Friday, December 08, 2006
Journey alone - Part 2
Short break near Kurisumala for a cup of tea. Met a teacher from the Labor India School there. He gave a lot of tips on where to stay & what to see. Went to the Kurisumala Ashram first to see if I could get accommodation there.
The winding road beyond the main gate is lined with stone walls, and is in a pretty bad shape. After negotiating a short stretch of steep road, you'll reach a small junction where you can find a few shops. Take the straight road which goes down to the valley, and you'll find the ashram on the next turning on your left side. The dirt road is paved with cobblestones at the top of the rise as we near what must be the monastic compound, but there is still no overt sign, no cross, no statue that would demarcate a Christian monastery. I went to the reception and checked if there are any rooms available. And sadly, there were none ;(
I went to the Vagamon town, to search for accommodation. The town is actually a small street, with a few shops and a vegetable market. I located a small hotel and had my next round of tea, kappa & beef curry. With their help I located a small home stay. I just needed a place for sleeping, and I got an attached room for just Rs.150. It was getting dark, I went to see Kurisumala, without wasting time.
Kurisumala is a small hillock around 3 km from the town. The road goes via Kurisumala Ashram. The road is well maintained, except for the initial part before the Ashram. The Kurisumala is considered as a pilgrim center (see http://www.kurisumala.com/ for details). The climb up was a ok, and since it was getting late, I was in fact rushing through. Going alone is an advantage when you want to stretch yourself - and that's what I did. I reached the top in just 15 minutes. But I was tired by then. Spend some time taking photos. Even the ambient light was quite low, and within no time it was pitch dark. To add to that I was all alone. The last group was the one I saw while climbing up. Fortunately, I had torch with me, which helped me to identify the route back. Even then I lost way two three times, and had to track back. I was more worried about the vipers which are very common in such terrains, that even my hosts warned about. That was a very good experience which helped me to overcome many of my 'fears' ;) But looking back, I know that I was a little too adventurous
I reached the foot of the hill, taking a little less than 25 minutes. Went back to the hotel, had a refreshing bath in ice cold water (no heater, & I liked it ;)), had kanji for dinner. Reminded me of the dinner at Munnar - just that I was alone. Other settings were same ;) Went back to the room for an early light-off, for the next day's journey was supposed to start by 5:30 am.