- Posted July 15, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Terrible vacation, great photos?
- Why the US Supreme Court decision on same-sex matters for India
- Another horrific gangrape in India: What are we doing wrong?
- The dark side of India’s Kiss of Love protests against moral policing
- Perspectives from India: Why I relate to that catcalling video
- On Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's sexist remark about women
Much ado about nothing: The Sowbarnika River
Early this year, my family visited Mookambika, a small pilgrim town tucked away in the lush green hills of Kodachadri. We were looking forward to visit the famous Sri Moohambika Devi Temple because it's was the last family trip before we finally packed our bags, emigrated to Canada. Legend has it that Adi Shankara, a revered Hindu scholar, had a vision of the goddess while observing penance, and went on to install an idol here over a 1000 years ago.
Well, that said, we were thrilled about visiting a pilgrim town and getting away from the city for a while. We'd been promised good rooms in a small hostel, and we didn't think it would be too intrusive. On reaching, we found that the whole town was (quite literally) a single lane! Part of the hostel we were to stay in, was still being built, and the six of us were huddled in a single room. Thankfully, there were basic amenities available. We walked down to the temple in the evening, and putting it simply, we felt like we'd seen nearly all over the place in a matter of 45 minutes! Imagine that, after travelling for nearly 23 hours from Chennai, in addition to another two hours driving up the hill! Quite disheartened, we walked down to the Sowbarnika River, hoping to wet our feet and probably have some fun taking a dip. Unbelievable - the holy river we read about seemed nothing more than an almost-dry lake bed. Several hotels and eateries apparently dumped their waste freely into the river. According to an old Hindu legend, Garuda, the mythical King of Birds, observed penance by the banks of the Sowbarnika. The river, many say, absorbs minerals from nearly 60 medicinal plants from around the area. Honestly, as we stood there, barely ankle-deep in the water, I noticed that people around really didn't care too much at all. It was in short, 'Much ado about nothing'. The only thing that was worth it was that we were together as a family, perhaps for a long time to come.