Rishi Valley: Lush, green sanctuary

Rishi Valley houses a famous school and is known for its sylvan surroundings.

My weekend getaway was to Rishi Valley for the alumni meet. What instantly struck me was how green the valley was. This is where I spent ten years of my life, so the hills and the trees seemed so familiar. Going back as an alumnus is a strange feeling; there is an instant feeling of belonging and bonding, and then you realize that so much has happened in your life since then that there’s no looking back with nostalgia. The comparisons between then and now constantly buzz in my mind - but the school is like a river – looks the same, but each batch, and each experience is so different; and the river flows on. 

 Sliding rock, Cave rock etc. still stand like sentinels guarding the school. Often we’d go on hikes across these hills. But now I only looked at them from a distance because they seemed so high and unreachable. For the alumni (the fit and sporting ones) treks, runs and bird watching were organized early in the mornings. Outside my window there was a low lying branch; and in the morning a row of exotic birds would chirp and wake me up like an alarm clock.

In the evenings we used to climb a small hill wearing white pyjama kurtas and sit in silence to watch the sunset. Each day nature would unfold a new drama in the sky. But I was told that this (called Asthachal) is no longer followed because of too many mosquitoes and during the monsoons it becomes wet and slippery. Still, now we wanted to see this place, so we went for our own Asthachal and gazed at Rishi Konda and the three sisters’ rock as the sun set between the hills.

We walked around the school, revisited the classrooms, recollecting where we sat and as we chatted, the years dropped away. One evening I began reading out poems from our old school magazines written by those who were in the guest house or our classmates and everyone enjoyed the impromptu poetry session.

When darkness falls, the silence in the valley is something palpable – it goes down and quietens the clutter in your mind. It kind of envelops you in a world where there is no comparison and when there is competition it is only to better your own last achievement. Simple things, simple pleasures that’s what Rishi Valley is all about. I’m back in the city now and my weekend visit is over. I can hear the jingling anklets of the dancers under the Banyan Tree – but now the tree has decayed and no ballets are staged under it. That was then; but now there are many green shoots and the valley is still green.

Fact file

How to get there:

Distance from Bengaluru: 139 km
Best way to get there: By car. Buses ply to Madanapalle and you can hire a cab from there.

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Rishi Valley: Lush, green sanctuary

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