The rains had cleared by the morning of the second day of our stay at B.R. Hills, though it continued to be misty. After a leisurely breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and walked to the nearby Biligiri Rangaswamy temple.
The heavy rains of the previous day had made the path slushy. There was also a large crowd of devotees waiting to enter the temple. We decided against joining the queue to enter and restricted ourselves to viewing the temple from the perimeters. One of the interesting sights I observed was of quite a few devotees striking a metal plate with a wooden stick while walking up the steps and within the temple compounds itself. The rhythmic metallic sounds coupled with the misty surroundings made for an interesting, almost surreal, ambience.
I then decided to go for a drive through the BRT Reserve enroute to Talakadu. Again, like the previous day’s drive to reach our hotel, the drive was superb. Along the way, we stopped to have local jackfruit and wild grapefruit (mosambi) sold by the local people. It was delicious.
We reached our next destination of Talakadu around 2 pm. Lunch was an interesting affair. Traditional meals served on banana leaves at a ‘mess’. The food was good and the setting very atmospheric!
We then walked around Talakadu, visiting the few temples located amidst the towering sand dunes for which this place, by the banks of the river Cauvery, is famous. It is indeed interesting to observe these huge sand dunes in an otherwise lush green landscape. And the temples are also worth a visit. However, as a whole, I found the place a little underwhelming. I guess I had got used to visiting places that, for the most part, were very well maintained. Visiting Talakadu with it’s narrow, dirty approach road, no ‘modern’ places to eat or drink tea / coffee, lack of clean toilet facilities was a throwback to the times of 15 – 20 years ago when it could be said that places like these were more the norm than the exception. However, and this is a credit to the authorities, this was the first place I have visited in the past three years of traveling which had these issues. In one sense, I am glad I visited, with my children, to still get that feeling for an India that is fast disappearing. On the other, I find it sad that a place of such importance feels so neglected…