LADAKH TRIP – PART I MADHYA PRADESH

Off late I have been writing too much fiction and abstract and so I decided to go back to my One Of My First and Many True Loves – Travelling. I have already bragged about my love for travelling and valleys here and here respectively. So I am going to write in details about my most memorable journey in few parts. Right now I am not sure how may part series this will be, partly because I am a novice writer and still learning to channel my thoughts in the most crisp, clear and interesting manner on my blog.

Before starting with the journey a little background on the trip, this trip was actually for Amarnath yatra and is a pilgrimage trip which we twisted a bit and made it pilgrimage cum holiday. My father has been going to Amarnath for 10 years now and there is a dedicated group of people who take care of the arrangements of the yatra. Right from the filling out the forms for the yatra, deciding the route (they take a different route every year), arranging health checkups which is now mandatory for the yatra. You can read more about the Amarnath Shrine here. The groups generally start from my native place near Pune but since there were 11 members from Mumbai, we started from Mumbai itself.

Here is the first lag of our journey from Mumbai – Maheshwar – Omkareshwar.

Image Courtesy - Google Maps
Image Courtesy – Google Maps

We started from Mumbai amid much fanfare by performing a small pooja in a nearby temple; the vehicles were also worshipped and loaded with happiness, excitement, hope, lots and lots of luggage and ofcourse people. The route is thru Nasik, Jalgaon and then Dhule. It is a four lane highway and an absolute delight to drive on. Nasik has lot of new flyovers constructed recently, one of it being the flyover for Dhule highway. The flyover too is of 4 lanes and the vehicle glides over it swiftly, it descends at the far end of the city and joins the Dhule highway immediately. Since it was just the beginning of a 18 days journey everybody was bubbling with energy, that’s when our eyes meet a very unpleasant site. A Tata Indigo car overtook as and few moments later after a blind turn we saw that a biker coming from the wrong side has dashed the car and was bleeding profusely. Our spirits dipped a bit but we went on, somehow the memory of that scene refuses to fade from my mind even after 7 months.

Rest of the journey was smooth and we reached Maheshwar at around 6 PM. The speciality about Maheshwar is that it has a palace of Ahilya Bai Holkar you can read about it here. The palace is located at the banks of Narmada River and there is a beautiful temple with intricate carvings on it. The ghat built over the river is enormous and beautiful. Here are few photographs of the palace, the ghat and the river.

Ahilyabai_Holkar_Statue - Maheshwar
Ahilyabai_Holkar_Statue – Maheshwar
Boat Ride at Narmada Ghat
Boat Ride at Narmada Ghat

After clicking some photographs and enjoying a boat ride we preceded to our stay at the Gagajanan Maharaj Bhakt Niwas – Omkareshwar near Indore. I love this place, it is clean, pleasant, serene and most importantly it is incredibly reasonable. It is a sort of dharma shala which means temperory residence built for travelling devotees on pilgrimage. It is a no frills and self service stay but all in all it is a place one would love to be in. Here is a link for Bhakta Niwas. The next morning, we proceeded to the Omkareshwar temple which is situated Indore in Madhya Pradesh and is located on a hill as most of the Shiva temples are. The one thing which one cannot help but notice is the commercialization which is springing up at the pilgrimage site. This leads to chaos and also the upkeep of the temple and the cleanliness is ignored.

Bridge to Omkareshwar Temple
Bridge to Omkareshwar Temple

There are two ways to reach the temple, either to reach the river bank a hire a boat or cross a string bridge. I have tried both ways but walking on the bridge is a superb experience.

Boats for Hire at Narmada Ghat
Boats for Hire at Narmada Ghat

Here are few clicks of the Narmada river.

Narmada Basin
Narmada Basin
Patterns Formed at Narmada Basin
Patterns Formed at Narmada Basin
Patterns Formed at Narmada Basin_2
Patterns Formed at Narmada Basin_2
Patterns Formed at Narmada Basin_3
Patterns Formed at Narmada Basin_3

After Omkareshwar, we reached Mahakaleshwar which is again a jyotirling. It is around 150 kilometres from Omkareshwar, it was a quick visit and we were in and out in no time. After Mahakaleshwar, we proceeded to Chitrakoot which is believed to be Ram & Seeta’s residence for 11 years out of 14 years of vanvaas. Again we just visited some caves of spiritual importance and we were in and out in no time. You can read more about Chitrakoot here.

So this was it for Madhya Pradesh, we will continue the journey in the next post.

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