Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 3

We had our minds clear and set for the visit to the Tirunelly Temple in the morning. We started off by 6:00 am in the morning. We had to travel for 2 full hours to reach the temple. We had fun on our way playing songs and moving through the thick vegetation so peculiar to the place.

Jain Temple:
On our way to the temple, we happened to see another ancient remains of the Jain presence at Kerala. It is located at Puliyarmala, an old temple dedicated to Ananthanatha Swami, one of the most revered Jain Saint. The entrance doors of the temple are beautifully carved, which holds three panels. The outer entrance has a carved granite pillar in front of the gate. The stupa, constructed in the traditional Dravidian style of architecture, has colorfully painted ornate carvings going up in a pyramid shape and at the top, there is a carving of Mahavir.

We were attracted by the enchanted remains of this age old temple. We spent about half an hour in this place, digesting the fact that the temple has become one with nature because of its age.

Thirunelly Temple and Papanasini:
Thirunelly Temple also known as ‘ThekkanKashi/Dakshina Kashi’ (Kasi of the south) is located at 32 kms from Mananthavady and is 3000 years old. Nestled in the midst of mountains and rivers, this ancient temple is an excellent example of classical Kerala Temple Architecture. Legend says that the temple was dedicated by the Creator, Lord Brahma to the Preserver, Lord Vishnu. The clear water of the Papanasini River adds to the enchantment of this place. There is an aqueduct from the Papanashini to the temple to have Papanashini water for the temple use right in its precincts.

On the southern side of the temple there is a pond called Panchatheertha where five rivers used to meet in the past. In the summer the pond is waterless. Usually the pond is covered by dense undergrowth. A mound is seen in the centre of the pond on which a stone slab with the imprint of Vishnu’s feet is also seen. The imprint is called Vishnupad.
A short walk from the Temple leads us to the clear mountain spring of the Papanasini. It is believed that a ritual dip in this river washes away all our worldly sins.

We reached the temple around 9:00 am. We were dressed appropriately for the temple. We visited the temple and waited for the ‘pooja’ to end, had the ‘swamy darshan’. The sounds of the drums and the typical Keralite music that was played captured our hearts. We had the opportunity to walk along the aqueduct that brought water from the Papanasini to the temple. The place was nature’s splendid decoration.
We moved through the dense undergrowth with rocks in between which added to the beauty of the place to reach Papanasini river. We took a dip in the river as per ritual and then moved to the place where there is the Vishupad. When we walked further south, we could see a small temple of Lord Shiva carved in the rock. We had to look into it through a small door, and it usually remains closed except for the times when ‘pooja’ is conducted.

We had a good time at this sacred place for about 2 hours and then started to move towards Karapuzha Dam.

Karapuzha Dam:
We took our way towards Karapuzha Dam, the large irrigation based dam site. This is set amongst picturesque surroundings. A fine venue for picnics, we took a speed boat ride, six of us together. I happened to meet a couple (the guy working for Tejas Networks, Bangalore) on the speed boat.

When we just stepped into the boat, it started raining. So we had to wait till the rains stopped. We then started off again. And!! It once again started showering while we were riding.
The couple was so sweet; we had a nice chat with them. Took some snaps of the picturesque area and came back after 40 minutes. That was the most interesting speed boat ride ever in my life.

We then made our way to Pookot Lake, though it was late in the evening.

Pookot Lake:
This is a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forests and rolling hills. A fresh water aquarium with large variety of fish is an added attraction to this beauty of nature. The lake I knew was fresh water, and was so eager to make a boat ride there. The climate was cold and we got something hot and spicy to manage the temperature. We then asked for tickets for the boat ride, thinking of the way we would move through as we boat there.

But, the timing was restricted and we had to skip boating then. If we had been to boating, I could imagine that we would have been in the midst of the evergreen forest, and we would have got a feeling that we are in a strange land where no way to the outside was possible. And now, we proceeded to the viewpoint, which was a marvelous tourist attraction. It had a stretch of hills with a deep pit beneath.

The Lakkidi Viewpoint:
This is amongst the tallest point in the Wayanad region and has a height of 700 m above the sea level. It is a perfect place where you can capture the beauty of Kerala in your camera. The towering mountain peaks, the rushing stream, verdant vegetation and a deep valley add to the attraction of this place. Lakkidi is just 5 km from Vythiri.
We went to Lakkidi having a look at the Chain Tree on our way. We were amazed by the beauty of this spot. At first, I envisioned this place to be similar to the viewpoint at Kodaikanal. But this was something unimaginable. It was much more than what I presumed it to be. We walked along the road, that covered the viewpoint. We reached the spot at the right time, so we didn’t miss the view. Around fifteen minutes, the view was breathtaking. Only a short while later, we could see that the mist was jamming our view. Even that view of mist covering the huge area was awe-inspiring. We stood there dumbstruck for half an hour. We then had ice-creams and made our way back home.

That evening, we had an invitation from Aunty to her place. So, we drove there and again, her house was located in a place which was silent, surrounded by all thick trees and hills. From very close to her place, we could see the Edakkal Caves (we missed it because, that month the place was under maintenance).

At Aunty's House:

Aunty had made some sweets from fresh plantains and gave us a hot cup of coffee to get rid of the cold. Her house was situated in one magnificient location, we just failed to imagine. How happy and peaceful her life would be, staying at that kind of a location! I wish I had a house for myself at that location, all silent and peaceful. We started back to our place by 9:30 pm at night. That day, we had to shift from the Cottage we stayed in, and move to Isaac Regency.

We had booked 2 rooms there, even before we reached Wayanad. The Isaac Regency was an interesting space to stay in the night. The people there were so caring and helpful, that we made friends with them quite easily. We had fun watching TV, playing games, and chit-chatting. We had to leave the next day from Wayanad back to Goa. We had a fantastic feeling about the trip till that day. We were eagerly awaiting the next day to dawn.

Rest in the next post !!

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