Towards Nilgiri Hills (Mountains)

Karnataka occurred to us very thriving in tropical greenery, thousands of palm trees and extensive dense jungle forests. We went to chill out a bit on a beach, Belekan Beach is were we stayed for a few days, taking nice stroll, full of beautiful views everyday and eating in the restaurant, the only on in the place we stayed. Lovely dishes prepared by the wife of Mr. Prakash and a simple hut just at the sea, made it all play along smoothly and pleasant. Walking out of it we could literally just jump into the water and have a warm, but still refreshing, bath. Nearby beaches were stunning and definitely the best ones we have seen so far! 









J.in the Gokarna's Hair Parlour.
Full glamour :D

Then we headed towards the place where over a century ago Vasco da Gamma landed making a full lap around the world, we couldn't miss it! Unfortunately when we got there, the last boat was on its way to the island (St.Mary's Island) and the next day...there were no people in the morning and we needed at least 8 more to get on the boat (which actually was not even there).. So, the only thing we had left was to take some pics from a distance and off we went, on the road again. 


Growing bigger... 

A creepy family, alike The Texan Chainsaw Massacre ;
Indians??




To see a 18m's high, monolithic, big-foot Jain statue we had to go to Sravanabelagola (charming name indeed..), but on a way more adventures awaited us. Since we last changed the rear suspension in our dear Enfield, we've been trying to drive more carefully, look out on speak breakers and other humps. This time despite our GPS was restlessly assuring us the way was ok, it turned out to be...not as much as so. Over 20km's on a bumpy road which was actually not a road whatsoever, mountainous, tortuous track with either a heavy gravel or slippery pebbles due to which once we didn't manage to avoid falling over on a pile of rocks.. So yet, it took us at least 2 hours to get through. But how rewarded we were at the end of it, with beautiful secluded village, a farm that emerged all of a sudden amongst picturesque rice fields and surrounding woods!



Giant on the top of a mountain in Srava...whatever ;) 



Like from Zeus pc game – painted real!
Amazing.

Ooty

Finally, we got to the first hill station – Ooty! Logged in in a cozy, British lodge, complex of semi-detached cottages up on the hill. There we spent 3 days, went for trekking amongst tea plantations and local tribal villages in the mountains and got to the top of one of the highest mountains over there (~2500m above sea level). Great walk we had, watching nature as well as beautiful, outstanding views taking us closer to the local people and protected landscapes of Nilgiri Hills.
Here are some photos, reflecting it much better than words (despite the quality which I had to change to be able to upload them..):










What is very upsetting and equally outraging in all Indian nature, is that even these relatively pristine places, if exist, are evenly neglected and littered. People here have no particular awareness toward natural environment, striving to become more and more westernized with their exceeded usage of plastic mini-bags, single-use bottled drinks etc. All this covers every inch of towns (literally), but here in the mountains it's simply heart-breaking. Floods of rubbish are falling out from every ditch, corner or even a slope in allegedly protected area...

Eco-Development...

very ECO...

Then, one week we stayed in Karuna Farm, just next to Kodaikanal were we got accompanied by heavy rain before coming over... (we got completely soaked to the skin, for the first time). A project run partially by Indians and foreigners from the other hand. A few basic cabins/Indian-style huts (hellishly expensive, for the standard they have), yoga centre, eco-garden, earthship & eco-house in-progress, plus restaurant, form the whole place. Some “westerners” live here permanently, have got their proper houses or building one etc., others come over as volunteers or visitors (price doesn't differentiate between two latter ones unfortunately). We hooked ourselves to the activities run by a Canadian guy – Hart, very nice, smiling and open-minded fellow. To be honest, if not him, we probably would have had nothing to do as volunteers, but eventually we did pretty well and kind of felt useful gaining useful knowledge at the same time. We helped out with building his eco-house on the steep slope (one day he can make a poo, looking out at the extensive valley, covered with high, dense clouds – awesome :D), made with cob (clay/sand, lime, coconut husk and water mixture) and recycled bottles, chunks of wood, old windows etc.,




worked in the garden, doing some trans-, planting, reading a lot, building compost and preparing Fukuoka seed balls – seeds enclosed in small, clay and compost balls, made by hand, ready for broadcast randomly on the field etc.

solar kitchen, in the clouds ;)

Lunch with folks on the Farm

Fukuoka seed balls

Alex's fabulous Earthship!


[One of those days afterthoughts:

Listening to Shpongle and getting through the next interesting issues and principles within permaculture broad subject, I'm just stunned with how much everything around us leads us to entropy. Everything tends to disorder and final death, it's how it is. We are trying to acquire skills and tangibles to capture, grasp the life around us, and ours as well, but eventually we realize that'snot forever. Can't be. In the meantime we're not enjoying it fully, always floating with our mind to the past or forth, to the vague future. Unnecessarily. Here in Karuna Farm we are staying in a hut, surrounded from all sides with the jungle, overlooking a steep slope and extensive valley below. Clouds climbing up all the time, crawling along the slopes, preventing from seeing through, but in the same time revealing their mysterious and enigmatic nature. So beautiful wake up in the morning  and find oneself in the clouds! 8 am there's yoga session, every day,  after which I stayed for my Vipassana sitting (successfully still carrying on with it). The time for breakfast, prepared in our tiny kitchen annex: porridge, scrambled eggs (J.), nice wholemeal/sour-dough bread from a local eco-shop.Then working with Hart, popping up to his hut, having coffee etc. He's a very knowledgeable person indeed, in terms of growing food, permaculture assumptions, land-arranging and building with natural materials. We got a bulk of stuff from him: pdf's, e-books, documentaries/movies/tutorials, all about those merits. We're getting more and more into it, very absorbing! And even, if it all requires full dedication and a lot of time, sounds like the only reasonable way to follow in our life, not to get sucked into this hectic style of living that most of the people have nowadays, running after  meaningless things, on a long run. We've got it pretty clear, for now, that we'll try try to do our best to go towards more sustainable, aware and as simple as possible living, trying to be as independent from “The System” as it's possibly feasible in wherever we settle down, at some point. Obviously nobody knows what life is going to bring about, but doing one's best, without forcing and complicating things, therefore – going for simple or alternative/available solutions without much hassle (work&money-wise) would be an ideal turnover for us. We got very inspired by like-minded people and found out that so much is just at hand, so many materials, food and leisure that ppl all over the world work their asses off just to get them.. It is madness! And the ambitions of course, what our life would be without them...? Don't know yet, still struggling with mine, exaggerated ones, but hey, at the end of a day...isn't it to much?]



Munnar

Finishing our contribution we took off, going to Munnar. You won't believe, equally as we didn't..but our left rear suspension AGAIN got shattered... Luckily, in 50km's we found a mechanic that fixed it correctly, replacing it with the new one in less than an hour, all together. Ehh.. Anyway Munnar welcomed us with its stunning and fairy-tale-like hills, covered throughout with tea plantations, red and purple trees here and there, tiny villagers huts and plantation-workers dwelling complexes. All it looked like hand painted, surreal and I would venture to say that it was the most amazing view I was ever lucky to see. And what a ride it was! Moving slowly forward, but through twisting roads just along the tea plants, peeping into their baskets while they're plucking tops of the tea bushes. Incredible! From the back of the motorbike, even more!

on a way - new rear suspension, again ;
luckily got sorted out instantly

from the peak; trekking

Women plucking tree-bushes; low season:200RS per day (~2£/10zl) remuneration...

our thrilling, fairy-tale-like panorama! 




Nati





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