Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The 1000 steps of faith

Few days back my parents asked me to join them on a religious tour.  I was bribed with a visit to Rani Ki Vaav (the UNESCO world heritage site) and Vadnagar (because totally wanted to see the lake where Prime Minister Narendra Modi allegedly swam with crocodiles) and a break from city life.

I agreed.

The temple trail also included Ambaji temple.  It is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths.

Right across the temple is the Gabbar Hill, which is believed that the heart of Sati fell here after the Tandav dance and all.

It has over 1,000 steps to reach the top.  Other option is a ropeway, which takes like 3 minutes, but it is called "Udan Khatola" - not going to risk my life by sitting in something called "Udan Khatola".  When dad proposed the idea of temple trail including Ambaji, I decided I'll climb the 1,000 steps.  On a whim.

And once you decide, you want to finish it off, and don't want to have regrets for rest of your life.  I want to live with more "ah, well" than "what if".  Coincidentally, my aunt was visiting Ambaji the same weekend, and the enthu potato that she is, she immediately agreed to join me on the 1000 step climb.  I insisted the parents take the ropeway. (they've done the Udan Khatola ride before and had no qualms riding on it again.)

En route to Ambaji, wherever we stopped for breaks, you could see that the #GharWapasi is happening right here right now.  Too many NRIs.  It is easy to spot an NRI, btw.  Will write another post on it some day.

Anyway, somewhere on the way, parents decided they will join me in the climb.  Because why not.

So at around 3:45 pm we start the climb.  The steps were uneven, most were higher than others.  Some place they were really narrow and I had to tell myself over and over not to look down.  Even if it was to just see how long way we have come.  You really don't want to faint and fall into the valley. We stopped a few times, absorbed the beautiful, beautiful Aravalli Hills.  Aravalli Hills are the ancient most mountain range in India.  These mountains have witnessed history! It was a humbling moment to stand there, panting, sweating and still finding the strength and courage to continue the climb.

Gravity, my dear friends, is a bitch.

I have heard a lot of people say that "Mataji ka bulawa aata hai, tab hi aa sakte hai".  In that moment, when we climbed the top, lungs burning, face turned red like tomato, I could feel that maybe there is some truth to it.  Having lived less than 200 km from the temple and passed through the road a few times en route to Mount Abu, I still had never been to Gabbar Hill.  Had very vague memories of Ambaji temple, if at all.

I bowed down my head at the top of the hill and said a silent thank you.  To no one in particular.  Just thank you.

(btw, later that night, at Ambaji temple, people were doing garba in the premises.  Some were dressed as if attending wedding! They were here to celebrate visiting the temple, because "Maa Amba" had willed for them to come.  The faith of people in God is truly amazing.  I am not sure if I am religious or agnostic.  And honestly, I don't want to question it either.  But people like those chanting "Jai Ambe" while climbing the hill - bare feet - have unquestionable faith.  It made me want to be little less cynical.  It made me want to believe that things do happen if you have faith.  Faith.)

The climbing this hill was another personal achievement.  As someone who could not walk down the Abby Falls in Coorg without panting and had to take pain killers at end of day while vacationing in Thailand and Bali because feet would ache after 2 hours in a mall few years back, the fact that I did this after driving 250 kms and did not need any medication to walk on my own feet the next day - no blisters, no ache, no rashes.  Next day I drove 350 kms back home, after visiting few other places.

I only had the sweet soreness of muscles for having to work so much.  No "pain".

As someone who has started a journey to fitness two years back, I am extremely proud of myself.  This has reaffirmed my faith in myself.  Faith.  I guess, sometimes, all we need is faith.

I am so glad we did this.  I feel so so so proud of myself right now. :-)

I got this. :-)

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