14 Oct 2016

#192 A divine invitation

A divine invitation

Most of you might have heard of the lyrics of this song, “Chalo bulawa aaya he, Maate ne bulaaya he” whose English translation goes like this: let’s visit the divine together as we have received a divine call from the Goddess herself. My journey to Vaishnodevi was similar to it, the situations under which we went there were too challenging. Now when I reflect back, I truly have to admit that without the divine invitation, it could never have been possible for me to visit there.

It was a family plan to visit Vaishnodevi – in fact it had always been in our wish list. The enjoyment of the journey increases manifold when the number of participants of the journey increases. We were 7 members for the journey. We prepared a layout of this plan with another family from our closest acquaintances and chose the month of March to visit as it would offer a moderate climatic condition for the journey. Then we started making preparation for the journey which included gathering relevant information, acquiring reservation in train, packing up the luggage. Something unfortunate happened before few days of the journey, two members of the journey got seriously ill and they had to be admitted in the hospital, the journey was about to get cancelled when we could get to witness the miraculous recovery of them and after receiving the agreement from them regarding the commencement of the journey, we started from the pit stop – our home.
          The journey was full of trials, we felt as if all the adversities were designed by the Goddess herself to test our will power, patience and belief. Belief is the fundamental foundation of any religion. In fact, many concepts exist because of the belief system. I was lucky to witness many miracles of the Goddess. Is not the fact of climbing up to the temple of Vaishnodevi few hours after getting discharged from the hospital the testimony of the mercy of the Goddess? The opening line of this itinerary kept reverberating inside my mind though out the journey.

We boarded the train Jammu Tawi from Kanpur to Jammu Tawi. It took 24 hours including the delay of 7 hours which was quite expected. After reaching the station Jammu Tawi the next day at around 5:30p.m, the first job to be done was to quickly head towards Katra so that we could start climbing to temple from the same night itself. The delay of the journey in train put our plan little out of place as we made the return ticket to home the next day at 4p.m. So this was a challenge for us to complete the entire process of ascending and descending the mountain within the limited time and pack up the entire journey within a deadline less than 24 hours!
          Without wasting anytime, we hired a taxi and headed to Katra. I had already been lost in the scenic beauty of Jammu the moment I landed at the station, I was very meticulously observing everything in the faint background of the evening. It took nearly one and a half hour to reach Katra from Jammu Tawi station. On reaching Katra, we had to do book tickets for Darshan. After getting freshen up in a hotel which we booked at Katra , we began the most awaited journey at around 9p.m from the hotel.

It was raining so we hired a taxi to reach the main entrance of the temple. After the formalities of the checking got over at the entrance, we were signalled to commence our journey. The unexpected rain made the temperature to fall even more, intensifying the prevalent cold. We were wrapped in winter clothes and rain coats. We purchased a stick to support the process of climbing.

I could get to find different provisions for devotees to climb up the temple- through horses and palanquin. Devotees were from different places of the country and the group of devotees included the people from different age groups even newly born! We chanted Goddess’s name to ease down the fatigue of the journey. The slope was getting stiffer as we moved higher and we were accompanied by other fellow devotes by foot or carried by horses and palanquin bearers. It got dark and I was enjoying every bit of that adventure. Climbing by staying awake all night was no less than a dream to me. The higher we climbed, more blessed and satisfied we felt about taking decision of this journey. When I used to look down from the location where I was from time to time, I was awestruck by the starry jewelled view of the ground due to the illuminating light from different shops. What a moment; no less than a dream – stars all around; up above the sky and surprisingly beneath and we were in the middle of this heaven!

 The weather turned rude after we reached Ardhkuwari, I would connect it to the upcoming tests that we had to appear to get a Darshan of Vaishnodevi. Ardhakuwari , as the name suggests , is  situated at the middle of the journey to the temple  . We had to halt there for few minutes because of heavy rain fall accompanied by hail storm. Many devotees returned from there after hearing the cases of deadly landslide but we were determined and continued with an utmost faith at our hearts.

It was too cold at the temple since it was at the height of 5200feets .The temple is situated at Trikuta Hills. The sight of the temple to us was no different from the sight of the water that would appear to a thirsty deer in the desert. Fortunately, it was no imagination, it was the reality! And yes, we were absorbing that divine reality! It was the most satisfying scene for us after having covered the distance of 14 kms in 7and and half hrs.  The interesting thing was that we got the Darshan of the Goddess at around 5:15 a.m, just 15 minutes before the closure of the duration of morning Darshan , otherwise we had to wait till 8a.m ! It made us realise that Goddess always had a better plan than ours!
Bhairon Nath is the temple which is situated at a distance of 2.5 kms from Hooli Cave and it is believed that the yatra of Vaishnodevi is incomplete without the darshan at Bhairon temple. Due to the unfortunate event of heavy rainfall and landslide, the route to Bhairon Nath was made closed.  So we had to return from Vaishnodevi.

The trial of the journey was not over yet. We had to bear the harshness of the cold weather at the station of Jammu Tawi with 10 hours of waiting for the train. I am happy to state that we could successfully complete the tests of the journey one after the other, all by the mercy of Goddess Vaishno Maata.

This is the divine magical power of Vaishnodevi that attracts 5 million people from different geographical location every year. We were lucky to have been invited there and we look forward for such adventurous journey in future!
Jai Maata Di!

 Swati Sarangi


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