From watching the sunset on the Arabian Sea to witnessing the sunrise over the waters of the Bay of Bengal
The Indian subcontinent a distinctive geographic entity is divided into a) Indian peninsula b) the Himalayas and c) Indo Gangetic plains. The Indian peninsula is a triangular-shaped landscape of ancient landmass jutting deep into the Indian Ocean. It is flanked on either side by the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. Both oceanic regions are as ancient as the Indian Ocean itself destined to be separated by 2000 km in width landmass.
There comes a time when we have to undertake journeys on account of various factors that govern our life. I was supposed to relocate to Eastern India from my present place of stay. So, here I was musing thoughts of driving across 2000 km of Indian Peninsula from West Coastal plain sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats and ending my journey on the Eastern Shores.
A thought which germinated and grew as if a goblin had taken residence inside my head who finally created such a din that I went in the flow to undertake this journey. A journey from the West Coast to the East coast by ambling my way through the various states/regions that came en route.
The Journey …..
Goa- Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu ma Kashchid duhkhamapnuyat
Goa has always been close to my heart, this region has every time pulled the strings of my heart with its blue skies, white-crested emerald blue waters, green foliage and red stones dotted in-between. This state always made me feel ME. It has given me time to introspect as well as moments to power on through life, the energy in the air has always refreshed me.
So, I spent my last few days in Goa listening to the sound of the waves and gazing at the various shades of blue that the sky wore as the day progressed from dawn to dusk. I said my goodbyes some up-close while most from afar as I knew in my heart that my life was going to change as soon as I left the borders of the state of Goa.
After bidding my silent goodbye to this place I loaded my packed bags on to the Truck and as I turned him eastwards, we knew that the destination lay somewhere up ahead deep into the distance in this direction.
The exit out of Goa can be less gloomy if one decides to take the adventurous routes that go into the Western Ghats. I opted to take the one which passed through the Doodhsagar forested area eventually entering Karnataka.
Karnataka- Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate
Karnataka, a state that has it all, be it mountains, waterfalls, urbanisation, history, architecture or wildlife. One just needs to decide where does the inclination lie. In the previous occasions, I had visited some of the wonderful waterfalls nestled in the Western Ghats.
This time I wanted to see the architectural significance and hence was moving towards the region of Hampi-Badami-Aihole-Padatakaal. These four regions form an important part of the Northern Karnataka road trip. Hampi is undoubtedly a gorgeous Indian destination and yet it has a low visitor rate which adds to the charm of the place.
Hampi, the erstwhile capital city of the Vijayanagara Kingdom was in existence even much before. The city has been indicated in the ancient scriptures as well. In this setting I found myself standing amongst ancient temples, palaces and monuments. The remnants of these spoke about the grandeur which existed in this region way back in time and now is a shadow of its erstwhile self. What images would a visitor have been privy to when the temples would have been in their full glory with the deities worshipped by the people can only be imagined.
As I walked on the ancient streets there were signs of a world which existed out here, which is no more. Of a time which proclaimed about the glory of India and its achievements. It is said that the temple builders and artisans practised their craft at Hampi and Aihole and showcased their expertise for the world at Pattadakal.
True to the sense of the word, Aihole is a wonderland where the imagination of the artists have run wild in their creations of the temples and Pattadakal is where all their finery is in display. If one is visiting this region, do make it a point to visit all the three places in order to get a sense of what I am trying to convey.
Badami is all about the Cave temples and rock-cut sculptures of Hinduism and Jainism. The mastery of these sculptures is to be seen to be believed. I was seeing this kind of art for the very first time and they left an indelible mark on my inner conscious. It is said that Badami along with Hampi and Pattadakal formed the cradle for “temple architecture” in this region in those times and served as a model for later Hindu temples.
From Karnataka, I ambled on numerous state highways always running eastwards. Crossed into Telangana right over the Krishna River. The river systems in India are truly so underrated, there are so many of these great rivers crisscrossing the entire subcontinent.
Telangana-Jaya Jaya He Telangana Janani Jayakethanam
Telangana which came into existence recently welcomed me with open arms as I breezed through and entered Hyderabad. I did not visit any of the famed architectures out here because Hyderabad deserves an altogether separate visit at a later point of time. I just lazed in the urban version of Hyderabad visiting the coffees hubs and urban metropolis for some time.
Some piping hot idlis followed by two cups of tea in the morning and I was well on my way exiting Hyderabad. Telangana soon gave way to Andhra Pradesh as the town of Eluru came into view mid-morning. Since my childhood times, this region has been prominent due to a variety of factors be it commerce, education, agriculture. Post Eluru one reaches Tanuku, Rajahmundry and the mighty Godavari river.
Andhra Pradesh- Maa Telugu Thalliki
Visakhapatnam is a rising star on the East Coast; a city which is poised to grow exponentially as the years roll by. As it stands today Vizag is unrecognizable from the earlier version that I knew so well. There is this fast-paced life of urbanisation all around which somehow did not sit well with me. I was kinda lost in this city which was once sweet and gentle in its outlook. But then I guess urbanisation and modernity is needed and it is inevitable too.
Post Visakhapatnam, the cultural state of Odisha beckons the traveller. There is a marked change in the cultural presence of the people out here. Odisha was all about lovely wintry mornings and early dusk’s. I could sense that I was in the Eastern part of the country.
Odisha – Bande Utkala Janini Odisha
I chose to visit the northern shores of Lake Chilika, a village named Mangalajodi. Out here the villagers have started harnessing the beauty of the ecosystem. Mangalajodi wetlands are home to numerous migratory birds. The villagers actively involve themselves and participate in the conservation of the lake as well as its ecosystem. This ensures that the bird’s habitat does not alter and in exchange, the visit of bird enthusiasts and tourists boosts the local economy.
From Mangalajodi I digressed towards Puri where I spent the evening visiting the Jagannath temple. This in order to witness the evening aarti (prayers) followed by an early morning visit as well. The early morning visit was soothing as the wintry dawn in such an atmosphere is so fulfilling. Please note that phones, wallets are not allowed inside the temple perimeter. I was soon sampling the distinctive breakfast fare served on the street eateries. In this country, every region has its own unique cuisine and culture.
Bhubaneswar, I exited early in the morning and soon was crossing the Mahanadi river, yet another iconic river of India. Odisha landscape of wide-open spaces with fields on both sides of the highway soon gave way to iconic Bengal.
Bengal – Dekha Hobe Ei Banglay
It was a moment of anticipation to see the signboards proclaiming arrival to Bengal. The entry was super smooth, and I breezed into Kolkata in a few hours’ time in spite of being told about the notorious truck traffic that assembles on the border near Jaleswar, Odisha. Kolkata and this region has filled me with a sense of anticipation of further wanderings deeper into the Northeast.
So this is it; a meandering journey from the West Coast to East Coast. The Safari proved to be a pleasure to ride … a true-blue blooded highway cruiser indeed.