Travelogue – Day 2 of Our Journey – Navigation, the New Mantra of Travelling
It was Pongal, Makara sankranti, the day Sun sets its feet into Makaram (Capricorn) . Tamilnadu celebrates this day as harvest festival and beginning of the month ‘Thai’, the month considered to start the beginning of everything auspicious. Our breakfast included the day’s special ‘Sakkarai Pongal’. We set about travelling west from Tirunellveli to Sankaran Kovil, the temple that spells the culmination of Shiva and Vishnu as one in the form of Sankaranarayanar. There were multiple routes to reach the place and we took the help of our navigation system in the SUV to guide us and we were so happy we did it because it was travel through the villages displaying a show of rural festivities, an unplanned bonanza of our trip.
Early to the temple, we had darshan pretty quick, this temple is also quite expansive. Sadly, Gomathi, the elephant was unwell and was kept in a closed enclosure. On the same note, none of the elephants were seen in the temples as they are off to their rejuvenation camp. This is one of the temples where people surrender images of insects, body parts as a part of offering to safeguard one from getting affected. Three parts of the temple are dedicated to sankaralingam, Sankaranarayanar and Gomathi Amman. We can Sankaranarayanar as one half Narayana and other half as Shiva.
We proceeded to Kottampatti to visit our friend’s home on the way to courtallam. One thing we noticed is the naming of the villages. Pulliyankudi and the area and specifically, the road was lined with tamarind trees, the next was punnaiyavanam and the trees were punnai trees, panangudi with palm trees highlighting the fact that village names were related to the area. We expected local produce to be sold on the roadside but surprisingly there were none. Roads had huge kolams wishing happy pongal with rich colors and attractive new designs.
Having a homely time with our friend at Kottampatti, we proceeded to Courtallam. Found Palm fruit (Nungu) fresh from the trees but was quite disappointed at the pricing. It turned to be much higher than Chennai but that did not deter us from buying it nevertheless.
Reached Courtallam and went straight to Peraruvi. Peraruvi falls is the largest of the falls and we have many – five falls, tiger falls, shenbaga falls and more. Few things that disturbed us – the place was badly littered with plastic bottles and covers spoiling the beauty of the best nature have bestowed us. Men’s section of the falls was much better in water flow than ladies but it also provided us an opportunity to go close and spend some time without being disturbed. The rocks carrying the falls conveyed the sanctity of the place with shivalingams etched and water was flowing through them. Water was fresh, cool and refreshing. Though people are warned against using soaps while bathing, we could see people using it without any guilt. Our timing was not suitable to see Kutralanathar temple.
Since we were around 2.30 PM time, we were not sure what we could do next since our Courtallam visit got shortened. A quick look at places around in maps showed us Papanasam and Agasthiar falls. We switched on navigation and it was a breeze reaching the place.
It was a surprise factor that the falls was located in the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Reserve Forest Hill which also is a Tiger Sanctuary. We are allowed to be there only 5.30 pm since wild animals move out after sunset. We took permission from Forest office to enter the hill and the beauty of the place unadulterated and without any commercialization won our heart. We could see peacocks, birds, mangoose, varieties of monkeys in their natural habitat as we proceeded towards Agasthiar Falls.
Agasthiar falls did not disappoint us and it was flowing full to our excitement. There was a temple on the top of the hill dedicated to Agatheeswarar and we could see steps leading to it. We had our mind to go for it but people who came down said it is quite a climb and we may not be able to make it up within time. We decided to see karayar dam in the upper camp, 13 kms from base and the ride was our time of oneness with nature filled with herb smell and sweet chirps of birds and occasional grunts. We could not see any wild animals on our way up or down.
We were stopped half km before the dam and the road was closed for common public further. We walked and could not enter the dam area but could see it from the side. Boating here was stopped 3 years back and we learnt there is another place above called Banatheertham Falls and public are not allowed there.
We made a friend, Naay Manusha highly receptive and so loving and his name says it all. We managed to come down on time. Be advised we do not get anything to eat or drink or a restroom except a lone tea shop. People do bathe at the base where Agasthiar falls reaches ground and flows as a river. This water reaches the temple tank of Papanasam.
We had to skip lunch as we could not find any vegetarian restaurant in Courtallam and Papanasam. We compensated with Paruththi paal (Cotton seed milk) outside Papanasam temple. It is special milk made with cotton seed powder, milk, coconut, cashew peanut powder and a dash of pepper. We paid our obeisance to the lord at Papanasam and headed to Tirunelveli for Dinner which we kept simple.
This is Day 2 of our travel, a long day, a combination of spiritual and nature trail.
Posted on January 24, 2016, in Travel and tagged blogger, chennai, Courtallam, hill, India, photographs, pictures, spiritual, tamilnadu, temples, Tirunelveli, travel, waterfalls. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.