Enthralling Kodaikanal

Kodai Kodaikanaaaaalll…

So then we (Nakul & me) started our journey by my favorite mode of transport – the train… weren’t able to see much of our traveled path as we were travelling at night.

Day 1

IMG_20160122_074930.jpgWe reached our stop – Kodaikanal Road early in the morning and took a bus towards Kodaikanal City. It was a beautiful 3 hour journey through the mountain roads, paddy fields, waterfall views, cute little villages and a front row view to the sunrise of the day.

Once we reached Kodaikanal, the first thing that we did was to hog on delicious egg dosa – the first I’ve ever had.

Our stay had been booked in this amazing place – Sterling Resorts – Kodai by the lake.

Don’t get me wrong…we are budget travelers but who is going to give up free stay in this lavish place?

After a good lazy sleep, we decided to rent out cycles and make head way to the city center. We took a nice long route around the Kodaikanal Lake. With the mist still hanging above the perfectly still green waters, we kept gazing over a view that was too vast for us to take in in one glare.

Being a city that is high on tourist ventures, the best thing that it has adopted is the ban on plastic bags and other such which has helped in keeping it clean.

Day 2

Today we decided to go trekking with a local group and see a few things around Kodaikanal.

Vatakanal Falls through it downward flow- Clean, calm and shimmering. Even the trek was a beautiful one through the forest. If lucky, one would be able to see a 5 ton huge bison.

 

Echo Rock and Dolphins Nose through the eucalyptus forest.

The path was a little bumpy and believe me when I say that after every 5 minutes of our walk, there would be only one thing going through my mind – loud and clear ‘YOU NEED TO EXERCISE FATSO!’

Due to the heavy fog, anything beyond 5 feet looked white and non – existing.

Post evening as the day closed early, we (all aching from the 20+ km walk and hike) decided to take as early retreat as well winding up our a day by sitting on a huge wooded swing with a nice bottle of coconut rum, mild songs and a mountain view of the lake –blisssssssss…

Day 3

Through our journey, we kept meeting up with a lot of people from all over the globe and to our surprise, we became friends with this crazy and full of life solo traveler- Purva. Thanks to her, we were introduced to this absolutely gorgeous an breathtaking place – Karuna Farms. The owner or the person who built this place must have been a magician to keep this place hidden from the public eye for so long and to build guesthouses on the mountain slopes with a view to die for. Imagine waking up to that every morning?!?!

The Vastness…The Silence in-between the Rustle…Nature’s Grand…Never-ending View…That Feeling – Breathless!

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Running away in the Bhagoria Festival

 

I once had an opportunity to work in a travel magazine and this was my first company sponsored work trip where I had to go and cover the event. In my head the only thing that kept running for a very long time was – wwooohhhoooo…wwhheeeee…yyaaayyyyy..alright people here I come…

Whoever thought that love marriages did not exist in the Indian History Books should definitely go the Bhagoria Festival. Its a festival which in all senses is a true valentine’s day of the tribes of Madhya Pradesh filled with love, life, music and color.

 

Living up to its name, Bagoria indicates bhag (to run) together after choosing your partner. These young pairs elope and are subsequently accepted as husband and wife by their families and the society. The boy and the girl may not always accept each other during their meet at the festival. To predetermine that, the boy puts gulal (red/pink powder) on the girls face whom he has chosen as his wife. If the girl accepts, she willingly also applies gulal on the boy’s face and if not, she wipes it off and walks away. In the later case, the boy can continue to persuade her to win her back or can carry on his search for a different life partner.

Carried on by the tribes of Madhya Pradesh from the Jhabua & Alirajpur districts, the Bhils and Bhilalas (the two main tribes) celebrate this colorful festival which is carried on for seven days felling before the Holi festival in month of March. Initially, this festival was also a place for people to publicly gather and deal with old disputes via battles which turned ugly. The festival is further added as dimension which coincides with the completion of the harvesting season and thus is a great time and season to rejoice the new season of trade.

During this festival, these young tribal girls and boys dress up in colorful clothes and big and traditional silver jewelry which one does not see in everyday markets. Each group wears a matching set of clothes which helps them stand out in the crowd. The groups of boys enter the arena dancing and playing instruments like the flute and other such instruments to create attention. This festival is full of dance and songs and drunken revelry. The tribes make homemade alcohol drinks called ‘tadi’ made from the fruits of the mahua tree. The fruits of this tree are dried and fermented creating a local brewed alcohol which is enjoyed by the entire tribe.

Madhya Pradesh takes pride in its various clans of tribal people as they form a part of its culture and contribute to the colorful graffiti of the state. They have their indigenous norms, moral yardsticks and tribal heritage that they have preserve and hope that it does not fade away.

Who Me?

Me?? I’m a dreaming vagabond. An owl who loves to wander around. While everyone is out about managing their day, I hoot! That’s right. I’m a crazy hoot!

How do you think my day goes? It starts with a good dose of me wallowing about my recent expedition, that perfect pot of gorgeous smelling tea, how I’m always broke, how I still manage round up enough to meander around and to get home in one piece. You see – I love to daydream and often lose to the wonders of reality and dreams.

But hey, like how every drifting kite has a bridle and line, mine is gripped tight by none other that well brewed man of mine..

And while we both wait for that impeccable kettle of tea no matter where we are, I hoot!Who MEEE-- (1)