Kumbh Mela – A Divine Encounter!!!

Kumbh Mela – A Divine Encounter!!!

You are not a drop in the ocean.

You are the entire ocean, in a drop ~ Rumi

Kumbh Mela – A Divine Encounter!!!

Kumbh Mela – The very mention of “Kumbha” more clearly “KumbhaMela” had always been creepy and scary for me in my babyhood days. You know…in those stories of My Granny there was always a missing girl in Kumbh Mela. She was distanced from her parents as she left their hand in the crowd. And faced the hell of the world. Nobody was there to take care of her. Also, she was not able to find her parents after leaving their hands in the “Kumbha Mela”.

And finally, one fine day by God’s grace her parents could find her out after much efforts, searching for her. She was back to her home in a very bad state, hungry, untidy & messy. She learnt a lesson that she would never leave the hands of her parents again in any other gathering.  The moral of the story was, never go away from your parents while in a crowd or congregation.

May be the whole idea of My granny was to teach me how to remain with parents and never go anywhere without them. Sometime may be inculcating the Faith on the God almighty in me but I was also developing fear towards the “Kumbha Mela”. I used to quickly identify myself with the missing girl. And the very thought of it and the “Kumbha Mela” would be enough to give me “Goosebumps”.  It appeared to me as a place where little girls may part away from their parents.

Well, the horror remained till my teenage only. After that it washed away. First it became a laughing stock for me following the bollywood dialogues “Kumbh ke Mele Main Bichade Hue Do Bhai” (the two brothers who were separated in Kumbh Mela).

Also, after that the fear and apprehensions got converted into intense dislike following the horrifying nasty look (I’m sorry but honestly, I used to feel like that) of Aghori babas and Naga Sadhus pictures in any article or print material available on “Kumbha Mela”.

I used to wander, to be religious why one needs to look so much ghastly horrible! Is it really necessary to look horrible? So, in my entire college days I was never interested in learning about “Kumbha Mela” and its significance.

It was 2010

It was only in 2010 when the Maha Kumbha Mela was held in Haridwar I got some positive inclination towards it. Precisely because of a Divine Encounter.

That year My In-Laws – Mother-in-law and Father-In-law – visited the same, for a holy bath at Ganga and have a divine experience. Let’s not forget that “ATTENDING KUMBHA ONCE IN A LIFE TIME” is considered to be very auspicious, divine, religious & pious.

That time we were staying at Delhi When Baba & mamma decided to visit the Kumbha Mela, they insisted us to join them also. But my son was not keeping well those day. He had adenoids. So, we were supposed to keep him away from anything COLD. They came from Odisha, visited the same at Haridwar while completely in touch with us through phone.

It was almost the end of the Maha Kumbha Mela. My in laws were supposed to pack & return in two days. However, in the last day of it their phone became unreachable. At the same time, we learnt that a stampede had happened, from the news. We were horrified. We called up the hotel they had stayed. But they said that, my in laws had checked out from there. Then series of frantically calls, desperate attempts ask some people who lived there to find out the whereabouts of both, had already drained us.   Much efforts in vain, we thought might be something wrong have happened with them too. God Forbid!!!


Without losing a moment we headed for Haridwar. I remember we just picked our son directly from the school. And in the car only I changed his clothes. A friend of my husband Santosh had accompanied us in the journey who hail from the Haridwar. His father had already done the search attempt.

On reaching there we enquired about them in the Hotels, akhadas, dharmasalas at every place where there was a chance or a possibility where they could be. But left with no clue about them. Kumbha Mela was almost over by that time. So, there was no such dense crowd also. It was almost night. So, we thought next morning we again go for searching. In the meantime, Uncle – The father of the friend of my hubby – had spoken to the police in charge as well.

Next morning, we visited the riverside of the Ganga. It was crowded but not so densely. People were still doing holy dip there. But we had a different objective. We parked our car in the prescribed area, and started searching the entire expanse by walking. Visited every nearby hotel, dharmasalas again along with the Photos of our parents. The first hotel where they had stayed recognised the photo & gave us the Adhaar Card of Baba which he had by mistake probably missed it there. The manager also informed that they had lost their phone too.

There were many Sadhus there who were insisting us to take the dip, visit the temple and all. But we had our different objective. In fact, I don’t know when but I had already taken a vow that if something (You understand it) had happened with Baba & Mamma, I would never take a dip in Ganga throughout my life.\

Around Almost 12.30 pm. We decided to return to Hotel as the scorching sun had already made it harsh on my son. It wasn’t possible to walk any more as he was feeling restless by that time. We had thought we would again visit the place in the afternoon, search for them and then would speak to the police as well.

We got into the car, my husband just put the reverse gear to get out of the parking & turn the wheel, when a Sadhu – A Tall Fair & Fair Man – having a broad smile on his face appeared before us. He knocked the window on my side with a gesture insisting us to open it. He didn’t seem to be asking for any alms unlike other couple of Sadhus.  I slide down the glass, with a question mark writ on my face. He asked with very loving yet clear voice, “Did You Take the Dip in the holy Ganga? Ganga mein dubki lagaya kya”

I said, “No, we have come here for a different reason.” Half dejected, half tired & done.

He smiled again.  “Uska Khel koi nahin samajh sakta, TU YAHAN AYEE NAHI HAI, BULAI GAYEE HAI. Bina dubki lagaye koi nahin ja shakta yahan se. Tumhare upar USKA bahut kripa hai”

I was in no mood to listen to such things that time. I was almost acquainted by such antics of Couple of Sadhus there by then. However, I didn’t want to be rude either. So, controlling my emotion I opened my wallet to give some money – That’s what we do often …right – he stopped me immediately.

He said in a firm voice, “Kal tu yahan dubki bhi lagaye gi, Mandir bhji jayegi, Diya bhi lagayegi. Maa aise nahin jane degi tujhe” & then he helped us to get out of the crowd. He headed to our hotel.

We had our lunch silently, deeply anxious & apprehensive.  However, we were exhausted too. So, we slept. Around 4 pm my husband woke me up. And said “You Know Baba & Bou, both are at Puri. They are at the same Dharmasala at Puri where their Guru stays.”

OHH!!! MY!!!!LORD!!!!

Relaxed, Relieved and thrilled!!! We offered our Gratitude to God, immediately.

Later we learnt, actually both the parents had already left for the railway station before the stampede occurred. They had no reservation, so the took the tatkal tickets to Puri & Boarded the train. Since they were not that familiar with mobile phones & didn’t remember the phone remember the phone numbers, they couldn’t inform anyone in the family. After reaching there, the manager of that Math where they stayed had the phone number of my brother-in- law. That’s how they informed about them & their wellbeing.

We immediately dialed the number and spoke to Baba.  In our culture, it is believed that, after bathing in Ganga (Ganga Snana), one should first Visit Lord Jagannath then only can go to home. Else it would not be considered a punya. In fact, after every Dip in Ganga on return one needs to visit The Lord Jagannath Temple before returning to home.  That is the religious process which we were not aware. As they lost the mobile, so they couldn’t inform us about their program of leaving Haridwar. Anyway, Thank God!!They were all fine.

In the evening we visited the Riverside of The Ganga & Attended Ganga Arti. We were entirely lost in the Divinity Around.

At night, had a peaceful sleep. Next day morning, went again, had holy dip in the river Ganga as per the rituals. The entire firs half went by visiting temples, offering our gratitude. In the afternoon we had a small drive in and around the place of Haridwar. At the evening again the Ganga Aarti. I was looking for the same Sadhu who had told me regarding my holy dip in Ganga but in vain.

Next day, we were on the roads towards Delhi.

That was my first visit to Haridwar and my first dip in sacred River Ganga though not witnessing or attending the “Kumbha Mela”. But the residue of preparation was testimony of the immense divinity of “Kumbha Mela”. I realised that there is indeed some mysticism about this sacred religious festival. Else how come since eternity it is happening! “Maha Kumbh” or “Kumbh Mela” is considered as the largest congregation of humans in the world & that to for a month.

There must be certain kind of divinity ruling it over.  I was filled with gratitude for God for making me visit it this way. As I looked through the car window, I saw the smiling face of the Saint who had blessed me near the River Ganga. Was he really a human or….????

A Divine Encounter…indeed!!!!


Kumbh Mela - A Divine Encounter
Kumbh Mela – A Divine Encounter

A Part of it also Published…CLICK HERE


This is my post for Alphabet K written for #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge 2021 by Blogchatter 

Munnar the Southern Paradise!!!

Munnar the Southern Paradise!!!

In continuation of my travelogue, like I’ve mentioned, I spent my childhood in the vicinity of nature in a small town called Kotdwar in the foothills of Himalayas in the state of Uttrakhand. After completing my studies, I moved to Gujarat for my job.

Over a period, when our children were growing up, my son was working in Hyderabad and my daughter was staying in a hostel for higher studies. So, my wife and I had plenty of time available to explore nature, being nature lovers. So, we planned to visit the majestic Kerala and the beautiful town of Munnar also known as Kashmir of south India. Munnar is a town in the Western Ghats also known as Sahyadri mountain range that covers a stretch of 1,600 Kms parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra & Gujarat. Munnar is a hill station and former resort for the British Raj elite. It’s surrounded by rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the late 19th century.

My wife and I started our journey from Mumbai airport to Cochin airport, which is about a two-hour journey.

One important thing I want to mention here about Cochin airport is that it now boasts of the first solar powered airport of the world and won the coveted CHAMPION OF THE EARTH AWARD in 2018.

We reached Cochin in the evening and planned to start for Munnar the next morning. Cochin is the most densely populated city of Kerala and an important spice-trading center on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward and has maintained a trade network with the outside world. In the evening, we visited the Naval airport area of Cochin and enjoyed a boat ride. It was a peaceful experience.

Cochin airport

Next morning, the designated driver reported at our hotel and informed me about his arrival, who was sent by the travel agency. I told him that we would be ready within 15 minutes as we were about to finish our breakfast. We reached at the reception and were greeted by a gentle-looking person in his forties with a smile on his face. He was ready with the car to take us to Munnar (125 kms from that place). His name was Chandan. Normally, I like to interact with people that I travel with. I believe there are many advantages to it. We often get a lot of additional information about the place and traditions, which are completely new and add value to our knowledge and travel experience.

The journey started well enough. In the beginning itself Chandan said that sir, we should start our journey after taking blessings of the lord Maha Vishnu, so first I am taking you to the Sree Poornathrayessa temple. The temple is considered among the greatest temples in Kerala and was first among 8 royal temples of erstwhile Kochi Kingdom. We happily agreed.

He said that Lord Poornathrayeesa is believed to be a big fan of elephants and he was well known for his elephant love. Every year in the month of November & December, an annual festival is held here, and more than 40 elephants participate in his grant Vrishchikotsavam. And the owners of the elephants send them without expecting anything in return as their lord is elephant lover.

Soon after we proceeded for Munnar. The road leading to Munnar was very beautiful and full of nature. After one hour of journey I told him that we would halt for lunch at some vegetarian restaurant.

He stopped at a nice restaurant on the roadside; we were mesmerized by the aura of the beautifully maintained restaurant having many huts for families. Really it was such a beautiful site as he has taken us to a small hut and made all arrangement for our comfortable seating. The quality of food was very nice and as per our satisfaction level.

Further after covering around 80 kms from Kochi, Chandan again said that we would like to visit the spice garden. There were a lot on the roadside itself as Kerala is famous for spices. We had not visited any spice garden before, so he took us to a famous Deepa world spice & Ayurvedic garden with huge varieties of spices, Cardamom, Vannilla, Pepper, Cinnamon, Coffee, Tea, Clove, Nutmeg, Bettle Nut, Cadbury, Allspices (Sarvasuganthi), Lemon Grass, Curry Leaf, Ginger, Garlic, Hibiscus, Pappaya, Mosambi, Orange, Mango, variety of Jackfruits, water cherry, various type of Guava Trees, Coconut Trees, along with a variety of flowers was available. There were employees who briefed us about the production & uses of every spice grown there.

The owner was very friendly and had profound knowledge about spices. He also had a house & shop to sell his spices and other products, which are grown there at a very reasonable price. A must visit to the spice garden. He charged only rupees 100 per person for the complete farm visit. It was an amazing experience and we acquired lot of knowledge.

On the way Chandan narrated the history of Munnar.  He said, for more than a century, the history of Munnar has been linked with its tea plantations. In fact, Munnar is a place to find some of the best tea estates in the world. It is one significant employment opportunity for the people of Munnar.

We were really amazed by the knowledge and humbleness of Chandan during our first day journey. In the evening we reached Munnar town and settled there in a resort. We had great fun in the evening, incidentally the resort owner’s residence was in the backside of our room and his garden was clearly visible from our first-floor room. We were just relaxing on the couch in the balcony, suddenly my wife exclaimed, look! What a cute pair of cats is playing in their garden.” Indeed …… they were very cute, so she insisted we go down there to the garden, as she loves animals to the extent of madness. I was a bit hesitant initially but later we went there and met the owner and asked if we could play with their pets.

The next morning our plan was to visit in and around Munnar city, there are many places to visit in the periphery of the town.As per the advice given by Chandan, we first visited, Kannan Devan Tea Estate also known as The Tata Tea Museum, a Tata-owned tea estate in Munnar, which was located at 2 kms from the center .The Tata Tea Museum is located in the middle of a beautiful tea garden and is a one-of-its-kind museum of India.

Tourists visiting here get to know about the establishment and progress of the tea plantation industry in India. Right from the manually operated tea roller to the fully automated tea factory, you get to know about every single fact related to the Munnar’s tea plantation’s automation. Tourists were assembled there at the entry point to see the whole process of making tea as the employee of the plant were taking one group at one time to showcase the methodology of differential stages of tea processing.

We never knew this whole process before and gained insights about the processing of tea leaves and the marketing of the finished product.

The museum also displays the old-fashioned bungalow furniture, magneto phone, wooden bathtub, cash safe, iron ovens and other modern and other exhibits. Finally, they have a demonstration room in which you will get to taste various types and flavors of tea. There’s a nominal charge of 100 INR per head to taste the plethora of tea flavors of Munnar.

At one side of the main gate there was a shop for sale of different type of tea products at factory rate. In that shop, we met a beautiful tourist couple from New Zealand, who were incidentally staying in our resort itself and we talked with them about the culture and rich heritage of India with a nice cup of coffee. They were mesmerized with the rich cultural heritage & diversity of India.

In the afternoon we visited the local Munnar Floriculture Centre, also known as Munnar Rose Garden. It is one of the top places to visit in Munnar. Floriculture Centre is home to hundreds of rare varieties of flowers and other plants including cacti, herbs, shrubs and creepers. Operated by the Kerala Forest Development Centre, it is spread across acres of land in the city of Munnar.

We visited one more garden in the evening and enjoyed the variety of Masala dosa in a small restaurant in the main market. The final day we enjoyed the famous Kathakali dance at the city auditorium and spent our time and money shopping in the local market.

We stayed there for three days and had great fun and started our return journey to Cochin next morning. We visited famous temple of Lord Shankaracharya lightly 8km off from the main route. Divine feeling.

In the evening, we reached Cochin but came to know that there was a “band call” given by the trade unions in Kerala and it would be completely closed off the next day. As our hotel was in the main town nearly 20 kms from Airport and in the absence of any transport next morning it would be difficult for us to catch the next morning flight to Mumbai.

We were in a pickle and we wondered what to do!

Once again Chandan suggested, “Sir, I can take you to some Hotel near the airport, so that you can walk down to the airport next morning. You cancel your hotel booking in town.” Right, there were no other options available for us other than that. He took us to different hotels in the vicinity of the airport, but they were all full, as many tourists had already occupied the rooms in the light of band call. He took us to 4-5 places then finally we got an accommodation in one hotel with his undying efforts when we had almost given up.


It was then time to say a sad goodbye to Chandan and as gratitude, I wanted to give him a nice tip for the top-notch hospitality, care and support but he politely refused.Finally, my wife told him to take this as a token of love for his daughter from us and then only he agreed.

Living a fast-paced life, we all tend to forget to stop and stare at nature’s wonders that not only include mountains and valleys, but also our fellow human beings. It is equally important to take care of humans just as we should preserve our surroundings. After all, they also are a part of it and play a huge role in the ecosystem. It’s easy and sometimes inevitable to become numb to all that, when we become too engrossed in our personal gains.

Getting to know Chandan a little taught me just how much I also fell in that category and just how much I had missed out on gaining emotionally. It was refreshing to interact with him and realize the joy of caring for others rather than only yourself.

I have never come across such a nice human being in my entire life despite being a frequent traveler. And I often wonder how life molds people into different personalities each unique to its own.

While taking off…I realized that Travelling is not just about Places but about PEOPLE too….

Travelling is not just about Places but about People.

 Featured Image Source CLICK HERE

This story has been written by Mr.Rakesh Nautiyal, a Senior Scientist, GM at ONGC. Recently I came across him and become friends. There are many interesting stories he would tell at times…being a globetrotter. This is his travel story to Munnar The Kashmir Of South, Kerala. Connect with him at twitter.




Mr.Rakesh Nautiyal.@pari3105

T For Trip to the Badrinath Shrine, Uttrakhand!!

Trip to the Badrinath Shrine, Uttrakhand!!

In continuation of my travel dairy,K For Kanvashram in Uttarakhand – A Mystic Encounter!! like I’ve mentioned, I have spent my childhood in a small town called Kotdwar enveloped by nature in the state of Uttrakhand. Kotdwar city is in Pauri district of Uttarakhand and situated in the foothill of Himalayas .The town was encircled by small mountain range from two sides and the southern side is open towards plain land the entry point for the hilly region and northern boundary touches the Rajaji national park. Our house was in the midst of Mango orchard with a beautiful lush green garden in front of the house. Nowadays a caretaker manages the house as I and my siblings are living in different parts of the country. At present, my family and I reside at Mumbai and visit our hometown once in two years or for any family gathering. I want to share the travel story of our visit to the holy shrine of Badrinath via my parental village through this blog.

It was my niece’s wedding, which was being solemnized at my sister’s place in our hometown. So, after a short visit to our home we stayed at my sister’s place.

Family At Sister’s Place

After the marriage ceremony, it is customary to take the blessing of Lord Hanuman; we visited the temple of our town SIDDABALI MANDIR – Dedicated to Lord Hanuman – with the newly wedded couple. All the functions & ceremonies were over by that time.

SIDDABALI MANDIR – Dedicated to Lord Hanuman

Our plan was to visit our Kul Devi and parental town in Pauri Garhwal to take blessings of Kul Devi as my son was about to leave for the US for higher studies in two months’ time and also because my grown-up children had not visited our parental town so far in Pauri Garhwal. After that, our plan was to proceed onward to visit Badrinath temple at Joshimath. Luckily, my parental town is en-route Badrinath temple, which is one of the Char Dham pilgrimage sites of Uttarakhand.

The widely known Badrinath or Badrinarayan Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. According to Hindu legend, Vishnu meditated at this place and during his meditation, was unaware of cold weather. Lakshmi, his consort, protected him in the form of the Badri tree. Pleased by the devotion of Lakshmi, Vishnu named the place Badrika Ashram. This is situated in the town of Badrinath in Chamoli district along the banks of Alaknanda River considered as a source stream of the Ganges at an elevation of 3,133 meters and the most visited pilgrimage centers of India.

The journey to my parental town started in the morning around 106 kms from Kotdwar, which has hilly tracks. My younger brother’s family and my nephew were also with us in a separate car. It was a very adventurous journey on a hilly road, where people normally feel uncomfortable but it was going very smooth for all of us. Our first brief halt was on the way before reaching a small town called Satpuli, which is situated on the bank of river NAYAR; a perennial non-glacial river and one of the main tributaries of the Ganges, where we all enjoyed chai. The tea stall owner had served us tea with lot of affection and was asked many questions about our origin. Pahadi people are well known for their hospitality and affection and strongly believe in “Athiti Devo Bhav” in letter and spirit.

We reached Satpuli around noon and had lunch and then got down to River Nayar. The astonishing view was breathtaking as the river was surrounded by hills. It is a lifeline for the people of the valley and provides not only fresh fish but also clean water for drinking & irrigation purposes to the nearby villages.The Nayar River finally joins the Ganga River at Vyas Ghat in Rishikesh.

Nayar River at Satpuli

After nearly one hour of journey, we reached Jwalpa Devi Temple is a famous Shaktipeeth dedicated to Goddess Durga and surrounded by splendid green environment.It is more than 350 steps down from the main road on of the bank of river Nayar. The temple priest performed puja for the entire family and then we proceeded to the bank of the River Nayar. We were completely mesmerized by the view of the Nayar River and its surrounding greenery, it was the month of in May and the water was too cold.


After having our lunch in one of the many stalls on the main road, we proceeded for our onward journey to Pauri town and reached the destination in the evening and stayed at a guest house of Uttarakhand tourism. We planned to visit my native village the next morning. My older cousin brother, who resides at Pauri town was supposed to accompany us to the village next day.

My parental village is approximately 5 kms away from Pauri town, and in order to reach there, one has to walk down a km to reach the village from the main road. Most of the people have now migrated to bigger cities for work & better opportunities. As my writer friend Tina Acharya already mentioned in her blog P for Playground of Paradise My goan Danda dt 18th April 2020 on this platform about the main reasons of migration from village lifestyle to city lifestyle. Now, only a few families reside in the village. The old house of my grandfather was in pathetic condition. Which is inevitable as no one is living there currently because of the reason I mentioned above.

Early next morning, we reached our parental village and offered Puja at our Nanda Devi (Kul Devi) temple which was performed by a temple priest. Nanda Devi temple is very old, so much so that the actual date of construction is not known, but it was reconstructed in 2004.

After performing the Puja, we visited the house of our distant aunt (Chachiji). She had been living there in her beautifully maintained home all alone. At the age of 68 years, apart from doing all her household chores, she has maintained a very gorgeous flower & vegetable garden in front of the house where she grows a variety of vegetables in the nearby land. She also said that some of the vegetables she grew, she even sends them to her sons in Dehradun. They were the delicious kind, by virtue of being grown in a pollution free environment & without fertilizers (organic).

The breath-taking view alone of the beautiful flower garden maintained by our chachi single handedly is worth mentioning. When I asked why she did chose to stay here all alone, when she had the option to stay with her sons at Dehradun….Chachiji’s reply was simple. She said “This land is my Karambhumi and I have worked throughout my life in these fields among the greenery & nature. I am very much content, satisfied & free from the hustle bustle of city life.My sons are staying with their families in Dehradun in a limited space without all this. Of course, they have other modern facilities, which today’s generation aspires for ……But I cannot live without working in my fields & nature where everything is fresh. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and happiness and keeps me hale and hearty.” Needless to say, we were very impressed ———-.

There is little that words can do to describe the happiness & feel good factor that we all experienced with her. The children were also very happy to see how the vegetables are grown in the fields. We all enjoyed the delicious food prepared by Chachiji with the items from her kitchen garden. After taking her blessings, we proceeded back to Pauri town.

In the evening we visited Kyunkaleshwar Mahadev temple an ancient 8th century temple dedicated to Lord shiva.The temple enshrines the idols of Lord shiva,Goddess Parvati,Ganapati,Kartikeya, Lord Rama,Goddess Sita & Lakshmana.

The next morning, we left Pauri town for onward journey to Badrinath temple. We were travelling in two cars and followed the route of Pauri-Rudraprayag-Karnavprayag-Nandprayag-Piplkoti-Joshimath-Badrinath making it around an 8-hour journey. We took a short break at Rudraprayag for breakfast, the beautiful town that lies at the confluence of rivers Alaknanda & Madakini. One very important Shiv dham Kedarnath temple route is from Rudraprayag. After 2 hours of journey we reached Karanprayag, a small town that lies at the confluence of rivers Alaknanda & Pindar river. After a journey of an hour we reached Nandprayag, a thinly populated town at the confluence of rivers Alaknanda & Mandakini Rivers. We had lunch at a small restaurant in the lap of Mother Nature. (Photo source: eUttranchal.com)

After 2 more hours of journey we reached to Joshimath where we stayed for the night, our final destination to reach Badrinath which is only 45 kms from there. Joshimath is located at a height of 6150 feet and it is also a gateway to several Himalayan mountain-climbing expeditions, trekking trails and of course pilgrim centers like Badrinath. It was already dark so we stayed in a hotel as per plan. The weather was quite cold being the month of May. We planned to visit the shrine the next morning and co-incidentally, it was the day of opening of the Kapat (Doors) of the temple for six months.

Confluence of River Alakananda and Mandakini

We settled for the day and then I realized that we needed to check on our drivers as one of them was my brother’s personal driver and the other one was hired. So, I called him but he did not respond. I came out from the hotel in search of my driver but he was nowhere to be seen. I started searching the cars parked in the vicinity of the hotel but couldn’t see it anywhere. It took nearly half an hour for me to locate the car at a distance of a mere 300mts from our hotel, and to my utter surprise, both the drivers were sitting inside the hired car and enjoying drinks with snacks. I told him that I was looking for you and wanted to ensure your comfortable stay and here you are without a care and not even picking up the phone. Suddenly, my brother had also come looking for me and after seeing him his driver immediately stood up in attention, my brother was furious and was about to yell at him right there. I intervened before that and convinced him saying its fine as they too are tired driving whole day and we should just allow them to have their own relaxing time. I also ensured their comfortable stay for the night.

Next day we started early in the morning for the holy shrine of Lord Badrinath and reached there after one and a half hour. There were some devotees in the queue along with us. After spending nearly one hour standing in line we noticed that it wasn’t moving ahead at all. After enquiry we came to know that the chief minister of Uttrakhand & his family were offering puja inside the temple so they stopped the line till he completed.

I felt very annoyed.  The VIP culture of India was very unreasonable, which is not at all warranted at least in the places of worship …isn’t it? Many people travelled from far-off distances like us, and he was airlifted directly from Dehradun in a helicopter. Still we are made to wait for hours just because he was performing puja. Not fair! I said the same thing to one of the TV channels covering the whole process being it was the first day of opening the shrine. I am sure that they might have not aired the views of pilgrims.

Well, as they say all’s well that ends well. After waiting patiently hours we finally got to visit the deity, perform puja, and offer our devotion in peace and calm environment. It was divine feeling to be in the vicinity of the temple and it’s surrounding. It was a gratifying feeling in itself.

Once somebody asked Swami Vivekananda, “What do you gain by Prayer?”And the answer given by him was “I gained nothing, In fact I lost Anger, Depression, Jealousy, and Irritation & Insecurity.”

Often it is said that travelling to holy places or pilgrimage makes a person earn virtues (punya) and lose sins (papa). Being a student of science and in a profession as Scientist  I never adhered to these notions. But, Yes  I feel somewhere the aura and divinity of such places have a direct impact on a deeper layer of our psyche and consciousness. We unwind a lot of unnecessary burdens of human emotions like envy, greed and running after material needs, on us and thereby feeling lightness and buoyancy within us.

Then calling it a day, we went back to our accommodations, after time well spent in the beautiful Mountains of Uttarakhand.Trip to the Badrinath Shrine, Uttrakhand was really a rejuvenating and revivifying.

This story has been written by Mr.Rakesh Nautiyal, a Senior Scientist, GM at ONGC. Recently I came across him and become friends. There are many interesting stories he would tell at times…being a globetrotter.  Basically from Uttarakhand, This is an interesting Travelogue To the Holy Shrine The Badrinath Temple… Follow him at Rakesh Nautiyal @pari3105




This is My Post for The Alphabet T  #AToZChallenge 2020 by @blogchatter in the Month of April 2020

K For Kanvashram in Uttarakhand – A Mystic Encounter!!

Kanvashram in Uttarakhand – A Mystic Encounter!!

Hello Readers,

Welcome to my Post.

This story has been written by Mr.Rakesh Nautiyal, a Senior Scientist, GM at ONGC. Recently I came across him and become friends. There are many interesting stories he would tell at times…being a globetrotter.  Basically from Uttarakhand, he had a real life encounter at this nature nestled place Kanvashram in Uttarakhand. It’s really interesting….Read on.

This is the story of a real incident of my life. My family was residing in a small town Kotdwar in the state of Uttarakhand. Kotdwar is a city, a Municipal Corporation and a tehsil in the Pauri Garhwal district of UttarakhandIndia. It is located on the bank of river Khoh. It is situated in the south-western part of the state and is one of the main entrance points in the state of Uttarakhand.


Mr.Rakesh Nautiyal.@pari3105

Kanvashram in Uttarakhand

Saint Kanva, Kanvashram in Uttarakhand

Situated in the foothill of Himalayas the town is encircled by small mountain range from two sides and the southern side is open towards plain land the entry point for the hilly region and northern boundary touches the Rajaji national park. Our house was in the midst of Mango orchard with a beautiful garden in front of the house. I have seen my mother always working and maintaining the different type of flowers in the garden. We all brothers and sisters loved to play outdoors games in the mango orchard spread over 8 Bighas of land having trees of Ashok, Guwava, lichhi, Pear & some rare medicinal trees, daily after returning from school within our premises. I always feel very nostalgic to remember the good old days. I have completed my higher secondary studies in the same town & went to Dehradun for further studies.

The story goes like this….it was just after few days of my marriage and we wanted to visit the temple for the deity’s blessings and planned to take my wife to the nearby place called Kanvashram.

To give a little introduction about Kanvashram it is said to be the birthplace of Emperor Bharat and an important place both historically, culturally and archaeologically in the history of India. It is located on the bank of the river Malini flowing alongside it, which makes it carefully, nestled in Mother Nature. The place was about 12 km from my home.

It is believed that Indra, the king of Gods, scared by The Sage Vishwamitra’s meditation, sent a beautiful celestial damsel named Menaka to the earth to disrupt his meditation. She succeeded in disturbing Vishwamitra’s meditation. With their union, she gave birth to a girl child. Menaka having succeeded in her purpose left the child on the bank of the river Malini and went back to her heavenly abode. This child was found by sage Kanna who brought her up in his ashram called Kanvashram. She was named Shakuntla by the sage. She later married to the King of this region named Dushyanta. She gave birth to a son who was called Bharata, the prince after whom India was named as Bharatavarsha. It is believed that nearly 10,000 pupils used to stay in the ashram of Kanva Rishi in ancient time to get Education. Since then the valley or Ghati is known as Kanvaghati.

Our trip to Kanvashram started as per the plan……Just like the rest of Uttarakhand, this place also boasts of lush green areas and mountains which are a breath-taking sight to behold. And among these forests live a number of wild animals, oblivious to the man –made inventions in their cities.

While visiting that place with my family, I couldn’t help but get drawn towards few animal enclosures they had there at the time just opposite to the Ashram. There was a temporary bridge over the Malini River connecting Ashram and the zoo maintained by the forest department. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see such beautiful wild animals roaming freely in their natural habitats…

Nevertheless, walking along such an enclosure, we spotted a gorgeous looking Barasingha aka a swamp deer. It was just like what animal planet would portray, with its majestic horns in all its glory. Suddenly, I felt an urge to go closer and feed it some snacks I had with me.

A natural Habitat for animals opposite to Kanvashram in Uttarakhand

Since I saw no guard at the enclosure entrance, I decided to try my luck and to my surprise, the gate to its enclosure was unlocked! As I walked inside and slowly towards the deer, visibly it sensed me moving towards it and looked in my direction, but did not waver from its spot.  I remember I was very impressed by its bravery. This encouraged me to get closer to it and I just went straight up to it and held out my hand with the snacks in it a few feet away from its head, hoping it would smell the food and come towards it. The fragrance must have gotten to it indeed, as the deer brought its nose onto my palms and started eating the food from it.

My wife was still standing near the gate. Only a couple of minutes must have passed that I suddenly heard a voice screaming in the background calling me to come out of the enclosure.
I complied, as I was already out of food to feed the deer. As soon as I was out, I saw a guard that had been waiting for me to reach the gate with bated breath.
He asked me in an exasperated voice, almost angry: “Why did you go inside the enclosure sahib?”

I told him why did I go there and asked him what the matter was and he promptly informed me:
“That Barasingha is extremely aggressive; it could have killed you in a second! He has already killed one person before and injured many.”

Surprised at that news, I asked him how all that was possible for that deer that looked so gentle.  However he told me that I was very lucky that it didn’t attack me because if it had, the officials would not have been able to save me.

Hearing that it’s true that I was hugely shocked ……………… and as I looked back at the enclosure, the deer was still standing with the same peaceful posture as before as if trying to disprove the guard’s facts. I soon realised how lucky I had been and made a mental note of being careful around animals as looks can be very deceiving!

But the fact is, wild animal are not always wild until provoked by humans.Even the most simple of life forms exhibit behavioral activity, and whether the behavior is normal or abnormal can provide insight into their mental state.

Instinct is a powerful force in the animal world. It dictates the behaviors necessary for survival, especially in species that don’t get much guidance from their parents. These behaviors are programmed into an animal at a genetic level. It may seem that what drives animal behavior ultimately boils down to a pretty simple factor: survival.

It seems obvious that the role of survivorship is pretty powerful. Nature tends to reward the behaviors that best ensure that an individual escapes predators or finds food.’Survival of the fittest… right?

I was only feeding him, so his behavior was quite normal. Probably it understood my intentions.

On my way back I realized that may be this has been a message taught to me in the vicinity of the Kanvashram…that had once educated thousands of pupils. They say na…The aura of a place has its own mysticism around. 🙂

It was truly a mystical encounter for me….

Kanvashram in Uttarakhand

Isn’t it really touching…Hope you had a great read!!

This is My Post for The Alphabet K  #AToZChallenge 2020 by @blogchatter in the Month of April 2020