My first blog this year is delayed. Nevertheless, I am sure my experience would be an interesting read.
Yet, again, its on travel. This time with old buddies.
Each of us has to endure with routine after being titled as “family man” or “family women” because, there is too little time to pause. Amidst family and work, is when several of us make time for leisure. Unquestionably, I am a big fan of this concept. I am determined to create a little legroom with family and friends occasionally. To keep this going is not easy though. After moving to Bangalore this February, September brought my first official outing with old buddies. Blissful part about the very first trip was that, it was a sacred one. My trips habitually begin after offering prayers at the closest temple, for; I am profound believer in the creator.
The idea popped when one among the group had decided to visit Kukke shrine for a personal reason. It was small old gang that decided to get together, probably for our third or fourth trip after 4-5 years. We were visiting Kukke Subramanya Temple that situated near Sakleshpur. This holy shrine is famous Sarpa dosha pooja. People from all over India, including celebrities come to perform this pooja.
On 12th Sep we took the 11:00 pm coach which departed from Majestic bus station taking us via Hassan, Sakleshpur to Kukke. Each of us came prepared for the journey through ghat section to tackle motion sickness. So, we did arm ourselves with minimal or no dinner, lemon, clover and polythene covers. Mercifully, all of us managed to catch up generous amount of sleep until the bends arrived, swaying us both the sides accompanied by horn of the passing vehicles that were either overtaking or those that were coming from opposite direction. Luckily, it only lasted for an hour in the early hours before we alighted.
It was a perfect combination of spirituality in the nature. As I walked past to reach the hotel, there were pilgrims who had by then managed to get an early glimpse of the lord and were on their way back. Overflowing crowd was clear indication that devotees took good advantage of weekend. Nevertheless, I had to wait for an hour before all of us to get darshan.
As I checked in, without too much expectation about the hotel, I was in surprise to see a room with a great view of hills roofed with clouds creating a grand impression that will last forever about the place. While our intention was to get geared up swiftly and visit the temple, we fell on the bed chatting for a while pushing one another to be the first. Meanwhile, I wished this day trip prolonged to a couple of days. Once ready, we walked to temple which was less than Five minutes and made our way to the counter to purchase special pooja tokens. As I entered the temple, the fewer crowd than expected made me happy hoping to get peaceful dharshan (famous temples are overcrowded and one get pushed your way out, leaving a feeling of being transported in an escalator). Once inside the temple, I noticed an elevated corridor where few priests were seated surrounded by devotees chanting mantras for the wellbeing of their dear ones. I did not wait for long for my turn along with others and within no time completed pooja that lasted for less than 10 minutes. Any special pooja would normally go on for atleast about 15-20 minutes. I was discontented and rather preferred to donate the money which is used to feed pilgrims coming to Kukke. We joined the queue, slowly moved to get a glimpse of the lord. The Golden light inside still brings happiness and wished for God’s blessings for my dear ones. Moving out, post dharshan I collected prasadham that were distributed in Yellow cloth bags filled with coconut, puffed rice, ghee, banana and a small piece of jaggery.
We then headed to Kumaradhara River, where pilgrims head for holy dip. As I headed to the bank of the river, I noticed big fishes spinning close by, which were to be seen in clear water. Other devotees bathed and few others performed pooja. Since our intension was only to see the place and the river, that fenced itself with dense forest other side, we decided to get back in the same auto which brought us. All of us were tired and hungry. So we headed to the restaurant at the hotel and swiftly ordered dosa, vada, idli along with tea and coffee. Meanwhile, we managed to do some shopping for home. Back at hotel we took a quick nap before boarding the same bus back to Bangalore, which departed from Kukke at 1:30.
The most memorable part was the return journey through twists, turns, potholes, a dozen of waterfalls that were missed while sleeping. One thing noticeable on this route were oil tankers crawling, that was overtaken by most vehicles. I bet, I saw more than 25-30 of them. These passing trucks, stopped by waterfalls either to fetch water or to wash their vehicles; On the other hand, families enjoyed playing and taking photographs. I had the urge to stop, had it not been a bus which I was commuting. Finally we came to the end of ghat section heading to Sakleshpur, that was Green all around except the sky which seemed to be ready for downpour. Black clouds which seemed to far were approaching us.
It was tea time, the coach pulled over at Kamat, a descent joint where all of us could relax to sip over or munch. I picked a small cup of ice-cream over the hot bajji’s, which my friends preferred eating. After a leg stretching 20 minute break the journey continued and the black clouds were over us, when it started raining for about ½ hour. The bus then took snail’s pace through slippery path. Alas, by 8 pm we were at overcrowded majestic bus stop. I bid goodbye to the group and parted along with a friend who resides close by, to board the bus, despite being unsure of any direct bus to my place at that time. Much to our despair, there was no sight of the bus we were looking, for nearly ½ hr. It was an irritating and long wait (that both of us felt), we sighted one that would drop off a little closer though not to the point.
Exhausted we were anticipating hitting the bed earlier, whilst seated in bus that was unpredictably faster than the express coach that brought us from Kukke. I was not familiar of the route and was being guided. Since it was already 9:30 pm, we mutually decided to have dinner after alighting. As we were approaching this place ( I suppose it was Uttam Sagar) which was heavily crowed due to local festive celebration, we noticed there was an additional congregation of local politician addressing stationed as well as moving crowd, that was hardly heard amidst fireworks which the crowd was enjoying, right at the centre of the road jamming passing vehicles. Both of us were not in mood to admire or enjoy neither this festivities nor the loud annoying speech. The restaurant was right at the centre with wide open window, letting in all the happenings out. We were gazing at each other after placing order only to see that others order were being served whilst the “hungry and angry birds” enjoying cold loud music. After quickly stuffing food, like the ones who never eat for a month, it was time for the toughest part. “Hunting autos” for the actual rate without getting into argument is not possible in Bangalore; Yet, clinging on to hope did help us after a little wait. I bid adieu to my friend who patiently had been my companion through the last odd hours. With a mild headache, I reached home by 10:30 pm only to jump straight on bed looking for a lazy Sunday.