Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Lost Hobbits Of India

As we climbed gaining on more altitude, breathing became heavy and hard. The wind was against our climb and it was dry cold. We needed to stop and sip some water to energies. I saw some big slated rock over a patch of tall lemon grass.
I showed my team the spot and climbed up on it and sat on the rock overseeing the valley below. The view was as if it was from a watch tower, can see the entrance and exit of the mountain.
That’s when Mattuchami, our guide pointed to the rock I was sitting on a said “do you know where you are sitting?”, “a 4000 year old hobbit’s home”. We were pretty thrilled about that find. It was more like the stone hedges found in middle earth.

The locals call them ‘Kullamanidhargal’ meaning ,short people/dwarfs. But i believe that those people weren’t dwarfs, they had the strength, wisdom and knowledge more than a dwarf tribe or pygmies for instance.

They were the guardians (not sure as what they were guarding) asper the puranas, they had significant strength. If you look at it, each home is made by a single hobbit and each rock is carried from the river bed where these slates are easily chipped out but very heavy to be carried by one hobbit. The river flows at the foot of the mountain where these rocks lay. The trek up was too difficult and long, wonder how they managed to carry those rocks.
These hobbits were often attacked by elephants and they had no strength or the power to tame or fight against them. The locals say they moved from one place to another to avoid being killed by the elephants. These hobbits do not come out to live with the developed society. They do not wish to do so for many reasons. Insecurity, inferiority and the folklores about the slavery... They were hunted, captured and killed by the invaders, and top reason is that they felt a lot safer in the forest.
The guide told us where we can find them today. He has given us the contact to reach to them. They live in the hills of Idduki dist and are well protected within a forest reserve. A man from the missionary has promised to take us to them. We have been asked to carry tobacco and some salt as offerings.
Packing for the non sabbatical… meanwhile, follow the cult tour tales…
I have uploaded some pics from the virtual connecting the story above. The idol showing the hobbit tribe carrying rocks, and the black and white picture is from a British photographer’s collection.
The rest of the pictures of the hobbits homes is from our camera.

Deadliest falls, diving into the mouth of the devil.

It was last friday evening and we were planning to go for a swim at a near by club in Chennai . When we reached the place, it was like a water buffalo convention. The pool was packed. We came back home and thought we should find a nice spot to swim with peace and less dirt.

So we packed our backpacks and set to the western ghats near ‘Perumal Malai’ a mountain range near the forests of KodaiKanal , in Tamil Nadu.We reached the valley around 4 in the morning and explored the village to find a spot to stay.

I prefer finding a small shack and live there but my friends were little uncomfortable staying in shacks and cabins. We found a small resting place called the elephant valley resort. I did not pay much attention to the ambience or anything but was keen to hit the woods asap.
We dropped our bags, picked up our trekking kit and left. Had a map of the forest, took the copy from the forest officials and a nav-compass. A local farmer as the guide and we moved into deep jungle.
We had to cross about three mountains to see the tallest waterfall. It is not a usual tourist spot as the trek up and down is too difficult for regular tourists or for a film crew. 

The highlight is that there were at least 50 deaths recorded in that spot. Includes couple of Germans and British tourists. The falls has a cave where the water falls that goes more than 500 feet down into the earth and no one knows where it ends. Once a rich businessman from Andhra Pradesh dived in and was caught by the whirl and sucked him into the cave. Deep sea pearl divers from tuticorin were brought in to find his body but even they feared to go as the currents were too strong.
 We stopped at a safe spot and had  a peaceful swim.

We did not go close to the fall, we swam away from it. We can’t afford to die this early or this way.
We found a cave were we took rest. Believed to be the cave where Pandavas once lived during their 'vanavasam'. Have the image on this post
And by evening we climbed another mountain to avoid crossing elephants and bisons . Walking by the foot of those mountains you are sure to be roughed up by an elephant or something.
When we reached the top, i saw rock slabs over the tall grass, a very ideal place to rest and view the sun set. I climbed on to one of the rocks and sat. The guide smiled and said, “do you know where you are sitting?”, “you are right now sitting on a 4000 year old home of a hobbit“
I slowly stood up and I could see atleast a dozen more like them over the hill, a small hamlet of those hobbits once lived here.
The homes of the lost hobbits of India.
To be continued…

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kulikhaa , an Art-craft-argi-cult Carnival

Artisans from more than 15 states, displays ranging from more than 100 artistic creatives .The products that are coming out this time are different but you will also find the regular bamboo chairs, blue pottery and wall murals. But imagine if you were given access to hold on to a copper coin that has the symbol of the sun. Place the coin at the center of your forehead and concentrate your focus on the center of the coin, you will feel a little heat generating. The procedure is done during the day time when the sun is either setting or rising. Slowly open your eyes and try to see the sun. One can see th black spots of the sun with their naked eyes.
You will come across spears used by the Naga tribes, the clay pots that are different to cook your vegetables from meat, the 5 metal combined water holder, like a bucket. No need to heat the water artificially , just fill water in the vessel and keep it under the sun for about an 1hr. The water will not only be hot but it will carry content that protects and shields your body from impurities.
A great opportunity to meet some of India’s very gifted artisans, like Sivji of Iringal, who has a unique way of signing on his statue work. It is said that old sages and sanyaasis complete their pilgrimage and visit him. They will request him to make a statue of theirs. Sivji makes their statues and in about 4 or 5 days the person attains moksha. Sivji doesn’t like his name listed under ripley’s believe it or not as he says that it is no joke while he makes their statue as he would dream how their death will be.
This is an update to the previous post. It is now confirmed that the gathering of the eminent artisans will take place.