I know this is a cliche in the travellers circle – that the journey is far more exciting than the destination itself . However, Ive found this rather true in many cases – especially during my journeys in rural India when I often dont know what Im looking for or what I will find.
Almost two decades ago, when I was still a college student, I was introduced to Hampi and Badami . And what I do remember about these destinations is the journey . I hardly remember the monuments, but I remember going through the streets, looking for one of those bells that are tied around the cows which I had wanted to buy. Today , when I visit Hampi , the monuments form a part of my itinerary, but I hardly have the time to enjoy the journey . However what I couldnt do in Hampi, I was able to explore in Anegundi.
I didnt have an agenda when I reached Anegundi. We hired an auto rickshaw and Virupaksha, my guide took me under his wing. This was his hometown and he seemed to know where to go. This was the first time that I explored a town on an autorickshaw and boy was it a whirlwind tour.. I had a couple of hours before a luncheon meeting with Shama Pawar, a conservationist .
Virupaksha took it upon himself to show me the old gates of the empire, ruins of fort and the village with restored monuments. But the journey on an autorickshaw is what I remember – stopping by to admire the green fields against the boulders, craning my neck to take a picture of a mahal inside the village, sighting half a dozen blue tailed bee eaters on a wire .
We stopped by a small shop to have kitchen , where the woman was cooking on firewood and charcoal. Making conversation with some old women there, we continued to see the saffron side of Anegundi. My story appeared in the Deccan Herald today and although, it was an abridged version, I will be posting the original in the next post.