Friday, 30 October 2015

Rasipuram Reflections - I

The name Rasipuram immediately brings to mind the legendary Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan (R.K.Narayan) and his memorable oeuvre. Yes, how can one ever forget the young and mischievous Swami, and his ‘mighty good-for-nothing’ friends who have been our childhood reads for years and years!

Ambassadors - they still rule the roost in Rasipuram...
Well, it was for the first time I stepped on the soil where R K Narayan was born – Rasipuram! Lucky that I was able to take a direct train from Chennai to Rasipuram, and only after I alighted in Rasipuram, I was told by my ushering friends here that the new broad gauge line was opened for traffic only in May 2013. Well, the train was indeed overflowing with passengers, which was greatly suggestive of the massive surge in demand for this route! Kudos to this largesse of the Southern Railways!

After my programme at Paavai Engineering College was over for the day, had an equally refreshing rendezvous with faculty friends here who gave me tips on the various tourist locations in and around Rasipuram.

 ‘What is Rasipuram famous for?’ I asked one of the faculty friends, rather unduly curious!

‘GHEE’ came voices in varying vocal ranges – [SATB? ;-) ] exemplifying the local pride in all its magnificence, in their happy voices!

Such is the name Rasipuram has earned for herself over the ages for her ghee and butter. Then I asked him for shops where I can get good ghee, and he directed me to one famous Veerappa Chettiar Shop down the busy market street, where he said, you should ask them to give you the ‘first quality ghee’!

Okay! I nodded, and prodded him again, ‘What else is the town famous for?’

Hand-loom silk sarees of Rasipuram (now more and more weavers have opted for the convenient power-looms too) are renowned here for their quality and for their durability as well, he averred, and promptly added with a slight note of caution, ‘Don’t buy during this time of the year, as Diwali is around, and the price is quite forbidding’!
and yes, i bought it too!

Thank you. What else?

Kolli Hills!!!!


Sensing my solemn eagerness on the subject, he added, albeit on an eager-beaver note, 

Yes, Kolli Hills, is quite close by! Known for its eco-tourism, Kolli Hills covers a length of a huge 440 kms. Much celebrated, eulogized and glorified in the Tamil Literature of the Sangam Era, Kolli Hills also finds interesting mention in the famous epic Ramayana, where they are called madhuvanam or forest of honey!

I was on ‘enthusiasm over-drive’ when he began to narrate with verve and gusto, the numerous escapades that enthrall the tourists who come desperate for adventure to this pristine mountainous locale of eco-tourism! Indeed, he has woken up the adventurer in me, and here I was raring to go…. To Kolli Hills…

To be contd... after our  'eco-tourism' drive to Kolli Hills tomorrow :-) 

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