Monday, 28 January 2008

Family Trip To Orissa

Mum always found it odd that her daughters, in spite of being born in Orissa, haven't actually seen the 'wonders' of the place, except visiting their grandmothers every few years. This year, she finally decided that it was time she took her daughters for a sight-seeing trip to their native state Orissa before it's too late, that is, before her daughters become too busy with studies, and very soon, work too. So we made a short trip of two days to Orissa's capital, Bhubaneswar, from Jan 10th to 16th. OK, so you must be wondering how 10th to 16th counts for only two days. Well, the answer is, it takes us about 2 full days to travel from the current place to Bhubaneswar, by train.

Here's the summary of our trip, in short. I'm feeling too lazy to write the historical stories behind all those monuments. (If you want to know, let me know (so I'll write about it for you), or visit the place yourself):

Well, now that we have to spend two days in a train, we did have our bit of fun in the train. We reached Bhubaneswar at around 9:30 in the night. So all we did was fall dead on the bed (after watching Oriya news (mum being very excited about listening to news in HER native language after so long) and me trying to read Oriya and chiding myself for forgetting the alphabets).

The next day we visited the Konark temple, a.k.a. Sun Temple. There are many legends behind it as to why cameras, slippers were allowed inside a supposedly 'holy' place, and why no prayer is being done inside the temple. (Let me know if you'd like to know about them, as of now, I'm just to lazy to write about it. It's going to be a very long post if I start writing about it. So, I'll probably make a blogpost about it sometime later, or sooner if you want me to). It's one of my most favourite places in India - not only because of the beautiful 13th century architecture but also because of the tragic story behind the place becoming unholy. It's a pity that not much thought was given into the construction materials that were used, because the iron that was used to hold two sculptures together have rusted owing to which many of the architectural masterpieces have fallen to pieces. Nevertheless, it's a must-visit place if you ever visit India.

The next picture, also belongs to the Konark temple. Now, this temple is modelled at a chariot drawn by 12 horses. This is one of the wheels. This wheel is the Wheel Of Life.

We bought some souvenirs from the line of souvenir shops there. I bought a bunch of keychains for my friends and myself.

We then went to see the Chandrabhaga river meeting with the Bay of Bengal. It was a beautiful site (yeah, not sight, if you know what I mean). I experimented with my photography skills there, and took that picture of boats.

Our next stop was the temple at Puri. The road to Puri from Bhubaneswar was a sight to see - leafless trees lined on both sides of the road.

At Puri, no photography was allowed, as it is in almost all temples in India. Visiting the temple is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And by once-in-a-lifetime, I mean it. It's nice to visit the place ONCE. You wouldn't want to go back there EVER, at least not if you're not religious. It's a struggle without a guide. Thankfully, we had one, and he gave us lots of tips about how to wade through the sea of people and how to avoid being temporarily bankrupted because of the some ruthless people inside playing tactics to extract money from you. What I hated there most, more than anything else, was that we weren't allowed to TOUCH the priests, even by mistake. Apparently they would become impure and would have to go through a lot of tiresome rituals to become pure again. I felt like an untouchable (Untouchability (low class people not being allowed to touch the high class people, and vice versa) prevailed in India long time ago, for those of you who don't know). When I told my dad this, he optimistically went "It's not that YOU are an untouchable. Think of it as if THEY were untouchables". BTW, no foreigners, Christians and Muslims are allowed into Puri, Dad told me. I find this stupid too.

Next stop - shopping (photo not present). We stopped to shop at Pipli for Orissa's very own speciality - Pipli artwork. Mahima bought some Pipli lanterns for her new-found friends at the hostel; mum and I bought wall-hangings for ourselves.

On our way back to the hotel, we visited Dhauligiri, a Buddhist shrine situated on a hill. It's relatively new compared to the temples at Bhubaneswar and Puri, a sight to see, nevertheless.

We also visited the Lingaraj Temple (no photos again, as usual in a temple). Now this is what I call awe-inspiring architecture. Built during the 11th century, there were (what rubbish, they ARE) about a 150(or more? I'm not sure) temples, big and small, strewn all around the area. Beautifully beautiful. We spent quite an amount to time simply gazing up at that wonderful architecture. Anyhow, after gazing at it to our hearts' content we started back to the hotel. Mahima and me, the not-so-religious-people that we are, were tired of visiting temples. So mum decided against taking us to temples. There are a few cave temples around there which we didn't visit.

A little shopping in the city for (again) Orissa speciality jewelry called Filigree (sorry, no pics), and then to the hotel to watch TV and sleep.

Next day, we went to Nandan Kanan, a zoo-cum-wildlife sanctuary. Not that we hadn't visited a zoo before, but because it was famous. We saw many animals, of course. We had a ride on the roap-way (was fun! :D), and then the 3D movie about animals, nature and dinosaurs, and finally the white-tiger and lion safari. There was a beautiful garden there where we clicked a few pictures. After that, for some reason, I fell sick. So we decided to head to the hotel straight without stopping anywhere. Well, I made them stop to click a picture of the line of house-like cabins built by the Bhubaneswar City Corporation. On reaching the hotel room, I rested while my family again went out to lunch. Before they could be back, my maternal grandfather arrived. After a while, my family came back too. We spoke to him for a while. And then started off to catch the 3 o'clock train to Berhampur where my maternal grandmother stays.

We missed that train, and so had to wait in the railway station until 5:20 p.m. to catch the next train. So there's the picture of the railway platform and my dad checking if there were other trains by which we could reach early. That particular 4 hours journey was my worst ever. EVER. The crowded train, with uncomfortable seats accentuated with my being sick made that the horriblest journey ever.

We reached at grandmother's very late in the night. So we did nothing but change and sleep till late next morning. I was feeling better, but not so good that I could go shopping with the elders. So I stayed at home watching TV the whole day. I clicked a photo of a painting my mum's friend did about 23-24 years ago - a family antique piece. I also clicked photos with my grandmother just before leaving for hostel that night.

We again started the 2 days journey, with weird people in our compartments. The last photo was taken when we were waiting for the next train at Chennai. My parents got off that night at their place two hours from Chennai, and I continued my journey till Mangalore from where, as usual, I took a bus to make the 1.5 hour journey back to my dormroom.


Té la mà Maria - Reus said...

very good blog, congratulations
regard from Catalonia Spain
thank you

Manasa said...

Thank you so much for making my day, Maria. I'm glad you liked my blog.

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