Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rugged and scenic Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh)


Karnataka Express arrives at Sri Satya Sai Prashanti Nilayam at 10:05 AM.
So it arrived here several times when I was on the train.
Place is so beautiful that I always wanted to abort my journey here and years passed.
And one day I indeed aborted my journey and left the train.
After that I always aborted my journey here.
For the last 4 years I am coming here.
Rugged desert


Before I write about this place; I must write about Satya Sai Baba. This place is his Head Quarter, so this place is named after him.
I am not a follower of Late Sai Baba, I was never one. When I came here first time, it was not because of Sai Baba but because of the sheer rugged beauty of this place. But I developed a deep respect for him. Local people revere him because he build schools, colleges and hospitals for this very poor and resource-less area. Sai Baba Ashram is huge, serene, extremely beautiful and peaceful. Anytime when I am here I visit the ashram everyday and mostly I have my dinner in Ashram’s canteen. Because of the Ashram, there are many-many quality hotels here and prices are extremely low due to stiff competition.
Puttaparthy is very small, colorful and touristy town but real joy begins once you get out of the town. Plenty of hotels are here, good eating either outside or inside the ashram, and also plenty of fruits here. I know many people who are devotee of Sai Baba; come here but stay here longer just to enjoy the fruits.
This area is a semi desert, full of thorns and rugged, bare naked rock lined low hills. Rolling red colored valleys full of thorny bushes and wild flowers. Not much pollution here because no major city or industry is around here.
Views from the road
Some places are simply picturesque, these are picture perfect. Some places have a character such that they look awesome in the picture but when you are there, you don’t feel the same vibes that picture manifested.
Problem with Puttaparthy is that its character is reverse of that above fact.
Pictures seldom capture the soul or beauty around here. But when you are here … you are mesmerized.
So we are here. Let’s take the road and walk towards the T section of road to the village of Karnatakanagipalli. It is just less than 2 kilometers from the Ashram. We cross the Bridge of Chitravathi River. Since I always came here in winters so always found this river dry but probably it gets very active during monsoons. As we cross the bridge, a very serene terrain begins. At the both side of road are the sunflower fields and it is feast to the eyes to see the contrast of green plants, yellow flowers and dry, thorny, rocky, rugged low hills in the background. First time when I witnessed this I was stunned, later on I told a group of foreigners to walk beyond the bridge and as they arrived here, the got busy taking the pictures of this place. Contrast – is the best word to use.
Sunflowers after the bridge
A short walk from the bridge brings us at T section; that is the main road that connects the temple town of Kadiri with Bukkapatnam. We can make left and reach Bukkapatnam after 2 villages and then road passes on the bund Bukkapatnam lake to Bukkapatnam but this road is not much appealing. So we take a shared auto going towards the right. Autos are plenty on this road but otherwise road is deserted. You won’t see a cattle or man walking because the area is drop-dead dry. Not a drop of water. But it is very pretty. We take auto to the village of Telugurayanicheruvu that is 6 kilometers.
Rugged semi-desert
Road climbs a small hill and on the top come this village. There is a tea and pakoda shop here. So let’s have a cup of tea because next village is 3 kilometers and begin our walk. The villages on this road are still ancient and pristine. Farming is done by bullocks. Houses are old and kuccha. These villages are now a thing of past in most of the country. Overall area is pristine rugged but water is accessible by ejecto-pumps at only low areas so we find scattered farming some here and some there etc. and mostly beans, vegetables and fruits are grown.
Patches of farms here and there
After a short walk we are out of this village and we are on a ledge where we have views of the next village on the road ahead. Road descends to a almost dry large pond and melons grow here. A man sells us melons for five rupee a pieces and most are very sweat. We first buy 2 and then again we buy 2 but then we hand the man 50 rupee and keep eating them.
Silkworm wheel baskets
There is no water; you can walk to the middle of pond to wash your hands but it is all mud there. So we continue our walk with sticky hands. Next pristine village is a bit more than a kilometer. Mulberry is now growing in the farms by the road. In the village we find a hand pump; we wash our hands and mouths.
Silkworm wheel baskets
We see silkworm wheels in the village all over, most homes are engaged in silkworm farming; they feed mulberry leaves to worms. Women are bringing mulberry to their homes to feed the worms.
We pass this village and now we are in the midst of mulberry and vegetable farms laced around the road. After farms is again the same rugged, rocky terrain. This contrast of lush green colors and in the background of utterly dry desert hills again hits the eyes. As road rises, farms end. Next village is 3 kilometers and scene repeats. We have another cup of tea and some pakodas in this village. Many families are sorting out tamarind that they brought from the wilderness. Villages are very small and clean.
Road that we walked
Desert is always self cleaning. There are a couple of banyan trees in each village where elderly folks chat with each other. Next village or rather a small town is Kondakumaria; 6 kilometers away. Again some farms but otherwise rugged wilderness as far as one can see. Lemon grass grows here all over but it is not that healthy as the one in Nilgiris. I love lemon grass, anytime I see it; I fill up my pockets for my next tea.
Some happy donkeys
Well, we already walked 8 kilometers and it is getting a bit heavy on my wife so we hail a bus going towards Kadiri and board up. As bus catches the speed and after some turns we only regret taking this bus because now scenes are even better. Bus stops at Kondakumaria and fills up here and in half hour we reach temple town of Kadiri.
Rugged lands
Shri Lakshmi Narsimha Swami temple is famous here. Since my wife loves all temples so we visit the temple first. It is a good sized temple but I am not seriously into the architects and history so I am unable to write more about this temple but it is a famous temple.
Kadiri
Many people were already in line before the opening time. After we visit temple, we have a cup of tea and walk in the hustling and bustling bazaars. Near bus stand we have a South Indian unlimited meals that turns out one of the best lunch we ever had.
Temple chariot at Kadiri
I love Andhra Style meals.
Very pretty rugged hills are located in the north of Kadiri or rather town ends at the base of hills. A railway line comes Ananthpur to Tirupati pass through Kadiri and Madanpally (A very scenic hill station of Andhra and birth place of Jiddu Krishanamurty). This is a one of the most scenic railway line in India.
Rugged views
So at 3PM we get down at Kondakumaria, a small clean but serene town.
We buy some cut watermelons in the bazaar and begin our walk towards the village where we took the bus. After this tiniest town again begins the wilderness. After the town comes a crossroad, there we sit on a parapet by the road and immerse into the peaceful rugged surrounding. We sit here for an hour and I am very tempted to take a diversion to either of the cross roads; but time is running out and we must walk.
Here we sat.
So we walk and now evening is descending. Road is almost deserted, it climbs for 3 kilometers and offer superb views and then road descends till the village. It gets dark fast in the winters so we walk fast and arrive in the village so this completes our walk. We hail a shared auto and arrive at Karnatakanagipalli at 7PM, it is dark. We walk towards Puttaparthy, make a right turn along the river after the bridge. We eat pakodas made by a lady by the road and then make another right in the bazaar street and enter in the town.
Return to the same village where we took the bus

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post. Largely known for being the birth place of legendary spiritual teacher Sathya Sai Baba, this small locale of Puttaparthi draws many of his followers every year. For accommodation,check out these hotels in Puttaparthi offering all the basic facilities.

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