GANGETIC PLAIN

THE GANGETIC PLAIN
The Ganga flows through Uthar Pradesh , Bihar and Bengal. The plain on either side of the river is extremely fertile , as the river and its tributaries bring fresh silt from the Himalayas,  every year during monsoon. Farmers produce rice and wheat , sugarcane , mangoes , potato and other vegetables . Potatoes are bought damn cheap by the traders and sold in all towns , making fabulous profit. Farmers’  cooperatives as in Gujarath can help in securing remunerative price.
Maximum mangoes are exported from UP. The farmers cut the plant , when young and ensure that they do not grow high. Mangoes can be plucked like oranges. In Keralam , we allow the tree to grow high and it becomes impossible to climb up.
The soil is alluvial and there are no stones anywhere, however deep you may dig! For making houses and roads , they make bricks . At the Atomic Power Station at Narora,on the bank of the river Ganga, raft foundation is made , by casting RCC beams in the shape of a raft , very large to support buildings , to ensue that it does not sink! The site was chosen due to political pressure..
We were staying as guest of my coworker in RAPP Sarvan Singh . In his court yard , they grow potato, onion, gajar,carrot,mooli, etc. , enough for their purpose. At RAPP , it is all rock and we depended on arrivals from the villages.
Ganga was the only means of transport till the British came. Now even small ships ply from  Calcutta to Allahabad and beyond. All major cities like  Kanpur, Allahabad ,Patna , Mughal sarai lie near the river. My great wish is to travel in a ship, along the Ganga. I was not lucky till now.
The world famous Nalanda University is neat Patna. It has been revived recently. Bihar I the cradle of civilization in India.
Pilgrimage
Kashi is a pilgrims’ spot for Hindus . Even when there were no roads , people used to walk all the way from Keralam and Tamilnadu , to pray at Kashi Viswanath temple , after bathing in Ganga. One of my uncles stayed permanently in Cochin House in Kashi.
Pollution
In spite of all efforts by the Government, Ganga water is extremely polluted. The practice of throwing even half burnt dead bodies into the river must be banned.
Mythology
According to Hindu puran , the whole plain was dry and the sage Bhageerth, took tapasya to please Lord Siva . In the end, Shiva released Ganga , who was hiding ln his coiled long hair(to escape detection by his wife Parvathy), and the whole plain was flooded

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MY LIFE – CS PURAM-4

PILGRIMAGE TO KAMAKSHI TEMPLE

One morning, on my return from the temple, I saw Thuppan talking to my wife. Do you want to come to see Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakodi, he sked me.
The big van parked in front of his house is going there. I can get free lift, he added.
Travel is the best thing I like, next only to studies. I readily agreed. My wife agreed , though she did not want to come with us. Some cloths and tooth brush and paste, were immediately pushed into a bag, and I began my break fast.

 In the mean time the driver, a trusted man of the Seer, came and started talking. He seemed to be a gay guy, willing to adjust in any company.
We started at about ten and reached Palakad transport stand where the van was parked and both Thuppan and the driver went away, leaving me in the van. They came back, with two travellors bound for Coimbatore, from whom bus fare was taken on reaching there.
At Coimbatore, we went to see my cousin Unnikrishnan and his wife Sainaba.  It was poined out that I was wearing the pajama inside out! They insisted that I wear it properly.

Leaving us there, the driver went away on some excuse, promising to come back before five in the evening.
As soon as we started our journey from Coimbatore, some one on motor bike overtook our van, to point out that petrol is leaking.
Our driver ignored it.
In the night, we were going through thick bamboo forests, somewhere near Salem.
At about 2 AM, THE VAN CAME TO A STOP, AS ALL THE PETROL HAD LEAKED OUT.
The driver stopped a vehicle coming in the reverse direction, got into it with a vessel, normally used for storing water, and went away, leaving us, including Kappara Subrahmanian, who was with us, in the van. So we three Subrahmanians were left in the lurch, wondering what will happen next! After about an hour, the driver returned in another vehicle, with petrol in the vessel. By sucking the petrol through a pipe and pouring it into the engine, wasting much of the precious liquid, somehow, he managed to start our journey again. When we reached Vellore in the morning, he told us to go by bus, as the van needed repairs!
Wonderful! I remembered a sayig in Hindi: don’t undress, just  seeing a naked woman! Well, that is what we did.
We had break fast first, then proceeded to Kanchi by bus. The distance was not much. By noon, we reached Kanchi. Thuppan was our leader. He took us to the office of the Math, where they eagerly heard our story and told us to give written complaint.
On second thoughts, we dropped the idea. Thuppan’s sharp mind understood the situation. The driver is very, very close to the Sankaracharya, who was subsequently arrested, in connection with the Sankararamanan murder case!
We stayed at the TTD Rest house, in one room for just Rs. 50 per day, specious, with one or two mats made of grass and common bath ,with plenty of water.
For break fast, the manager gave a tip. At the right side of the main gopuram(gate,very high, with elaborate carvings etc., in the typical Tamil architecture) is an opening without any sign board. Don’t ask anybody. Just go in. It was the home of an aiyer, where we saw several other men and boys, apparently students, sitting on the bare floor. After taking orders, the lady made the dishes- idly, vada, dosa etc., steam hot,very tasty; we went on eating. The rates were very cheap. I think they did not want publicity, as they avoided other castes.
The temple of Shiva and Parvathy, is so vast and grand that I am unable to describe it. You cannot explain the elephant to one who has not seen that unique, giant of an animal!
There is a mango tree inside, which gives fruits of different tastes, from different branches, facing the four directions. Parvathy is believed to  have done tapasya(prayer with only one wish in the mind) under this very tree!
There are four buildings, all made of granite only, without any lime mortar, one surrounding the other, all with carvings, the innermost being the sanctum, housing the deities of Shiva and his wife. In no other religion is the god with wife and children.
The Kamakshi temple is not big, compared to the Shiva temple. Here was a long que. Thuppan told me to follow him. He just went forward, from one side, chanting Samskrit mantras,  and reached the point nearest to the deity. We prayed for a long time, undisturbed. It was this Devi that our ancestor brought to Kadalassery and installed at the Durga temple there. I felt a thrill of devotion. I forgot all the troubles and felt grateful to Thuppan.