Continuation from Part 5….
On the morning of 20.9.2013 we were just relaxing and enjoying a no-deadline to meet day. At the Inn we stayed a vendor sold trinkets, beads, corals, jade and Salagramashilas. There was a whole crowd of people and he was having huge sales.We were told that after an early brunch we would leave for Kathmandu. After proper South-Indian meal with Tirukannamudhu, we boarded the bus and Mr. Kannan said we would stop by Davis Falls on the way. After seeing the great falls on the way to Mukthinath this looked like some simulated stuff but since we had paid an entry of Rs.20 we had a quick look at it. Some travelers wanted to know about the Tiruman-Srichurnam on our foreheads and we told them it was the mark of Vishnu and Lakshmi and they seemed impressed. Though the Falls didn’t reach our expectation the shops around did. We splurged on buying, beads and bangles, Nepali caps and umbrellas and of course Salagrama murthis.
The bus proceeded to Kathmandu with a Tea-break. Upma was served and we reached Kathmandu’s Maharaja Hotel by late evening. The ghat road we crossed was scenic and beautiful but the locality we stayed in Kathmandu was dreary.
During dinner we were told that those who opted for mountain flight would have to be ready by 7.00a.m. The rest would be taken to Pasupathinath temple. Since we opted to take the mountain flight 6 people from our group left for Tribhuvan Airport. Our Tour operator arranged this trip (Rs,6000 per head + Rs 200 airport tax). We were picked up from the hotel and let into the Terminal. Our flight was scheduled for 7.30 a.m. but left at 8.30 a.m. This one hour flight by Smirik Airlines was a thrilling experience. Imagine seeing the peak of Everest after crossing 60 with no oxygen cylinders or ropes or rock climbing. Well that is what 15 of us did in the mountain flight. No haggling for window seats as every passenger got it. The captain flew at a level where it was easy to click photos and the airhostesses told and explained everything. We got to go to the cockpit one at a time to view the peaks from there. The view was different as we were looking down or at the side of the peaks and not up as we do. Clouds were floating between mountains and sometimes above them. It was like the dream scenes we see in movies where a fairy or angels pops out. The peaks and their sturdy splendour reminded us of Perumal’s Marvellous creation and beautiful perfection.. Did anusandhanam of Tiruppavai overwhelmed by the beauty of the peaks. Didn’t Krishna say that among the mountains He was The Himalayas, again in Srimadh Ramayanam, Valmiki says in Bravery (Dhairyam) He was like The Himalayas. We got to see more than 16 peaks with names we couldn’t pronounce. Lhotse, Gauri Shankar. Sagarmatha and Kanchenjunga were familiar names. Mt Everest called Sagarmatha was thrilling to behold capped by snow. The thrill of seeing the unconquerable was great and after an hour we returned to base with certificates signed by the captain and vice captain. Yes We had seen Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world and strutted about like Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay.
We returned in time for lunch. Happy at having got sevai of Salagrama Perumal we decided to offer thanks to Periya Perumal and Periya Piratti and our poorvacharyas by offering Thadeearadhanai to the Sri Vaishnavas. Sri Khannan was good enough to arrange Rice ,paruppu, Mor kuzhambu, Beans karamadhu, Sathumadhu, Mysore–pak and Vadai and butter-milk which was tasty to say the least. After rest we were taken to see Jal Narayana. Known locally as Budhanilakantha .This Perumal was astonishing.He was lying on His back,(Jala sayanam) Seemed relaxed and Ananthan’s coiling was amazing.Sesha seemed to have coiled up in a manner to ensure comfort and the spring mattress manufacturers could learn a lot from Him. Lying down under a canopy in a water-bed with flowers and fruit offerings on Him and pigeons seated all over this Perumal took our breath away. We offered raisins and did pradakshinam from the outside. Rudraksha was seen growing on trees and vendors were selling photos, trinkets etc.
At this spot we were given lot of time to shop and we reached the hotel by about 2.00 p.m. At about 4.00p.m. we were served crispy Mysore bondas with coffee which everyone relished. Some people went on their own to visit Chakra Narayan but we stayed back to shop for Salagrama shilas in the hotel itself. In the shop we saw a Tamilian in saffron who has walked from Kanchi to Kathmandu and is working in the shop as a salesman and is waiting to visit Kailash Mansarovar. The salesperson called Shyam however was the one who interacted with us and tempted us with beautiful Salagrama murthis which we could not help buying.Lakshmi Narayana, Lakshmi Hayagriva, Varaha, Vamana, Seetha Rama, Kalki, Shanku- Chakra, Sudarsana(cost on an average Rs 750) Hiranyagarbhas which the Nepalese call Santhana Gopala were sold at the hotel for Rs.50 but the roadside vendors charged Rs 20. We also visited the local bazaar and bought apples which were being sold everywhere. The souvenier shop in the hotel also had good stuff. Next morning that is 22.9.2013 at 6.00a.m.we left Kathmandu and reached Sanauli by 6.00pm We were served kuzhambu sadam and thayir sadam on the way and night dinner was puri and dal. 23.9.2013 we left Sanauli at 8.00 a.m. after a breakfast of iddli-sambar. We stopped at a primary school for lunch. Tomato rice, thayir sadam, vadam and pickle were served and kids were enjoying their Sunday we used the school. We reached Allahabad at 8.30p.m. We were worried as only dormitory accommodation was available that night at Swami Narayan temple. But we were surprised to discover that the room was large, clean, with fans and each one of us was provided a mattress and there were plenty of bathrooms. We were served hot kootu sathamadhu, appalam for dinner and we felt grateful to the organizers. We were told that we would have to be ready the next morning by 7.00a.m.carrying just a change of clothes. We would be bathing in The Mandakini and visiting Chitrakootam.
Our next destination was Chitrakoot for which we left by 7.00a.m. after coffee on 24.9.2013
Some of the photos taken at Kathmandu, during Mt. Everest Trip, Phokra, Davis falls, and Jal Narayan can be viewed below
Courtesy: Vyjayanthi and Sundararajan
To be continued in next part….
For previous parts of this travelogue visit the following link:
- Travelogue: Srirangam To Mukthinath: Part 5 Destination Mukthinath
- Travelogue: Srirangam To Mukthinath: Part 4 Sanauli to Pokhra
- Travelogue: Srirangam To Mukthinath: Part 3 – Ayodhya
- Travelogue: Srirangam To Mukthinath: Part 2- Nandhigram
- Travelogue: Srirangam To Mukthinath: Part 1- Naimisharanyam
- Travelogue: Gaya Kshetram