Friday, November 8, 2013

400 Miles of Bliss and Green -- A Life changing experience

There are some journeys in our life which only happen if  we are meant to have it. This one was something on a similar terms as   I  never expected it to happen in the first place. It was a firm determination of my friend  Suresh which made this incredible journey into a reality.

For days my friend would ask me to come visit his native town so that we could traverse the length of coastal Andhra Pradesh to complete a sacred journey of all the major Shiva temples in the region. Belief has it that if one could visit all the 5 major temples scattered along the eastern coast,our long cherished wishes would become a reality.

We had to start at 3 AM in the morning in order to cover the entire journey. As the darkness turned to light,the sights around  me we full of green.There was so much green that I could not find a small part of barren land anywhere.No wonder that coastal AP is called the rice bowl of India.

Vast green lands were rushing past for hours and hours. Our first stop was the historic 1200  year old temple at Samarlakota. Built by the chola dynasity during the early 800 AD, the temple is one of the few in India which is actually double storied. As we were exploring the temple complex, ancient vedic hyms were reveberating everywhere. The very sound of them gives you some of sort of mental stimulus. Once inside the temple complex, we has to go through an labyrinth of stair cases to reach the top where the actual cerimonies where being performed on Lord Shiva.  The Shiva lingam itself is one the of center of attraction - 14 feet in height and made of  limestone

The Lotus pond behind the temple

After an hour long prayer ceremony we came out and  started for our second destination - Draksharamam.  I have been told that these five famous temples are scattered  across the either sides of the river Godavari. They are seperated by at least a hundred kilometers each and it seemed covering all the temples in a day was quite strenuous. The journey itself was demanding and we  had to race against time to see all of them. 

The journey to Draksharamam  had been more than memorable.Every village through which we were passing had an impact of Godavari. I could see naturally made canals which were  running parallel to the fields where farmers would cool off in the evening by taking a plunge. There were also plenty of coconut plantations along the coast and it seemed a lot to take in for the day!  There was this one place on the way which did not seem to look like a typical Indian village. Most of the people there seemed to be millionaires and they  became so due to hundreds of acres of paddy fields which they own. The Village had beautiful lotus ponds and lake side villas - quite un common in a rural area. The rama temple in the midst   of the village remains the center of attraction. Although we were running out of time and had no business to do there,we stopped the car for a while and started taking some snaps.

After a quick bite at Yanam,we set out towards east Godavari  to cover two more temples. what amazed me was the scale at which the fertile lands were being utilized to raise and maintain fisheries apart from the lush paddy fields. While it was almost night fall by the time we covered the entire journey of 660 kms, there was a sense of satisfaction that we achieved what we started out for - and finishing the journey also meant that everything went well without any hiccups throughout. This was one the first sacred journeys which I took and perhaps much more will be covered in the future when time permits. While there was nothing special which I took in terms of  camera gear with me apart from my phone, a fully charged thinkpad x220T helped me in the form of an alternative phone charging source . Google Maps came to our rescue in a number of occasions and I wonder how this tedious journey would have been possible without leveraging on modern technology to traverse the length of ancient India.