Table of contents for Spiritual Journeys
The News was exciting ! it was Dec of 2008 and Shan & Kan, my children were coming from UK after 6 years. They left India as young teenagers in 2002 and after studying hard, working and struggling for jobs in Edinburgh, they are coming to India and after 6 years we will be together as family… after long time.
I wished to take children to some good place to give them a glimpse of our ancient culture and what would be better than Jageshwar & Patal Bhuvneshwar ? I never liked Shimla, Mussurie type hill stations because they are more of concrete jungles than a beautiful hill station. If we have to see big buildings and shops, we would roam around in Delhi, but will not go 300 Kms away from Delhi and then see the mad rush again. So I prefer quiet unknown places and hoped my kids would like it. Pradeep, my childhood friend also planned to accompany us alongwith his family because his daughter had also come back from London after studies.
My children were much suprised to see the progress in Delhi, specially the road from airport to the city, the magnificent fly-overs and crowd of good cars running on the roads… i too felt proud of India.
I had purchased a well maintained Getz from Hyundai’s truevalue … I got the car chekced and made it ready for the ride. We started around 0600 from Delhi on the morning of 31st Dec… it was foggy but not bad. But the moment we crossed Hapur the fog suddenly became denser and after some time, the visibility was almost nil. When we turned from Rampur towards Haldwani, the fog was at its maximum. the road was bad, with lot of pits on the way and somewhere only mud. Traffic was very slow. there were lot of trucks both ways. We would see pale lights of some vehicle and suddenly it would appear as a moster truck just before us.
Driving was very very difficult and when we crossed Udhamsingh Nagar, nothing was visible due to fog.. as if we were flying in the clouds. We were all worried how will we reach Jageshwar today in such terrible driving conditions. It was almost 1300 hrs, but looked like night. Another hour of difficult driving and suddenly we saw bright day light before us… no fog no rain… nothing. We had almost reached Haldwani. It was 14-30. the road was clear and we could see the fog behind. We stopped the car at a road-side restaurant and enjoyed our paranthas after 8 hours of dangerous & difficult drive without even a cup of tea !!!
From Kathgodam, we turned right for Bhimtaal, had a photo-session there and proceeded towards Almora
It was around 6 that we reached Almora, but there was no room available in KMVN hotel there due to new year’s rush.
I was so sure of getting a room in Jageshwar that we decided to go straight to Jageshwar which was about 1 hours drive from Almora. When we reached Jageshwar it was almost dark. Because Jageshwar is in a valley its day hours are little lesser than other places. We first reached the KMVN hotel. A big room was empty but it had a bathroom which was leaking and the bathroom was full of water. The manager promised to get it repaired the next day, but we left the idea of staying there and came down to the market, where there are many private guest houses. We got a good deal for 3 rooms just overlooking market and Jageshwar temple complex.
We called the manager and asked about food. He said his brother runs a restaurant just below his guest house so he will get us food from there. I asked him about Menu and he asked me what do we need. I was impressed by this thinking they have a large menu card so we could order anything. I asked him if Mater-paneer is available ? He went towards balcony and came back with a NO. Then I asked what else you can offer…. he again went to the balcony and told from there I can offer you Aloo Gobhi, or Aloo baingan. I went out to balcony and asked him why you are speaking from here when we are inside the room. He shyly said he was watching at the vegetable shop just opposite and seeing what vegetables are available, which he can get prepared for us. LOL that was the secret of his menu card.
Hot food was delicious. Families were preparing for good sleep after such long and tiring journey and I was standing at the balcony watching a few people going here and there. The time was around 10 and town was sleeping, just a chai-wala still open. Then I saw New Scorpio and Skoda coming and parking behind our cars. There was loud music coming from the cars and the people in cars started coming out. They were all between age 22-30 and were talking loudly. I smiled thinking they must be some new year seekers and after not getting hotel anywhere , reached here by mistake.
We switched off the lights and went for sleep. Sleep was almost waiting for us to lie down. It was around 11 in night that we all woke up from our sleep with the loud noise. The boys had opened all doors of the scorpion and they were playing the music system at full volume. We tried to sleep but the music was so loud that it was impossible. I assured my family that soon they will be tired and would sleep after 12.
At 12 they started shouting and knocking at our hotel gate. The started fighting with manager to let them in, despite the manager telling there is no room available. Then that mad crowd reached another hotel nearby and started banging at their gate. Something happened there, and suddenly we heard lot of noise. Perhaps they had a fight with manager there. Now they came back and stood just below our balcony and started shouting at each other. They were all drunk heavily and soon their shoutings changed to abuses.
You can imagine the plight of a father with his grown up kids, listening the most dirty and filthy abuses. Then they started beating someone and we heard sound of rocks being thrown at someone. We were, besides being ashamed at dirty abuses, worried about our cars. I was sure some windows of our cars would be found broken tomorrow morning. They barked, abused and shouted till 2 or 3 in the morning and then slowly their voices drowned, and we were in the lap of Nidra-devi again.
Next morning I came out for a cup of tea and saw lot of broken whiskey and beer bottles on the road. Near Scorpio I saw a heap of paper plates, glasses, namkeen wrappers and chicken bones telling about their feast in the night. The tea-wala explained to me that they are some new rich boys who came from Bareilly and Ghaziabad to celebrate the New Year. They fought with locals and then they fought among themselves, hurting each other and were finally sent to a rest house nearby, where they were sleeping with vomittings all around.
I felt sorry and ashamed. such people spoil the image of India among foreigners and spoil image of all tourists in the eyes of locals. THIS WAS MY WORST NEW YEAR AND THAT TOO BEFORE MY KIDS WHOM I BROUGHT HERE FOR SOME FUN.
Morning we came to see Jageshwar temple complex. It is so beautiful and has some 122 small temples, besides the main temple which is called Mahamritunjaya. It is said that Lord Shiva got the name Maha-Mritunjaya here. The temperature was sub-zero and all were shivering with cold.
I sat with my family and had puja, which is a treat in Uttrakhand temples. The priest took some 30 minutes in the rituals and my kids were watching it curiously, as it was a new experience for them. When priest was telling about lord Shiva, Shan my son suddenly asked – If shiva is so powerful why did he allow the Rakshas to spread sin here in this holy place….. Pujariji’s answer was simple but spiritually uplifting …he said- many people come here with love and respect for Shiva and their bad karmas are left here…. shiva arranges some Asuras to come once a while and take all these left over bad karmas of others, back with them !!! This is how it works.
The high spiritual energies soon overtook our negativity and we forgot yesterday’s incident and went on a shooting spree in Jageshwar and Dandeshwar, another temple complex 3 Km before
There is a 12 Kms trek from Jageshwar to Binsar… but it was left for some other time.
Our next destination was Patal Bhuvaneshwar. We had visited there just 6 months before and liked the place so much that we wanted to show this to our children.
(next story about Patal Bhuvaneshwar…)