The Himalaya of Odisha

Tripoto
26th Apr 2018
Photo of The Himalaya of Odisha by Shruti
Photo of The Himalaya of Odisha 1/1 by Shruti
Day 1

I had not seen such a dense vegetation in a long time. Coming from urban Bangalore, it was a sight for sore eyes. My husband and I were visiting a friend who was working for an NGO in a remote village in the Gajapati district of Odisha. We were advised to climb the 8.5 km long route to the top of Mahendragiri mountain. It is a biodiversity hot-spot but is also a religious hot-spot especially during the Shivratri festival as there are three ancient temples on top. Now, of course, there is some or the other legend associating the temples to Ramayana and Mahabharata. But we had gone there to see the nature. So let's talk about the weather and the view because those are the safest subjects.

Photo of Gajapati, Odisha, India by Shruti

This was the way to the top. We didn't meet a single soul on the way up except for a flock of hummingbirds who just had to stop to say an awkward 'hi'. Most parts of the climb was very steep. This was one of the few gentle parts of it.

Photo of Gajapati, Odisha, India by Shruti

At one point my head was, literally, in the clouds.

Photo of Gajapati, Odisha, India by Shruti

This was the view when we were at the top. The view of the mountain range was blocked by the clouds but the view was still awesome. Not a single soul here either.

Photo of Gajapati, Odisha, India by Shruti

The vegetation was breathtaking. The curry leaf plant, for which we pay good money in the city, grows wild here. I never could resist the smell of curry leaves. I plucked a leaf, crushed it slightly and inhaled deeply. It smelt fruity and delicious. Its flowers smelt good too, almost like jasmine but subtle.

Photo of Gajapati, Odisha, India by Shruti

The temples. They look very ancient. But there were no informative signboards by Archaeological Survey of India. Probably the remoteness and the 8.5 km trek has something to do with it.

Photo of Gajapati, Odisha, India by Shruti

And of course, the panorama shot.

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