Divine Abode of Ambadi…

Thekkady is famous for its pretty location on the fringe of Periyar tiger Reserve. Gigantic bamboo clumps forming an intricately towering canopy over roads will welcome you to Thekkady. An occasional Malabar giant squirrel scampering overhead can be spotted here if you prefer gazing into the thickets than in tourist shops!

Our next stop was Ambadi resort in Thekkady. Ambadi literally means the home of Lord Krishna. (ref: our headmaster tour guide) Though I don’t see any historical trace to it, I can gladly accept this beautifully designed hotel as Krishna’s own home!! He’d love the stone pathways, fine-carved, polished wood paneling, and excellent designs of timber-joints in sloping roofs! Warm earthy brown terracotta flooring and heavy wooden furniture with witty lights twinkling through bamboo lamp shades!

What a divine home it was!

The headmaster had whisked away every other tourist to boating and some spice garden cum shop. I bunked to stay in this divine Ambadi and took a long luxurious Abhyanga bath! My little cottage was silent… allowing only the squirrels to chirp relentlessly! There was a cozy sit-out in the front facing a wild cluster of bamboo… Lounging with a hot cup of “kaapi” I watched the sun showering its last flecks of gold for today from behind the dark silhouettes of arching bamboo….wrote notes for the blog, feeling like I was already sharing the happiness of being alive with you all, my loved ones!

Slowly the sky went dark and lights from the pathway started to illuminate the bamboo upward… Rested and “coffeed” comfortably I set out to stroll around the tiny settlement. I just walked on roads, met strangers, and made friends with little girls selling heaps of jasmine….

There were little shacks of art studios and local restaurants with excellent appam-sambaram menu! Beautiful pieces of wooden artwork lined the roadsides of a bustling market. I watched a wood artist at work, wearing a traditional white mundu wrap, his face austere with tense, intent thought behind is sharp sparkling eyes…. It was like walking into some timeless world where the artists chiseled gods into existence… I swayed back to my cottage feeling like an audience of some enchanted magnanimous movie that was being set on the world stage….. The glimpses of thekkady will always jump at me at the mere mention of kerala…. Surging like a living element inside me, never letting me succumb to a lifeless life.

Sarang of The Water Lily A night on a lagoon

Munnaring Tourist A Stroll through the hills of Munnar

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Imprints of places…

Every place….every city and every village has its own distinct weave…. And she displays a unique side of her self to every traveler, who treads the soils her paths…

Every city and village I believe is like a bollywood actress who changes her attire five times in a single song!

Delhi....

Delhi, the heart of India…. Her all faces are enticing gestures of a flirty north Indian maiden! Twisting bazaar lanes of old Delhi those are ornate with all sorts of merchandise to lure women of all age!! Wide plush landscaped roads of capital city, New Delhi….

Rashtrapati Bhavan….with its wide gardens…Sight if India gate through morning mist… and her beating vein of metro-lines…

Delhi is inspiration of so many literary pieces, verses and movies….but for me…Delhi dwells in Karol bagh lanes…clad in vibrant colours, twisting and wandering through lanes…glittering with jhumkas and everything! Her rhythmic steps flaunting jutti!!

Amritsar....

Amritsar…is holy land of the Sikhs, the place where the Sikh epic of faith and perseverance starts. Each moment in the golden temple is mystic for every one who enters it, whether a religious soul or atheist…. Golden temple embraces all in its golden glow…. Forever on chanting of bhajans and devotional songs….saints and gurus wearing white… devotees, old and young, newly wed couple …everyone comes there to bow their heads in front of revered Guru…

Through all the glimpses of Amritsar, one that drifts first to my eyes is that of one old grandpa….who was doing service in the temple. His simple welcoming smile and childlike innocence so mismatched to his robust appearance!

Mumbai...

He stood in the premise of temple, giving out “prasaad” in disposable bowls pinned together from leaves…. Chanting name of god he smiled at everyone, as if he could see god in each person passing by…. His smiling face is all the essence of Amritsar for me…..

Mumbai… One cannot think of Mumbai without its spiky skyline….without bustling markets and buildings of British elegance in south Mumbai… without her new jewel of the sea-link… Whether in British times or in present days…Mumbai still wins the crown of marvel in man’s engineering skills! She holds half the wealth and charisma of this nation on her tiny sea-fronted land…..

Goa….it unavoidably brings scenes of beaches lines with palms…and the temple of Goddess Mangeshi…. I can still smell sweet smell wafting from amboli, a kind of pancake prepared with fermented rice flour and coconut milk, when I think of Goa….

Chennai...

Chennai….had won me over in the first look of the railway station, I must accept! But when I think of Chennai, first glimpse that flashes to my eye is that of a curt madrasi uncle in traditional white wrap standing next to his plush car, with an air of elite unconcern about the world!

The warm smell of filter coffee on Chennai station….. “quaaapi” as the most southies pronounce it!! That small quiver tone on “quaaa” is matchless! Just to hear that coffee call again, I wish to go back to Chennai!!!

Mahabalipuram reminds me of lazy foggy morning around the Shore temple….. The streets overflowing with stone sculptures….. It is indeed a place to worship god through stone! All forms that god may have taken to bless his devotees; these artisans have tried to worship them all through their chisels!

Madurai has a special place in my heart…. A treasure kept safe in my memory is the city of madurai. It is special for me to write about her….like revealing this most treasured glittering diamond.

A fresh clear morning…. I woke up with heavy bells ringing in distance…. And the first sight to my eyes was the aerial view of the meenakshi temple lit up for morning rituals….. Bells could be heard clearly through the winter cold air…..I did not know if I was awake in reality or I had dropped into another dream…..

Madurai....

Elegant gopuram lit up early in the morning….still glows in my vision, even today….

The fantasy day that started with the goddess calling out to wake me up preceded the same texture of madurai! Those few minutes in garbhagriha of the temple….the Goddess glowing in sacred chamber… clad in ornaments and flower arrangements….she smiled. Her prowess to mesmerise my mortal eyes……cannot be compared to any other attraction!

When I think of madurai….I remember the sharp glittering diamond nose-pin of that goddess….

Its brilliant reflectance had caught me off my guard…..and since then I am still musing about the mesmerising smile of the Princess of Madurai, Goddess Meenakshi….

All these places will have different images in everyone’s mind. I am sharing with you the images that I carry in my heart…. And I am eager to know what imprints you carry with you….may be of these places or some other places as well….

I have not travelled far and wide….it is only few places…few imprints that I have shared here. That only reminds me that there is so much to see…so much to reach out to…

Don’t you too feel that?!