A few years ago, I happened upon a Telugu movie titled Godavari set in my home state of Andhra Pradesh. The heroine Seetha, a vivacious independent business woman in her late twenties refuses an arranged marriage and sets out on a solo journey to visit Bhadrachalam on a Godavari river cruise. Bhadrachalam is a small town pilgrimage on the banks of the river where a 17th century Shri Rama temple perches on a small hill.
During the river voyage, Seetha meets Sriram, a well-educated man concerned about the welfare of fellow human beings. Instead of getting a typical tech job or going abroad, he hopes to go into politics to bring about change. Seetha falls in love with him, but only to discover him pining for another girl who is betrothed to someone her parents found. Whether or not Sriram begins to see Seetha in a different light, and if they eventually end up together is what the movie is about, of course with a good dose of Indian musical numbers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the scenery of the movie and related to the heroine. I also fell in love with the main character, the Godavari river itself. It is the second largest river in India (after the Ganges) and provides irrigation for many settlements and plays a vital role for the people in the surrounding areas. The vibrant villages on its banks, hilly rice fields, fishermen casting their nets, tent dwellings that tug at your heart, and the beauty of the winding river itself are enough to draw one in.
When I visited India a few years ago, I wanted to go on the same cruise Seetha did. I wanted to experience the magical river on my own. Unlike Seetha in the film, my relatives joined me. We didn’t do any dance numbers, but there was singing, and plenty of river watching. The sunset on our way back was magical, and the entire experience ended up being one of my most memorable. I didn’t meet my Rama nor did I get to visit the temple, but I came away humbled by the river’s natural beauty and spirituality.
Here are a few images from my trip. Hope you like them, and go on your very own Godavari cruise one day.