A teenager’s experience of Hejje

It was on 27th February that a group of children and teachers from our Udhbhavaha school set off our journey for a Padayatra in Gouribidanur and neighbouring villages. We called it “UDHBHAVAHA HEJJE”. 

By splitting into 2 groups in 2 cars, we started our trip right after the school. After a refreshing break in the middle of the journey, we reached our destination around 7:30 pm. We were invited for a wedding. We received a warm welcome there and also a sumptuous meal. All of us were very tired and wanted to take a good sleep to ready ourselves for the 3 exciting days ahead. The room had plenty of mosquitoes, but I slipped into a very sound sleep in spite of their buzzing sound.As the sun rose, we were asked to get up and freshen up as we had to reach the village Chinchanahalli which is 17 kms away from Diwakar anna’s farm. We set off our journey with a pooja for the cows  – and they were the ones who had to carry our luggage.

I had a mixed feeling of excitement and sadness thinking about the long journey by walk ahead. It was indeed a long journey in the scorching sun. While walking we played football which consumed our time and we did not realize the strides we took. We took a halt for our meals- it was tasty and spicy. On the way, we were offered refreshing lime juice by the kind villagers.  Our Gouribidanur trips are incomplete without a dip in Bhaavi (well). Before signing off for the day, we took a dip and it was very rejuvenating for all of us. We continued our journey and reached the destination by sun-set. It was a beautiful village with lush greenery. The scenic beauty was spectacular. We had a fun-filled evening, playing few games and spent some time in a nearby temple doing Bhajans. The villagers there had arranged a very tast dinner for us which included rice, rasam, ragi mudde, saaru, pickles, palya and papad. With gratitude, we finished our dinner and thereafter went to few of their houses, had conversation with them and retired for the day.

We did not hurry up too much the next day and everybody got ready in a very slow pace. We had some refreshing tea in the cold weather. We expressed our gratitude to our hosts. By the time we started, it was 9:30. Our luggage was loaded in the bullock cart. All of us were energetic and nobody, including the younger children, did not show any signs of fatigue. Highlight of the day was chilly, lime sugarcane juice. We got an opportunity to see how Jaggery was made in an AALA. Everybody was so engrossed there, we did not realize how the time passed by and even forgot our hunger pangs.We halted under a shade to have lemon rice and raita. After fueling ourselves, we headed to our next destination. We plucked few berries on the way. We visited a livestock farm; chickens there were very cute.

In our next halt, we got some juicy jackfruit and papaya , along with lemon juice. It really helped to quench our thirst. While all the adults took a nap, we children played cricket to refresh ourselves more. We set off our journey again as we wanted to reach the next village before sunset. The route to this village was very beautiful and there was a mini trekking also involved. I wondered why there were not many people on the roads compared to our crowded cities, the place looked very calm and serene with a slight breeze. 

On the way, villagers were very curious to know from where we are coming and everybody had a surprised look on their faces. They were even more curious on hearing our reply that we have come to see the villages and the people there. People were very friendly.By evening we reached our next destination. I was surprised to know that our overnight stay would be in a temple. By the end of the second day, children were feeling a bit tired. We got a very relaxing, soothing leg massage from our teachers which drove away all our fatigue.

At last the final day arrived!

Now, we had to go back to the place where we started. The journey was quite different on the last day; It was more of a trekking kind. We visited a temple on top of a hill; did a mini rock climbing too. I had the best breakfast on the last day – Bhelpuri. It was a 3-hour trek before we reached our first halt. It was really adventurous as some of us lost our way and we were also depending on Kencha, our companion dog to know the correct route. Finally, all of us reached the next village where we were treated with refreshing Panaka and groundnuts. It’s the first time in my life that I drank these many glasses of juice in one go – that much thirsty I was! All of us were happy to know that we were not very far from our destination though we did not know how many kilometers were pending exactly. 

The last leg of our trip! All were very happy to reach Diwakar Anna’s farm. Bhavya Akka was waiting for us, and she had kept the food ready for us. After having a good meal, we all had one round of discussion, sharing our experiences of the journey.

Most of us felt so much gratitude to the villagers. We headed back to Bangalore after clicking a group photo. It was a very memorable trip.