Man has been building in statuesque, grandiose and ornate architectural styles since the time stone was quarried and bricks fired. Imagination, force of will, ornamentation and sheer celebration is visible in what he has built the world over! And, that is what I saw in the Blue Mountains, 110 km. from Sydney.
As I sped towards the Blue Mountains, the whole atmosphere changed and Nature started speaking in hushed tones. The road wound its way up through dreamy villages wrapped in slumber. At Glenbrook came the gateway, and Wentworth Falls was pretty. Charles Darwin, who laboured to unravel the mystery of the origin of species, once stayed here, and a walk commemorates this association.
The village of Leura romanticises candles and clothing. In October, Cherry blossoms line the streets of Leura, and gardens are filled with butterflies sipping nectar. We halted at bohemian Katoomba, and I particularly remember the sloping drive through the village. Homes are old fashioned and the boutiques bright. The post office, the bank and the church remind you of temporal and spiritual connections.
Gavin, my chauffeur, mentioned the Three Sisters. I presumed he was recounting a fable, bringing back to life the days of the Aborigines. Till, I I realised the Three Sisters is a prominent feature of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area, which celebrates Nature.
There is an Aborginal legend associated with the three sisters The beautiful sisters, Meenhi, Weemala and Gunnedoo, daughters of the Katoomba tribe's witch doctor, fell madly in love with three brothers of the Nepean tribe. Ancestral law forbade marriage outside the tribe. The brave warrior-brothers engaged in battle for the maidens. The witch doctor turned his daughters to stone using his magic stick, intending to restore them to life after the fight. But, he was killed in battle and his magic stick could not be found. They say the Lyrebird instinctively scratches the earth even today, searching for the magic stick.
The Blue Mountains, belonging to the Narrabeen Group of layers, have evolved over hundreds of millions of years. The Three Sisters were once seven sisters. Four have been lost to the Valley, the weather and Time!
I saw a wooden signboard; ‘The Three Sisters', and took the path. At a view point, I was amazed at the vastness of the range and the Leura Forest in the valley.
The forest reverberated with birdcall. Inching further, I was face-to-face with a mountaintop, the edges of which were jagged — victims of wind erosion.
A bench in a cavity of the cliff invited me to solitude. Touching the cliff, I wondered where the ‘Three Sisters' were located. All lookouts were blocked by the heavy mist. Disappointed, I rose and took to what they call ‘The Giant Staircase', which takes you deep down to the forest.
I trudged back to the starting point, I followed some visitors to Echo Point to share a glimpse of what they saw — the three lovelorn sisters, captives of fate, stood a little to my left in storybook silence. For a brief moment, the majestic sun illuminated their dormant sensuousness.
And, to think that all this while, I had actually sat and brooded on the waist curve of one of the three!