“Since nature is a beautiful temple, a beautiful temple inside the nature is a temple within the temple, it is a pearl within the pearl, a diamond within the diamond!”
In our month long stay a day was fixed for the visit of Garjiya. It is a beautiful temple of goddess Durga in the midst of the flowing water of Kosi. This temple was three kilometers from our house. We generally use to walk to the temple. In those days there was no facility of cabs or auto rickshaws in villages. People either used to travel by bus or paraded on their feet. My grandmother used to pack a small bag full of fresh flowers from our home garden, sandalwood paste (Chandan), kumkum (vermilion powder), rice grains and leaves of holy plants like tulsi, bilva and ankado to offer to God.This is called as Archanam.
I used to walk a few meters and would start cribbing to my parents to either stop a bus or take me in their arms. I was a lazy kid and I am still like that 😛 But you know how parents are , they know ways to distract you from the nagging 😉 So my father would ask me to recite counting from one to a hundred, but in reverse order without a mistake 😛 And it was not at all easy when you are four or five years old 😛 To add up to this pursuit of diversion ,my mother would start telling me the story of the temple.
One day a big rock that got cut from the Himalayan range came floating in the river and stood at the place where it is right now. On the same day a man of the village got a dream that Goddess Shakti was telling him about her presence in the same rock. He discussed his dream with the people of village. So they took the decision that they will check the rock for the same. But there was one problem. It was a huge rock and there was no ladder of that size in the village. Then someone suggested that they should climb the rock to check the authenticity of the dream. A famous climber of trees was allotted the task. It took him several hours to reach the pinnacle. And when he reached the top, he was bewildered to see the statue. He yelled that their dream has come true. The goddess has bestowed her blessings on the village. For a long time people always climbed the rock to pay a visit to the temple. After a very long time the temple was renovated to its present form.
The road to the temple was serene and beautiful. No vehicles on road. Lush green forest on one side and peaceful village on the other. And there was one shortcut too, which used to cut our journey by half kilometer. On this shortcut was a small bridge that we needed to cross to reach the other side and it used to land us at the back side of the temple. Now a day’s this bridge is the home of many adventure sports like Slithering (one wears a harness and slides from a bridge with a help of a rope into the river) , River Crossing, Rock Climbing etc. I always loved standing on the bridge and hearing the sound of the flowing river.Now when I stand on that same bridge I feel as if the bridge is muttering something in my ears with the whistling wind …as if it is saying that our life is just like a bridge we need to cross it from one heaven of birth to another one of death without any fear .
After crossing the bridge we reached at the back side of the temple.
After walking for a few more steps there stood a beautiful white temple with its more than hundred stairs to step on to reach the almighty.
There was one distant relative of my mother who used to own a stall in temple vicinity. My parents always bought Prasad from his shop.
And the next thing, I remember, slithering on the steps tiredly just because dad promised that he will buy bangles for me from the nearby stalls. As soon as we reached on the top it felt amazing. We use to chant mantras and sing prayers in praise of Goddess Shakti. Then we did three Parikrama ( circumambulation) of the temple. After finishing the ritual we use to stand there at the top for some time. It was so blissful to watch the flowing river and blue sky above it.
While getting down from the staircase I used to feel so energetic. The enthusiasm of buying and eating things pumped energy in my lethargic body 😛 We use to buy deity lockets for us and all our cousins. Sometimes my mother used to buy bangles or clips or bands for me. On our continuous persuasion we were given a glass of fresh juice or lime soda and some snacks too 😛 Then we were dragged from there on to the road. I use to straightforwardly deny walking back home. So we waited for the bus to take us back. Once on the bus I again became the cheery soul.
To be continued …..
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