The Conquest of Fear

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There are not many things stronger than fear. Some people will say that there is faith, others will believe in hope, but the strength of fear is, at most of the times bigger than any of these other things. People do things or hesitate to do things just because of fear, and it is not something new – it is a fact that we can see through centuries; history proves the same during its passage through ages. There is the need to conquer this fear if we have to progress in life. Don’t we all need to #RiseAboveFear?

I have had my fears, and even as I have never really made a list about the same, I am certain that one of the bigger fears were my fear of the heights. Yes, I have rarely dared to go to the heights and take a look below. Even when I did, I have mostly been holding on to something and chanting prayers. But that had to change with a journey, and it was that day on which we decided to go to Malayattoor.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing to our journey.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing as well as a confidence booster to the journey.

For those who don’t know about this place, it is a pilgrimage centre about fifty kilometres from Cochin, with a church located at the top of the hill, where Saint Thomas the Apostle is supposed to have prayed there. It is believed that, after arriving at Kodungalloor in AD 52, he stopped at Malayattoor on the way to Mylapore. This is one of the most visited Christian pilgrimage centres in Kerala and should be the top holy destination in the whole of India which is not dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

So, when my friend told me that this time he is visiting the place alone as his father was not well and won’t be able to climb the hill, I decided to give him company. This was to be my first successful climbing of a hill, as I have been afraid until then. I have tried to go up this hill, but never even reached near even quarter of the distance, as I got worried and came back every time – a total of three times until then.

The rocks are nothing just the path to our final destination

The rocks are nothing but just the path to our final destination at the top of the hill.

It was easier for him, as he has already been to the top many times. I was still worried about the slippery rocks which stood on the way, and my inability to maintain balance due to fear was evident. He was faster and had to stop regularly to wait for me. The sights of older people and devotees climbing while holding different types of big crosses on their shoulders were more of the inspiration for me.

The church at top of the hill awaits us reaching there.

The church at the top of the hill awaits us to reach there, surrounded by nature.

I wondered why I was thinking about myself as so weak, and was being too afraid. The fact that it was a pilgrimage strengthened me. I felt that this was the moment to get rid of the fear, and something like this will only strengthen me for future. If I can’t climb to the top now, my fear was never going to end, and I would never have any confidence about myself.

The old altar also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

The old altar with its own antiquity also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

So, I stopped at the beginning stages of the journey and had a Mountain Dew, one of my favourite soft drinks. It has been what I always preferred to have, along with Mirinda and 7Up. So I continued that journey upwards, and I decided to make it as fast as possible. There were so many people around, and as people of all ages were doing the same thing with confidence, it helped me a lot in gaining the confidence.

One of the views before reaching the top - fair enough to inspire.

One of the views before reaching the top – quite strong enough to inspire anybody.

It took me much less time for me to reach the top as I decided not to stop at anything, not for my fear of looking down and neither for my doubts about reaching the top, and I have never been happier when I was at the top. I considered it my greatest achievement against the fear, and I was not afraid anymore. We wandered around there, prayed and had another bottle of Mountain Dew along with clicking a few photos.

 And then I was at the top; I couldn't be any happier.

And then I was at the top; tired and of lesser strength, but I couldn’t be any happier.

After giving Saint Thomas his due and spending our time in prayers, we slowly came down, and I had no fear in coming down, as I had conquered what I thought I couldn’t. I was sure that this was only the beginning of my big journeys to the heights. It was the end of a journey and the beginning of the confidence which had me not that worried about the heights any more. On the way back, we stopped at the Indian Coffee House at Kalady and had tea to plan another journey, after this victory.

And then it was the time to take a look towards the beauty of nature.

And then it was the time to take a look at the beauty of nature, along with having some rest.

*All photos used in this blog are from my journeys to Malayattoor at different times, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. This blog post was written as part of Mountain Dew‘s “Rise Above Fear” Happy Hours campaign in association with Indiblogger. Have a wonderful weekend and Sunday, and do spare some time to check the official Mountain Dew Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia.

TeNy

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A Special Destination

There is one special destination which I have already mentioned on my travel blog – Travel Diaries: Of this world and beyond (http://theviator.wordpress.com), but has traveled to the same location in more detail again. I had also shared only one photo at that time, and so I would take this occasion to talk about that place again, this time related to our second journey. All the photos shared in this blog post are from the two big journeys to the place, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

Such water-bodies are common on the way to our place.

Such water-bodies are common on the way to our place; take some time to look.

The destination is Ilaveezhapoonjira, the beautiful place with a name which people from outside Kerala will struggle to pronounce. It is a tourist destination which hasn’t been that explored and therefore stays beyond the boundaries of modernity. There will be not much crowd in this area, which mostly only has the youth among the visitors, as there is a good amount of journey on foot or by the juggling jeep to the top.

We are going among the hills this time.

We are going among the hills this time, away from the modern barbarians.

We had started our journey quite early on that day, and it is a perfect road until Thodupuzha from where the Vagamon route was also quite good. But from that moment you take the turn to the road going for this place, you are introduced to the smaller road which goes up, having enough potholes and curves to make you mad, especially if another vehicle comes from the other side. In the case of an early morning visit, there is not going to be anything coming down from Ilaveezhapoonjira though.

When the dark clouds arrive, trees are ready with silhouette.

When the dark clouds arrive and show their strength, trees are ready with silhouettes.

Once you reach the first part of the top, there is a small tea stall kind of setup which was not open when we went there. But it surely deserves a mention as this is “the tea cerebrations” blog. May be it will be there again on another day when we go there. There is also something which looks like a resort, but is seemingly abandoned; looks good enough to nicely blend with nature. The wind is usually strong there, making the tall grass bow down, as the sphere of air takes control here.

The fog takes over and makes a big impact at times.

The fog takes over and makes a big impact at times, improving the view even more.

There is also that fog that comes through and makes a big impact, as the vision is minimal when it makes its presence felt. On that day, there was rain too, but by the time we reached the top, it had a more clear version of the site, even as not that good enough to make a great impression on our ordinary cameras. Yes, you will get some awesome photos if you take someone with a big camera, or you can persuade a rich guy to buy an awesome camera and take him with you. By the time we returned, it had felt so good with the wonderful climate.

When you reach the top-most point, you find this.

When you reach the top-most point, you find this place and then you take out the camera.

Ilaveezhapoonjira is one of our favourite destinations, followed only by Thommankuthu and Bhoothathankettu, both being far behind in popularity in our circle. As it is not stormed by the visitors and never does it lack in being a thing of dazzling beauty, we would choose Ilaveezhapoonjira any day for just another random trip away from the modern barbarian world which tries to devour us like spiders of the movie Enemy (http://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/enemy/).

What you see when you have a look down from there.

What you see when you have a look down from there. I needed a better camera here.

This place might not find a place in your list of tourist attractions as it is not a popular desination suggested for people from outside Kerala. The rest should be aware of this place, especially those from the Central Travancore area as well as Ernakulam and Trichur districts. It is located around twenty kilometres from the town of Thodupuzha and about double the distance from Muvattupuzha – a distance of around twenty more will take you to Perumbavoor. Do add this to your list.

TeNy