Somnath: History, mythology & the 1st Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva

Somnath Temple

21st April, 2018; a fine dawn, I woke up for the nth time. I had been doing this for last 2 hours just to fall asleep each time. But this time before my eyelids could redo what they have been doing, I was hit with a strong pungent smell. As I looked around with dizzy eyes, everyone in the bus was struggling with the smell, either fanning their hands in front of their noses or covering it. I drew the curtains to look outside and saw factories lined up along the road. Read more

Pilgrimage to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine #2: Adhkwari to Bhawan

Trek to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine is an arduous pilgrimage and often tests the endurance of the devotees to its limit. Yet year after year millions of devotees undertake the trek with unflinching devotion for the divine mother. Most devotees divide their journey (at least psychologically) into 2 parts – Ban Ganga to Adhkwari and then Adhkwari to Bhawan. Read more

Mata Vaishnodevi shrine at Katra #1: Ban Ganga to Adhkwari

A shivering cold night, mantras played on speakers are wafting in the air accompanied with zealous chants of “ZORR SE BOLO… JAI MATA DI…“, there are horses and mules rushing up and down the tortuous paths and there are enervated people climbing with their walking sticks, panting, struggling to catch a breath yet unwilling to stop. Read more