Fifteen people make the early morning tour to Gudiyam. It rained heavily that morning so the drive was pleasant.
It took us less than 90mins. to reach Poondi ( drive down the Poonamallee Road, then take the Tirutani Road, had to Thiruvallur and turn off to Poondi reservoir).
The town is crowded with devotees who have been celebrating at a nearby temple now that Aavani has dawned.
After a light breakfast, we drive down to the village (Gudiyam) and start walking. We really set a fast pace. We reached the main cave in about 70 minutes. The terrain is tricky.
But we are not alone on this trek.
The devotees are also heading that way.
A modern shrine has come up at the cave. And the promoter is making the best of it.
A shivering goat is led to the shrine. It bleats plaintively. It will be sacrificed. Soon.
Since some of us on the tour want to avoid the gruesome act, we turn back.
More devotees are heading to the cave. Some carry fowl - also for sacrifice.
But Suresh, our guide, has other stories to share with us.
Of the many archaeological tours he leads through the year.
The sun if up and burns us all.
We do the return trek in about 75mins, which is a feat.
And then head to the small state-run Pre-Historic Museum.