A Journey- a Connection
Sometimes, certain journeys are like a renaissance painting, a bit blurred but pleasant on the eye and soul soothing. Such were the trips we’d made consecutively a few years ago during our visit to India.
My sister has great faith in this particular Devi shrine in Himachal and both times she was delighted to have us n make it a family outing.
We piled into a Tata Sumo van in wee hours. Bro-in-law’s best friend Jay likes to drive. After invoking Hindu god Ganesh and goddess shakti also knowns as “devi” we were on our way. Jay is a diehard fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan hence out of his copious pockets he withdrew some tapes and we were treated to some soulful sufi music. We were entranced. The mood was set for the trip.
I have absolutely no road sense, so will only dwell on what my mind captured on these trips. On our way after several hours, I recall having a sumptuous meal at a (roadside diner) Dhaba. Then we were climbing the mountains and the hairpin curves around white limestone/sandstone cliffs were rather daunting. Luckily none of us was nauseous and then we had halted midway up the mountain at a Shiva shrine inside a cave. This was a natural cave temple of Trilokpur containing a stalactite and stalagamite dedicated to Shiva. High on the ridge of the cave we saw the ruins of a palace and baradari (audience hall). Ihe Shiva temple was very ancient and we had to bend very low to enter this shrine. Outside, there was a lovely waterfall(banganga) and I felt this is how mount Kailash would be with Ganga flowing out of the Shiva locks as he meditated.
After paying due obeisance we were on our way reluctant to leave as it was very peaceful high up in the mountains. The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valleys of lower Himalayas. Ancient Hindu Temples like Bajreshwari Devi, Chamunda Devi, Baijnath Shiv temple and Jwala Devi ji dot the country side. The valley, sheltered by the sublime Dhauladhar range, is green and luxuriant. It provides a tremendous contrast in nature.
I recall visiting the various “Devi” shrine during these trips. The one place that completely enchanted me was this ancient shrine of Mata called Bagalamukhi. The Bankhandi temple is located on the Dehra-Dharamsala road, Kangra. There had been a rock fall and a good portion had fallen inwards inside the cave itself. The inner sanctorum was intact and the caretakers had built a small entrance and veranda around it. Belief had it that whatever boon you ask there will be fulfilled. My sister firmly believed in it after a narrow escape and her husband had promised the Devi that he would return to give thanks and hold a langar (lunch)for the local children and their families.
After due respects everyone was busy mustering up the locals and preparing for the langar feast. I absorbed the peace and tranquility of the place. It was incredible. The aura and the vibrations were amazing. Mercifully there were no crowds and in fact at that time we were the only ones there. I was allowed to sit in the inner sanctorum and the bliss was tangible. I closed my eyes and meditated. I was transported. It was almost an out of body experience. I was floating and drawn towards the deity. Peace descended on my bruised spirit like a soothing salve. The Mother had taken me in her arms and removed all my hurts absorbing them and filling the void with love. I was in a blissful state. had journeyed within and without. This shrine’s power was quite potent and I felt it fully. I cherish this experience holding it close to my heart.
*In Hinduism, Bagalamukhi or Bagala is one of the ten mahavidya goddesses. Bagalamukhi Devi smashes the devotee’s misconceptions and delusions by her cudgel. She is also known as Pitambara in Northern Parts of India. (wiki)
**Kangra HP, rich in culture and history is sheltered by the massive Dhauladhar range of mountains and this majestic mountain range surpasses all others in its grandeur The history of Kangra valley dates back to vedic times, more than 3,500 years ago. It finds mention in the Puranas the Mahabharta and in Rajtarangani. Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque valleys in the Himalayas. The famous Bajeshwari Devi temple is located in the town. Kangra town is situated at the confluence of the Baner and Majhi streams, overlooking the Banganga torrent famous for temples, forts and now a speedily emerging as a business centre. There are two other important Hill stations in district Kangra known as Dharamsala and Palampur. All in all, Kangra with a numerous important temples is a great destination for people looking to go on a religious holiday escape.
Dharamshala is full of Buddhist air and McLeod Ganj is Dalai Lama’s official residence, and home to several Buddhist monasteries and thousands of Tibetan refugees. We got a taste of mini Tibet here. The shrine of Budhha was very majestic and peaceful. (Source-internet)
pics. from internet