. If late it could be very late. So I made the decision to be working as the content manager of 'Travel and Shop'. Let me see if success doorsteps are too far or kithne door...!!! work gives me a lot of pleasure. I love the pressure which makes waves of energy flow from me... I want this spirit to go on in me...I want to see whether I can be fixed with my desirable decisions atleast..!
Glad to know that I am still watering and nourishing the flair for writing in me. Blog is like a diary for me now. I want to review myself. I welcome criticisms than appraisals...