Shankar has a list of places-to-go in the intray of his mind, and after evaluating a few, we decided that we would do a days trip to Melkote and there-around.
We left at around 6:30 am or so. It was drizzling a wee bit. We took off on the route to Mysore. Shankar had his old reliable Santro, whose tyre took a liking to some nail on the way, grounding us for a while, while Shankar’s driver got the spare tyre into play.
As per plan, first stop was Kokrebellur, where the noise of mind gives way to the divine in the form of village folks and birds.
Having dropped off the demands of workaday centrifuge, with minds somewhat less cluttered, we drove down the highway Mysore.
Somewhere near Bidadi, our mind’s sensors picked up some signals, and so we deviated from the main road, and drove down a few kilometres to Dhyana Peetham. After a brief tour of the Ashram, we proceeded with our trip. More signals, and we stopped at Aprameya Swami temple at Doddamallur. This is just past Chennapatna…Go past the bridge, and there it is, on the left side of the highway, going towards Mysore. This is a nice old temple, where Saint Purandaradasa sang that immortal song “Jagadodharana”.
A group of some 30 or more ladies were chanting Vishnu Sahasranama when we went in. Even as we completed our Darshan of the Lord, the Sahasranamam also concluded.
The Yatra was proceeding nicely. Like a river flowing on its own.
From Doddamallur, we went towards Mandya, stopping for breakfast somewhere along the way, where we also got the tyre-puncture fixed. The next stop: Destination Kokrebellur. This is a little village near Muddur which is famous for its birds. Painted storks and Pelicans come here for nesting, every year, and Shankar had researched and figured that this was a good time to go sight them. That meant going off the highway and taking some narrow and rough roads. Which always is always a good thing to do. For you then see some ‘unmarked’ sights.
We had stopped to chat with some villagers to figure out the way to Kokrebellur. And in the timeless way of rural India, we had to breathe in the ‘local presence’ first, before we wandered into the future. And as a part of that ritual, the villagers asked us to climb a small ridge on the left of the road. We clambered up some mud and stone…Slippery bund….
And heres what we saw from the top.
And on the other side of the road was green fields, as far as eye could see.
With some divine visitors from the sky camping out on the green.
With some guesses, asks, and turns, we finally reached Kokrebellur.
Kokrebellur means – ‘the village of storks’.
Pelicans and painted storks are ancient visitors to this village. And like some other parts of village India, here too, the village has adopted these visitors as their own family. And they take care of these winged visitors with all the concern given to Gods and children. They look forward to the arrival of these birds every year, ensure that no one disturbs them at all, help with hatching eggs that have fallen off…In general, they let the birds be, and in return, they get the droppings of the birds, which is precious fertilizer.
We parked the car on the main road, and walked in to one street that ran into the village. A pretty street. A pretty picture.
Soon a swarm of busy kids buzzed around us, shouting all at the same time “muree, muree, muree….”… which means, baby-birds… They wanted to show us nests and little birds…
Heres a picture of the kids….’Smile please….’, lovely village children guileless smiles.
All around the village, migratory birds from I-dont-know-where were perched on all trees. So many of them. With my simple look-and-shoot digital camera I couldnt get clear pictures. But heres one anyway, where you can make out birds on the tree top.
These birds are parivrajakas – peripatetic. Moving all over the world. They come for a few months every year to this perch in Karnataka. And the villagers welcome their coming. Like welcoming the village daughter coming home for delivering a child. And in the rare event that the birds dont come in a particular year, they know that the birds have sensed a drought. And that the seasons will not be good. For the villagers, the birds are the harbingers of goodness.
We focus on a mother bird perched in its nest. With some ‘murees’ at its feet. It is in perfect stillness. There is silence. Except for the song of the wind, the sounds of birds, and the occasional laughter of kids in joy. Silence is not about decibels. Its about the state of mind…
That bird up there is a sage.
Here is a picture.
With some reluctance, we walk back from this garden of eden, trudging our way to the car, followed by the happy gaggle of kids….
….To be contd….