Rail and Road

These are photographs I took enroute to Kerala by Konkan Express ..
The photos mite be of poor quality since almost all of em were taken while in motion , by train or bus.
nevertheless... nice places..

The Whispering Groves and the Temple at the top of the Hill: I had lost all faith and interest in anything and my Father decided against my own will that it was time for me to take that pilgrimage up the Sahya hill to the Temple of the lord Ayyappa. Too weak willed to resist, I silently and without faith agreed to this trip. This was to be no ordinary pilgrimage. The ancient pre-pilgrimage customs required total avoidance of smoking, drinking,shaving or hair cutting and other unmentionable manly actions, for a total of two months before the start of the pilgrimage. I followed all of these, without any faith ofcourse, and by the end of the two month period I looked like a long haired bearded hippie from the seventies. Then we started on our journey boarding the train to travel the 1500 kms from Bombay to Kerala. The Temple is located on one of the hill, which is surrounded by 18 other hills. These hills are accessible only by road, and so we boarded a tourist bus after getting down at one of the train stations. And it is from this point onwards that my outlook began to change !!! As the bus travelled towards the destination, I was stunned by the beauty of my birthplace I had left behing long long time ago. The stunning view of forests of coconut trees for miles and miles and miles and the rivers and backwaters amidst them were spellbounding. To see them in pictures is fantastic, to see them in real is mind boggling. Each and every landscape that I passed seemed like a work of art, with each and every detail carved out for immense pleasure and wonder for the eyes. How could such intricate landscape carve itself out? The small wooden fishing boats on the 'diamond like' glittering river under the noon sky, the beautiful houseboats moored on the banks lined with coconut orchards, the extremely friendly locals waving at our bus.. these are visual imageries that can never be reproduced by the most advanced video display technology. My mind started feeling the power of some force behind this amazing visual beauty, and this feeling was made even more stronger when the bus reached the hills and provided a panoramic view of the whole wide range of hills with the occasional glimpse of the river running between these hills. Every breath of air from the hills seemed to cleanse and soothe the mind and I asked my Father why the air smelt so pure and nourishing. He replied that a lot of the vegetation of these hills consists of medicinal-herbal flora and that is what sends out the nourishing fragrance. The bus sped on from hill to hill and the next thing that happened was the most bizzare experience. The bus was climbing up one of the hills and suddenly, I began hearing voices from outside, as if lots of people from far away were chanting the name of the lord Ayyappa. Thinking that we had reached the destination, I looked out of the window to look at the temple and the people. But all I cud see was large number of very tall trees swaying in the wind on one side of the bus, and deep valley on the other side. From the way in which some of these trees formed strange labyrinth of patterns made from thick roots and brances on some the steep stone faces of the hill, one could deduce that these trees were ancient, very ancient. Naturally, I thought that the temple must be behind those trees as we were approaching the top of the hill anyways and that the sounds were coming from there. I asked my Father "So have we reached?". He said we still have few more hills to cross before we reach there. I asked "So is there another temple here?" He said "No, this is un-inhabited like most of these hills". I was surprised. I looked out, and surely I could hear the chants of the lord's name. It came from all directions. It was the perfect surround sound. If there was any doubt in my mind about the existence of a powerful force, all those doubts came tumbling down at this precise moment. In total disbelief over what I was experiencing, I asked my Father.. "Where are these voices coming from, as if thousands of people are chanting the Lords name from afar?". My Dad replied matter of factly "That's just the wind blowing through the trees and the rustling leaves which are making those sounds". I enquired "yeah... but it sounds like the lord's name is being taken". To which my Father replied very coolly and a bit teasingly "Maybe the spirits of a thousand years of worshippers are whispering through those trees" and laughed. I did not. This was the first mystical experience I had undergone. And I started believing in God.. the God of nature. After a few hours, the bus reached the banks of the river Pampa,the main hill with the coveted temple on the opposite bank. No vehicles were allowed beyond this point, and the journey to the top of the hill had to be taken on foot.. BAREFOOT. You could either take the cemented path or the dense forested path. We choose the forested path. And from this main point of the journey, I had some more 'powerful force'experiences.. but I see that i've already taken too much space on this first true story, so i'll stop here and proceed to the second one. For those interested in the Sabarimala temple pilgrimage, check this out: http://www.sabarimala.org/


  1. nice pics chhe!
    especially the scary skulls lyin on d ground wala!

  2. Ahhhh!!
    picturesque spot to put the railway trck!
    The creeper pic is so wonderful! how tall were the trees?
    and the bblue sea...wowwy!
    so pretty!
    ...but why dont u click pics of ppl!..or animals...:P....only trees n skies! but yea! thy r gr8!

  3. Absolutely love the Sunset pics,Great colours.
    The one in which the ships are homeward bound is great.
    I'm intrigued to know what do those busts on the ground signify.
    What place is it?

    P.S.Kerela!!I'll post mine too and link your post in somedays.

    P.S.1 Next backpacking trip I take,Join in.