Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Nice Trip to 'Sode'

Amma keeps moving between Pune, Ponda and Chennai, shifting camp often, and will easily qualify as a frequent flier. But once she reaches camp, her movements are very much limited. Until recently she used to accompany us once in a way for a casual outing or a music concert or some such program but since the last two years or so, compelled by the compulsions of her system, she refuses all such offers. As a result she is restricted to her room and sometimes does not step out for days. While she is wary of any public transport including flights she is always willing to try travelling distances if the conveyance is a personal vehicle. “nanagEnappa illi  kootirOdu kaaralli kootirteeni ashTe”.  So we decided to try  taking her to Sode which is about 200kms from here. It is a travel of about five to six hours, which could get shortened to four if the driver happens to be Ashwin. We planned an overnight halt at Sode. One may book a room provided by the Vaadirajamutt  which comes with an attached bathroom/toilet and contains a bare cot and two mats. ‘No frills’ is an understatement here. Since we felt that we would not be able to manage with such bare essentials we decided to stay in a hotel at Sirsi, which is at a distance of twenty kms from Sode. Amma manages very well with avalakki, mosaru, chatnipuDi and baaLehaNNu  - jagalur diet, and so, a packet of avalakki and two cans of Amul dahi were packed with other stuff.  With these  preparations we left Ponda on a very warm summer morning at half past ten, half an hour late than the scheduled departure. Sushma, who  was visiting Goa, joined us and made the trip memorable. You are invited to Join us for an arm chair travel.

Having left at 10.30, stopped in front of a small, clean, locked forest office, between Ankola and Kumta, (under the kaju tree) for lunch. Kaju fruit for dessert.

Attracted by the greenery I move away a bit with chapati palya in hand

Since the nature around looked good,stopped for a few minutes on the ghat road to Sirsi. Spent the next half an hour trying to get the nature (in the form of giant flies) out of the car

Once got in, amma stays put in the car. We reached Sirsi at four and she only got out there. She says usually her body does not listen to her commands but it is amazing how  she can make it follow her wishes once she wills it to do  so.

Since we had spare time we decided to visit a  Bird sanctuary called 'Mundigekere' near Sode. Asked directions from a dozen people and were lost for the fourth time.

Left the path and tried to trek through the fields in the general direction of the sanctuary.

Mnaged to get a glimpse of the watch tower next to the pond but could not reach there in spite of trespassing through many private properties. But the owners did not seem to mind. They gave directions which we could not follow (due to lack of clarity) and offered refreshments which  we could not accept (due to lack of time.)

Turned back as it  was getting dark and as we did not intend spending the night in the forest. Met an animal  which we identified as (in that order) a wolf, fox, wild dog and a domestic pet.

Bird's eye view of Sri Vaadiraajamautt. Sri Hari is said to  have accepted offer of grams and jaggery 'naivedya' from the saint, appearing in the form of a horse.

Something catches amma's attention while  walking down the ramp leading to the mutt.

Ajji being ably (and affectionately) assisted by her grand children

In front of the 'Bhutaraaja's corner'. Bhutaraaaja (demon king) was an avatara of 'Rudra' devaru who went to Sode on Sri vaadiraaja's behest to control the minor demons. (bhuta, pishaachaas -original residents of the forest around the remote mutt) 

Ajji, mommakkaLu share some amusing conversation

Bhutaraja - in rangoli spread by a faithful soul.

Waiting for, what else? 'Prasada' -  which is usually served before twelve in the afternoon. Had a fairly free run of the premises as there were not many people.

Amma enjoyed the trip thoroughly and here she takes a satisfied nap during the journey back. Ashwin saw to it that we completed it in four hours.

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