TO DO ANYTHING
Holiday’s are usually exhilarating, stimulating, brimming over with to-do boxes to be checked off. But the village of Dindi, flanked by the Vashista River, a tributary of the Godavari and part of the verdant Konaseema Delta formed by the Vashista and Goutami rivers, lives life at an intoxicatingly relaxed amble. The only thing that really demands a reaction is ‘Papikondalu’ (sometimes written as Papi Kondalu), the name of the cloud-ringed hill range you’re here to pay homage to. Once you’ve got past your amusement at this name, you’ll find that the most strenuous thing you end up doing is dialing down the pace of your otherwise hectic life.
Drive to the Laxmi Narasimha Swamy Temple at Antarvedi, past coconut groves looming large over shallow ponds, canals and cattle grazing in green meadows, and village belles drawing water from a pump beside traditional homes of mud and timber with thatched roofs. You will actually feel the sensation of stepping back into a time before tourism and touts in the village of Gudimellanka, 5 kilometers into the drive from Dindi. The hallowed portals of the temple, built between the 15th and 16th centuries, will deepen the reverie. No one rushes you, you can sit forever before a priest at prayer in the blue-pillared hall. A 15-minute walk away from the temple brings you to a sprinkling of fishermen’s homes and the isolated Antarvedi Beach, where the Vashista-Godavari meets the Bay of Bengal.
But to allow the magic of the area to really seep under your skin, drive from Dindi to the jetty at Purushothapatnam for a cruise down the Godavari. The further you cruise along the river, the more beautiful the views get – gulmohar trees, isolated, pristine beaches with only stray cattle and a wandering pilgrim to break the emptiness, ancient trees with roots knotted together in an ossified orgy, the luminous Papi Hills haloed with clouds….Admittedly, you may not love the boat you are on – with its blaring Telegu music, rowdy joke-telling, buffet-style meals and dance-sessions initiated by an energetic master of ceremonies.
Do yourself a favor and try the exercise on a private craft. Ask the cruise operator to make an island stop at the village of Perantalapally, charming with its waterfall, local crafts, temple and clusters of chicks and children, and home to the elusive, endangered golden gecko. You may not return from the Konaseema Delta with an epic tale, but you will return rejuvenated. When you’re stressed in the city and think of that languid boat ride down the Godavari, you’ll forget the absent phone network and Wi-Fi, the long waits for services to be rendered, the fluctuating electricity. You’ll only remember how beautiful the world can be, and the swear words will be wiped from your lips.
Great to visit from Hyderabad!!!