Ever since PK and I have been married, I have known that a trip to this little town in the foothills of the Western Ghats (mountain range on the western side of India) was on the cards because it happens to be the home of PK’s ancestors and where my father-in-law grew up. It was a lovely visit packed with visits to PK’s uncles’ homes, temples and the many archaeological landmarks this little town had to offer. Here are my favorite memories from this trip:
My father-in-law (I address him as ‘Anna’ which means father in the Konkani language) happens to be one of my most favorite people. Always bursting with childlike enthusiasm and lightening the mood with his “glass half full” personality, he was more excited than ever that we were finally visiting his hometown as a couple and staying at their newly constructed home. It was heartwarming to see how much this little town meant to him and how he relived his childhood and his time with his parents every time we visited a landmark or a temple.
Special Places and People
Karkal is home to a number of religious landmarks and protected archaeological sites. The most memorable among these was the 42 foot nude statue of Lord Bahubali (a saint worshipped by followers of Jainism, an ancient Indian religion), Chaturmukha Basadi (a stunning little temple located on a small rocky hill – it is a protected Indian archeological site) and the St. Lawrence church (constructed in the 18th century by Christians who fled the Portugese rule in India).
Another special memory I will cherish from this trip was the valuable lesson in dedication I received from Nabi, the caretaker/priest of the Chaturmukha Basadi temple. Nabi lost his vision in an unfortunate accident involving sulphuric acid when he was a young chemistry lab attendant at the school my father-in-law went to. We watched in shock and awe as an almost blind Nabi walked up the unpaved road and stone steps to the temple barefoot and holding on to a cane. He greeted us with a warm smile and enthusiastically explained to us the history behind the temple and its many architectural features. In our money driven world where worth is measured with respect to money I always want to remember – There are no small parts, only small actors.
Family and Food
Since this was my first trip to the ancestral home and first time visiting many of PK’s uncles’ homes (who could not make it to our wedding due to health reasons), we were received with utmost warmth and treated to one amazing meal after another. I am glad that in India overeating is considered a compliment to the host because I most definitely added on a few pounds at these visits.