In the Woods; Kodachadri, Karnataka
It’s been a long time, yet I remember those days vividly. The trip to Kudajadri was one of the best experiences in my life. We took a train from Kuttipuram and got down at Kundapura, from there we took a bus to Mookambika. After a forty minute ride, we got down at Karinget, which is also known as “Way to the Forest”.
They were perhaps the most admirable moments of my life which I didn’t recognized back then. I was drunk in love and madness. What made the earth, made me. The place was enchanted by grass smell. Down the hill slope, water splashed against the hard granite stone making a melody unknown.
I’d live each day as it was my last. Maybe it was the only time I felt alive. I’ve never been impressed of the sunlight until, when it sneaked amongst the tree top and touched my soul. It’s the purest form of joy I’ve ever known. .
The forest feels more like a green carpet on the flooring, there are bugs all over the place, some of which are visible to the naked eye and some are not. It is just fascinating to admire the living creations of the Almighty above us. The different species of birds are another wonderful site to see.
The fresh air, with absolutely no pollutant is the best part of the place. The cloud above looked like bunches of cotton that are moving close and keeping a watch on you. Our bodies get warmer from the walking and the atmosphere around. During rains, there are more chances of having leeches on your legs, and that is one thing you need to be careful about.
As we walked the different faces of the forest began to reveal themselves, the dense green, the lively place with a fall in between followed by a sudden silence hindered by a hustle in the bushes.
It seemed as if every soul that lived there was in sync to a melody unheard by humans. Yet we could feel our body respond to the various moods of the green, our emotions overpowered us, we’d cry out of love and happiness.Being there felt like having a nap in mother’s lap.
The strong gusts of wind could push you over, but the bags on our backs were our saviours, for once!
We finally reached a hotel where we could rest over and fill our stomachs and regenerate our energy for the rest of the trip. It was a Malayali restaurant run by one Mr.Thankappan, fondly called as Thankapettan (brother). That restaurant is the only savior for kilometers to come, if you miss it, you could starve to death. Or if you are strong and intelligent enough survive on the wild fruits and berries.
We moved faster and soon we saw a red top, it seemed like something in the sky but it actually was the guest house which was going to be our second stop over.
The route gets more dangerous and tricky and the six of us remained close as we walked through. Many pilgrims also travel this way usually. The forest is so dense that even in the peak moments of heat during the afternoon; there is hardly a streak of sunlight that escapes through the gaps between the leaves of the tall monstrous trees in the forest. Jamal Master has been an inspiration for all of us. He has been coming to this place for six years and has a close attachment to it.
You can feel the forest vibes as you pass by. The woods are a reservoir of positive spirits and angelic incarnations. Sometimes it’s so quiet and peaceful that a small movement of a leaf could creep you out or make you feel like the forest spirits are trying to communicate with you.
We finally reached Shankar Peek, the place where the renowned Shankaracharya was known to meditate and take penance after which he was blessed and enlightened by Mookambika Devi herself. There is a steel Trishul which is instilled there, believed to be used by Devi to kill the ‘Asura’(Demon) called Mahishasur.
There are finally four temples, out of which two are houses as well to the pandits of the temples. They welcome us and other pilgrims and make us feel at home and provide us with food and shelter. One of the houses even has a small waterfall which is believed to be formed from three different holy waters. One, who bathes there, can easily tell how much strength and positive vibes it instils in them.
I’m glad I did. I’m glad and fortunate to spend a fraction of my life the way I did.
By – Nihal Nasarulla
Instagram handle: @nihal_nasarulla