Friday, July 30, 2010

Tungareshwar - Maharashtra

Monsoon? Wondering what to do? Tungareshwar is the place to be. 

This thickly-wooded mountain plateau is a haven for trekkers, photographers and Shiva devotees alike. Yes, in that oder. 

Situated at an altitude of about 2000 feet, Tungareshwar is an easy-to-reach destination for some adventure and fun in the rains. Easily accessible by autos or private vehicles from Vasai Station, the place also has some eateries that can take care of your sudden pangs of hunger. 

If you have your camera be ready with it. The monsoon turns every inch of space to green and thou shall be blessed with sights of beautiful birds and some creepy crawlies, that would me more than willing to pose for you.

I don't think s/he liked me much
On a wing and a prayer

Muddy pathways that inspire to explore
Munch on these salted boiled peanuts while you climb your way to the shrine
or maybe enjoy hot buttas (corn on cob)

Spooky, isn't it? Her talent only got better when she learnt that she's been noticed:)

A little temple with a caretaker canine

Concrete hollows of the Lord Shiva temple - used for lighting lamps.

Pictures of Hindu Gods on display at a shop, pre-dominantly Lord Shiva.

Reaching Tungareshwar:
Tungareshwar can be covered in a day. Hence, one need not think about stay options.
The nearest station is Vasai. Once you alight there you can share a rickshaw for Rs. 10-15 per head and reach the base. From here starts the trek to the temple, which is a good 3km long one. You also get to pass through a couple of streams to reach the temple. Once at the temple, you can venture beyond for another trek or maybe undertake a jungle trek to the Chinchoti Waterfalls, which can also be accessed through Kaman village on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway. 

Best time to visit: Monsoon! Monsoon! More monsoon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The vanishing ponds of Kerala

Far away from the maddening crowd of Mumbai lies a land that moves at its own pace. A land that is second home to me and many like me. In spite of being bred in the busy city of Mumbai, I share a special bond with God's Own Country; the reasons being many. Though I was born in Kerala, a major stretch of my life was spent amidst the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. Kerala was reduced to nothing, but a holiday home, or better still a home away home.

Thanks to a large flock of uncles, aunts and cousins our (me and my little brother) trips to Kerala were restricted to social visits, pleasantry exchanges and lots of tea and palaharam. It was only at a later stage of our lives that we started taking these trips all by ourselves. And what it meant was less of polite conversations and more of gallivanting.

It was at this time that we realised that there was something that was going through a slow change in this land that boasted of a large number of naalukettus and ponds. The one that was closest to us and was facing neglect, was the temple pond of Chettarikkara in Charummoodu. It looked like modernisation was not doing much to revive the pond. It had become completely defunct. Sad!!!

Sadder was the fact that this was the plight of most of the ponds in Kerala, a state that could easily boast of 1000 ponds, if not more. Once upon a time an irreplaceable part of the ecosystem of Kerala, today these ponds stare at us, questioning their abandonment.

This picture was taken in Shoranur, part of Palakkad District in northern Kerala.