I had traveled across entire South India and to New Delhi in the North. I had been to Malaysia and Singapore as well. But when I got to see this where it asked me to write about my travel experience, they very first ting that hit my mind was my experience going to the Holy Shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala.
Having started traveling from the age of 6 till 24 for a non stop period of 18 years – completing 18 times,it was an enchanting experience for me as I had the privilege of taking the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa..
We use to travel to various other shrine before reaching Sabarimala in Kerala. We would begin our journey after taking a dip in the Holy River Pamba. The aroma of the river is too good. It is believed to be equivalent to Holy Ganges and also believed to be having great healing power as it comes across thick forests touching & carrying lot many herbs on its way. The perfume cannot be explained because of the mixture of herbs but for sure it gives us an evoking sensation of Freshness and Purity as it cleanses our Body and also the Soul. It gives a fresh feeling and great energy which makes us to reach the Shrine which is 7Kms away from the river amidst the mountains. Is it a “Divine Fragrance”, I still haven’t figured out the answer.
After taking a dip in Holy Pamba River, we would set our journey towards the Shrine trekking the mountain. This is another surreal experience for the fact it is covered fully with thick/dense forests.One can hear many kinds of sounds and voices emanating from various beasts and insects and you could also sense the feel of the presence of some animals through their smell. Remember, this forest is a part of Periyar Tiger Reserve and you can see a notification board in many places but the belief in God will make you not fearful of tigers or any other beasts.The experience of walking between forests is a different experience altogether.You get to inhale the purest of air which also gives you a fresh and rejuvenated feel as you inhale the smell of beautiful flowers and various herbs spread across.The aroma is a mixture of all of these – just like a mixed fruit!!! It comes with a part of Sweet mixed with Bitterness which is good for health because one cannot thrive wholly and solely on any one of these,forever..
Finally when we reach the Shrine, the experience is totally different. This is for the fact that there is a place where devotees throw away the empty coconut which was earlier filled with Ghee. So the light which was lit in a particular place will remain lit till the temple is closed and as the coconut and ghee burn together it gives the smell similar to that of one in ‘Homas” and it drives away all other smell if at all there is any in the surroundings. The temple shrine needless to say is Divine as it is regularly cleansed with Rose Water and the presiding diety Lord Ayyappa is cleansed with Sandalwood Paste,Rose Water,Milk,Coconut Water and other things like Flowers and Incense Sticks which gives a pleasant fragrance across the entire area which thwarts the existence of human fragrance and that of sweat(which exists due to our climbing of hills). Now I call this a real “Divine” fragrance and one needs to go there physically to experience it as it cannot be captured exactly by words or by any means….
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