This post will be split into two, as there is plenty of content. I’ll focus this on the travel and the people and the next can be about the religious experience.
Getting from Sangli to Kule Narshingpur is a pain. First, there is a state transport bus journey to Islampur, which takes about an hour, and then there is the further journey by bus/rickshaw to Kule Narchingpur, which takes another half-an-hour.
We were lucky to find a luxury bus waiting as we reached the bus station at Sangli, and the journey to Islampur was comfortable and quick. Not much to do, except watch the kilometers tick by, and the wierd little conductor interact with the people on the bus in his singsong voice.
This region is all about sugarcane production, and we passed fields with sugarcane standing, or in various stages of being harvested, sugarcane loaded on tractors, bullockcarts, being stored….. whatever – sugarcane – and loads of it.
In Islampur, we gave up trying to figure out further state transport and simply hired a rickshaw to take us to our destination. The road was now bumpy. I guess the parents in law were not exactly comfortable. Raka was sitting on half the driver’s seat in the front, as these rickshaws are designed to seat only three, so I guess he wasn’t too comfortable either, but I was enjoying the ride through the countryside.
Narrow bumpy roads, blocked with bullock cart traffic – pretty heavy – we seemed to be waiting more than moving. Charming glimpses of the river, and all kinds of people chattering with our rickshaw man as we passed them. Very charmingly rural, if you overlook the not-so-charming ruts on the road.
Bullocks and goats seemed to be all over the place. Parked in front of homes having lunch, yoked, pulling carts, being loaded, unloaded…… I’ve never seen so many bullocks in one day.
We reached the home of the pujaris at our destination. Actually, the pujari on duty was someone else, but my parents in law had good relations with another, who wasn’t on duty, but we stayed with them anyway. I was surprised to find a Marathi family – I was expecting Kannada Brahmins (my in-laws are Kannada) like in Sangli. Apparently there are historical migrations and stuff involved and the seeming discrepancy was a normal state of affairs in such issues.
At least I could understand what was being said. I found myself feeling at home. The family were really charming people, complete with a really charming old widow grandmother – a typical joint family.
We visited the temple in the evening, and I have never seen such a charming location in this region (plenty in the Himalaya). What can I say, I’ll let the pics do the talking.