Saturday, 3 November 2012

Kavalur Trip

It all began with a visit to the planetarium, inspired by the 'night sky' We wanted to experience it first hand. The nearest place one could think of was kavalur. So the planning began, Obtaining permission for our visit was an easy task, sorted out the dates.. and thus we started out on a cloudy Sunday morning. Travelling in the unreserved compartment was an experience in itself. The number of people crammed into a single compartment seemed to be growing exponentially with every passing station, so much so that we had to vacate our seats early, well before our destination just to make sure that we have enough time to get to the door. Having skipped breakfast, we were starving by the time we reached Vaniyambadi,our half way point at noon. The bus depot there was a scene of chaos just like any another bus depot you could find in India, There wasn't a single corner where we could sit and chew our food in peace, So our starvation continued. We then boarded the bus that took us straight to the observatory. The bus ride was pleasant.We got a chance to see the 'Real India' as the bus  roared through the little known villages. There was plenty of natural scenery too. It was quite difficult to take in all those beautiful sights at one go. Soon we were dropped at the gates of the observatory. We were shown our rooms,We plunk our bags and hurried to the dining hall. The lunch was served hot and it was all too delicious for we were ravenously hungry.
The mess

After lunch, we set out to explore the campus, Located in the forest area, The place is amazingly serene, For a city dweller it feels like being transported to another world. No blaring horns or loud speakers, no pollution whatsoever,You could dance down the middle of the road without the risk of getting run over by vehicles. To be surrounded by mother nature, with the wild flora and fauna is a surreal feeling. It took time to realise that the so many different colours we could see weren't artificial dyed!
Courtesy: Harish S

Courtesy: Harish S

Courtesy: Harish S

We were then taken on a guided tour to the 43 inch and the 90 inch telescopes. The view from the top was breathtaking to say the least. Just standing there, besides these engineering marvels is inspiring! Imagine working high up in the observatory all alone on a dark moonless night,staring at distant planets and stars  which are light years away through these giant instruments. It makes you feel connected with the vast, ever expanding universe. Sounds too romantic isn't it??
Lost in thought!!

What a view!!
After the tour, It was time for fun. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with silly little games.It would be embarrassing if I listed out the games we played, After all we are M.Sc students!!

In the evening we were shown a movie on cosmic dust pollution. It was a short movie, after which we were left to ourselves, we had nothing to do except to wait for dinner and the night sky watch. We finished the breakfast our friend had brought along. Still some of us were hungry ,we decided we would go to the nearby town and buy some essential snacks. It was already 7 pm and the security guards warned us about wild elephants and other animals lurking in the dark so we had no choice but to turn back.And before we knew it, it was time for dinner and soon after that the night sky watch. It turned out to be a cloudy night much to our disappointment. We managed to sight Jupiter and three of its moons. That was all we could see. We retired to our respective rooms to catch up on some sleep. We were quite exhausted by then but there was no let up in the excitement. We set our alarms for mid night. We wanted to go for a walk at midnight!!
It was bitterly cold at midnight, yet we didn't want to miss out on a beautiful experience. So we trudged along the slope, spooking each other with ghost stories. I must say, It felt good to inhale the cold mountain air. We came back to our rooms at 3 am and snuggled into our beds. It was already 9 am when we woke up , had our breakfast in the mess,quickly got dressed for a yet another photo shoot! And finally it was time to leave. This is where we screwed up, with no proper arrangements in place, we had to hop from one bus to another to get to Chennai.
We went from Kavalur to Alangayam, Alangayam to Ambur, Ambur to Vellore and then from Vellore to Chennai. We went back to our homes elated and refreshed. This was a welcome break  for all of us. The trip turned out to be truly wonderful and I cant wait for the next one!! Let the planning begin...


  1. One small correction, it was pleasantly cold night and not bitterly :P