Why Rajamundry? —Part III 15/02/2011

Our, rather my  adventure began even  before  I boarded the motor boat  anchored on the banks of the Godavari  river. Reaching the spot meant  trekking  the muddy slope of nearly ten feet watching your every step. I  visualized a situation  where missing  a   foot hold would  take me  rolling down  the steep incline   and   landing  in the waters of the holy river. I was  reminded  of  a similar experience during a visit to Gangtok with my parents  nearly four decades ago. We were heading towards   the  Royal  palace  through a narrow  strip of muddy road  and I was walking along  the edge . My feet  pushed a  portion of the loose soil and I found   myself rolling down and landing  with a thud   on the road below which was more than fifteen feet!  Thankfully  it was  my camera  which bore the brunt of the fall!

Sensing my plight one of  the   crew  members  meticulously lead me  to the boat  within minutes  and  we  set out  along with  100 and odd others  on  the day  long  journey  to Papi Hills .

Welcome to Javali, came the announcement  from a slightly built Nani who was a commentator, an event manager and  an  entertainer, all rolled into one.The first  thing we learnt about our destination was how it got its   name —it is  not  Papi  Kondalu(Kondalu is hills in Telugu)  as is generally thought of  but   Papidi  Kondalu, which means  the  thin   partition in a woman’s hair in Telugu. Since  the  expansive    Godavari    narrows into a thin  line   while approaching  the hills  which are  three in number, they have acquired the name of Papidi Kondalu which in course of time  was shortened  to Papi Kondalu or Papi Hills.

The  seats in the  two tier  air conditioned  motor boat  were  quite comfortable  and we could  view the scenery  in all its  beauty  even as the  young  driver   dexterously  maneuvered  the boat  at an even pace   through out the journey. The  view from the covered deck  was even more stunning with  the spectacular  hills that fringed the river resembling a green canopy. Tiny villages dotted the river  on the other side. Breakfast was served and  Nani  donned the role of the entertainer —commencing the day’s events by officiating for a mock marriage between an  elderly  couple  among the travelers. From there on  there was  no stopping Nani who had  taken complete charge of  inviting or literally goading the passengers to participate  in what he had planned for them. He demonstrated  various filmi jigs  to popular tunes and  entreated them to follow. I admired  his PR and  Communicative skills  in  drawing out both young and old to literally ‘dance to his tunes.’ After  a brief stop at    Gandi Pochamma Temple, post lunch   we proceeded to  Papidi Hills, the journey  was   marked with   twists and turns. At  one point  when you are sailing  in the  midst of  two hillocks  which appear very close to each other  you feel  they are within arm’s reach and you can go no further but suddenly you find the boat meandering through a narrow passage (which you feel doesn’t exist)  between these and Papidi Hills  loom large before your eyes, looking majestic in all their glory!  We noticed  some  cute   cottages nearby  and  were informed  that they were meant for tourists who wished to holiday here.

We had to satisfy ourselves  with a distant  view of  the Papidi Hills since  there was no halt  at this  spot.  We really   missed the excitement  of  walking through the sands and  craning our necks  to have  a closer look of the piece de resistance  and the  ‘cottages’ .

On our return journey  there was a  brief  stop  at the Veera Bhadra Swamy  Temple  and very few ventured to trek the distance  in the hot sun  for visiting the Shrine which  we were told was one of the oldest in the village. We reached  Pattiseema, our starting point a  little after seven p.m.

There is a threat  to Papidi Hills  if   the Government, finishes the construction of Polavaram  Project    when  the entire  range  and the jungle will dip in the water. Perhaps that’s the reason tourists are eager to visit  this visual treat.                 …..To be concluded

N Meera Raghavendra Rao

4 thoughts on “Why Rajamundry? —Part III 15/02/2011

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    Your graphic description of the journey and the vicarious thrill that we obtain from reading it is surely tenfold better than the experience of visiting those tourist spots ourselves.

  2. V Raghavan

    Reaching a motor boat anchored a little inside the water is tricky business. I had a similar experience in Havelock island recently. Earlier in Wayanad, I actually fell into the water.

    There is a chapter on Telegu Javali by Davesh Soneji in a book published by the Oxford University Press a few months back on Bharatanatyam. He says: What makes javali unique, is the relation it proposes between the dancer and the audience.

  3. Reaching the anchored boat is easier than transferring yourself into a swaying dingy mid sea like I mentioned in my trip to Port Blair .But the crew are very helpful and come to your aid.

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