Sunday, June 21, 2009

Annual ' Date With Kolhapur '

This year too we could manage a trip to Kolhapur . Last year it was a trek at Panhala . At this time of the year I get nostalgic about Kolhapur when as a kid till the age of 8 , I used to spend the entire summer vacation with my grandparents , uncles , cousins Nandutai and Rajeev .

The unique aroma of mud getting soaked in the first showers , and the call of ' Kurmure-eh-eh-eh ' of the vender selling kurmura and roasted peanuts and channa , is still fresh in my mind.

I go to Kolhapur round about May end to get the first showers but have been disappointed for the last couple of years. This year we went in the first week of June and got the most awaited welcome showers and the freshness of nature . Papa was with us also and he was pleased to see his school and college where he had studied for a few years before shifting to Bombay to complete his graduation and post graduation .

We visited the Temblai temple near the Opal Hotel where we usually stay .

As a child I used to walk -- about 2 kms from our house --along with my grandma to this temple. Next day we visited Mr Ajit Dunung , a very successful businessman and a very close friend of Papa and especially of my uncle Sudheerkaka .

At this age of 72, he is still very active ,playing badminton and going on his bike all the way to Belgaum -- 250 kms to and fro -- for business work . He then took us to his club ,where I could park my car and went by rikshaws to the Mahalaxmi Temple --parking problems.

To avoid the long queue at the temple , I had taken the help of Manjit , the son of a security guard whose relatives are my patients here , to get us 'darshan' .Manjit took us the wrong way through the exit , brushing against devotees who had finished darshan and were on the way out . With folded hands I prayed to the Goddess Ambabai and asked forgiveness for taking a ' special darshan ' . I was thankful for this arrangement as Papa would have found it impossible to stand for so long in the queue.

In the evening instead of the usual visit to Panhala we went to Rankala lake after many years . I remember the last time we had been there was in the mid 90s . There is a lot of development surrounding the lake . a good play area for kids and a good walkway for visitors . Seen below is the lake with the Shalini Palace in the background as well as the nicely laid out walkway.

The only sore point is the approach to the gate of the lake .There are a lot of stalls selling eatables in the most unhygienic surroundings .There is a typical stench of ' unwashed kitchen towels ',water flowing everywhere and gives the visitor a doubt whether to enter the lake area or not. The authorities should organize the stalls with proper drainage and hygiene.

Sunset at Temblai through the welcome dark clouds

The moon through the tree at Temblai

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