Chronicles of Manki-Super Sights-Part 6


Chiiling out
We had a lot to do simply chiiling out at home also. First things first, watering a one acre plot is not easy, i’d have you know. Pulling the pipe literally breaks your arms off. shows how weak city-dwellers are. The maid at where we stayed could lift all of our luggage effortlessly and she is so thin.
Also we plucked flowers to make garlands . There were so many hibiscus plants there. I also had a task of plucking jackfruit leaves because breakfast the next day was going to be “Khotte” which is simply idlis steamed inside cups made out of jackfruit leaves. Much more healthier than idlis and also way tastier.
Caution to the new: Jackfruit sap makes the skin itch. So i had to use tons of coconut oil on my hands so it wouldn’t itch.
Incidentally 4 jackfruit leaVes are needed for one such cup 😀 things i got to learn out there.

Today was the day we chilled out and mummy, papa, suma pachi and hemant bhatmam went for a ride to Shirali in the Civic. It being an automatic and the latter two not have seen it.

Super Sight 1
There is this place between Shiroor and Baindur where P.P Swamiji visits often. The lane for the place is so small that you won’t notice it. But the spectacular sight took our breath away. Westood gaping at it for a long time. Also the Govt of Karnatak was building some cottages nearby (rent 400 bucks a night with your morning view of the ocean). we also xplored and walked down the steps. Sachi and I had a nice time climbing into the forest there and exploring. I had a nice time playing with the dogs there also.

Super Sight 2 Merwante
Merwante is a marvel. On one side of the road, there is a river winding by and on the other, the sea and Trasy beach. So here we look, its a wonderful river. There we turn, the beach invites us!! I dont have the words to describe this.
We went and had some snacks and then had a long walk on the beach. Unfortunately for me, there was a thorny branch that poked my foot. At first i thought it was a starfish and when i moved my foot it wriggled. then mum pulled it out for me. It was like this new adventure for me, something poking my foot. apart from that the trip was injury-free for a usually clumsy me. The poked thingie was swollen at night and i felt totally excited. Too bad the swelling went down the next day 😛 i loved the attention i was getting 🙂

The night was uneventful and we slept deeply totally in gratitude for the wonderful sights that we had seen today 🙂

To be Continued: The final leg of Manki, Welcome Udupi and Hello Manipal. Stay Tuned
The Sharavati

Branch Mavinkurve

Hemant Bhatmam, Manki’s proactive and travel-loving priestThe spot called Super SIght 1The sea at Super Sight 1

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Chronicles of Manki-A hectic day, more Maths and lot of discoveries


8th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, India

So we set out to explore our roots and do a ‘Naag Pooja’ of our family deity. The ‘Naag Pooja'(=Naag means the snake deity) is a pooja where the past generations are worshipped and their blessings are sought for the well being of the present and future generations.

First Destination: Kumta
In Kumta, my grandfather’s cousin stays who had been taking care of the Mavinkurve deity for so long. The bhatmam who we met at Manki came with us to perform this holy ceremony. We also had an insight into how life is in a small town. Kumta is the education hub there as there are many schools and colleges. The bhatmam who accompanied us has sent both his daughters to Kumta to study.

Discovery: Cows and Calves eat banana peals, flowers and leaves and its so much fun to feed them. They even lick your fingers!!

 

Followed By: Mallapur
There is another Math at Mallapur so we made our way to Mallapur. There is a story of a bell at Mallapur. It is huge and when you ring it, the vibrations last for a long time, and sound line ‘Om’. So the story goes that one Swamiji wanted the bell shifted from Mallapur to Shirali. But he got a dream the following night that the bell was destined to stay there. And the bell stayed.
The bhatmam’s son at Mallapur also served us lunch, he is so cute. We played with him and sat on a swing there listening to his stories.

I’m Loving It: Food served on banana leaves has its own different taste!! Steel plates can never come close to that.

 

 

 

 

Next Destination Gokarn
The beach at Gokarn is in the shape of ‘om’ and is stunning when seen from a height. we visited Gokarn Math and had a special pooja of the Samadhis like in Mallapur and Shirali. Met an irage dog and a naughty cow who followed us into the Math and had to be shooed out.

Mavinkurve Island
Mavinkurve Island is located in the Sharawati river.
How to reach it?? Go into one lane after Honavar and before crossing the bridge to the banks of the river. Catch a boat and there it is.

The Sharawati river is sperb!! Its so placid and blue and clear. Our bhatmam who incidentally loves travelling, came with us to Mavinkurve as well. There are a lot of other islands in the Sharavati but i doubt if all of them are inhabited by humans.
Seeing a Syndicate Branch at Mavinkurve made me feel proud. It seems the land over there is marshy so we saw lot of rice planted. I learnt that one of the villagers could easily walk over the marshy land. i’m sure i’d fall, i’m a clumsy nut!!

 

 

Our ancestral land was far away, deep into the island and as sunset was approaching, we couldn’t explore. The temple there has one of the prettiest devis i have ever seen. and the island has an AC hall lol.
The bhatmam from the island invited us for ‘kasai’ which means a drink like masala milk. Nobody has much of tea there they all prefer kasai which is made with lot of garden herbs. While we were leaving the bhatmam from Mavinkurve asked our boat-driver to give us a longer ride so he took us through some islands and ahead below the freight train bridge. As it was dark by then, the river and islands looked mysterious and inviting and there was a certain glow about them.

 

 

After Mavinkurve, we made our way back home, totally connected with our roots and so proud to be an Amchi!!

our evening entertainment was always IPL as we had a set top box at Manki. Also, the Karnatak Govt faithfully cut power for 1 hour during the day, inexplicably at 7 at night. We felt bad for the students who had to study for their board exams as in Karnatak, board exams are in April.

Coming Up Next: The strip of wonder and more chronicles

Maybe I Was Destined


It had been a while since i felt so good. So light and free. So zapped. To see a sky glittering with millions of stars. To hear nothing but my voice. To feel protected. I took a breath and pinched myself. A spectacular view from a mountain? A night sky with beautiful stars? Was it a dream?

Lets unravel a bit!!

This relates to the time I was in Auckland working part-time as I studied. I’d been through a hectic term. Exams and Interning was tough enough not to mention it was a cold harsh winter. I longed to be back in India sipping an OJ for it was summer there. I’d come home late from work and then stay up downing coffee and pushing myself for yet another sleepless night. And then pull through a paper not remembering anything after. The adrenaline was bound to burn off someday.

I had a weekend off after the exams and I decided to drive down to no place in particular. I’d heard about the beautiful parks in Auckland especially Mount Eden and I thought I should give it a try. But i struck out. The highway was jammed. With cars and snow. I had to stop mid way in a small road connecting the highway.

And that’s when I’d had enough. I got out of the car and stumbled in the dark with tears pouring, blinding my way. Snowflakes melted at my hot face as I drowned in a torrent of emotions. I couldn’t even see where I walked.

That’s when I met her. Mrs Eugene. I couldn’t believe what happened then. She took me to her cottage. (=Just like in a movie…a small cottage atop the hill with a friendly dog and a cute old man!!) And in that messed state I was in, they heard me out and gave me some brandy to drink 😉 (=Hey I was chilled in the snow!!)  And for that while I couldn’t stop crying. And secretly feeling so good that someone was so concerned.

In a while I was good to go. Mr Eugene took me through a different way to my car which incidentally was at their gate?!!? And I stopped. I saw IT. The snow. The trees. The sky. The silence. I gaped.  A brilliant dark blue sky with thousands of diamonds. Glittering diamonds. The beautiful city lit up and celebrating. The rivers and the beautiful night lights dancing together. I stood for an astonishing amount of time.

Just looking at a beautiful landscape, those unadulterated colours and that silence made me feel that this experience was god sent. The Universe wanted to replenish me. Refuel the adrenaline. I could feel warm wind engulfing me in a hug and the trees whispering their support to me.

When I realised that Mr Eugene and Wolfie the dog were waiting I was led to my car with directions and a welcome anytime. Contacts were exchanged and I drove for a bit and then looked back waving.

I know that life is hard. You’re knocked a little hard too often. But what I realised looking at the stars and blurting out all my seemingly silly troubles to an old couple who stared at the stars every night is:

Tonight I was destined. To see the stars and to feel ALIVE again. And that what took my breath away came after I was pushed to the precipice. The thing is the Little Girl in me believed that something nice HAD to happen. And Happen it did.

Maybe I was Destined. Maybe it Just Happened. But the Stars for me have never stopped Twinkling. Since then. Enjoy the brilliance in You. Maybe you need a star-studded sky to realise what a bright STAR you are. But its worth it.

Yes Maybe I was Destined.

Chronicles of Manki-The past we meet


6th/7th April 2010, Karnataka Hinterland, India
 
A meeting
I forgot to mention about the 6th of April. We were driving through the lanes of Honavar, buying some groceries. We had some hot dal-wada off the streets (i love street food!!). It never fails to amaze me, that even if the weather is hot outside and you’re in a car in the evening, something hot, just off the stove tastes amazing.
(L-R) Jackfruits hanging low, A Rail tunnel at Manki, The Chitrapur Math Logo
We met my grandfather’s relative with whom we chatted about the “good old days” and about our families. Its a tradition among households here to apply some haldi-kumkum when a guest leaves home. I’ve noticed that people who live in smaller towns or villages are so much more hospitable and warm as compared to people in cities.
The Chitrapur Math
The Chitrapur Math:
For non-amchis, Maths are places where religious events within the community happen. Our Swamis or Gurus reside at the Maths and often hold talks and meetings. It is also a place where the Samadhisof our Gurus lie as well as the family deity of many of the families who have now migrated to cities and larger towns.

First Destination: Chitrapur Math
There we had a special pooja of the Guru Samadhis and our family deity. We also had the ‘prasad bhojan’ (i love amchi food it tastes heavenly!!).
There have been a lot of changes in the Math in recent years and it is much more user friendly and spacious. We also saw the ‘goshala’ which is where they keep the cows. I have never seen such huge cows. and they were soo clean!!! Fascinating!!

His Holiness Sadyojat Swamiji with the cows
After a refreshing nap (its inevitable when the weather is unmerciful and you’re full with all that delicious food!!), we left to see the Museum.

Next Stop:The Museum

Well done up now, the museum is a collection of artifacts that our P.P Parignyanashram Swamiji had collected over his life, which ranged from stone sculptures to coins. There was also a write up about the item on display and my respect for His Holiness increased even further. All Visitors are recommended highly to see the museum.

Some of the items on display like the swords and different murtis made of brass were stunning in their beauty. we also saw a one line drawing made by a genuis. A one line drawing means that the artist as never broken the line but continued the entire picture using the same line. I was speechless.
There were also beautiful charcoal pictures on the ‘Rathotsava’

Followed By:Kembre Farm
This farm follows practices of organic farming and the preference for this type of farming was evident. Huge and i mean huge vegetables, flowers of different colours (i mean 3 different types of aboli?? are you kidding?? yellow, orange and the normal colour!!)
We also sat on tractors and saw a biogas plant. The size of vegetables!! Stupefied!!

Flowers at Kembre Farm

ORGANIC is Good 😀 😀

Vocabulary 😉 : A large stone beneath a tree is called ‘Katta’ and Mango tree means “Mavin” so when all the Mavins sat on a large stone, it was “Mavinkurve’s on the MavinKatta” 😀 lol

Agla Sthan: Bhatkal
Bhatkal is the next big stop after Shirali although we didnt do much there, just had a snack and some Hang Yo ice cream which means “Come here ” in Amchi. Can’t say much about the ice cream, since i’m a Naturals fan, i quite liked the chickoo, was horrified at the ghastly colour of the pista and the american fruit was ok.
he he, i love the crooked smile 🙂

That ends 7th April. Stay tuned for the next episode of ‘Chronicles of Manki’A murti at the entrance of the Mathone of the many huge vegetables at kembre Farm

Chronicles of Manki-A new idea


Day 3: 6th April 2010

AfsarKonda
There is a waterfall close to Manki. it being summer, there wasn’t too much water but it looked like a healthy waterfall anyway. we learnt it was better than going up to Jog Falls at this time of the year because Jog Falls would look like this small stream of water and considering the driving involved and the excellent roads (pun intended!!) we’d feel frustrated after all.
There were village boys already at the site when we arrived. These little boys effortlessly climbed rocks and jumped into the water. We reckoned this was one fo their only sources of entertainment. And since most were in their undies, it was like seeing so many Mowglis.
We did wade out into the water and go beneath the waterfall. I could guess how pretty it would look during the rains when the water fell in full rush. Sachi also enjoyed a swim. We did a fair bit of climbing too!!

 

After getting totally drenched, we made out way to the top of the hill.The road to AfsarKonda is long and winding and isn’t very good but you see cashew plants growing everywhere.

The Karnatak Tourist Dept has done a good job informing tourists about attractions within villages by putting up photos as well as the name of the spot. We’d noticed a board for Afsar konda while we drove to Manki. Also it seems like someone was getting a hotel built on the hill. So there was a lookout point etc.

 

I must say, the view from the top of the hill was stunning. you could see the rock, the fields below and the vast blue sea. Also you could see eagles flying everywhere so it was a birdcatcher’s paradise.
We made our way to this small cave where you could sit and observe the sea and just take a break from the heat. There was a fair bit of photo-session too.

We departed from there to come home to some delicious kadgi phodie (=bhajis made of raw jackfruit for non amchis)!! Gosh the food here is amazing

After a nice afternoon nap, we left in the evening to Idgunji to see the Ganpati temple. They sell hats and other accessories made out of the Khus plant here. After that we drove along to one place where you could see the river Sharawati. What a placid river!! We had a great time looking through the binocs.

What an Idea!!
I got this idea about having home stays in such small villages so that people from cities get a true taste of indian villages, you know, get to try their hand at farming and at picking fruits etc. I’m working on the idea, Any takers??

I’ll keep the notes short and sweet hereon.

Next Episode Meeting acquaintances and a Tour of the Shirali Math