In Thurday Hops #4, I present this sweet hillside temple.
This Monday was a holiday due to Raksha Bandhan. We took advantage of the holiday to go for a short hike. That’s when we came across this colourful Shiv temple in an equally attractive setting. Sadly, it was closed, probably due to Covid restrictions.
Small but strangely peaceful. After all, you don’t really need a large, pretentious structure to be with God.
Our driver guide from Ottway Discovery tours also kindly provided tea, coffee, and two varieties of cake as refreshments. He set out the cake trays, tea/coffee thermoses, and plastic cups on one of the many wooden tables there. As we had started out quite early for the tour and the air was nippy, the hot coffee was very welcome.
I spotted several other tour buses parked in the area so I assume Anglesea is a favoured stop for bus tour operators here. The driver guides of the other buses too had set up refreshments on different wooden benches in the area.
Our driver guide told us that this area was initially known as Swampy Creek, but once a township was established here in the 1880s, the name was officially changed to Anglesea River, and finally Anglesea. Quite understandable as who on earth would want ‘Swampy Creek’ on their address!
After enjoying the hot coffee, there was enough time for a stroll along the bank of the Anglesea River.
A few quick pics, and we were ready to get back on the bus and continue with the Great Ocean Road tour.
Although the Great Ocean Road starts at Anglesea, the official starting point comes along only a further 15 kilometers away in the form of a memorial arch. Read on about the Great Ocean Road memorial arch, which was our second stop on the tour.
I loved, He lied. He cheated, I cried. I confronted, He denied. Still unfaithful, I spied. I trapped him, In disguise. I poisoned, He died. An accident, I lied.
Experimented with this new style of poetry. I’m not sure what exactly it is called, may be a micro poem, but it was great fun penning this down. If you have any idea what this style is called, please do let me know in the comments.
I have seen a lot of memorials. In Delhi, it is difficult to walk a kilometre without stumbling upon a memorial or two. But a memorial for a memorial? Overkill, isn’t it? But when you get to know the circumstances, it seems quite justified.
The Great Ocean Road, a 234-kilometre long road along the south-eastern coast of Australia, is dedicated to the soldiers killed during World War I (WWI). As such, the Great Ocean Road is the world’s largest war memorial.
When the WWI started in 1914, Australia as a dominion of the British empire got involved in the war automatically. Initially, the outbreak of the war was greeted with enthusiasm. However, as the war progressed and the number of fatalities rose, enthusiasm for the war dropped and the number of Australians enlisting for the war declined. Still, over 400,000 Australians enlisted in the war between 1914 and 1919. By the time WWI drew to an end in 1919, more than 60,000 had died and around 150,000 were injured or taken prisoner.
When the war ended, thousands of ex–servicemen had to be re-integrated into society. One looming problem was unemployment. The Great Ocean Road project was envisioned not only as a means of employing the soldiers who had returned but of creating a lasting monument to those who had died in the war.
3000 ex-soldiers started construction of the road in 1919. It was gruelling work with only picks, shovels and horse-drawn carts to help. No heavy machinery was available. Dynamite was used to clear areas. Several soldiers lost their lives due to the back-breaking task of building a road by hand. The 243-kilometre long Great Ocean Road was finally completed in 1932 and extended from the town of Torquay to Allansford in Victoria.
When WTB McCormack, the chairman of the Country Roads Board and honorary engineer for the Great Ocean Road Trust died, it was decided that a memorial arch should be built in his honour spanning the width of the road on the Eastern View. The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch was erected in 1939 as a tribute to Mr McCormack and to the 3,000 returned soldiers who had toiled on the Great Ocean Road. So that’s how this memorial for a memorial came into being!
The Memorial Arch serves as the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and is quite popular with tourists.
The arch is made out of wood, with cement and stone supports on each side.
On the Great Ocean Road’s 75th anniversary, a bronze sculpture of two ex-soldiers working on the road was added on the side of the arch.
Since it was first put up in 1939, the Memorial Arch had to be replaced a couple of times over the decades, once due to bush fires and once due to a truck accident. Despite these rebuilds, the original sign still sits on the top of the arch.
The arch has commemorative plaques for the arches built and the 50th and 75th anniversary of the road.
I do hope this arch does not need to be replaced any time soon as there isn’t enough space left for any more plaques.
So for the second Thursday Hops post, I have this pic of Bhimtal hills.
Oops, the hills are barely visible through the monsoon clouds. Yes, monsoon is here! It’s raining every day. We may be running out of dry clothes, but we sure are enjoying the weather along with hot cups of tea/coffee and assorted savories. Sometimes, these clouds even waft in indoors, making it really hard to work from home!
Starting today, I’ll be posting a single travel photo every Thursday. Hopefully, clicked in the same week. As travel options are currently limited due to the Covid pandemic, get ready to see many, many shots of Bhimtal from different angles in the coming weeks. (Don’t worry if you see the same shot of Bhimtal lake over and over again with just a change in the timestamp…it just means I’ve been feeling particularly lazy and haven’t stepped out the whole week.)
So here goes!
Thursday Hops #1
I took this pic yesterday, just a little before sunset. The lake was looking gorgeous, the air was fresh as it had been raining almost the entire day, and I was breathless. Okay, it was not just because the view was breathtaking, I had ventured out of the house after nearly two weeks and the steep climb took a toll. My hubby, of course, was not in the least out of breath as he does this hike every day with our dog.
A frequent pastime whenever we visited any lake or river was feeding the fish. We would get some bread or aate ki golis from nearby shops and get a good half an hour’s worth of entertainment by the lake. So when we visited Renuka Lake in Himachal Pradesh with our friends, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves by the lakeside.
We started off with a walk around the lake, at least the parts that were easily accessible. This took some time as Renuka Lake is the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh.
The lake is named after Goddess Renuka, mother of Parashuram. A temple of Sri Renuka ji graces the shore of the lake on one side.
After a visit to the temple and an almost-mandatory boat ride round the lake, we decided to sit and relax at a stone bench near the lake. Soon enough, some local kids selling little packets of fish treats surrounded us. The fish treats were in the form of little dried balls of flour. We bought a couple of packets off them and moved to the stone steps into the lake. A lot of other visitors were already out there throwing in breadcrumbs and flour balls to entice the fish.
Now this was a time when fishing was banned in the Renuka lake due to religious sentiments. This, combined with the fact that most visitors to the temple and the lake made a ritual out of feeding the fish, meant that the lake was teeming with big, fat, fully contented fish.
Never had I seen fish less interested in food! Ball after ball of flour floated past them, and the fish barely looked at them. In fact, they had a sluggish look to them as if nothing in the world would tempt them any more. We were all a bit disappointed at this listless display. But we also empathized with them — who would want to eat these dried balls of flour day after day? Especially when there was an almost endless supply of them. As we sat discussing this, I remembered a packet of cream biscuits in my bag that I’d kept for my son, who was then six or seven years old. Wondering aloud whether all they needed was a change in taste, I took out the packet of Sunfeast Orange Cream biscuits, crumbled one and threw it into the lake.
At first, the fish didn’t take any notice. Then, a biscuit piece drifted close enough for one particular fish to decide that maybe it was worth the effort. Instant hit! Almost as if a jolt of electricity has passed through it. The fish pulled itself closer to the other biscuit crumbs and started devouring them. Excited at finally seeing some action, my friends and son started throwing biscuit pieces into the lake as fast as they could. Word got around that some new kind of tasty treats were available, and all the nearby fish shook off their listlessness and started swimming toward us, clamoring in their own way for more. As soon as we finished the packet, one of my friends ran to a nearby store and brought back two more packets of biscuits.
By this time, other people had also started noticing the good response we were getting from the fish. They too made a beeline for the store. The store probably set a new record for highest sales in biscuits. But the energy buzzing in and around the lake at the time was definitely worth it.
Unfortunately, we were too busy enjoying the sight to click any pictures. Also, we didn’t have digital cameras back then so any pictures that we took are not readily available.
Luckily, the sight is so clearly etched in my mind that no souvenir photo is required.