Jun 23, 2009

Trip to Sringeri

Warning: This is a VERY LONG POST!

Hop in everyone. Make sure you have everything packed and you’re refreshed, as we have a long thirteen plus hours of journey ahead. It’s early in the morning, I know, so I’ll let you all sleep in the van and wake you up in the afternoon…

C’mon, sleepyheads, wake up, up! You wouldn’t want to miss these mountains! Look at how gorgeous they look! The ranges of Western Ghats! Isn’t that cool! All wild trees and plants! Of course, we haven’t reached Sringeri (our destination yet), but the roads are pretty smooth, so we expect to reach there by night…

It’s lunch time, guys! Let’s go out and satiate out hungry bellies. Ah! Look! It’s an oriental restaurant with all huts and lo! We have ducks here! And, what more could be welcoming than these Verbenas?

Are you all well-fed now? Good, as we have a very long way to go still…

Here, we’ve arrived at our destination. Sringeri – one of the four sacred institutions established by great Âdi Sankara, centuries ago, to promote the growth of Sanâtana Dharma (Eternal Virtue of Hinduism). Its main temple is that of Siva who’s called Candramoulîsvara (after whom I was named) and also has a temple for Goddess Sarasvatî who’s called Sâradâ.

Okay then, you all must be tired after the long journey. Here, take the keys to your rooms and get yourself some sleep as we have great vistas to gawk at tomorrow.

Cock-a-doodle-doooo! Okay Okay! I know it’s not a cock but it was close wasn’t it? There’re no cocks here to wake you up. Get up! It’s five in the morning. Get refreshed and come out. I have something beautiful to show to you…

All ready? Here, behold this beautiful mountain!

(You can click on the photo to see the really big version)

Fog is still hovering over the summits, not wanting to part with the mounts.

Here, look at the view from the balcony…

Wonderful crotons, aren’t they!

Do you see the small hut-like structure amidst the mountains? That’s the place we’re heading to.

Look at the Mynah!

This is the ancient shrine of Candramoulîsvara,

And the beautiful river Tungâ! She houses really huge fishes but not to worry, you can wash your feet without fear. Don’t be fooled by the fog and think it’d be cold. It’s running water and it’s warm! Don’t go too deep as it’d suck you in…

Sprinkle some over yourselves as it’s one of the most sacred rivers in India. You see the bridge at the top? That’d lead us to the forest – Narasimha Vana.

My mom’s very eager to see the trees is hurrying in the front…

Views from the bridge…

My mom and eldest sister

Here, my BIL joins them…

My dad…

Here, we’re welcomed into the forest by this beautiful sight!

Ah! Look at the hibiscus! I’ve never seen so many in a shrub! Have you?

The lofty Betel Palm, hugged by the betel creepers!

My mom, wondering what this tree could be…

Bunches of Ixora buds waiting to burst open in few days…

Me and my mom…

Common Leucas, which is difficult to find here, grows wild in this forest with extra huge blooms.

Some croton creeper hugging the coconut tree.

Dwarf Canna…

Look at the size of the butterfly pea!

Do you smell that? Isn’t it strong? Inviting? Hurry on, let’s see what it is…

Ah! It’s the Spider lilies!

And this beauty dots the walkways with its beautiful white blooms. Any idea as to what this is?

The Fig! Yummy yummm….

Again, betel vine hugging another anonymous tree,

I thought this Allamanda ‘Silver Jenny’ grew like creepers, but look at how beautiful they are when grown as shrubs!

The lil’ yellow beauties…

Those Rangoon Creeper blooms are so darned huge!

Fig again…

Few anonymous, eminent trees...

These flame trees seem to reach the sky! They’re so darned lofty that I had to zoom the lens to get these tiny shots of the blooms!

Oops! It’s started raining, come in everyone, gather inside this hut before you’re all drenched.

Don’t worry, rain wouldn’t spoil the fun, as we have plenty to look around this altar (hut). These tiny roses! They bloom in small clumps!

Another huge patch of Allamanda ‘Silver Jenny’! This is the way to the cow and elephant shed, unfortunately, we’re not allowed any further…

And the Spider lilies again…

Ah! These betel vines seem to leaves none, not even this mango tree!

The Crape Jasmines…

Hydrangeas!

And my most favorite, Canon ball tree!

That’s my dad, BIL, and me (in front of the altar; men are not allowed to wear shirts and are supposed to wear only traditional wear – women too, here when visiting the priest who pays homage to the idols inside this altar – again cameras not allowed inside) This is the same altar that we saw initially – the hut amidst the mountains. I was shocked to see that it was not a small hut but a huge altar that can houses hundreds of crowd!

So, how did you like it? I enjoyed it and had fun watching all the trees, flowers, vines, shrubs, and birds. Okay, it’s time to leave… Goodbye for now. Here are some shots on the way back…

38 comments:

Jamie and Randy said...

Mouli,
That was an incredible tour. I would really like to see more posts like this one so I can enjoy your country more. I noticed that you, your BIL and father all have different marks on your your foreheads and through out the gardens you were all barefoot. Can you explain this to me? I'd like to know.

tina said...

I thoroughly enjoyed my tour-and didn't even have to leave my house. That shrine is so magnificent. Great to see you and your family having fun.

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Thank you Chandramouli for a most interesting and wonderful grand tour. It is so lovely to see a bit of your fascinating country.

Greetings from Vaxholm/ Tyra

Marion said...

What a fabulous trip, Chandramouli, to the beautiful mountains. I love the photo of the fog on the mountain....It was so nice to meet your beautiful family and to learn the meaning of your name!

I read your posts with a pen in hand to write down the names of the flowers. I had no idea that Hibiscus grew in a shrub. I loved the 'Silver Jenny' and plan to look for that one to try in my yard. The area is so lush and inviting. I enjoyed the way you literally took us along with you. Thank you for your generosity of spirit and for sharing your super knowledge of flora and fauna!! Blessings...

Chandramouli S said...

Thank you, Randy. I hope to get more in my next trip this weekend.
Actually, the marks on my forehead and that on my dad are the same, just that dad's mark's faded due to sweat may be. This is how the mark should be work - three horizontal line - of course some prefer to wear it like my BIL did.
It is sacred ash - ash (Bhasma) that's extracted from sacrificial fire. Of course, there's a meaning behind it and a reason - which is to protect oneself from wicked energies. It'd take many posts to talk about this sacred ash.
The black dot that you see in my dad's forehead is called 'Raksha' in Sanskrit which in English means 'Protection' literally. It is believed to protect a person from wicked eyes again. Some also wear a red dot which is called 'Kumkuma' that is Saffron, in English. The saffron is a must-waer for women.
Many Ancient Legends deedicate chapters about the munificence of Bhasma, which I'd be glad to email you as and when I translate them.
In fact the Bhasma is called Vibhûti which is specifically the ashes of cow-dung.

My pleasure, Tina. Oh we really did have great time!

Glad you enjoyed it, Tyra. It definitely is a beautiful place!

Marion: I was dumbstruck when I saw the fog-covered mountain summit. It was such a breathtaking sight! Oh, the hibiscus can grow as tall as a tree. just like Oleander. I have the Silver Jenny which grows like a thin creeper here but the Allamanda there was so dense - I guess it was due to constant pruning and training... You sure should try it in your yard as it flowers profusely!

walk2write said...

Such a beautiful place. I can see why it's sacred and special to you. Thank you for sharing it and your lovely family with us. I always learn a lot when I visit here!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

That was so interesting. I really enjoyed seeing what it looks like there and all the interesting plants. The shrine is amazing. Thanks for sharing your trip, I really enjoyed learning about why this is such a special place.

Chandramouli S said...

W2W: Oh, it sure is a fantastic place! I sometimes wish I could settle there!

Catherine: Though most of the plants are very familiar to me, they somehow seem lovely growing in wild and since I'm visiting this place after 20 years, I was so awed to see how things have changed. Only thing missing are the fragrant flowers that're now replace with crotons - that I didn't like...

Prospero said...

Thank you for the tour. It was worth it to get to the ancient shrine of Candramoulîsvara. What a great house of worship.

Since I'm from Bermuda, I recognized most of the plant life you encountered during your journey. Still, nice to see things in a different (at times foggy) setting.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Chandramouli, I've never been to that part of the country. Loved the tour. The location of the shrine is fantastic! As for the betel nut palm and the paan leaf vine, that's a common sight in Assam too.
Those creeping yellow daisies are widely used in Queensland Amusement Park. That's where I got mine from. Great to see your family members too.

Chandramouli S said...

IT is a beautiful temple, Prospero. It really was worth, yes! The foggy setting was the best thing I liked about the place.

Thank you, Kanak. May be you should visit this place sometime. It's so calm and peaceful there. Oh, so that's what it is called - Creeping Daisy! Thank you for the identification.

Valeri said...

I really enjoyed this armchair tour. It was as if I were there. Thank you! Val

Rose said...

Thank you for taking us along, Chandramouli; such a beautiful place! Although there are some familiar plants, it's fascinating to see so many plants that I would never see growing in my area.
I enjoyed seeing pictures of you and your family. Do you make this trip often or was this the first time you visited this shrine?

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Very nice, Mouli.

Petra said...

Hello! Thank you for sharing this wonderful journey with us.
I´m out of words about the beauty of your Country. Thanks once again.
have a nice weekend.
Petra

Msrobin said...

I feel like I went on your trip with you! Thanks so much for sharing. You are just like me, any trip is focused on what flowers I can see there!

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Good trip and excellent photos. The Verbenas are awfully sweet... lovely!!

~ bangchik

Wayne Stratz said...

thanks for sharing your adventure

Sue Swift said...

That was wonderful. More long posts like it please. The mountains looked so beautiful. Where are they exactly?

bhuvan said...

what did you do to my long comment ? I dont see it

Chandramouli S said...

Valeri: Glad you enjoyed it. Welcome to Plantville!

My pleasure, Rose. This is I guess the second time I'm visiting this shrine, but the first time was when I was almost a toddler, so I hardly remember the place except for the foresty paths. It was strange that I remembered seeing some streets and they came back to me as if I saw them yesterday. After 20 years!

Raji Muthukrishnan: Thank you, Ma'am :)

My pleasure, Petra. Glad you like it.

Wasn't it fun, Robin! Oh, I always get attracted towards plants and flowers wherever I go. Whenever I turn my camera ON, my family would joke saying, "Oh, look, there's a beautiful flower/plant!"

Bangchik and Kakdah: Thank you, and welcome to Plantville. I loved the Verbena. I've got to check out the nurseries here for them. Of course, there's lots of cleaning up to be done before I think of adding further plants.

My pleasure, Wayne :)

Sue: I'd love to, Sue. I was a bit nervous that people might get bored, but glad to see such positive responses :)
The mountains are part of the Western Ghat ranges in the state of Karnataka, in the southern part of India. If you plan to come to India, this place is a must visit!

Bhuvana: Did you eat it? :P I guess one of the painful jokes played by Internet on us.

NatureStop said...

Thanks for visiting our blog and leading us here.Enjoyed your tour as well as your blog.Will be back:)

Chandramouli S said...

My pleasure, NS :). Welcome to Platville. Glad you liked your stay.

Rajesh said...

Very nice. The snaps are beautiful.

Chandramouli S said...

Glad you like your stay, Rajesh. Welcome to Plantville :)

prue said...

Amazing sights!

Mitr - Friend said...

Hey Chandramouli,
Came across your blog via Raji... Very happy to have found it... Sringeri looks so beautiful... The pics are so nice.

So drop into my blogs when time permits.. :)

http://flutteringandwandering.blogspot.com/
http://priyamanathozhi.blogspot.com/

Aham said...

ok never mind anyway, here is it again:

The picture with you & your mom should read "Main copy and taller photocopy". It also happens to be one the most frame-worthy pictures and is a well-taken one. BTW how do you always manage to pull off that innocent good-boy look despite being whatever you are ??

Chandramouli S said...

Prue: Thank you :) It really was breathtaking. I wish I had grown up there!

Mitr: Hi there, Welcome to Plantville. Glad you like the visit. I loved your blog too. I enjoy travelling and looking at your posts got me excited. Sorry for not commenting yet. Of course, I'll come back to do so, as I'm still just too busy doing the cleaning up of my garden and working during my offs at office.

Bhuvana: I loved that shot too. My mom was truly happy. Agatthin Azhagu Mugatthil theriyumnu summava sonnanga? :D

Antigonum Cajan said...

Will you be back someday?

Mitr - Friend said...

@Chandramouli,
:)
Well, do drop in anytime.. And hope u spare some time to comment as well... :)

Shankara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shankara said...

Hey Mouli, that was a nicely written blog da... I felt like I went back again. I almost have forgotten these snaps :D.... To be honest, am reading all your blogs (after marriage) only today after I came here and I was full of tears! Love u....

Chandramouli S said...

Antigonum Cajan: Sorry for the long absence, but I'll be back soon. Just going through the difficult blogger's block. Thank you so much for your support. :)

Sure my dear friend (Mitr). I'm trying to catch up with all the blogs.

Chandramouli S said...

Gayathri: Thank you, Ve. I wish we were in Sringeri for few more days and I was so expecting to come back by Aagumbe route. I'm sure you did too, didn't you?

Oops! That first blog after your marriage wasn't meant for you as the note said, but, ugh, what the heck! Yes, I'm saying it - Love you! But as I said in my next blog I realized that my words were silly and I came to understand that I gained a family and lost none. I mean it :)

Shankara said...

i am waiting for ur next post mouli!!!

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Great photos! Thank you for sharing.

Chandramouli S said...

~Gardener on Sherlock Street: Thank you so much :). I loved that tour - it was after a long time...