This weekend I found myself at the Kukke Sri Subramanya temple which is about 2.5/3 hrs away from Mangalore in the state of Karnataka.
A scenic drive through lush green forests & plantations of coconut,betel nut & rubber took us to this little temple town located in the beautiful Western Ghats range of Karnataka. Overlooking the temple is the famous mountain of Kumara Parvatha & you have to cross the Kumardhara river to take Darshan which according to legend is made up of water from all the holy rivers of India.
As we entered the town what struck me was the silence … no holy songs blaring from loudspeakers, no beggars milling around, no dirt piled up & no cacophony of pilgrims amidst all the chaos & confusion.
Instead what I found was utter peace & quiet, everything & everyone going about in a totally organised & systematic manner ! This was unlike any of my earlier experiences in holy towns across India.
Trip Advisor had recommended Hotel SLR Residency but we went with Hotel Vyas Mandir which was recommended by a friend who frequents this place. And it turned out to be good advice as the place is bang next to the temple… very convenient when you need to go for Pooja. If you stayed at SLR you’d need a car to get to the temple because it’s a 10 minute walk at least. Though in terms of pricing & appearance of rooms both are pretty much the same … Neat & clean … Nothing fancy … Only that Vyas is a little more colourful & newer.
Oh ! I must mention the delicious Prasadam we had at the Mandir … The best sambhar I’ve eaten 🙂
Next day in less than an hour we were in another state … Kerala, which the tourism ads proclaim as Gods own country ! Believe me all the hyperbole seems justified when you get there. So much so that I launched into hyperbole myself when I tweeted that “I was in heaven”.
We stayed at the Vivanta by Taj in Bekal which is in Kasaragod, the Northern most district of Kerala, renowned as the land of Gods, forts, rivers, hills and beautiful beaches.
We were there for precisely 24 hours but they have undoubtedly been one the best 24 hours of my life ! See there’s something about Kerala that prompts hyperbole !
We stayed in a beautiful villa with a plunge pool, outdoor bathtub & shower area with a room that opened out onto the backwaters which met the sea in the distance. The sea is rather rough in the rains & it’s not safe to swim but we went for a walk on the beach & got sprayed with the salty water as it was high tide & the waves were really big. It was a sight to behold … the rough sea in front of us, the lush green backwaters behind us & a beach strewn with shells & driftwood … especially beautiful shells which looked like peacock feathers !
Rather reluctantly I left the beach to go explore the rest of the property. There’s a lot to do – Kayaking, Cycling, trip to Bekal fort, a fitness centre, kids play area , pool overlooking the backwaters, a little library & of course the famous Jiva Spa. We couldn’t do any of the above … I’m saving that for my next trip. Instead we ate yummy Malabar fare by Chef Ashok & Chef Mrinalini & enjoyed a drink in the cozy bar while we were entertained by the bartender Prince with some cool bar tricks which the husband & I intend to use at our next party 🙂 I must also mention the hotel staff who looked after us extremely well especially Jermin.
After an eventful weekend as I drove back to Mangalore to catch my flight I thought about my journey through 2 States which were completely different from each other in terms of language, food, clothes , etc & yet they seemed similar … That similarity I think is our Indian ness which binds us together as a nation in spite of being so vast & diverse. We could very well have been like Europe with each state being a little country in itself but we aren’t … We are a huge country & we celebrate our unity in spite of our diversity… that’s what makes Mera Bharat Mahaan ! Difficult to stay away from hyperboles in this blog … Especially since Independence Day is around the corner 🙂