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Masinagudi – The forest and wild life

Masinagudi is a town located near the famous hill station Ooty in Tamilnadu, India. The Mudumalai National park is located near Masinagudi. There are numerous resorts for night stay and wild life safari is very famous. If we have luck we can see tiger, Leopard and wild elephants. The resorts occupying the wild life habitat have been vacated in recent times by the forest department. This has helped in increasing the tiger count in the National park. There are around 400 tigers in the forest now. The wild animals like elephants and tiger require larger eco-system to sustain life as they multiply. They mark their territory of 10kms in the case of Tigers. The Elephants can walk as long as 150 kms a day in search of food all though they usually walk 25 km/day on average.

We stayed in a homestay in Mavanalla 10 kms away from Mudumalai. We reached there for a night’s stay. There was a visiting wild elephant named Renovdo by the locals. As we went in the first week of August 2019 the place was very dry without greenery and water. This elephant has started hunting the residential areas for food. In the nights it gets into the homestays breaking the fence and eats all the trees and potted plants that are available. The day before we reached there it had uprooted the cement slabs in the neighboring homestay destroying the place. Our host showed us the video of that. We were awestruck thinking what if the elephant comes to this homestay tonight. The homestay had a bulb at the front, beyond 2 meters we couldn’t see anything. It was a very remote place and pitch dark. Now and then the maid there would go with a torch in hand and check if the elephant is standing nearby. I got to know that the giant elephants do not make any noise or vibration when they walk. Even if they come close to us and stand we will not realize unless we see them. Because their foot is god designed to be so soft, and they have a way of walking tiptoed. Nature’s beautiful creation indeed!

The hosts at the homestay were very nice people. We ate for dinner some Chapathi and Dhaal. Simple but hot and well made. The dining table was placed in open space with pitch dark greenery at our sides. Many cats were walking around the dining with dim lighting. Having dinner there was thrilling. The Homestay owner told us a lot of stories about wild dogs and Leopard that ate their pet dogs. I heard about the wild dogs for the first time there. The locals say the wild dogs, when they come in packs are the most dangerous that even the elephants and tigers move away from them when they are caught single. Worst thing is the wild dogs will not even spare the bones. Imagine a death without evidence! But this is not the case when a tiger or a leopard hunts. They leave back portions of meat and bones.

We occupied a room at the ground level which had a large full size glass window facing the building entrance. The thought of the wild animals breaking the glass and entering our room was a real nightmare. I was so happy to see the sunrise that I got up at 6 AM in the morning. This never happens usually when I am at my home. There were so many varieties of birds humming in the morning welcoming the sunlight. I came out of my room and saw how the place looks in the morning. It was indeed energy giving. The sunlight, the birds and fresh breath of the environment was so alluring. All my fear swept away and I was envying how lucky this homestay owners are to have such a beautiful home in the wilds.

In the morning we had a simple breakfast of Idlies (The traditional south Indian food) and left for the jungle safari. Our first target was to see a Tiger atleast. So we headed straight to Bandipur crossing Tamilnadu border. But on the way the sight was little disappointing because a recent forest fire had burnt many trees on our way. We would have seen atleast 300 deer all our way. Finally we reached the Bandipur Safari starting point. We bought our tickets and sat on the trekking van. We saw Bison, deer and Wild elephant. The forest smells of eucalyptus and other green plants. I just loved the oxygen levels in the forest zone. Kept deep breathing and enjoying the scents.

From there we rushed to Mudumalai for safari. The Safari at both Bandipur and Mudumalai closes by 6pm giving privacy for the animals. During nights the animals sit on the roads and enjoy their space. But there are some guys who take people on unauthorized safaris at night which are unsafe. We are accountable for our safety in those rides. The Animals can be spotted at late evenings and early mornings near the water resources, or where the deers are seen as they come to hunt. The singa val kurangu (Lion tail monkeys) sitting on the trees gives signal to the deers about the tiger or leopard arriving. We saw that where ever a herd of deer stand two or more deer don’t graze at all. They stay vigilant like our soldiers looking at different directions for any predator. Nature has all the knowledge and training. We have to just learn from them.

The wild animals don’t come near humans easily. They hate bikers, they chase bikes. Wild elephants sometimes chase vehicles. In the forest zone it’s strictly prohibited to stop vehicle on the road. We have to keep moving. Also the forest department fines anyone who stops the vehicle.

The tigers hunt humans if they turn man eaters. They hunt humans for the salt and taste they like. Leopards and lions don’t hunt humans. They only attack. The bear does not hunt. It eats fruits and worms. It attacks humans but not dangerous. The Bison is most dangerous. No animal can hunt it. It’s very strong and throws away humans to long distance with its head.

We watched for elephant dung on the way. If it looks wet then elephant is around and has just passed through that way. When elephant is out of sight we can only find them with their smell. Each animal has a smell. The Irula Tribal people are experts in handling these animals. They can train elephants with great skill. The Irula ladies were cutting the bushes on the road side at the stretch in which we are prohibited to get down from the vehicle. The men were boldly walking on the road for some forest duty. The forest department have employed many of the local tribal people in government services there. Because they know the forest. It’s their homeland.

The trip was full of adrenaline rushes and longing to see the wild animals upfront. We felt love and sympathy for wild animals. Thankfully the following week i.e. second week of August 2019 there was heavy spells of rain in the forest never before in history. God saved these animals is what I thought. Because they don’t have the luxury of the domestic animals to which we feed food and water from alternate sources.

Featured

Mahabaleshwar – Nature art!

Mahabaleshwar is a place full of strawberry farms and scenic view. Any one who glances through these photos can easily remember Rajinikanth Sivaji movie “Balleilakka song” location, “Wai” is near Mahabaleshwar. The valley is exotic ! with the beautiful colours of blues, greens and tans blending and melting us at the first glance.

There are many view points around the spot. What touched my heart is the Arthur seat, named in memory of Sir Arthur after his wife and son drowned in the Savitri river.

Among the other view points not to be missed is the needles hole view point.

The hot pot “Chaai” (mud pot tea) is amazing after the stroll. We can also have some fun time with the monkeys there:

The strawberry garden is a must visit and what’s awesome is the fresh strawberry ice-cream. Slurp!!!

The Mahabaleshwar temple and panchganga temple are landmark spots. The Panchganga temple have five rivers flowing in the same place. Its wonder to see and the place is a bliss to visit, even if you are not a temple person.

Now we have finished our tour to Mahabaleshwar, the cream of strawberry still feels in my tongue 🙂 yummm! Strawberry Jam is very famous there.

Watch out for the next touring location very soon 🙂

Mawsmai Cave, Meghalaya

Mawsmai Cave is located near Sohra, Meghalaya. It’s a very long cave of which 150 meters is allowed for visitors. It’s well-lit with flashlights all the way and very safe to move inside. Not recommended for people with breathing difficulty and elders. The cave has artistic limestone formations fossilized by the water stream that runs through over ages. As we walk by, we can see the water seeping through the caves in many places.

Some places in the cave are narrow. We need to squeeze inside the holes. Good shoes are must as the lower surface is very rocky and uneven. I sprained my leg by jumping between the rocky stones as in the dark the floor was not visible. This was my first cave spelunking experience. I did not know the dos and don’ts. So learnt it the hard way!

The rock surface was super chill and very smooth to touch. The cave is very clean and there are steps to walk in many places. Better to carry a torch or mobile phone with torch with us as there could be power shutdown inside the cave. No doubt the sages prefer caves for meditation. The cave has peace enthralling ambience with pin drop silence. The flashy heat of sunrays can’t reach inside the cave making it have conducive temperature all day. Was feeling happy to sit inside the cave for some time, the best natural seat formed by nature for ages. It’s a delight to watch the limestone formation of slated layers and pillars. The Symmetry at some places in the cave surface are mesmerizing. It’s like natures art painted in black and grey.

Finally, we came out of the cave and there was sunlight at the end of the tunnel. There is thick green forest outside the cave. The place is full of trees, shrubs and chirping birds. Overall, a very pleasing experience!

A red colour bird spotted in the greenery

Life is like a song!

Life is like an ocean!
every minute, teaches us something.
the strangers have a message,
the world is full of warmth!

Go for the hidden treasures,
and life begins there!
The silence is more beautiful,
like the fishes in the sea!

A smile from unknown face,
brings back the daily refresh!
A good morning that falls in the ears,
brings back the charm!

In the wild there is more life,
than in the urban buildings.
Its all humans here,
but there its all inclusive!

The Venus plays its charm everywhere,
the gamers are from Mars.
But the Jupiter shows the light,
at the end of the tunnel!

I love the Jupiter,
I love the Jupiter!
for I love the books,
for I love the messages all way!

As I keep going,
the rubbles and stones,
are cleaned up to walk,
my personal legend!

Mawlynnong village Meghalaya, the cleanest village of Asia

A beautiful morning at the Mawlynnong village, the cleanest village of Asia. After going there, I realized it’s not only clean, but every house has such beautiful home gardens with flowers of all colours. Felt so much of positive energy in the resident’s lifestyle. The roads are the cleanest that it’s hard to spot dust. Bamboo dustbins are placed everywhere. This village attracts a lot of tourists because of its cleanliness.

Tea vending machines shop and sunrise bliss

The village is in Meghalaya very much near the India- Bangladesh border. They have a Bamboo watch tower. Entry ticket is Rs.20. We can see Dawki, India-Bangladesh border, Umngot river from the tower. I couldn’t get the Umngot river view photo as it was very long shot. From the tower we can see the playground of Mawlynnong village. I saw some children practicing football in the morning. The entire village view is visible from the bamboo watch tower. Below are the photos from the tower in all four directions.

We stayed one night at Mawlynnong. I could catchup the morning sunrise at Mawlynnong village. It was like sunshine and cleanliness hitched together. Weather was very chill until full sunrise. Needed winter clothes. We visited in February just before start of summer. We stayed in Harud Wahduid homestay.

Morning started with a hot tea from a vending machine store. Then I walked around the village. In hardly 20 minutes I reached the village entry point and came back to the homestay. We should walk around the village to get the flavor of the place. With lots of bamboo plantation and gardens the village looks surreal.

The village has an ancient church more that 100 years old, the church of the Epiphany. There is a water stream running through the village which is branch of Umngot river. I got to walk on an over bridge above that stream.

They have very organized parking lot for vehicles. Next to the parking lot is the shopping area where we get all kinds of local crafts mainly made of bamboo. They have Bamboo water bottles, teacup, hand made purse, bamboo mirror, bamboo hairclips and also home decors made of bamboo. Below is the picture of shop area and parking lot. All empty and closed as I walked around 7 am. We shopped here before leaving. I got a bamboo mirror, some hair sticks and tea cup.

I also spent some time with the children there. They shy away from strangers. They were playing hopscotch on the roads and swinging in the play area nearby. I just asked one of those little girls if I can buy her goodies from the local shop just next to play area. All the kids rushed to the shopkeeper and picked what they wanted. I just paid the perk for all their smiles. This was during the waiting time, before we left the village loading luggage in the vehicle. All we got was their big smiley bye byes as we left the place.  

A cute cat sleeping in sunlight that caught my attention
Garden in front of residence, every house is like this.

World Sparrow Day

Videos taken early morning outside Pobitora wildlife Santuary, Guwahati, Assam, India

The Sparrows are small birds hardly 50 gm in weight. These are called the house sparrows as they build nest inside our houses. These birds make their nest in the thatched roofs and house gardens. They are very sensitive and shy. Once they feel safe in our presence they will come and sit on our hands without fear. But if they started building nest and feel unsafe in our presence, they fly away and don’t come back again. With the urbanization and mobile radiations, they are getting fast extinct. They can’t fly for long distances or big heights. Their wings are very feeble for storms. When they want to lay eggs, they need a safe home.

The multistoried apartments are a menace for these sweetest Sparrows. If we leave small carton boxes with an opening in the balcony for these birds when we see them coming, they can build their home inside. The boxes should protect them from winds and rain. Also, if we see them building nest in the home garden, its said that good luck is on our way! If we leave them undisturbed until they hatch their younger ones and leave the place themselves, they will be so thankful to us.  

In olden days they would intertwine the straws in the thatched roofs and build their nests. They can’t bring logs of twigs like the pigeons or other birds. Let us give these musical birds home, food and water in the future days. Let our love help them survive the adversities and let their music enrich our ears forever.

Videos taken early morning outside Pobitora wildlife Santuary, Guwahati, Assam, India

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary – Rhinos and Elephant Safari

Rhinos in Pobitora wildlife sanctuary, Guwahati, Assam, India

Pobitora wildlife sanctuary is located at 50 kms from Guwahati. They have a rich population of about hundred One-horned Rhinos in a relatively small space compared to Kaziranga national park. Kaziranga is about 200 kms from Guwahati which needs night stay to take early morning jungle safari. I had only half a day’s time, so I chose Pobitora. On Feb 13th, Sunday early morning around 5.30 am we started from Guwahati to Pobitora. It was a foggy morning and road visibility was for only 5 meters. The sides of the road were completely white with fog. Nothing was visible. It was such a pleasure ride in chillness!  

Pobitora has early morning elephant safari and jeep safari. Elephant safari should be booked in advance as the availability on the spot becomes difficult. Also, we must be there well before time, ones the elephants start moving we will lose our chance to ride. I booked for elephant safari 3 days in advance in a site nexplore and paid Rs.850 per ticket. If we buy ticket in the sanctuary its Rs.400 only. The sanctuary has wild bull, boar and the Rhinos in a pine forest will grassland and the trip is for one hour. They have a herd of 15 elephants that marches together.  Some elephants have 2 seats, and some have 3 seats. We got a 3-seater. There is a beautiful lake with a hanging bridge that we must cross to reach the elephant ride area. The bridge is beautiful location for photography especially in the morning fog the railing of the bridge made a beautiful black and white pattern.

The Rhinos in Pobitora are single horned. The Unicornis is a symbol of good luck! Seeing one is said to bring focus in life. I was lucky to see many. They are regarded as symbol of freedom, magic, purity, innocence and healing. The Rhinoceros are the most ancient species that dates back to 11 million years and so are the Elephants. Watching Rhinoceros on Elephant ride in a forest zone was out of the mundane world experience! Especially on a foggy morning! There were marsh lands and ponds with lots of migratory birds. The water had a white misty layer above for like one feet. It looked like heaven as the water layer had a cloudy layer above and the sunrays penetrating the mist formed rainbow just above the water and there were these beautiful white feathered migratory birds. The birds chirping was a musical delight to the ears with early morning sunrays penetrating the fog like the piano keys.

Our ride started around 7 am and went on for one hour. The Elephant we travelled on is named Shankar and he is 35 years old. Very lovely guy! took us very safe all through the ride. We were talking to Shankar all through the ride patting him. His driver knew Assamese, I had a friend to speak to him in the Assamese language to know about Shankar. In our entire ride there was a baby elephant that accompanied us with its mother Elephant who was on duty carrying passengers on Safari. Babies accompanying mother to office when at work happened there also. He would nimble between the herd of elephants to find his mother and get lost in between to eat the grass. Then comes running again to find his mother. It was an awesome show.

The Rhinos are very soft and shy beings. They are vegetarians and eat the grasses in the land. They need cold climate to survive. Mostly they remain solitary or with the baby Rhino. They make cute noises and when elephants approach them, they move away from our direction making it difficult to photograph front pose. They have very cute black eyes and grey body. Their sharp single horn looks straight above pointed to sky. When they look at us with the horn in centre of the symmetric face, all our focus goes into the Horn.  We spotted almost eight of them. Then we saw some wild Boars which was difficult to photograph due to high grass. As the sun was rising the fog faded and the trees of the forest was clearly visible. It was a pleasure ride altogether away from the routine life. My heart kept beating wishing for more time in the forest along with Shankar breathing pure air, hearing the birds and watching the calmest Rhinos hiding between the tan-coloured dry grass. Shankar was eating grass and breaking the tree branches all the way halting in between ride having his breakfast. We didn’t feel guilty we are burdening him at the back as he had his feast all way and was walking with joy!

After completing Elephant ride we had some wild berries from the forest tree. It tasted sweet, juicy and chill making good starter before breakfast.

At the entrance there was a tea shop where the hand weaving machine was present, a scarf was being weaved when we went.

Scarf hand weaving

After the sunrise the lake view was green and merry. The hanging bridge is called Haduk and The lake is called Garanga Beel.

Umiam lake and Elephant falls

Umian lake is located near Shillong. The lake is part of Umiam dam, the first Dam constructed for Hydel power generation in north-east India and is operational since 1965. The lake has serenity imbibed as we visited in the afternoon time the sun rays was glittering like flutters of fireflies. The lake has a park attached with play area for children. The place has boating and other water sports. We just viewed the lake and moved on to next location.

Elephant falls is three-layer waterfalls located near Shillong. It was named by the British as the rock looked like elephant. But in an earthquake in 1897 the shape of the rock got collapsed. We need to walk down few steps to visit the second and the third falls. But the picturesque view is worth the climb. Best place for photography. The rock walls had mosses making the place look greener and chill. It was pleasant experience hearing the musical falls.

The night we stayed in Sohra at Laiaiker Inn. It was a comfortable stay. Sohra was little cold at night but tolerable. We walked across the streets in night for dinner in Sohra. In the morning the tea shops open late, but I was lucky to find one shop open earlier and had Tea with biscuit. The people speak English very well. Easy to interact with vendors. There was a beautiful old lady who wore a sling bag stylishly and served me Tea.  In the morning children were walking to school in different uniforms. It was a pleasing sight. Just opposite to Laiaiker Inn there is a huge Football structure on a building which belongs to the ministry of earth sciences. Its remarkable landmark.

Dawki – Khasi Mandarin Oranges

Dawki is a town in Meghalaya that has a major connect road and river to Bangladesh. Got a chance to visit India- Bangladesh border. It’s a peaceful place covered by West Jaintia hills, Wah Umngot river and white pebbles all over. There is a beautiful hanging bridge from which the river is a scintillating view. It’s a very delicate bridge that can hold weight of only 15 persons at a time though, it’s fun to walk and click photos on it. There is also boating service available. Kayaking is fun in the waters. I got a chance to do Kayaking first time in my lifetime.

At the India Bangladesh border we are allowed to take photos. They sell nice lip-smacking native fruits and berry bowls at the border. We ate some watermelon, pineapple and some berries.

I bought Khasi Mandarin Oranges in Dawki, the King of Oranges! The most delicious, slurpy yummy oranges I have ever had in my life. They are too sweet and it is said the Khasi Mandarin Oranges are gifted in local custom to let go of Anger! The fruit melts our taste buds. May be people can’t blurt out words of anger if they eat it, no doubt! The fruit has very good medicinal properties and its skin and all parts are used widely in Ayurveda.

Umngot river is major tourist attraction of Meghalaya. It looks serene, the sunrise and sunset visible above the Jaintia hills. Its beautiful view of sunrays reflecting in the river.

We camped for one night in the riverbank. It was simply an awesome night. We could hear the local music played at opposite bank until midnight. We witnessed a wedding ceremony in the evening. The natives have a Royal dressing sense and very westernized. Major population of Meghalaya are all educated. Tea sellers to vendors speak English very well. Language is not a problem if you visit Meghalaya.

It was almost two days after full moon when we camped in Umngot riverbank. The moon was still full and visible in the night. We had campfire to survive the cold climate. The sunrise was even more pleasing and serene. We did Kayaking in the morning and walked in the shallow waters of the river. The beautiful colours of the river brown, half white, light green and turquoise green is heartwarming!

Solitary Vagrant

Someday I wish to see,
the moon with you!
Someday I wish the twilight,
is nice and warm.

Someday I wish our shadows,
fall dark in the glittering night lake.
Someday I wish fear is nowhere,
Life is like a song!

Holding hands we dance together,
And the nonchalant griefs are gone!
Someday the golden sun feels a treasure,
and the beach sand crystals make leg anklets.

Every footstep has a legend,
and head is high in dawn.
Whispers in the ear say sleep for today,
Peace is within, miles to go before I close my eyes!

Ahobilam – Barefoot trek on slated rocks (Day 2)

I got up at 4 AM in the morning without an alarm. I liked the Peace at the place and slept a deep six- hour sleep. We stayed in a marriage hall with lodges combined accommodation with simple facilities like geyser and Air conditioner. The rooms are spacious and good for one night stay. If you are travelling to Ahobilam you need to preplan for food and accommodation as it is not a commercial place. In lower Ahobilam basic meals and tiffin are available. In Upper Ahobilam there are free-food centers but no restaurants to my knowledge. We travelled as a group of sixty members in bus and a cook accompanied us. I ate tasty lip-smacking meal with Kesari and Payasam sweets. Getting good food and hot tea in the morning was easy for us.  Early in the morning at 5.30 AM as I got ready, the Ahobila Narasimha temple at lower Ahobilam was inviting me with colour lights and chants. The sunrise was so beautiful. I visited the temple with a group of ladies. Some special day in the temple that Sunday. Pooja was performed for Cow and we were given milk to drink. Early morning temple visit is always a blessing.

After breakfast we started to upper Ahobilam. We started trekking barefoot to Ugra Narasimha temple gasping at the mesmerizing beauty of the gorges of Nallamalai hills. It was simply awesome from there on. We prayed to Ugra Narasimha, located inside a narrow cake. He is god for Jupiter ruled and most ancient temple at this place.  We came out of this temple at foot hill and picked our walking sticks made of bamboo. The trekking path is slippering and steep. We need three legs to walk, stick is essential. We got the stick for Rs.3 on rent, which is to be returned when we come back after trek.

We started walking through the banyan trees. Lush green forest of Nallamalai hills welcomed us. The Bhavanasini river came down pouring with many waterfalls on the way. It is safe to bath with many boulders and stones obstructing river speed. We saw many people taking bath with kids. We walked through the boulders and slippery stones. It was fun walking barefoot through the chill waters. After we crossed the waters, on a small cliff Varaha Narasimha temple was visible. We worshipped and walked some distance to see Jwala Narasimha. The path opened to a fleet of steps. We climbed and climbed the steep path and crossed 500 odd steps in 50 bends. The forest view was so encouraging. If we are tired, we would sit and admire the picturesque view around us. The monkeys walked along with us all the way. After walking through the slated stones and admiring at the palace like natural structure of the gorge looking like a debilitated palace for one and a half hours, we saw the temple view.

We reached the Jwala Narasimha temple, but not before the Bhavanasini river welcomed us. The Bhavanasini waterfall bathes us before we reach the temple on the way. Its pure mineral water, very tasty and quenches our thirst and tiredness as we reach the hilltop. This temple is just few meters down the highest point of the peak. The Ugra sthamba is at 2 kms walking distance from this temple. Jwala Narasimha is for the Mars ruled. Here Iranyakshipu was killed according to Hindu mythology.

We worshipped and walked down the way to see Malola Narasimha. We walked and walked a 6 km path through the Nallamalai forest. It was so beautiful with caves and beautiful view of the eastern ghats with lush green forest. In many places the path was so narrow and steep slope to one side of the way. It was calm like only my breath could be heard. Serene, beautiful, and soul touching walk. I looked like a tiny ant in that big forest full of lakhs of trees. Realised how small we are in this big world where so many lives breath every second. My phone camera lens could not capture those view. So captured everything with my eyes and memories.   

After the long walk, through steps and slated rocks we reached Malola Narasimha temple. It’s the Venus place, rather the god of Love. I liked the name “Malola” and the cute way of Lord Narasimha embracing Prahaladha along with Mahalakshmi, his consort. The Prahaladha school is at 1 km walk behind this temple.

From there we descended to the starting point of our trek walking for another 1.5 hours. The Karanja Narasimha temple is located at this starting point where vehicles stop. The temple is beautifully painted in cream colour looking like moonlight.

The rock has many stone falling zones. We must walk carefully and depending on the river course the way uphill is diverted by the authorities. It’s a safe place with no wild animals. Tiger reserve forest is nearby. Reaching Ugra sthamba is a passion for many due to tough terrains atop. Its scenic view from top, but nothing else to see except some flags and Narasimha Foot engraved in stone. I feel like visiting the place once again for the love of lord Narasimha is felt so well in the aura. A mighty ferocious god with great loving heart!

A trip to Ahobilam – Day 1

Ahobilam located at Karnool district in Andhra Pradesh, is a Pilgrim cum Trekking cum Jeeping cum Spiritually enlightening place. Lord Narsimha, one of the ten avatars of lord Vishnu is said to have incarnated here. He was a lion headed man and emerged out of a pillar in a palace as per mythology. He saved baktha Prahaladha, a small boy from his devilish father, King Iranyakashipu.

Before going to Ahobilam I knew only these informations. I was all excited about going trekking. Some said its 8 kms uphill, while others said 20 kms trek. During the COVID phase I am always at home and not walking even a km a day. For me this trekking was a good challenge! Also, I had to walk barefoot as it’s a Pilgrim site. I liked that challenge too. I wanted to go on this trip to know how much I can physically push myself to do things that I have never done before.

I practiced 4 to 6 kms walking everyday for 1 to 1.5 hours for 10 days to prepare for the trekking ordeal. I also stopped eating meat during that 10 days to get focus during the trek, because I heard its stone falling zone and anything can happen anytime. I had to detox myself mentally and physically before starting on the trip to be focused. My practices helped a lot, and the trip was smooth.

Finally, I trekked 12 kms altogether barefoot uphill walking through the pebbles in Bhavanasini river, climbing the rounded boulders and making my way through the sharp stones from the slated rocks to reach the fleet of steps that had some 50 bends with 10 steps each (500 steps) just to see one God uphill. I liked myself for doing this trek. Total steps climbed should be some 2000 in the 12 km trekking path.

There are nine Narasimha temples representing the nine planets:

Pavana Narasimha           Mercury (Buddha)

Bhargava Narasimha        Sun (Surya)

Karanja Narsimha             Moon (Chandra)

Ugra Narasimha                 Jupiter (Guru)

Jwala Narasimha                Mars (Sevvai)

Malola Narasimha             Venus (Sukra)

Yoganantha Narasimha    Saturn (Sani)

Varaha Narasimha             Rahu

Chatravata Narasimha       Ketu

There is a main temple called Ahobila Narasimha temple in lower Ahobilam, then there is prahaladha school near Malola Narasimha temple. The entire rock looks like a debilitated palace of Iranyakashipu, mainly because its slated rocks. There is the Ugra sthamba, the pillar rock from which lord Narasimha is said to have emerged. The Ugra sthamba is the highest point in the trek that everybody aims to go. But the last two kms is very tough with steep slated rocks that we need to use both hands and legs to climb. Rope climbing skill is required and if we have “fear of heights” then better not to try going there as it’s a very narrow rock at the top.

The trip was for two days. First day we went on a jeep trip to Pavana and Bhargava Narasimha temples. It was like an off-road trip with slush and boulders all the way. Only Jeeps can make their way through these tough roads. They charge Rs.250 per head.

It was all greenery and fun. The clay water splashed on our Jeep windows. One of our jeep wheels got struck in the slush. It’s a very narrow road and if one Jeep stops all the following vehicles pile up. We spent time photographing the greens and butterfly while the tyres where fixed. We travelled almost 20 kms in Jeep to see Pavana Narasimha. The Pavana Narasimha temple is worshipped by the tribes of that hill. They bring cock and goat for slaughter here. Many people were cooking Biryani with the slaughtered meat in temporary brick burners with wood. The Temple is in front of a beautiful hill. It feels very divine, clean, and simple inside the temple. Narasimha is with his consort Lakshmi in this temple.

We had darshan and started to Bhargava Narasimha temple. This is in a tiger reserve forest. We crossed two check posts to reach a hill. On the hill we had to trek for 15 mins and then climb some 150 steps to reach the temple. The place is full of monkeys and if we keep any bag, they come and snatch thinking food is inside. The temple has a lotus pond on the way. Its nice view from top of the hill temple. It was said sometimes tigers cross in groups on this pathway.

Before lunch we finished seeing these two temples and reached our accommodation at lower Ahobilam. We ate tasty meals with payasam. Afternoon we went to Yoganantha and Chatravata Narasimha temples which was in mainland by bus. Near Yoganantha Narasimha temple there is a nine Narasimha temple and a Meditation hall. I loved the meditation hall. It had a saint’s statue at center and very peaceful. I meditated there and looked back at the sunset. It was beautiful. There were white cows all around the place. Our day one trip ended perfectly.