Monday, February 3, 2014

Coastal Bliss @ Antarvedi

The east coast is incredibly beautiful; have never been able to go to the east coast via Andhra – and recently got the most revered opportunity to visit. Went on a 2 day outbound team travel from office (never thought office trips could be so much fun) – for 2 days and a night – spent my time unwinding and in peace and bliss of rural India.
The place is known as Kona seema – on the banks of the majestic and peaceful (only from the exterior) – Godavari River. The exact town is palakol which is near Dindi – the river flows to the Sea here and the region is called Yelamanchalli lanka. We took private buses overnight and started from Hyderabad by night; we reached by early morning and the coastal air was so refreshing (humid mornings broken by the noises of the cock and crows). The place wakes up early – at five in the morning everyone was up, the roads were filled by the local people; the blaring music at the local temple shack was unbeatable. We stopped for a morning tea and then finally deported from the bus. Our hotel / Resort was a little bit interior from the main city road area, the resort has been recently built and I was in touch with all the point of contact for planning the journey for my team. The hotel people along with the travel guide were making all efforts to bring in a good experience for us lazy ass city folks.
We reached for early tea and breakfast (the rest of the buses were left behind as road transport assholes had stopped them on the highway – and they were to catch up later)
We took some time to refresh and were back at the main area of the hotel – which overlooks the river around 100 meters away. It was such a sight to behold – that we all took time and admired the same for a long time. I wanted to leave instantly and go close to the river. But I could not leave my group (the pains of being in a corporate group – especially with older folks). Nothing much to complain though – had good folks for company – they were a bit older and local telugu guys, but had a sense of fun about them through and through (they were of the HR fraternity also!)
We started off and left to go towards the east coast, it was a hour and half drive in mini buses (as the big buses cannot navigate the smaller routes); Almost everyone slept off through the journey; and we opened our eyes to a beautiful small and olden powerful temple. We stopped at the old Lakshmi Narsimha temple; we got off the bus without our shoes and entered the temple and lo – at the very moment there were priests who were exiting with a pot on their head (that was the pot on which meditation was done – the energy of the god being borrowed into it for that special event).
We went around the temple after seeing the main deity and bowing down – it was a very beautiful and small idol (which was the main deity of Lakshmi sitting on Narsimha’s lap). The temple was newly done and it was colored in blatant new age indian religious fervor (something of a trend in south india – to colour the temple sanctum and anything else as if the religious relic was a movie shooting backdrop).
The temple had very old idols, all kept in small rooms for themselves and locked up needless to say; a vaishnava temple with deities – who were avatars of the lord Vishnu adorned the entire place. There was a peaceful resonance in the area – maybe the presence of the endless vast seas so close by made the place even more sacred than humans could perhaps conceive it to be.
We made our obeisances, and moved ahead and sat back and soon we saw the beach at a distance – what a view. Something out of the world. I had been tormented for the past 2 years to come to the east coast and finally the wish granted! I was overjoyed, with a sense of relief and wonder renewed. The only problem being that there were many others who were with me – almost a group of 100 odd folks who were to follow our bus soon and come to the beach for a day of fun and so called frolic. The party was set up and beach games designed to keep the crowd engaged and this is where I felt I needed to escape asap. One of my senior colleagues present asked me if I wanted to see where the river met the sea, and this was the escape I so desired. The east coast beach at Antarvedi is unique – as the mighty and calm Godavari river joined here a kilometre or so away. We walked in silence and checking the beach sand (The sand was extremely black and fine at some parts – the whole setup was virgin to my amazement – no crowded public, no vendors to remove the peace – just joyous silence and the beach wind and water striking the ground and our ears! Heaven on earth indeed).
We walked and at the end of the beach in one direction – we found the beautiful Godavari meeting calmly the sea, here the water pushed back to the coast – and it was amazing to see that two confronting tides worked at this end and merged (This place was called Vashishta Sagar – a holy place for the local folks). We spent time and I collected myriad sea shells and beautiful rocks of value to me and finally we walked back to where our company folks (who by now had joined us) were playing and making a helluva lot of noise. That is something I cannot stand, and so with some other friends of the fraternity – I quietly sat back and made the best of my journey. After a lunch at the beach which was local dishes – we quietly sneaked off from the group and headed back to get some rest. The evening was a lot better – with some sleep on the side – we moved to the pool and got our drinks on the go and the next 4 hours we quietly and peacefully swam (This was something I had not done for a very long time) – I put my head back and looked at the stars above and with the serenity of the Godavari nearby; I was made!
The next morning post breakfast we took a small boat ride to a close by uninhabited island, where the rest of the group played games and I and my fraternity were left behind to explore – I headed to the edges of the island and took some quiet peace in and took photographs to remember the virgin beauty of coastal backdrop into my heart and digital memories.
Spent the whole day on the island and then left as peacefully as we came and rested and left in the evening back to the hustle and crap of the city.
The journey made me reinvigorated with life. A break from the day to day mundane is what we all require once a while – and I got to enjoy this thanks to an organization imperative. Something which I thought would never occur. East coast of India is a little less well known to tourists than the west, and cause of this the beauty is even better preserved – crystallized if that could be a word in context..
Urge everyone to go towards east coast of India – a paradise untouched and spend some time with nature (the time I spent – I felt it was pitiful), a week or a month traveling across virgin beaches should renew everyone’s love and faith to a goddess which is nature and life.
Love and Peace!

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