We spent 3 days in Coorg. The first day we all trekked to Thadiyandamol. On the second day, we were not very sure of what to do. So, we asked our hosts and they suggested visiting Mandalpetti to us. Since that place is accessible only by Jeep we hired one. We set off for the place by about 10. The ride was very interesting. The road was horrible and unsuitable for anything except heavy vehicles and jeeps.
It is a series of hillocks and you can enjoy nice views from atop them.
Frankly speaking, we thought it was a bit underwhelming after Thadiyandamol. But, still, there were strong winds and we just walked around, clicked a few photos and had a cup of tea from a shack there.
It was then that they mentioned the real attraction of the place. If required the guys there can arrange for camping there overnight. Now, that would be very cool. I bet that the sunrise would look awesome from there. Anyway, after tea, we set off.
After playing around in the water, we then left for Coorg. We had initially planned to go straight to Raja’s Seat to see the sunset from there. But, we had arrived earlier than we had planned to. So, after grabbing a quick lunch we decided to go to the Omakareshwara Temple which is in the heart of the town.
We all went inside and walked a couple of times around the sanctum sanctorum. That night was Shivarathri and the temple was abuzz with activity. We could see priests chanting, musicians playing their instruments, workmen putting up tents etc.. It was all very interesting to watch. But, unfortunately they did not allow us to take the camera inside the temple.
As I was walking around the temple pond, I saw that diyas were being placed around it on the steps.
I thought that they would look pretty cool when lit in the night. So, we decided that we would come back after sunset to see the celebrations. After that we went to Raja’s Seat which was close by.
Raja’s seat was, as its name implies built for a king to witness the sunset from. And, it really is a place fit for a king!
There was a garden, a fountain, benches and stadium like seats on which people could sit and comfortably enjoy the sunset every evening.
There were a lot of people there . But, it was not very crowded and the atmosphere was very peaceful and relaxed.
After the sun touched the outline of the mountain in the distance it started sinking fast and within the space of a few minutes it disappeared.
After sunset we hung around for a while as it was still light.
After the sunset, the place took on a different air. I really enjoyed walking around the garden and taking in the sights and sounds.
Then, they turned on the musical fountain. We watched it for a while with the kid who accompanied us.
After that we went back to the temple as we had planned to. The celebrations were just starting there when we arrived and some pooja was going on. Once, when I had gone to Agumbe, I visited a temple there. The atmosphere inside was electric and the sights and sounds mesmerizing. But, sadly, I did not have my camera with me then and it was quite a loss!
Soon, the chanting stopped and the priests walked in procession around the pond.
After the procession got over, there was a brief period of silence…
Then, what I had come for happened! They turned off the big lights and started lighting the diyas.
Soon, the whole place was ablaze with the flickering light of the tiny lamps.
I think that people and objects look more beautiful in the soft light of oil lamps.
Suddenly all the sounds and bells stopped and a pall of silence fell over the place. All the lamps had been lit. Wherever I looked there was a riot of color and lustrous beauty shining in the yellow light of the dancing flames.
It was quite a sight to see!
After hanging around the place for a while more we set off for our homestay and to a phenomenal dinner of Coorgi, Pork, Chicken, Chappathis, Rice and some veg dishes that I didn’t even bother about. Again, there was a big whiskey fueled discussion. But I can’t remember the subjects now. All I can recollect is that Veliyettan kept asking for the meaning of the work “hypocrisy”!
The full collection of photos is here.