After an interval of 4 years, I touched down the sacred territory of Kollur. This temple town has transformed a lot and signs of commercialization were evident everywhere. Lodges had mushroomed in every corner; hills were being mowed down for fresh constructions. Touts were wooing passengers alighting from the bus to substandard accommodations. A couple of luxury hotels had sprung up and the roads and drainage were filled with pet bottles, and plastic waste. Sight of empty liquor bottles and broken beer bottles here and there baffled me. The pilgrim place seemed to be at the verge of conversion to a holiday destination. A bit upset I walked ahead in search of an accommodation.
After a quick wash and breakfast I headed towards the shrine of Divine Mother. Dark clouds were gathering in the sky, and a cool strong breeze brushed past me whipping my hair forward, caressing my neck and shoulders. Suddenly the sky opened up and it started pouring. The wind was so bad that i struggled balancing the umbrella and simultaneously holding to my fluttering dhoti. Rain gathered momentum and half drenched I entered the sanctum which looked deserted.
Queue rope lines that guided teeming pilgrims remained empty. The usual shove and push which I hated most was not there. The dozing security personnel threw a lazy smile. He looked relaxed since there was nothing much to take care. Everything here looked so familiar. Slowly I walked in to the innermost sanctum (Garbhagriha) where the idol resides. The priests and the archaks here are always polite and a smile adored their face. With the scent of camphor and incense sticks wasping through the air and the glow emanating from the idol I felt in peace within me.
A feeling of detachment dawned as I started circumambulation of the main sanctum. The positive vibes that filled the air, the chanting’s that reverberated the space and the unremitting rains; time seems to be standing still here. And for the first time in life I realized balance in life is having inner peace despite what is happening around; it is not about having no problems in life or having only happiness in life.
Start of my semi reclusion
Unhurriedly I walked towards the structure overlooking the shrine and sat in a remote corner watching the rain. Raindrops took their turn landing with a divine rhythm on the roof of the shrine, lamp posts, and the corridor and on people passing by. Vivid memories of earlier visit to this place with my family flashed through my mind. I sat face to face with myself at the abode of divine mother in the company of Mother Nature. Great start to days of semi reclusion that gave lots of insight into life. This might help in understanding myself as a person, but might take some time. That’s Okey.
More on my exploration and discovery in the subsequent posts