Day 11: 12th March 2014
A fresh morning of Ranital…
That night we slept like dead..but in the morning we woke like a newborn. A lovely morning of Ranital after a whole night’s rain. While having hot samosas and tea from Sharma Dhaba, I was talking to locals. Assembly elections were about to come and they were talking about the Modi wave, like other.
The entire Chennai Super-Kings team was the brand ambassador of the Dhaba. Sharmaji was proudly telling us how the team had lunch here during their journey to the Dharamsala cricket stadium.
Ranital to Jwalamukhi was a wonderful typical Himalayan road. We realized that we were driving down and started losing altitude. Curvy road with soft music in our ears, we were happy for sure. The day was planned for any spiritual places including shakti peethas and gurudwara.
At Jwalaji – the fire Shakti Peetha…
With a slow-motion drive through the wet road, we reached Jwalaji town. Jwalamukhi means the Volcano. One of the great shakti peethas, Devi is prayed in the form of flames which are lightened from ages. The flames come out of nowhere from the ground. Flame means Jwala and the goddess – Jwalaji.
The divine flame.. those who are habitual to see an idol as a god in the temples will have a different experience. The goddess is prayed here in the form of flames which are eternally lightened from the ground. Though the main shrine is simple and typical, a newly renovated campus provides a mix of different arts.
While enjoying the breakfast of pakodas with tea, we heard a couple of stories about the goddess from that tea vendor. Keeping these amazing stories and memories in the back pocket of minds, we moved to our next destination for the day.. Goddess Bagalamukhi temple.
Yellow Goddess Bagalamukhi
The morning had a sweet breeze in the air and soothing songs in the ears. While enjoying the curvy road, we kept adding friends to the list and pakodas in the tummy. As we moved south, roads were more populated with many villages at smaller distances.
Yellow is the prominent color in the temple. The Bagalamukhi goddess is one of 10 Mahavidyas, a group of pertinent Tantrik temples in India. We got the feel of the Tantrik atmosphere as we started entering the premise.
It is an ancient temple on the lap of the Himalayas. Echos of chants by monks and devotees were filling the void. Trust me, we loved being here.
Our temple run continued after a mesmerizing experience at the goddess temple.
By now, we started descending the Himalayas. Roads were busy and more humanized which wasn’t so pleasant though. There were patches of Himalayan beauty and calmness. We ensured to stop and inhale knowing that we are heading towards the hoards of humans.
We saw many bike rider groups visiting goddess temples. We spoke with some of them. Local boys normally do their pilgrimages on a bike during that pleasant weather time, mostly from Punjab and Haryana.
In the realm of Goddess Chintpurni…
After spending days in the upper hills, we found the Chintpurni temple area more like our business as usual. The temple area is grown as a busy town and is surrounded by commercial establishments. But the temple itself has been kept good.
We took our offerings for the mother goddess and went through stairs and lanes. The temple top is covered in gold-plated metal. The soft music of Shehnai and Nagara added a flavor to the realm.
As others did, we offered our flowers and stuff in the temple, tied the knot to the holy tree, and had a taste of prasad. The temple is one of the main Shaktee Peethas and is worshipped across Himachal, Punjab, and Haryana.
During this entire trip so far, this day was truly dedicated to the goddess in her various forms. Karani Mata, Vaishno Devi, Jwalaji, Bagalamukhi, Chintapurni.. we were visiting Shaktee Peethas and getting blessed.
Chintapurni Temple was kind of the last place in the Himalayas for our trip. This was a point of return to home which was thousands of miles away.
Day Ends with blessings of Shri Anandpur Sahib
Well! The day was not quite over. Passing through the great dam – Bhakra and Nangal, we were running fast as much as we can unless we saw a wonderful fair on the roadside.
Unknowingly, we were at the great Anandpur Sahib – one of the prominent worship places for Sikhs. Wow. After the Golden temple, it was our second great visit to the Sikh shrine.
Delighted with a pleasant surprise, we rode for hundreds of KMs that night. Rupnagar town was the halting place. Lalit and I will never forget that walk on a bridge over the Satluj river after having the best parathas. We found a nice hotel called “City Heart” for a restful night 🙂