The Return of the Diwali
Diwali no doubt is an auspicious festival of India, one of its kind actually! A celebration with its purposes deep routed in history and its pride carried forward by generations that exist and those that are to come. This is what makes a diwali special. In the southern parts of India, diwali is essentially begun with a visit to any temple, small or big, near or far!
The protocol that has existed for quite a considerable period of time is that, people wake up at around 4 a.m in the morning (that is, earlier than the Sun), soak themselves up in oil and Shikakai (both of which have recently being scientifically proven to be a healthy practices!) and have a good hot water bath. Wearing the loveliest dress they can ever buy in that year, for this is the biggest celebration of the year, they get all set to fill their homes and lives with light and
sweets, all of which are auspicious elements (in scientific terms...mood uplifting properties). So essentially diwali is like a F5 to a routine life!
Q: If thats diwali why was I in Kodaikanal? when I actually must have been bursting crackers?
A: I work in an IT company! Getting a three day weekend is like a dream come true! It means a huge packet of time to accomodate your entire family and immerse them in engaging activity called love and sharing that we can't usually afford to do on the working days!
Our journey (me, mom and dad) began at 7.30 p.m, Thurday. And to make a successful start at 7.30, I had to leave office at 4.30 p.m (Bangalore traffic you see!). Astonishingly I made it!
We boarded the bus, set to Palani (a temple in Tamil nadu). It was a Thiruvalluvar bus (SETC) service. Diwali season has a bad reputation for combining rains with people's plans! We too were the victims! The bus had waters in the path which seperates your seat and your snoring copassenger's seat. My mom, who is blessed with an epic-optimism and a fully functional humour, crisply made a comment that Karnataka finally decided to send some water to Tamil Nadu, and we were the privileged ones to be carrying it!
The bus started sharply at 7.30 p.m as promised! I was shocked at the punctuality, and this made me tweet the following..
And the bus reached sharply as promised too! I guess I am bad at writing travelogues, because I sleep really well during travel, and remember nothing when I wake up. Thank God it was a night travel, cos even if I attach a screenshot of my memories of night travel, it would still be a blackscreen! so here we go down the dreamland..
After Night comes the Morn
It was a nice cool morning, with the clouds shaking off the last few remnant droplets on us, like how a dog does after a forced bathing/washing. EUREKA! I realized what I wanted! A cup of nice steaming masala chai. Consumed two just after booking a room for the luggages to rest.
Then quickly called up my Uncle's family who would be joining us in our pilgimmage! In about half an hour they managed to reach. All happy faces, grandly dressed up after following the strict diwali protocol of oil, bath and dressing.
The picture below is the temple, we had to climb. But having majority of the people above 35 years of age, it was rather sensible to take a rope car to the destination and it just took two minutes and Rs.15/-- to reach the top!
But before that, satisfying the stomach with a good satiety was the prime mission, we went to a proper famous south Indian hotel. It had been years since I visited one, as all that we have in our vicinity in the office campus are pizzas and burgers. Now, adding a pic of the food might not be a good idea, as I am very pathetic at food photography! But I have to add the pic of the place weate, I am sure it would remind you of the "Highway on my plate" kinda places!
While climbing up the hills to reach the temple I was wondering why is that the south Indian temple wall are always painted in the above shown pattern?!
Often the best strategy to plan a travel to a hill station, is to hire a vehicle run by a professional driver (preferably one who frequents the route often!). We took this strategy. We were all set to conquer the mountains!
Kodaikanal is a beauty of its own kind. Else why would the Britishers (few decades ago!) have chosen it for their summer entertainment and honeymoons! It's crisp and green everywhere, chill breeze that carries an infinite supply of eucalyptus oil aroma are a default travel package which comes with a trip to Kodaikanal.
Another best part with having your own travel arrangement is that you can choose to stop anywhere and enjoy the beauty of travel, as if you have all the time on Earth. And the bonus advantage is that you can take such snaps that canserve as profile pics for social networks for ages!!!
Hill station has this bad habit of covering herself with mist when you lech at her! And this mist was fast approaching towards us, but we somehow managed to still lech at Kodaikanal! The place we stayed was the "Holiday Home" for Canara Bank employees (my dad), and I must admit it was "THE" HOLIDAY HOME. See it for yourself...
Above except the falls pic: "The Briant Park"
The Waterfall shown here is "Silver Falls"...Bath there if you dare!
Now here is a checklist you can print out, Memorize or 'whatever'ize, when you go to Kodaikanal.
- A nice set of winter wear, if you are going in Offseason (November to December) and if you are thin skinned! Proof?!..Look at this tweet...!
- A Really good camera, trust me! You can gather a lifetime of memories in a few days.
- Kodaikanal is famous for homemade chocolates, so make sure you buy lots and lots of it to give it to your friends, or save it all for yourself (Don't forget to hit the Gym later, for these chocolates are really pure and fattening!)..and the tweet is here...
- Buy some Eucalyptus oil and Honey, just before you leave.
- And on the way back, halt at a place called "Oothu", where you get all the spoils of Kodaikanal fruits like plums, "ice cream" fruit etc. at a really reasonable price.
- One final word..."Don't spend hours Googling the places to visit in Kodaikanal, go there,be there, Explore her"...Doesn't matter if you miss a few places, Kodaikanal's got plenty!!!
I will always miss ya Kodaikanal! I surely will!!! Catch ya very soon!