Monday, March 14, 2016

Conquerors of Kudachadri... Following Adi Shankara's route...

Adi Shankara.. Perhaps the greatest saints of all time.. Born in Kaladi, Kerala and credited with unifying Hinduism and perhaps reviving Hinduism in the midst of growth of Buddhism and Jainism. My first recollection hearing about him was the first Sanksrit Movie Adi Shankara.. directed by G.V.Iyer. The Song Bhajagovindam by Yesudas still rings in my ears..Adi Shankara credited with establishing 5 Muts around India which were pivotal for revival of Hinduism (A matha (also written math or mutt; maṭha) is a monastic or similar religious establishment in Hinduism .Matha is monastery where one or more sannyasis (renunciate or homeless ascetic) and their followers live.)  So on Lunch Table when Shekarji floated the idea of trekking to Kodachadri, I could not resist. Sarvajna Peetha where Adi Shankara meditated.... on top of Kodachadri hill.. The enticing view of Lingamakki back waters ... Awesome.. couldn't resist. 11-13 Mar.. was locked on as the date... 

3 day trip to Kodachadri, Sringeri, Horanadu, Chikmagaluru. 2 cars.. 7 of us... 
Route : Bangalore to Chitradurga (exit from NH) to Shimoga , Ayanur (left) towards Nagara/Hosanagara and then to Nittur/Kodachadri.. 

I, Rama got up at 4:30 am and started from Marathahalli, we boarded the cab and picked up Shekarji on the way.. 6:15 am we reached NICE road exit and waited for the rest of the folks to catch up. We looked up at the sky and it was like Fire clouds in the sky... Awesome view to start the trip.. 

The first stop at Kamat for Breakfast... Nice Idly Vada and then headed out towards Shimoga. By 12:30 we were in Shimoga and had nice lunch at Samrat Ashok.. By 1 we headed out towards Simha Farms and were there by 3:30pm.. Blissful.. No Network coverage... :)... Aditya (host at the location) was pleasant and greeted us with warm smile.. He walked us through the estate and into the villa/row house.  

The trip to Kodachadri is through the Forest area and there is restrictions for visitors going in. Basically Forest officials want everyone to be down by 7pm or so (before sunset). We decided to get a Sunset view and Aditya made arrangements for the Jeep.. Shekarji warned that the ride will be One Hell of an experience.. .Like a stone kept in a tin Box... And it turned out to be more than what we expected... The driver was ripping through the main roads at 60/70 but once the Forest area started, it was like an off-roading experience of a lifetime.. 7 1/2 km all through hilly terrain .. 

Our first pit stop after 4km uphill for a Photo session break..The sight of Lingenmakki backwarters was awesome.. 

Another 3 km ride and were at the top (till the Jeeps go). There is an Information Bureau and there is a Moolakhetra dedicated to Devi.. There is a small pond from where Souparnika river is supposed to be originating. Another 1.5km treck up through the steep slopes and we arrived at Sarvajna Peetha where there is a small temple dedicated to Saint Adi Shankara. 

We stayed there till almost Sunset and enjoyed the view and the sights and sounds of Nature. Nothing in this world explain the view and the wind blowing on top... 

It took us half the time to trek up and through the slippery slopes we carefully descended to the Moolakshetra. The evening prayers were going on and I just went for a quick Darshan. The drive down was as much fun as the climb uphill... It got dark by the time we ascended half way, but the Jeep drive was merrier as ever... :-).. I don't think it really mattered for him if there was light or not.. It was just intuitions driving the vehicle.. 8 PM we arrived at the based had good shower and then light music followed by Dinner at Simha's.. All Veg .. all home grown items. Taste awesome.. 10 pm, I just crashed on the Bed..

Chirping of the birds is what I remember hearing next day morning.. We had left the curtains open and the view through the large pane of glass made me feel as though this was in the middle of a jungle. We decided to take the walk through the estate and adjacent areas. There was a stream flowing nearby. Most of Aditya's plantation was Coffee, Areca nut, Pepper etc. He also had Plantain, Vegetables also in the farm house. Perfect combination of facilities, peace and harmony.. 

We had sumptuous Breakfast at Simha's the Lemon Rice and Chutney still induces cravings.. The next stop Sringeri. About 3 hours drive and we were at the Sharada Peetha at Sringeri. 

Sharadara Peetha was also established by Saint Adi Shankara and it is one of the 5 Matha's that he had created. We spent another hour in the temple also visiting Adi Shankara's temple. We had Lunch at the temple and was on our way to Horanadu. Google lead us through an estate route and that turned out to be a bad choice.. In retro, we should have taken the Balehole route. SH27 route. We did a quick visit to Horanadu temple and were on our way to Chikmangalur. Little did I realize that Horanadu temple has also got a significance with Saint Adi Shankara. He had installed the main deity and also created a Stotra/Hym in her praise. 

We arrived at Chikamagalur late in the night and rested. Though we planned a short trip around Chikamangalur, we could not due to vehicle breakdown. The stay at Chikamangalur club was pretty good. After a 4 1/2 hour drive on Sunday, we were in Bangalore. 

All through out the journey, the thought that run my mind (and most of my friends mind) was how 1200 years back a man from South India traveled across the whole of India (probably outside), learned so many things, taught so many..  established Mathas at different corners of the country dedicated to different Gods in Hinduism which are still revered.. All this before his death at a young age of 32.. A Gigantic achiever at 32.. I bow to thee.. 

काशाभांशुक_भासुरां प्रविलसत्_कोशातकी_सन्निभां
(Salutations to Devi Kamakshi) Who has a Green Parrot which Shines like the Colour of the Kasha Grass, She Herself Shining Brightly like a Moonlit Night