Monday, June 29, 2009

Trip to the Snake temple

I'm finally back from my week long travels or 'Kshethraadanam' as I like to call it. We (Mom, Dad and I) boarded the Alleppey Express on Tuesday evening and reached Alleppey the next morning. The transition from the sweltering heat and gold of Chennai to the cool and green of Kerala was in itself quite the experience. And Alleppey was having the monsoon spell when we landed there! Did I mention that I love rain? =D

Our destination was Haripad. Actually, our true destination was a temple that went by the name Mannarshala. Now, I'm not sure how many people out there actually know this place. But in Mannarshala is a temple that's truly one of a kind!
There, the main deity is not some God or Goddess who's well known in the Hindu Pantheon. There, the sanctum sanctorum houses the King of snakes - Nagaraja. Set in the midst of lush greenery, the temple is like a gateway into an erstwhile world where humans are the minority. There are snakes all over the place but they harm no one and the humans there also seem to have almost no fear for these magnificent creatures!

For those who're interested in reading the legend behind the temple and the various unique traditions followed there, all you need to do is Google for it. So, I shalln't waste time in going about with the stories which I'm sure, people have done in better ways before me!

And then there were trips to other temples around the place like the Shanmuga temple in Haripad. It was quite late when we went there, and the entire town turns in at seven in the evening (quaint little place that it is!) and so, it wasn't surprising when we found the temple a little empty at six forty-five! And it was raining. The complex is really HUGE! So, it takes a normal person (read lazy clumsy people like me) a good five minutes to actually circumambulate the temple once. And in the middle of this, I hear something whine. For a moment I thought it was a stray puppy. But it actually ended being a very lonely and bored elephant! And now I know elephants actually do whine!

As for accommodation, we stayed in the only hotel in the whole of that town. And it wasn't that bad.... at least, it could've been worse for all I know! And if any of you are planning on making a trip down there anytime soon, please remember to carry your own repellent. My ankles are all pink and swollen thanks to the numerous bites from creatures unknown! (At least there weren't any snakes!)

I should say all those were minor inconveniences when compared to what we saw at the temple. I should say I plan on visiting the temple again next year! And I'm glad I got to go there this time. Suddenly, I'm seeing snakes in a whole new light... almost like both the snakes and us humans have misunderstood each other. Now to get that Boa constrictor I've always wanted! =P

Psssst: I wasn't allowed a camera inside the temple so, I managed to pick the photos above from the Interwebs! And now that I think of it.... how the hell did these buggers manage to get permission?! NOT FAIR!

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