I was at Tirunelli, in Wayanad, for the last couple of days. I went there with my father and two uncles. It’s a beautiful place, with nothing except a temple and a guest house, nestled deep inside the forests of the Western Ghats. It has mountains on all four sides – Brahmagiri to the North, Udayagiri to the East, Kari mala to the West and Narinirangimala to the South.

It was my first drive in the Ghat section (9 hairpin bends) sitting behind the wheel! It was a fantastic experience. Tirunelli is 125 km away from my college. The best part of the drive, apart from the Ghat section is the portion from Mananthavady to Tirunelli, 31 kms entirely through the forest.

The temple is supposed to be nearly a thousand years old, and is set in a scenic landscape, with the Brahmagiri in the background. A fascinating feature of the temple is an aqueduct built by an ancient ruler, leading down from the mountain and into the temple. It is supported by granite pillars a couple of metres tall. It brings water to the temple even today!

Then there is the Papanashini river – a rivulet, rather, where the rites are performed. It’s right inside the forest, and a five minute walk from the temple. There was not much water, owing to the beginning of summer, but still there was enough to bathe in.

It was a great trip, and I’d like to go back there sometime. I was so captivated by the beauty of Brahmagiri, that I’d like to go trekking there. I see that there is a trail to the top, but it’s the core area, and you need permission from the forest department to go there. Someday…