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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

The saga of my really long summer vacation!

It was a summer vacation with a difference..... it rained wherever we went! Yes, we traveled across three of the southern states, but the rains seemed to follow us, making sure we enjoyed the weather, as much as we did the sights! Let me show you some glimpses of our memorable vacation, through photographs - not of the sights, but the moments! 

Fog, mist and rain! We didn't expect to see sights like this in peak summer!

It all began at Mangalore, where the sultry night was cooled by heavy showers, making our bus ride to Coorg a delight in every sense! In Coorg itself, it rained off and on, making the weather pleasant, and showing us a side we hadn't expected to see in peak summer!

At Coorg, the resort was filled with flowers, and they dripped with raindrops, from intermittent rain

Bangalore was strictly for catching up with our extended families. Samhith had fun with his cousins, while we adults caught up with each other, and thanked Facebook for making communication easier!

Dark clouds gathering over Kochi Harbour

Kochi was on our agenda for Samhith's birthday, and we spent the day walking around the city, visiting monuments and museums, taking a boat ride and relaxing at the many cafes dotted across the city! The surprise was the birthday cake our host at the Silverweed Homestay arranged for Samhith, late in the evening! It was a memorable 11th birthday indeed!

Samhith holding a fish caught in the Chinese Fishing Nets

The rains arrived here too, but they didn't dampen our spirits, and instead only excited us all the more as we headed to Cherai the next morning, in an auto, enjoying the wind and the rain....

The rain soaked window of our auto on the way to Cherai

At Cherai, the rains really caught up with us, pouring with a vengeance all day long, making us wonder if the monsoon had already arrived!! We made the most of the day, lazing around in the resort, photographing the rain and the dragonflies!

Club Mahindra Cherai in the rain

The next day, in spite of the overcast sky, we managed to get in some 'sightseeing', mostly churches and ruined forts. This was a trip filled with surprises and interesting places, which you can look forward to reading all about, soon!

Waves lashing at Cherai Beach in the rain

My husband returned home from Cochin, leaving us to continue further south, to Tiruppur, near Coimbatore, to my sister in law's place for the last part of our holiday. Her house, located amidst fields and plantations, is one where we woke up to bird calls and visits from peacocks, which by itself made the stay a memorable one. Besides, visiting the Avinashi Temple for a dance performance during the chariot festival was a new experience for me, and for Samhith of course, the highlight was the time spent with his aunt!

Preparations for the chariot festival.. a raft being readied to carry the Lord

We headed off to Ooty with them, for a short break, and here again, the rains followed us, taking us completely by surprise, drenching us to the core, and making us shiver, wondering if it really was still peak summer indeed! We of course, hadnt taken along any warm clothes, not expecting this kind of weather, which only added to the sense of adventure. Of course, having gone all the way, we made the most of it, in spite of the rain, visiting some of the usual places, and in addition to them, making a trip to Avalanchi, to the lower Bhavani dam. That was surely the best part of our Ooty trip, and the sight of the Shola forests and the grasslands, with the river winding between them, is one that will stay with me forever!

The Bhavani river winding between the Shola Forests and Grasslands near Avalanchi

Returning to Tiruppur, we spent the next few days in peace, Samhith playing with his  new friends in the area, while I sat through my sister in law's Bharatanatyam classes, catching up with my reading. On the last day, she even roped me in for a storytelling session with the children and parents, one which I hope the audience enjoyed as much as I did!

Samhith with his athai (aunt) at Ooty

Our summer vacation wasn't over yet! We next headed to Palani, for a cousin's wedding, taking  a detour along the way to visit the village from which my ancestors hailed, and a shrine to the Lord my grandfather was named after! This was yet another chance to catch up with relatives, this time from my mom's side of the family, and we certainly had a blast! However, cousins and long lost uncles and aunts apart, I also met a friend whom I had only known online. Arun Bhat of Darter is a friend I had introduced to my cousin, due to his interest in photography. It was now my cousin, the bridegroom's turn to introduce me to Arun!! Interesting how unexpected events occur, don't they?

Samhith and my sister Kanthi enjoying a quiet moment on the Amaravathi river

Apart from all the fun and gossip we caught up with, at the wedding, we also managed to find the time to visit the temple of Karthikeya that Palani is so famous for. After years, I climbed the 750 steps to the shrine, to see the Lord who is my father's family deity. Tired and drained after the ascent and descent, I could only look forward to getting back home! 

Weddings are meant to be fun for everyone (well, maybe everyone except the bride and groom!) Samhith with his uncles, making the most of the occasion!

And that is the saga of my really long Summer Vacation, and the reason the blog has been silent for so long. We came back home to see piles of work awaiting us, and the only reason this post is up today is because Samhith is back at school! June and July promise to be rather hectic too, but I shall try my utter best to write as often as I can, and keep bringing you interesting nuggets of all that we have seen on our trips!

Meanwhile, I have been posting regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so please follow me on these sites to keep up with me and my travels!


  1. Thanks Anu for taking us with u wherever u go.nice moments frozen as pictures.
    admiring ur sweet writing style
    Raji Parthasarathy

  2. Your family looks so lovely! It sounds like it was a lot of fun to finally catch up with everyone. Thanks for sharing all the pictures, and it sounds like there are plenty more to come!

    1. Thank you so much, Natalie!! Yes, there are many, many more to come!

  3. hi, why did you not bring some of the rains along with you to Mumbai. We are roasting out here. Jokes apart, loved your photos and the writeup.

    1. Thank you, Balaka! I really wish I could have brought the monsoon along, and actually did expect it to be here before I got back! but well, at least now it is here!

  4. Seems like a long long summer vacation.


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