Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Temple Run

A month back, mother suggested I join them on a pilgrimage to Somnath and Dwarka.  I'm not sure if I'm religious and I don't think I need to be standing in front of an idol to pray.  In times of desperation, I've closed my eyes, looked up and prayed.

But I had visited the said places as a kid, and it had been 18 years since that visit, and I had faint recollections of the temples.  So I wanted to visit, just to see if the memories of the temples and the reality are the same.

Spotted on the Ahmedabad - Rajkot Highway. Stobary is SecC.

 The road to Somnath, especially once you enter Junagadh is like a roller coaster ride. Looks like nothing much has changed there since Mohammad Ghazni first attacked Somnath over a 1000 years ago.

Somnath temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlings and I must say it is beautiful. It is situated right on the coast and makes Shiva look like the coolest God ever to have a place of worship located at such a cool place. 

Right outside the temple. The Sunset.
  The best thing about Somnath temple (as like most Shiva temples) is that it is very peaceful, and generally clean.  I am not afraid I'll accidentally step on cow poop, like one does in Krishna temples.  And no crazy darshan timings, so the crowd is usually controlled. Of course, the Aarti was very chaotic and so much crowd, that I could almost hear the idol tell me, 'आतंकवादियों से डर नहीं लगता, भक्तों से लगता है।'

For me, my personal high point was reciting the Shiv Tandav Stotra.  Raavan was a genius to compose such an awesome piece of work.  Of course, I don't know the entire one, but was happy with reciting first two stanza. :D

The Temple
 But you know, one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Somnath was the South Pole pointer. There is a column there, with an arrow crossing through it, which points south, saying there are no obstructions on the straight line, all the way to the South Pole.  How incredibly fascinating is that! Though I am petrified of water bodies, I wanted to just sit there and look into the ocean forever.  The ocean looked calm at one point, and it became violent the other. I saw 3 birds fly low, and followed them as far as I could see, and my eyes gave up.  The ocean looked like one magnificent beast.

Porbandar highway. Yes, coast right next to the highway.
Next day we left for Dwarka.  On our way, we stopped by at one temple at Bhalkateerth.  As per the legends, this is the place where Lord Krishna died.  That makes me wonder, what if the ones we worship as Gods are actually just human beings with extra ordinary strength? Wonder if people will take me seriously if I declare myself as God? Hmm.

Anyway, the highway ran parallel to the coast.  Beautiful, beautiful it was.  Also, so many windmills. Windmills are fascinating, just like lighthouses.  And I was so excited to see boats with sails in the ocean.  They looked like straight out of my high school drawing book.  (if you enlarge the picture above, you'll see a boat on the horizon)

A bridge over the ocean.
Dwarka was also fascinating.  As per the legends, old Dwarka was the dwelling place of Krishna, and it is now submerged under ocean.  Even if it is a story, the fact that the temple was built hundreds of years ago gave me goosebumps.  So many people would've walked over the same floor, and so many more will walk over it in years to come.  (yeah, I always get such thoughts when I visit places which are hundreds of years old)  So much thought process must have gone into making such intricate work on the walls, and all this was done even when they knew they could not instagram their creation! Wonder what must be their motivation!

And then, somewhere I lost one of my slippers in the ocean water.  I hope the coast guards at Pakistan get hold of them and keep them as my prasad of some sort.

The most interesting moment for me in Dwarka temple was when some people climbed the top, and brought down the current flag to hoist a new one.  And the moment the flag unfurled itself flying high I stood there with my mouth wide open and said a silent prayer.

Oh, and did I mention the cows? One cow was sitting right in middle of temple, oblivious to the surroundings.  She did not care how crowded the place got, but she was just sitting there, chilling, communicating telepathically with her other buddies sitting across the temple, waving their tails occasionally.

One non-descript Shiva temple, which is in middle of ocean, and you have to walk across a bridge to reach there.  Apparently, sometimes, the bridge gets covered with ocean water too during tides and all.
Next day, we left for home, but before that, visited another Jyotirling, Nageshwar. (Apparently, the location of the same is controversial, so not sure if it is considered one, but whatisthere)

And then, eight hours of long drive later, we were home.  Tired, sleep deprived and slipper-less. Oh, and tanned. And happy.


anantha said...

Naaice. Post all the pictures. Incl. the cows, which I am sure you have lots of pics of!

Anonymous said...

Would like to see a picture of the arrow pointing south

Nirwa Mehta said...

@ Anantha

OMG. I'm amazed at the comment. #awe

@ Anonymous

Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside the temple premises. But google image showed this image. :D

Anonymous said...

Pardn me fr asking personal Q...I saw yr blog frm ur twitter handle. Do u have some ill condition behind yr weight or is it just like dat? Askng coz I hv smthing (disease) that increases my weight. Sorry, no offence meant.

Nirwa Mehta said...

@ Anonymous

No, I'm naturally fluffy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I feel low coz of my wt issues. People ignore, guys specialy.

Nirwa Mehta said...

@ Anonymous

That's okay. Am sure things will be better soon. What's your Twitter handle?

Anonymous said...

how will itbe better?? :( I dint make twitter handle. I only rd tweets nd blogs without signing in....

Nirwa Mehta said...

@ Anonymous

Umm, I don't know. Talk to your friends, maybe?

Arpz said...

all nostalgic and all that you have now made me. I think its been some 18-19 years since I last visited these places with dear ole' grandad.