Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Journey Up The Ghats/The Annapurna temple @ Horanadu


I already figured  most people who have graduated from manipal or lived in coastal karnataka would know what I am trying to express by the title.
The time I was still in udupi district doing my undergraduate course in manipal; I had a great many opportunity to see the vast natural beauty in the form of the unique Flora and fauna present. One such time, My mother and I traveled around dakshina coastal karnataka looking for some special temples/power places.
The journey to Horanadu is what I remember as most unique, among the 2-3 days where were travelling daily by taxi to different places around udupi. The horanadu temple lies past the western ghats, so while going from manipal one has to first climb the ghats (which is  a treat by itself). The journey takes some 5 odd hours from manipal, after crossing the first set of hills one reaches the towns of agumbe; this route which my driver took me towards the old mining city of kudremukh (which is a sheer delight by itself), from there there is another set of hills which come about; this second range (which I had never seen before- as I had not travelled in depth western ghats till then) were way more beautiful than the first ranges. The time I was able to go, was just after a fresh shower and it was drizzling as usual and always even while we were travelling, the entire range of mountains were covered with dew and all the plants were sparkling wet and looking as fresh as ever. It was a scintillating site for sure, even though I had no idea of how the destination was going to look...
I was definitely surprised, the ranges crossed and my taxi started coming downhill for the second time, and there was nothing in front to be seen as the entire scenery was covered with low level cloud (yes the western ghats are damn low and yet the entire monsoon clouds come to that level- its a divine sight for those who have not witnessed it!)
There is a river which passes by before the temple comes close in the picture, My mother and I got off the car and took some peace time on the banks of the river, the entire scenery reminded me of some quaint local on hills of himalayas, except that the scenery here was dense thick beautiful plantations of mother nature. All covered in dew and mist and clouds! Unparalled emotions started to erupt !
The temple to lord Annapurna mother, was installed by adi-sankaracharya when he was roaming around here. This form of divine mother helps us in sustaining our physical bodies. she gives us food and sustenance in all material ways. The temple when I first set my eyes upon it; was covered in thick clouds. It was a sight to behold, soon the clouds parted and I could find my way up to the sanctum. The goddess looks extremely pretty here and she feeds all those who come to her.  There is lunch served which is a 3 course meal in which only rice is served in huge amounts, generally I am not much into eating or doing mundane chores in a place of worship but as she is here to feed her children, my mother and I thought to stop to have our lunch.
They serve huge amounts every serving and by the looks of it my mother and I thought that we wont be able to eat even one serving to its end, and of course wasting food is a sin beyond measure. But lo! to our surprise my mother who is generally a very light eater, could eat all the three servings (huuuge) of rice without the least bit of effort. In her own words “ The rice here is ethereal, it feels so light. No weight which goes to the stomach”
And that is how spiritual sustenance of the mother in horanadu is, the rice is easy to digest and helps in spiritual progress. It is a blessing to have in our hearts and yes even our stomachs!
Its a pilgrims path, so many across this land strewn everywhere. Peaceful offerings of ourselves every which way we turn to. Isn’t it joyous to be a part of divine nature, and celebrating it with a human-divine face.
Give respect and love to what you eat whenever, that is what mother Annapurna asks. The food which you take from her, also must be returned one day; through death and debt perhaps. Offer now itself so that during death; the debt of food does not plague you to remain in this plane.
Peace and Happy Spiritual Eating!!!

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