Traveller's Diary

Magnificent Mysore; Captivating Coorg

Durga Puja, 2019, saw our member, Dr B. Chatterjee, travel to Mysore and Coorg with her sister, sister-in-law. What a treat the Dussehra festival at Mysore was!
We took the afternoon flight to Bangalore and stayed overnight at a hotel there. As we had seen Bangalore and visited the places of interest before, we gave it a skip and drove straight to Mysore. We had seen Mysore too but the palace fascinated us as we went for a revisit.
The Dussehra festival at Mysore is a grand occasion. The king leads the procession on a gold chariot and people throng on both sides to cheer and greet him. After that the chariot is kept in the palace amidst tight security for public viewing for a few days. We also went to the famous Vrindavan Garden, known for its musical fountain.
From Mysore we went to Coorg, a sleepy hilly township, famous for its Buddhist monastery. We had a unique experience at the monastery. Exactly at one o’clock a religious sermon is held and just before that hundreds of monks of different ages and heights congregate systematically and quietly from all corners of the monastery. It was really a wonderful sight!
There is also a glorious and gigantic waterfall at Coorg; Abbey Fall by name. It is a must-see attraction. Beware though, to reach the falls one has to climb a long flight of steps followed by quite a long walk! One can hear the gushing sound of the waterfall along the way.
From Coorg we went to Murudeswar, famous for its Siva temple on the sea. A huge statue of Lord Siva outside the temple can be seen from afar.
It was a truly memorable trip and we enjoyed it to the hilt.
Traveller's Diary

From A Traveller’s Diary – Salem

Our member, Mr K. K. Pradhan, who served with Customs Intelligence, is a widely-travelled man, dealing with a host of sensitive cases. He found his Salem sojourn in Tamil Nadu, where he was posted for a few months, fascinating. Salem is both a geologist’s paradise and pretty as a picture!
Surrounded by hills with even the landscape dotted with hillocks, it also has a range of industries, from the mighty steel plant to handloom and cottage industries. Industry flourished because of the iron-ore locally available. It supported steel-making and served other medium and large industries as well.
The crafts flourished because of the sheer creativity of the people. Add to this Salem’s work ethics that transformed the small town into a major industrial city. Its most remarkable feat for Mr Pradhan was that Salem is a city free of destitution.
People worked in shifts, opening little shops in the morning and then going to work in the fields. Salem produces raw material for agro-based industry. It is the only round-the-year centre for sugar production with people growing their own sugar cane. Agriculture is a primary source of income and farmers participated in digging canals that brought water from the Mettur Dam, more than 50 kilometres from the city to irrigate their farmlands.
“I was surprised to see the vegetable market starting as early as between 3.30 and 4 am and getting wrapped up by 7.30 sharp, leaving the place clean. At 7 am, there would be an announcement of closure by the municipal authority and those who dilly dallied over closing shops would find a van with two long sticks, moving in to break the temporary shops. After 7.30 am no one would think that there was a bustling bazaar there”.
Salem is as dynamic as it is steeped in tradition. Traditional values reveal themselves in the lifestyles of the locals. Women wear gold chains and ornaments for which Salem is famous. “You will find thick gold chains and ornaments worn by almost everyone including the vegetable vendors”. The city is also the largest producer of traditional silver anklets that women cannot do without. Even the young generation is tradition bound, early to rise and early to bed.
For the visitor though, the city beguiles; not just with its bustling streets but equally with its natural serenity.