It was part of our routine to travel to different places during vacations. Sometimes it was a week long trip and sometimes it was even a month long. Month long tour was tiresome because staying out and having outside food four times a day is difficult, for few days it is fine but when it is a long trip we used to get fed up. Now when I am unable to go anywhere because of dependencies and busy schedule I remember those days and cherish those memories. Some of the places were the most memorable and even now when I think about those I get goose bumps.
I remember our trip to Dwarika, lord Krishna’s place. It is one of the four dhaams of hindu religion. We reached Dwarika on a weekday evening. We went to guest house, changed and got freshen up and started planning for next day darshan. Suddenly everyone decided why not visit the temple that evening itself. We all got ready and left for the temple. It was not that much crowded. Evening aarti was over and people were leaving. People say for darshan, you should go only in morning, but I feel that there is no proper or improper time, every moment is auspicious for anything good. We went inside and the sight was unbelievable. Very few people were there in the garbhagriha, so without any trouble we could go and sit just in front of the place where Krishna’s idol was there, there was hardly a distance of may be 3-4 feet. We could see the idol clearly, no crowd, no pundits, no one. It was like I am meeting Krishna without any disturbance. I was mesmerized by the shine of the idol. I was completely lost, I was saying some mantras and I don’t know what happened to me, I did not want anything, I did not know anything, I was only chanting the mantras and looking at the idol. It was a different feeling. I was in a state of complete peace yet completely lost. Heart and brain both were completely calm. I did not know anything except Krishna and the mantras. No wishes, no problems, no desires, no dreams. I did not experience that feeling again, till date. That was something I can never forget.
Beauty of Vivekanand Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari was another out of the world view. There were few steps and you get down and what you see is simply marvelous. Water, which has no end. Till whatever distance you can see, you can see water. Indian Ocean, tides, rocks, cold, pure white water. On my left side it was Bay of Bengal and on my right it was Arabian Sea. And it was sunset time, slowly and slowly sun was setting in the Arabian Sea, the orange colour of the setting sun and the colour of water changing from its natural colour to orange, waoooo.., nothing else I could say. Fire getting into water. Huge tides of Indian Ocean perfectly complimenting calmness of Arabian Sea. And Bay of Bengal had crabs which were coming towards the bank. That was perfect evening spend in nature. Depth of Ocean and view of Sunset and chilled breeze was a heavenly experience that made my day.
Jagannath Puri is a prominent place and being one of four dhaams it stands to be very significant one also. It was middle of May and we went for puri darshan. We reached the temple campus and were walking towards the main block. Huge rush was there, prasad was being prepared; big handis had mahaprasad in them and were carried by people. Just outside the temple they have a small channel which has water in it so that before stepping inside, your feet gets washed and then you enter the temple area where the three gods are there, Balbhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath. We entered and were moving towards the garbhagriha and I don’t know what happened, tears started coming out of my eyes. I was not crying intentionally but my eyes were full of tears and I was walking, before I had planned to ask so many things from god but when I caught a glimpse of the god’s idols I was staring them. Eyes full of tears were staring the idols and I did not ask anything. Heartbeat increased and I was sweating and crying, and came out. As soon as I came out I was thinking what happened, why was I crying? But I did not have any answer. Whatever it was, it was a very holy and divine experience. I was not regretting for not asking anything, in fact I was amazed for what had happened.
It is said that temples have cosmic energy because of their structure and god’s presence; they have something unique in them which pulls you towards them, that you are blindly attracted. Morning and evening aartis, dresses and shringaar of the idols is all very sacred. Evening aarti of Somnath, huge shivalinga, and all devotees standing in front and watching the aarti, morning aarti of Mahakaaleshwar, Ujjain the shringaar of shivalinga with ashes, those big eyes, the moustache, travelling at 3:00 AM in jeep through seven hills and going to Tirumala for Tirupati Balaji darshan, all bhajans were being played, people were chanting “Govinda, Govinda”, were all very saintly experiences.
Trip to gangtok and from there to Nathula pass, “India Tibet border” was another blissful journey. Going by jeep, we were around 10 people and we being kids were sitting backside, travelled to a height of 14,430 feet. It was fully covered of snow, everything was white there, we were many tourists standing there near the border fence, and in other side there were tibetian tourists, we shaked hands. But police was very strict there, we were not allowed to take pictures, another point was there which was at a little lower level, there we were allowed to play and take snaps, everyone came there, and we all started playing with snow and took lot many pictures. It was -3 degree centigrade at 12 in the afternoon in the month of may, chilling cold, but we took out our sweaters and jackets and took pictures and enjoyed weather and nature’s scenic beauty.
Nature’s splendor is absolutely stunning and whimsical, continuous rains of Cherrapunji, view of waterfalls, sound of flowing water, boating through deep water in Bhedaghat in between the innumerable different coloured marble and granite rocks, waterfalls of Panchmarhi, the huge rock stuck between two mountains of Jatashankar, sunrise view in Darjeeling, the peace of Vishwashanti Stupa in Rajgirh, the remains in Nalanda university, water of Prayaag (Allahabad) where three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarawati merge into each other, the ghats of banaras, the aarti of haridwar, the valleys of Ranikhet and Gangtok, the forts, the palaces, the temples, the Gods, the rituals, the festivals, the beaches, the mountains, the rivers, each and every view was mesmerizing.
I wish I could visit all these places again in my life.