Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When we reached Perantalapalli, it was around 2.30 in the afternoon and we have been given one hour to spend timDSC03423e over there. We spent some time in the river back clicking pictures and moved on within the area.

  This area is inhabited by tribes who are not fully exposed to the urban life and culture. There are many villages on the way to Paapi Kondalu which have not experienced the current culture. It will be nice if their lives are known better. Some villages experienced electricity only in the last 5 years. Perantalapalli is no exception. Only thing is that as it is a place of tourism, they would see more people.

The primary source of incomDSC03433e of these tribes is their exceptional art of preparing articles made of bamboo. They are completely hand made and nice decorative items. There are houses to flower vases on display. There is a Siva shrine at this place and the surprising thing is that the the people of the  various tribes perform the daily rituals in this shrine instead of a priest. The area outside the shrine is with rocks and it makes a nice small trek. There is a small waterfall on top of the hill and a water comes down in a small stream. You cannot hear anything but the sound of water flowing down. The ambience and sound itself is pleasure.

We spent moDSC03454re than an hour over here relaxing and taking photographs. And it was time to go back to the world we had forgotten for some hours. We were all very tired after the heavy lunch and the trek. We got back to the boat and relaxed. The excitement ran out for some time as everyone on the boat were exhausted. The programs started again at around 5. There were various games conducted and small the organizers danced for the latest numbers.

It was almost at the end of the journey when i spotted a scenery and clicked. It is without doubt, the best picture i have taken and most liked. You can sDSC03491ee that below.

It is simply a matter of a couple of years when this beautiful place vanishes off the map. The Government has come up with a 100 mts high Polavaram Project, which when constructed will submerge the entire Papi Kondalu area. All these hills and nature will be below water. Hundreds of tribes will be uprooted and rendered  homeless. This is the reason where there is huge inflow of tourists these days. So people, visit this place soon.

We spend the remaining time on the boat silently and got back to this world completing the Trip to Paapi Kondalu, definitely a journey of a lifetime.

*******************End of The Trip to Paapi Kondalu *********************

Sunday, September 12, 2010

As we finished our breakfast and came outside, the deck was bustling with activity. The tour organizers arrangeDSC03355d a small show of dances and songs and that was underway on the upper deck. We were all enjoying below. The thing that strikes everyone is the endless water and the hills at a distance. It is one feeling that is better experienced personally. Some of the other things i remember are the High Tension Electrical Tower in the river. The river itself is around 50 feet deep. So the tower should be somewhere around 100 feet. 

As the boat catches speed, white water forms. It is an amazing feeling to place your feet in that water along with the stream. And you are so close to water that it sprinkles on your faces with cold breeze. As you pass through the endless river forward, the tour organizers tell about the local legends associated with that area. DSC03375

Even if we were supposed to travel around 60 kilometres on the river, it did not seem boring. There were lot of things to catch up about each other and we were continuously talking appreciating the serene beauty. As you move on, you see  fishermen with small boats and also coracle ferries where the depth is less. As this area comes under the tropical rain forest, it drizzles at least once in a day. At one point, there is almost a 90 degree turn in the river and we see the Paapi Kondalu for the first time.

The Paapi Kondalu seems almost flat at a distance, but as we go nearer they become rugged with stone. The atmosphere turns more chilly as we go near as the DSC03403 hills are at height. As we move along, there is a place where we see small huts on the river bank. This is part of a tour package that we can spend a night in these huts, sleeping on sand and gazing at the black starry sky. This should be an amazing experience with the sound of the water and nothing else.  Many movies are shot in these hills and in fact one very famous hero was shooting at that location when we passed by.

There is one particular location in the onward journey which is memorable with the boat passing through a very narrow path between hills on either side. The distance between the hills in 100 mts and this is the place where the depth is the most inDSC03412 the entire journey. It is almost 1 PM now and we had to break for lunch. This typical South Indian lunch is prepared in other boats and transferred into this midway and is delicious. We took time with the lunch and again came over to the deck. It was quite hot with the heat soaring at around 38 degrees.

We had thought to relax a bit after the heavy lunch and we heard from the captain  that we would be reaching our destination on our onward Journey. We reached “Perantalapalli” at around 2 PM and got down to visit the place.

To be continued…

Friday, September 10, 2010

There will be few locations to which we would want to visit again and again. For me  this journey has been extremely memorable, for this was along with my old classmates whom i met years after completing my Post GraduatioDSC03287n.  Also this is one journey which can be enjoyed only if taken by a group.

The occasion was also set. One of our classmates was getting married in Rajamundry and we all took time off for the wedding. Four of us travelled from Bangalore. The journey was pleasant with nothing much to talk about. However,  when we entered the Godavari districts, we kept on looking at the scenic beauty which we cannot find anywhere in Andhra Pradesh. As we neared our destination,  the first thing that struck was the vast river of Godavari and the railway tracks on a bridge above the river.It was a memorable sight of the river. Never did i know that on that the same day, i would be seeing the river more closer than ever.

The train was running late, so we were the last to reach Rajamundry. My frieDSC03303nds from Hyderabad and Chennai reached before us and they planned for this trip. We thought we would miss it as we were very late. We were put up in a nice Hotel in the town and we rushed getting ready for meeting the others. The other group had already left and we planned to catch up in the middle. And we were off on a trip to the exquisite and amazing Paapikondalu.

Papidi Kondalu or Paapi Hills are part of Eastern Ghats through which Godavari pierces and flows in twists and turns towards east. Entire area of Papi Kondalu is covered by tropicalDSC03323 rain forests and deciduous rain forests. The original name for  this hill range was ‘Papidi Kondalu’. Papidi is a rough translation for partition in Telugu. Since this range looks like a well designed partition that splits river Godavari, this name was coined.

We travelled over 30 kilometres in a Jeep to reach a place ahead of the boat which the rest of our friends had already caught.

We were accompanied by a  local who knew where to catch the boat without missing it. We went over to the back of the river Godavari, and spent some time waiting for the boat. It was a memorable sight of meeting classmates and Juniors in college at the same time, that too after college. We joined the others on the boat, had breakfast and went over to the deck to enjoy the sight.

To be continued…

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In India, generally temples are named after the deity that is worshipped in the temple. Such a exceptional example of a temple this is, it is named after the master sculptor who carved the extraordinarily beautiful piecesDSC04376 of art.

Ramappa temple is simply a delight at any angle. Even the smallest of the designs is carved very beautifully. Some of the sculptures are so carefully carved, its still showers the same glow as it was 800 years ago.

This temple was built by Racherla Rudra, a general of Ganapati Deva. According to a contemporary record, this temple was built in 1213 A.D. The path to approach the temple is itself is extremely pleasant with tall trees on either side of the road which gives the much needed shade during the afternoons. There is a think sheet of grass on DSC04382the open land on the other side of the tress on either side.

The path that the tourists take now, clearly is not the original entrance of the temple complex as it leads to the side of the temple and the front of the temple is filled with think thorny bushes and is not approachable. One need to bend a little  and pass under a stone boulder to enter the temple complex. On the first glimpse, we see that the wear and tear of 800 years have shown its marks on it. The top of the temple is worn out.

The teDSC04387mple stands on a raised platform with the Garbhagriha, Antarala and the Mahamantapa with lateral porched entrances on three sides. The main entrance faces east. On one side of the temple, we see an inscription in Kannada language which talks about the sculptor Ramappa and the time when this temple was commissioned. Once we see the outer portion of the temple closely, we will realise that this is no ordinary one. On the beam, are idols in black stone of horses and lions. The idols clearly are attached to the main temple, but the expression on the animals is also seen clearly.DSC04393

The floor of the temple is not plain. It has moved up and down due to earthquakes in the past centuries and the result is clearly visible. The walls lean over to one side. The inside of the temple is wonderful with several one of their kind pieces. There is one pillar where the stone is bent as if a metal is bent after being hit by a heavy object and it has deformed.  There are other sculptures of three dancers  whose bodies are connected and have just four legs. Whichever dancer you see, will appear normal with that legs. There are carvings on stone so intricate, that a thin piece of straw passes through them.

The GarbDSC04417hagriha contains a black basalt Linga installed on a high pedestal. Inside over the central ankana, one finds a magnificent display of sculptures depicting scenes from Ramayana, Siva Purana and other mythological narratives. On the  walls at the entrance of the Garbhagriha are sculptures of various dance forms. Some of the sculptures are broken over the years. Once unique piece of art is the round series of sculptures in the long wall panels. It depicts various musical instruments being played.

TheDSC04425 striking peculiarity of the construction lies in the arrangement of bracket figures. Above the Kakshasana level, decorated are slender graceful Madanikas, Naginis etc. in different poses. They are carved on black stone with very minute  carvings and intricate designs. The entire thing will have been sculpted out of a single stone and it would have been extremely difficult making that very thin as this.

Also carved, are numerous elephants and designs all round the temple outer wall. There are also some sections where Jain sculptures are carved on the temple which is a proof that Jainism is prevalent during that age. Once simple example is the Jain temple in Kolanupaka (40 kms from Ramappa Temple) constructed during the same time.

The oDSC04449ther units within the prakara are an imposing Nandi Mandapa, Kameswara and Kateswara shrines. The Kameswara Temple is in total ruins and there is no guarantee how long will the structure be intact. The outer part of the temple is of brick colour which shines in the evening sun. The area which encloses the inner sanctum is carved with extremely beautiful carvings from the outside. The Nandi in this temple is fairly big with extremely beautiful design carved on it.

We spent around 2 hours covering every corner of the temple and by the time we completed it, it was almost sunset. We still had time for our return train to Hyderabad. We went back to Warangal, had a nice dinner. We came back to Hyderabad with nice memories of the very beautiful Warangal  - A Glorious Kingdom that was…