Pilgrimage

Hajj: The Final Installment – What it means to be a Haji

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To have performed Hajj in such unusual circumstances also means that I would be able to advise others on how to go about performing Hajj in this manner. Only Allah can tell whether this can be construed as a good thing or not. The good thing is that I can definitely advise people to spend more and  go with a comfortable agency, whichever it may be, and preferably legally cleared with the Saudi authorities; to perform Hajj “legally” means not having to suffer as my friends and I did. It means that one gets proper accommodation at Arafah, Muzdalifah and Mina. It means not having to worry about whether eating food properly may increase one’s desire to visit the toilet, especially because they are neither clean, nor easily accessible, esp. at Arafah and Muzdalifah. It means that once one lands at Mina, one can stay there for the next three days to pray and visit the Jamarat whenever one wants to without actually having to walk up and down from Makkah and to it multiple numbers of times. It means that one is not inconvenienced by having to squat on roads at Mina and being told by the police to get up and go elsewhere every single evening/night.

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गढ़वाल घुमक्कड़ी: भविष्य बद्री

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देवभूमि गढ़वाल के कुछ छिपे हुए रत्नों को तलाशती तीन दोस्तों की कभी ना भुला पाने वाली रोमांचक घुमक्कड़ी की दास्तान…जिसमे हमने कुछ बेहतरीन नज़ारे देखे, कुछ अनोखे और सोच बदलने वाले अनुभवों से गुजरे, कुछ खुबसूरत दोस्तों से मिले, कुछ बेहतरीन ठिकानों पर रात गुजारी और बहुत कुछ सीखने को मिला…

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गढ़वाल घुमक्कड़ी: जोशीमठ – तपोवन – बाबा आश्रम

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पैदल घूमते घामते प्रकृति को निहारते हुए सलधार पहुँचे और सबसे पहले वसुधारा की पद यात्रा से सबक लेकर एक दुकान पर रुककर आगे की यात्रा के लिए कुछ चने और मीठी गोलियाँ रख ली. सलधार से भविष्य बद्री तक का रास्ता ज़्यादातर जगह जंगल के बीच से गुज़रते हुए जाता था जहाँ कई जगह राह मे दो रास्ते सामने आ जाते थे जो हमारी दुविधा का कारण बन बैठते. ऐसे मे कई बार या तो स्थानीय लोगो की मदद से और कई बार बस किस्मत के भरोसे ‘अककड़ बक्कड़’ करके हम लोग जैसे तैसे सुभाईं नामक गाँव तक पहुँचे जहाँ से भविष्य बद्री की दूरी लगभग 1 ½ किमी ही रह जाती है.

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Makkah – Performing the Hajj Pilgrimage – 2

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I was in regular touch with the other doctors whom I had left behind, and at about half past twelve, one of them informed me that Sk. Jamal, the tour operator, had finally sorted out the problem with the police, and that they would all be proceeding shortly directly to the hotel where we were to be lodged for the next few days.

I then caught a cab and went to the hotel, where everyone else was just arriving/settling down. This hotel, grandiosely called the Salman Plaza Hotel, was just a building with sub-standard rooms … the kind that you saw in your salad days! They had allocated one room of about 220 sq. ft. for 11 males! Each of us would get to sleep on a half-width Chinese mattress, with the rest of the space being used to keep our bags and shoes/slippers. The A/C worked okay, as did the fan. The room had a small (read cramped) toilet-cum-bath. I chose my “bed” and lay down almost immediately.

My co-passengers were all as tired as I was; one of my friends brought some food, and invited me to share it with him, which I did. We prayed the Dhuhr prayers, and then went to the Holy Mosque to perform the ARRIVAL circumambulation (7 rounds around the Holy Kaa’ba). I continued after this to also complete 7 lengthwise walks between Safaa and Marwah.

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गढ़वाल घुमक्कडी: बद्रीनाथ – माणा – वसुधारा – जोशिमठ

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चलो अब चलते हैं मुचुकूंद गुफा, ‘अरे नही यार ये तो बहुत उपर लगता है’ दीपक बोला. ‘अरे नही भाई, पास ही तो है’, मैं बोला. ‘3 किमी तो दूर है भाई, फिर हम लोग वसुधारा नही जा पाएँगे, देख लो’, पुनीत बोला. बात सबको ठीक लगी, हम लोग वसुधारा को नही छोड़ना चाहते थे, गुफ़ाएँ तो सबने देख ही ली थी अब वसुधारा के दर्शन करने को सब बड़े बेकरार थे. इसलिए बिना समय गवाए हम लोग नीचे भीम पुल की ओर बढ़ चले. भीम पुल के पास आकर सबसे पहले एक बड़ी भ्रांति टूटी जो थी ‘सरस्वती के लुप्त हो जाने की’, हमने तो सरस्वती दर्शन से पहले केवल यही सुन रखा था की यह नदी अब विलुप्त हो चुकी है और शायद भूमिगत होकर बहती है.

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Makkah – Performing the Hajj pilgrimage

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A trip to Makkah normally takes about three hours, give or take. The actual distance from my village to it is about 290 km. This night, though, we took over ten hours to reach Makkah, and over 16 hours to finally reach the hotel rooms where we would all be staying. I would tell you all the sordid details, but suffice it to know that our agent had arranged the whole trip ILLEGALLY … that is, there was no payment made to the Government of Saudi Arabia for performance of a legal journey. We were performing Hajj at a very low cost … the cost would include the transportation to Makkah and the return from it, and the 11-persons-per-room stay in a hotel in Makkah. Food, internal travelling, comforts etc. were EXCLUDED. Of course, the organiser’s huge profit margin was INCLUDED in the 1800 Saudi Riyals per person package!

As we were not official pilgrims, the police stopped our bus at many places. At one spot, we were immediately directed to the opposite side and asked to return to Ta’if, the city from which we had just left; we tried to re-negotiate this barricade, and failed again. Then, in a burst of creativity, one of my co-passengers simply shifted one of the barricades aside and we drove past it, out of sight of the police! Ahead, as night deepened, most of us went off to sleep. The bus plodded on, inch by inch, as it neared Makkah. At the break of dawn, the driver woke us all and asked us to get off the bus, while he tried to get the bus past yet another police barricade. We got off, and walked past the lingering police with hundreds of other pilgrims in a similar predicament. Finding some flat, even ground on the side of the road, we all plopped there to await the bus that would come to pick us up. It was another two hours before it did. In the meantime, night turned into day and the sun climbed up, changing the weather from a balmy, warm one into an uncomfortable, hot one.

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Trip to Haridwar By Car from Delhi

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There are many small but good restaurants are there. We decided one Punjabi Restaurant in front of Jai Gurudev Ashram and enjoyed our meal there. In the evening we went towards local temple and visit Chandi Devi Mandir. We hire Auto which is famous with the name Vikram, as the Auto is from Vikram company. We have to change the second auto from the main raod intersection towards Chandi Devi. Their we have to pay the entrance fee and Cable Car fee. We rach at the Mandir premises from where we have to stand in the line to board the cable car as the Mandir is situated at the top of hill. It was a breath stiopping moment at the top of hill. Akmost the whole Haridwar city and river ganga basin is visible from there. We participated in the evening puja there and fed some chanas to monkey. Here monkeys are very naughty, they snatch the eatable items from the visitors.

After darshan we returned back to Har Ki Pauri and attended Evening Pooja there. Har ki Pauri was very crowded and it was very risky with kids to go near the ghats. So we decided to view the prayer from the foot over bridge and after prayer plan to visit the Ganga river from the close. Evening prayer and the environment were very devotional. Many persons on the foot over bridge start chanting Gangaji Aarti. After end of the prayer much priest start moving towards crowd with Aarti Jyot and every one get a chance to take the arti darshan from the close.

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गढ़वाल घुमक्कडी: रुद्रप्रयाग – कार्तिक स्वामी – कर्णप्रयाग

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उपर के नज़ारों ने शरीर को तरो ताज़ा कर दिया था, इसलिए उतरते वक्त ज़्यादा समय नही लगा और उतरते ही पैदल यात्रा आरंभ. कुछ एक किलोमीटर ही चले थे कि दोस्तों को थकान लगने लगी, सोचा चलो जो साधन मिल जाए आगे तक उसी मे चल पड़ेंगे. अब चलते चलते हर एक आगे जाने वाली गाड़ी को हाथ दिखाकर रोकने की कोशिश करते रहे, पर सब बेकार. किस्मत से थोड़ी देर बाद एक ट्रक आता हुआ दिखाई दिया, आधे मन से इसे हाथ दिखाया और ये क्या! ट्रक तो थोड़ा आगे जाकर रुक ही गया था.

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ब्रज यात्रा – बरसाना गोवर्धन मथुरा वृन्दावन

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निधिवन, यमुना घाट और अन्य मंदिरों के दर्शन के बाद हमने अपने होटल से प्रस्थान किया और चल दिए वापस फरीदाबाद की ओर ! इस बार वृन्दावन आने का आनंद ही कुछ ओर रहा ! हम दिल्ली के आस पास के लोग एक ही दिन में वृन्दावन आना जाना कर लेते हैं, पर मैं समझता हूँ की एक दो रात यहाँ रुके तो बात कुछ ओर ही हो !

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Vaishno Devi Yatra – A Pilgrim’s Progress

Vaishno Devi Yatra – A Pilgrim’s Progress

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Even appointments with gods come with privilege. A pilgrim with VIP pass could bypass all number and answer his/her calling with a privilege which a poor barefoot pilgrim couldn’t even dream of. An Amitabh Bachhan has more easy access to god than a mere “Nikhil Chandra”. Perhaps gold is a precious metal even among gods…who knows why the world is the way it is.

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सुहाना सफ़र और आप

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मैंने घुमक्कड़ पर रूचि लेना अभी कुछ समय पहले ही शुरू किया है अतः आप लोग मुझे घुमक्कड़ परिवार की नयी सदस्य कह सकते हैं. मेरे हसबेंड श्री मुकेश भालसे इस अंतरजाल (वेबसाइट ) से पहले से ही यात्रा वृत्तान्त लेखक के रूप में जुड़े हैं एवं उनकी घुमक्कड़ डोट कॉम के प्रति प्रेम तथा निष्ठा देखकर मैं भी धीरे धीरे इस सम्मानजनक मंच से जुड़ गई तथा अब तो यह स्थिति है की पूजा पाठ के बाद दैनिक कार्यों की शुरुआत घुमक्कड़ के साथ ही होती है. अगर मैं यह कहूँ की घुमक्कड़ हमारे परिवार का एक चहेता सदस्य है तो कोई अतिश्योक्ति नहीं होगी.

मैं अपने परिवार के साथ वर्ष में एक या एक से अधिक बार (मुख्यतः धार्मिक स्थान पर) घुमक्कड़ी कर ही लेती हूँ, इन यात्राओं में हमें बहुत से खट्टे मीठे अनुभव होते हैं तथा हर यात्रा हमें कुछ नया सिखा जाती है, अपनी यात्राओं के इन्ही खट्टे मीठे अनुभवों से प्राप्त कुछ महत्वपूर्ण बिन्दुओं को कलमबद्ध करके आज में आपलोगों को प्रस्तुत कर रही हूँ, आशा है की यह जानकारी साथी घुमक्कड़ों के लिए लाभदायक सिद्ध होगी, अगर ऐसा होता है तो मैं समझूंगी की मेरा प्रयास अर्थपूर्ण रहा.
यात्रा शुरू करने से पहले यात्रा सम्बंधित निम्नलिखित सभी महत्वपूर्ण पहलुओं पर गौर कर लें ताकि आपका सफ़र उर्दू वाला सफ़र ही रहे, अंग्रेजी वाला सफ़र (suffer) न बन जाए.

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