Places To Visit In India With 6 Month Old Baby A Honeymoon Trip With a Difference – Bekal, Mookambika and Kudajadri

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A Honeymoon Trip With a Difference – Bekal, Mookambika and Kudajadri

Our first long trip after marriage, if you could call it a honeymoon trip it was this one to Mookambika with a stop at Bekal. It was a trip that happens once in a lifetime because the atmosphere was so good and the places were very unusual and mysterious. When we boarded the train to Mangalore that night, we didn’t realize that this trip came about because of some divine intervention. First of all, this may not have happened at all. It was the day when the whole of Kerala came to a standstill due to a problem that called for a bandh. My wife who was then working in nearby Pathanamthitta went to the railway station at Thiruvananthapuram, our boarding place, thanks to the timely help of the police and a friend.

At least our honeymoon was on. The next morning we alighted at the Bekal railway station with the Arabian sea and the timeless Bekal fort lending a magnificent backdrop to add a romantic touch. With the help of a friend who worked in Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC), we managed to get a room in their office inside the fort. Remember, this was way back in 1996, and tourism had yet to take off there. Bekal fort, built by Sivappa Nayik, is a monument of great importance in the history of Indian history but it has not yet received adequate attention in terms of tourism. The surrounding beaches were a haven for smugglers and anti-social elements. But my obsession with Bekal was too strong to accept these fears. My wife loved this trip too. The place looked lush green and the weather was pleasant, which was our duty until December, the month we got married. The sea was blue and inviting. This famous fort has carved a place for itself in the hearts of moviegoers with song sequences from many famous movies being shot here. The place had a desolate look which was completely different to the scenes we see now. This was as mentioned due to the infamous stories associated with the place. Our mood was cheerful and there was no room for disappointment.

The fort is a protected monument under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India. No one could say if there was a big attraction in this place that stood out. The ambiance was unique. The beautiful beaches and waters of the Arabian Sea along with the amazing fort opposite make this place a special place. We had a great time walking and climbing around the fort building. The observation towers offer great sea views from all sides. There were openings on the walls of the fort through which guns could be trained on attackers. It is not surprising that Bekal fort was the first choice to shoot a series of memorable songs from the film Bombay. The part of the fort that stretches out to the sea offers great views.

A dream could not last forever, which we realized with our dismay because it was time to move on. It was midday and there was no accommodation available inside or outside the fort. Not even hotels were seen which gave us enough reasons to take a bus to Mangalore. After a short break for lunch, we boarded a bus to Kollur-Mookambika, which was of course our main destination. It was 8.30 and the night was getting colder and darker when we reached Mookambika. The supper, which was pure vegetables, was normal but the taste of mango pickle still lingers.

The experiences we had the next morning are unforgettable. An age-old belief that newlyweds can lead a happy married life if they take a dip in the Souparnika River inspired us. Souparnika comes from Kudajadri and flows forward, almost a kilometer away from the temple. The place had an ethereal beauty about it with a stream rising from the waters even in the cold weather. We took a dip together and came back happy. It was time to visit the temple. A local priest guided us in performing rituals. Shankaracharya started the Poojas and rituals which are still performed here. This is the only temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati and is over a thousand years old.

As mentioned before the divine intervention happened again. This time it was in the form of two young captains who shared a room opposite ours. We were looking for partners for the trip to Kudajadri and we willingly accepted their invitation to join them for the trip to the holy mountains around this divine place. Since the jeep trip was expensive we were also looking for someone who could share the travel expenses. After some negotiation the driver agreed to Five hundred rupees which is nothing compared to the current rate. So the jeep had only four passengers which usually carried 6 to 7 people. As the vehicle moved, the path changed from tar to mud and then to rock. It was an experience that, perhaps once, I thought could turn me inside out. After a bone-chilling ride of about 40 kilometers uphill, we reached Kudajadri.

The family members of the priests who live here welcomed us permanently. They gave us tea and snacks. A novel written, MT Vasudevan Nair, the legendary writer in Malayalam with the plot woven around this background was retold by my loving wife. To my surprise, the scenes that appeared here and the characters here behaved exactly as she had reported. In fact she had told this many times during the journey and the pleasure on her face was obvious.

A pond is fed by water flowing down from the forest area on top of the adjacent hills. We went up the path enjoying the clear skies and a prosperous climate in the middle of the forest. After climbing for about half an hour, we reached the Sarvanjapeedom, where Shankaracharya was in the center and Mookambika Devi appeared before him. There is an interesting story behind this program. Shankaracharya wanted Devi to follow him to Kerala where there were no Devi temples. Devi obeyed Shankaracharya’s request and obeyed the condition that he would not look back. At one point Shankaracharya looked back as the sound of Devi’s anklets was not heard. True to her words, Mookambika Devi told Shankaracharya that she would stay here and people could come here to seek her blessings. Finally, moved by Shankaracharya’s passion, Devi told him that she would give darshan to the Kerala devotees at Chottanikkaara in the morning and then return to Kollur. It is not surprising that the Chottanikkaara temple opens at 4 am compared to other temples because Mookambika Devi comes to Chottanikkara within an hour of the temple opening!

Our friends tried to climb up the pediment and soon they were seen stepping down wildly. This was because a man with a holy appearance was hurling abuse at them for climbing the pedam which was obviously a holy monument. Some pilgrims who were returning from a slope told that there was a cave below that was worth seeing. She converted the Chitramoola cave that Shankaracharya mediated and he received enlightenment from the Goddess of knowledge.

A man with all the appearance of a saint was meditating in the cave that was straight out of Amar chitra kadha leaves. We weren’t sure if this was a real one. At least there was a lot of money to be seen at his feet offered by people who were passing by. There is a waterfall here to add to the overall effect.

It was time to go and we climbed back and then started the trek down to the jeep After freshening up, we climbed into the jeep and started the trek to Mookambika. Very tired after the busy day, we went back to bed with many joyful experiences flowing into our dreams.

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