Trip to haranahalli

(Written on: 13 August 2009 – during the trip)

I am right now at Haranahalli in Karnataka, 200 km from Bangalore. This is the ancestral village of my father- in-law. We reached here today morning via car, started from Bangalore around 0600 am, arrived 1130 am – after a small breakfast stop on way.

We have come here to witness a religious ocassion, which happens in a place called Amanhalla, few miles from Haranahalli. The villagers from 28 villages in his area perform a puja every year on the banks of  a small stream which is considered very sacred. Uniqueness of this puja is that it’s performed without any idol, the stream is considered the deity.  Since no particular deity is being worshipped people from all faiths and casts get together to participate in this puja.

Homa (sacred fire offerings)  is setup on the banks of the river and final part of puja is perfomed by steping into the stream. In this step the head priest, a lady and few other folks enter the river chanting the sacred hymns, give offerrings to the river : flowers, colors , rice and clothes. The lady performs main parts of the final ritual and at the end they say that the goddess enters the body of the lady.

I saw that the lady started behaving as if something has taken over her body, she started to dip her body in the water and came back out multiple times. Priest and other people who were with her helped her come out of the river and during that time they were also asking her questions – which they belive the goddess is answering through the lady.

As she was coming out of the river other ladies gathered to worship her and take her blessings and soon the ritual was over. People took a final look at the homa and climbed the stairs towards the area in which community lunch was being served to all.

The story of this ritual goes as fellows….

800 years ago, a Muslim boy of the region liked a Hindu girl. She used to go to the river bank every morning to perform puja and the boy used to follow her. On one such day, to avoid the boy,  she went and hid in a “deep ditch” in the stream, planning to come out when the boy left. The boy kept waiting and the girl died in the ditch. Villagers believe that after a few days of that incident, the girl re-emerged as a lake a few miles away. And so she was given the status of “devi” (goddess). Since then, every year, the villagers perform the puja on the river banks – where the final offerings are put into the “ditch” in which she had hidden.

Personally I am an atheist and don’t believe in existence of any super natural forces. But I am enjoying being a part of this ocassion, as its given me a chance to come close to rural India. This part of India is still green, non-polluted, people here are simple & hospitable. And of course I am already dying with hunger while I wait for my turn to eat. The food smells yummy…

Live from bandipur…

Almost everyday last week I happened to watch travel showd on the discovery travel and living, while having breakfast. As expected the shows left me with a itch to travel myself and I decided to head out on the weekend. After doing some research on abd I decided to visit bandipur with my sis-in-law, akhila and since Nandini is in Chandigarh she is unable to join us.

We are right now sitting in Jungle logdes bandipur having our lunch, so I decided to write a small post. We started from Bangalore at 0640 in the morning, the weather was very nice and the roads wide and traffic less. The whole drive was amazing with country side around us in all colors green, yellow, brown , blue.

On the way we visited a small and very beautiful hillock Gopalswamypeta, I will do a separate post about that with pictures.

Right now we are off to forest hill resorts in Masinagudi…

Written from my iphone.

Flight landings & standing fetish?!

I just landed in chennai via a late n ight flight and the question is ringing again in my mind….WHY DO PEOPLE LEAVE THE SEATS AND STAND UP AS SOON AS THE FLIGHTS LAND STOP?

I m talking abt these people who start getting impatient as soon as the flight lands, start opening the seat belts (seat belt sign is on), switch on the mobile phones (you r supposed to wait till the doors open) and these same guys immediately get up; take their respective bags and stand in the aisle for 10 minutes or so, they have the choice to continue sitting and only get up after de-boarding starts, but due some internal insinct more than 50 percent of the people stand and waste their energies.

Whats the cause of this behavior? I can think of few reasons, would love to hear more views:

– Insecurity: they basically dont feel secure sitting down and think that by standing they can get out before others which is sadly not true
– New travellers : some of them are new and hence think doors will open as soon as the plane stops and they can get off.

UPDATE (03 March 08): My X-boss (jai kumar), send me a couple of good thoughts on this:

1. The “real” reason that people stand up immediately after the plane lands is to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Sitting crammed in economy class for lengths of time leads to “deep vein thrombosis” (economy class syndrome) and “bruised inner thighs”.

2. Do you ever see Business or First class folks stand up immediately after the plane lands? Never. Guess why?