Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Chattri

Friday, the weather was finally good enough for us to do a short walk. We decided to walk to the Chattri, which is up on the Downs behind Brighton, overlooking the town and the sea. Chattri is the Urdy, Punjabi, and Hindi word for umbrella. You can see the white memorial from all around.

The Chattri is a memorial to the 1.5  Indian soldiers who fought and died for Britain in WWI.   The 12,000 casualties were treated at sites around Britain - including the Pavilion and some of it's outbuildings (which are very grand and in the same "Indian/Chinese" style.) Because of their religious beliefs, some of those who died were cremated on the Downs and their ashes scattered at sea.  The Chattri is on the spot where the cremations took place.

So that was our goal - a short 3.5 mile loop from the village of Patcham. The bus dropped us in front of Ladies Mile Pub and we easily found our way up the hill, across the footbridge over the London Road, and up the Downs to the Chattri. Although it was supposed to be 3.5 miles, we ended up doing 5+ miles, according to both our fancy pedometers.  No complaints, however.

It was sooooo lovely to be out walking again.  It's impossible to capture the experience in photos.  The sound of the wind, the mooing of the cows and baaing of the sheep and, in parts, the heavy traffic from the London Road.

Here's the view from the Chattri. That's Brighton in the distance and the sea beyond. Our flat is not visible - it's one the other side of the hill on the left.

I don't know what it is about the Downs that I love so deeply.  There are all the drunken angles of the hills coming together, just so. The cows and sheep are really beautiful - clean, with shiny full coats and just altogether healthy and contented looking.  I like the distant views - I don't like hiking in woods or where there are no views.  And the sound of the wind, which is always present, really soothes my soul.

Afterwards, we took the bus home - stopping at the grocery store for provisions - feeling wonderful.

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