Valley School/ATREE trip to BR Hills, 12 to 151110

November 16, 2010

Day 1.

We got to the School, and got into the hired bus which was waiting for us:

starting vs 121110

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…..and Chandu and I spotted a nice idli shop nearby and had a quick breakfast, which we had missed due to our early start!

bfast 121110

We soon crossed the Kaveri, in full spate after the heavy rains:

kaveri 121110

I decided that this Boys’ Home would be a good place to give the children a toilet break:

boys' home 121110

Here’s the interesting foundation stone of the Home!

foundation stone 121110

It says, “In memory of W.A.Redwood, the beloved husband of Mc D. Redwood, and the founder of the Malavalli Foundation, 1886, who fell asleep on Aug 4th, 1895,in the Gulf of Suez on board the S.S. “Oriental”, on his way home to England, aged 39 years.”

(He died when 39 years old….imagine that! And the fact that he founded the Malavalli Mission when he was all of twenty years old, far from his native land…how old must he have been when he left England? Such stories from the past are wonderful to read….and I can feel the sadness of his wife, across the centuries…)

We had our lunch on the bus, and reached ATREE at about 2pm:

ATREE board 121110

After the children settled into their dorms, we went out for a walk, and passed this beautiful lotus pond:

lotus pond 121110

It’s a place where people come to wash their clothes…

washing and dog 121110


fishing in lotus pond 131110

(here’s a short video of the fisherman casting his line:)

and….bathe! No one has as much fun as young boys in the water, but our urban children were rather taken aback at the casual nudity of the tribal children!

boys bathing 141110

We passed this cute signboard, with a tame-looking tiger, a cobra, crocodiles, and other wildlife:

manikantanilaya 121110

I found a home which actually gave the latitude/longitude of the place, and its elevation!

lat long of brt 121110

I also visited Gorukana, the VGKK-run resort, about which I will post later. On the way, I passed this Soliga settlement, where cement structures replace their traditional wooden huts:

soliga settlement 121110

One of the doors, intriguingly, had “Birds” written on it!

birds door 121110

some of the Soliga children were collecting the Dhatura flowers….

dhatura flowers 121110

In the evening, we went to visit the Biligiri Rangana Temple, up the eponymous hill, whose white rock gives it the name, “Bili Giri”:

brt 121110

The temple flagpole or dhwajasthambha was framed by the doorway:

dhwajasthamba brt

At the beginning of the steps were the Lord’s Feet, or SripAda:

sripada 121110

It was dark by the time we got back, but I used the flash to get some details of the temple chariot…mark the plunging horses at the front:

brt ratha front 121110

Here’s the back of the rathA or chariot:

brt ratha back 121110


It was a wonderful sunset on the hill, with the golden light replacing the mist and the clouds; here are some of the children, with the sun reflected in the water bodies in the valley:

sunset at brt 121110

The next day, we visited VGKK, and had a great time…but that’s for the next post!