Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Krishna Janmashtami Special: Nand Bhavan or Chaurasi Khamba Temple in Mahavan, Old Gokul

A painting depicts Krishna crossing the Yamuna at Chaurasi Khamba Temple,  Old Gokul Mahavan

"Blessed is human birth,
even the dwellers in heaven desire this birth,
for true knowledge and pure love may be attained only by a human being."
- Bhagavad Gita.

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The clock strikes twelve, it's midnight;
and a mischievous beautiful brave child takes birth
to two divine parents, Vasudev and Devki,
in the confines of the jail set up by Devki’s brother, demon king Kansa.
It's the eighth day in the month of Shravan of the hindu calendar, Ashtami…
and according to a celestial prediction, the child is to be the slayer of Kansa;
hence Kansa is already eagerly on the lookout of this child even before he is born.

In the dark hour of the night that he is born, a miracle happens…
all the doors in the jail are thrown open and the binding chains unshackle,
the guards on duty have all fallen asleep!
Fearing for his child’s safety,
Father Vasudev ferries his little apple of the eye
across a ferocious River Yamuna,
across stormy waters and lightening skies,
and places him in Nand Bhavan,
in the loving lap of Yashoda and NandRaj for care...

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The rest is history and today, it all lies scattered as a treasure for pilgrims all over the world to hunt and gather from a small nondescript town that stands off a dusty road. Around 11 kms. from Mathura on the left bank of River Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh, our car steers its way, past green fields and tiny bushes, towards Mahavan, also known as Old Gokul, in a bid to collect some of these precious pearls from an era gone by.

Way to Chaurasi Khamba temple old Gokul Mahavan
Take a turn towards Nand Bhavan!

A flight of steps takes us to the significant Nand Bhavan also known as the Chaurasi Khamba temple, the same house where once the cow-herder boy, the infinitely loving essence, Baby Krishna was raised along with his elder cousin brother Balaram in loving affection by his foster parents, Yashoda and NandRaj, and where he spent his childhood by performing his pastimes and lilas and stealing many hearts.

Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Lord Krishna's birthplace, Old Gokul Mahavan
Chaurasi Khamba Temple / 84 pillared temple or Nand Bhavan.

The original palace, built by architect of the Gods Vishwakarma around 5000 years ago, couldn't escape the destruction by Emperor king Aurangzeb during his reign as a result of which this temple is a re-built version believed to be constructed later using the same pillars from the original. No wonder then, the major striking aspect of the temple are the pillars on which the temple stands its ground – exactly 84 in number! And that is how the temple gets its name - Chaurasi Khamba - which refers to the 84 pillars in the temple.

Pillars at the Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavn old Gokul in Mathura
Outer walls of the temple.

The walls of the temple are adorned with paintings and motifs illustrating the life of the Lord right from his birth to his early years of childhood. As I roll my hands on the stone carvings, passing from one pillar to the next, and gaze at the beautiful paintings, it’s easy to be transported to a time that still stands still somewhere in the annals of space…

One of the pillars at ancient Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan Old Gokul in Mathura
One of the pillars in the temple.
A painting adorns the walls at Chaurasi Khamba Temple,  Old Gokul Mahavan
A raas lila painting adorning the outer wall.
A time when Krishna’s enchanting laughter
resonated in the verandahs as a little child swinging in the cradle.
A time when Krishna’s brave acts of killed mighty demons like Putna and Trinavrita
as simply as a child’s play.
A time when Mother Yashoda’s annoyance led her to bind his piece of heart
to 2 trees with a rope that somehow always came out undersized…

Walls of the Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Lord Krishna's birthplace Mahavan
What lies inside?

Mahavan today is marked by all these places that come alive in living breathing structures resplendent in timeless tales, legends and lores from Ancient texts and Scriptures glorifying the various pastimes and youthful plays (lilas) of Lord Krishna in his early years. The temple inside is dim lighted and stands neatly on a row of ornate columns and pillars resplendent in symbols and figures - the number 84 signifying 84,00,000 species of life in this material world. All the pillars taken together in the temple thus houses all the life in the Universe. In the center of this life ball, sits the core of all, baby Lord Krishna swinging in a cradle, playing as a child, radiating his blooming effulgence, looked over lovingly by his family, Nand Baba, Yashoda maiya and his elder brother Balaram. Photography is allowed inside the temple but due to poor lighting conditions and my cellphone camera, I couldn't take any presentable ones.

Beautiful words at Chaurasi Khamba Temple,  Old Gokul Mahavan
BrajVaasi Vallabh (Krishna) always resides in my spirit
May I never ever forget him, my love and the pride of Nand Baba.

The pradakshina marg or the circumambulation path around the Chaurasi Khamba temple in Mahavan leads you places like Brahmand Ghat where baby Krishna showed the entire Universe in his mouth much to the astonishment of his mother, Yamala-Arjuna kunda where Krishna uprooted the two ashoka trees on which he was tied for his mischief's and several smaller shrines depicting various incidences connected to his growing up years like killing of demons Putana and Trinavarta.

A small temple Chaurasi Khamba Temple,  Old Gokul Mahavan
A kalpa vruksha at Chaurasi Khamba Temple compund,  Old Gokul Mahavan
A temple of Kali Maa under the banyan tree.
Lord Shiva temple at Chaurasi Khamba Temple, Mahavan
Lord Shiva temple.

The main temple is surrounded by several smaller shrines located close to each other housing various other Hindu Gods and Goddesses along with a banyan tree draped with many colourful ribbons dipped in faith and prayer.

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In a world frightened by birth and death,
some people take shelter of shrutis, some of the smritis
and some of the Mahabharata.
But I pray to Shri NandRaja,
in whose courtyard Param Brahma is playing as a child.

~ Sri Padyavali, 127

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Soulie Saturday #17: Just Row, My Friend (Boat Ride, Vishram Ghat, Mathura)

Boat ride by the Yamuna River in Mathura
Boat Ride by the River Yamuna in Mathura.


Just row, row my friend --
rise up and high with the waters,
or keep low and bend.
Watch out for the currents,
the joys and the sorrows,
emotions, pain, melancholy and exuberance;
expressions of the heart, all God sent,
to help you grow and strengthen,
fortify, brace and transcend.

Just row, row my friend --
send the Universe a focussed intent.
Every moment, bright and new,
a new opportunity for us to re-invent.
The beauty is in the journey,
the journey passing through stony dents.
Just row, row my friend --
Past the trivial turn of events,
bask in the delights of the here and now,
bask in the delights of this very moment.
And you will reach where you are meant,
in peace, calm and content,
And you will find your natural scent
Just row, row my friend.

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I have shared a close affinity with our holy rivers like River Ganga and Yamuna wherever I have been blessed to meet them with boat rides being one of my most cherished activities to do in places like Varanasi and Mathura. And you?

With Krishna Janmastami, the birthday of Lord Krishna upon us in a day from now, penning this soulie from one of my boat rides in Mathura from Vishram Ghat where Lord Krishna has rested for a while after killing the tyrant king Kansa. While Kansa has long been liberated, he continues to live on often as a demon of the mind in this dark age of Kali Yuga; this soulie I hope will provide all of those among us who are fighting a battle, the brave warriors, a little respite from their battles, just like Vishram Ghat had offered respite to Krishna.

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Don't swim against the current.
Stay in the river, become the river;
and the river is already going to the sea.
This is the great teaching.
~ Osho

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This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Soulie Saturday #16: My Small Little Thread. (Nidhivan, Vrindavan)

Threads binding love and faith in Nidhivan, Mathura
Threads strung on the beads of love, trust and faith in Nidhivan, Vrindavan.

Faith is not always invisible
I see it in my small little thread –
a whirl of thoughts in my head,
organizing, breaking away from fear,
as I tie my small little thread
and weave a bond of love and protection
with my friend – in red.

Love is not always blind
I feel it in my small little thread –
Bound on the wrist of trust 
it's worth more than any quantities of gold
than all worldly misery
this material dust.

Promises are not always empty
I am assured by my small little thread –
all knotty troubles sealing
as my garden of knowledge He's tilling
Look how my small little thread
takes away all my burdens
so that I peacefully go to bed.

But hey!
do not mistake my 'small little thread'
for just about any thread –
it is a crop I am reaping,
for seeds of belief and patience sown 
in a little bit of laughing,
a little bit of weeping.

My small little thread 
my butter and bread,
an eternal bond which keeps
happiness and joy abreast
protecting from all turmoil and unrest.
You got to cut a heart open 
if you wish to see it true and best.
My small little thread.

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Picked this picture of a tree tied with sacred threads from Nidhivan in Vrindavan keeping the festival of threads, Raksha Bandhan in mind... this picture only because who else than the Gopis (cow herd girls) from Vrindavan to inspire us with their unconditional dedication and pure devotion to Krishna... as a lover, friend, brother and father... all rolled as one. This humble soulie, my small little tribute to all those beautiful bonds in the world that rest on love, trust, faith and protection. Happy Raksha Bandhan!!

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This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Soulie Saturday #15: Where Nature So Pure... (ISKCON Temple, Pandharpur)

Walking the nature trail in Pandharpur ISKCON Temple
Nature trail at ISKCON Temple Guest House, Pandharpur.

Take me there,
where nature so pure,
lays it all bare…
Birds sing in delight,
a melody so soothing,
it sends the breeze in twirling flight.
The soaring trees reach for the heavens,
pin drop silences,
broken only by Your presence.

Take me there,
where nature so pure,
lays it all bare…
So what if the road is torn and dirty?
worn out, in patches murky.
There’s a unique joy in this walking
an unparalleled excitement,
so much of living and learning,
in every single bend.

Take me there,
where nature so pure,
lays it all bare…
The filtering sunshine melts my heart,
all worldly chaos miles apart.
Like a little bud,
untainted and rare,
unfurling delicately,
bursting in bloom,
in Your tender care.

Take me there…
no worries to be afraid,
an unkempt road,
led by faith,
 Where else can this be but your garden,
kept by light and love,
your one and only warden.

Yeah, take me there...
where a soul so pure,
so free,
says a little dirt road prayer,
lays her heart all open... and bare.

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Unplanned morning walks are the best, aren't they? This soulie is reminiscent of a few peaceful moments spent in the company of nature during my stay at ISKCON Temple, Pandharpur. Do watch out for a detailed post (with more pictures) coming soon!

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This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Soulie Saturday #14: Thoughts so far... And Sharing Our Soulie Moments!

I have enjoyed Instagram-ming ever since I began actively participating in it just the way I have enjoyed blogging ever since I began writing. I find Instagram as one of the purest forms of self expression just like blogging. Whip out a picture, write something, edit if you like or leave it as is and tada! You finish creating a post, your post… unique, special and incomparable, just like you.

I see Instagram as a fun tool that enhances full explosion of an inner voice without delving deeper into the logistics of the process thereby enabling us to enjoy the flow… the journey of creativity with minimum or zero thought about the end product.

With the idea of project #Soulie coming into existence, I have tried to shift my focus of photography solely from 'click-capture-repeat' mode to 'click-capture-create' mode in an attempt to refine my awareness of the moment by capturing it in my camera and appreciating it with the brush strokes of my heart  – in the most authentic way that I can.

#Soulie, as I understood from what I saw on Instagram, is generally seen as someone outside but my idea of it is going within to harness an untapped, echoing space inside, not really different of us or who we are. It is an experience of the unseen, love and light in its most raw and purest form used for a creation, a post that gives you an uninhibited joy as also a better understanding into yourself.

In that sense, #Soulie is a journey of discovery of our own authentic self, the invisible side of it and Instagram (as also our blogs) is a sacred haven for telling that story, for painting a picture that is not for comparison to someone else’s but for the sheer joy of it, a reflection… reflection on the miraculous creativity of the mind factory used to create a post as we like it and the many unseen riches like fulfilment, joy and happiness traded in return, in the pockets of our heart.

All I know for certain is this is how I want to spend my life –
collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration
that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert.

A post shared by Arti (@artisdiary) on

My #Soulie!

A very big heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported, encouraged, questioned, participated and appreciated my idea of #Soulie in any way – you have helped me clear my own thoughts around the concept and facilitated an improved understanding of the entire idea for which I am truly grateful.

As for the road ahead, I will keep up with my #Soulie posts as long as I can and you are always welcome if you wish to share one of your own creations with 'My Yatra Diary'. The only change being, you don’t have to worry about using the tag anymore. Instead, just go on creating what your heart calls you for (so will I) and I will share some soulies from Instagram that can touch our hearts and inspire every one of us in some way once every month as part of the series (even if you don’t use the tag).

Moving onto #Soulie sharing for the month of July, sharing chronologically the amazing creations that wonderfully talented photographers and bloggers shared as part of the series, click on their names to check more of their work on Instagram and blog:


Some Sunsets Rip your Soul 💕 #soulie

A post shared by Pooja Bhatt (@chillkaroyaar) on



Cute little monks! We pray, we play, we grow, we study and we learn the basics of life from each other. That's all what defines the real meaning of life to us.

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#kids #monks #soulie #gangtok



From @saumynagayach21 again.

The life of a coconut!

Look at my fragile body and you'll see that I have lived my life and now lying alone for a peaceful end. Life was quite different when I was up there along with my mates, the view we used to get from there of the beach and the sea was actually a treat to our eyes. But somehow it all ended!
Someone plucked me from my home (tree) and took me to a place, where I never belonged.
Later he sold me to a heartless person, who kept me for days and then one day when he saw my faded body, he threw me to the place where it all started (my home i.e. tree).
And this is how it all ended! And this is why I'm lying here alone!

The life of a coconut! Look at my fragile body and you'll see that I have lived my life and now lying alone for a peaceful end.Life was quite different when I was up there along with my mates, the view we used to get from there of the beach and the sea was actually a treat to our eyes. But somehow it all ended! Someone plucked me from my home (tree) and took me to a place, where I never belonged. Later he sold me to a heartless person, who kept me for days and then one day when he saw my faded body, he threw me to the place where it all started (my home i.e. tree). And this is how it all ended! And this is why I'm lying here alone! --------------------------------------------------------------------- This post is inspired by @artisdiary 's ongoing series 'soulie'. Follow her on instagram for more soulful pictures and words. Also, take part in this beautiful series by using the #soulie ---------------------------------------------------------------------- #coconut #fragile #life #beaches #existence #palmtrees #sea #sand #photographers #lifephotography #photography #travel #blogger #travelingram #insta_photography #insta_photo #instaflowers #ngtindia #traveldiaries #indiaview #indiapicturesofficial #photographers_of_india #photographersofinstagram #postcard #indiaclicks #indiapictures #india_undiscovered #incredibleindia #nature
A post shared by Saumy Nagayach (@saumynagayach21) on



And slowly colours disappeared, just a few left She held them close...
But her eyes didn't reflected them Her eyes, which once adored colours ,
knew they'll fade away... Just like her Faded Childhood.




.
.
necks arched, poised for flight
with wings of white marble
our soul is free.. light.
.
perched atop high walls
ready to soar in blue skies
yearns the heart of stone.
.
.
.



I tagged this voluntarily - from @sunshinebluegirl25

Anticipation...
.
.
.

Savour the journey... even the wait. Krishna says, " karmne vadhikaraste ma faleshu kadachana" To perform  KARMA with utmost sincerety and perfection and, not to worry over the results.

Gospel says, "In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:3b-6)

To me both boils down to the same that is, not to expect but enjoy the process. Life is what happens while we are busy planning it. Enjoy that tingling of anticipation with a bated breath, and excited fervour but yet an unbelievably calm mind.
.
.
.

Anticipation... . . . Savour the journey... even the wait. Krishna says, " karmne vadhikaraste ma faleshu kadachana" To perform KARMA with utmost sincerety and perfection and, not to worry over the results. Gospel says, "In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:3b-6) To me both boils down to the same that is, not to expect but enjoy the process. Life is what happens while we are busy planning it. Enjoy that tingling of anticipation with a bated breath, and excited fervour but yet an unbelievably calm mind. . . #anticipation #bud #flowerstagram #jasmine #white #beauty #mothernature #naturephotography #anandpursahib #punjab #flowers #budding #newlife #indiblogger #blogging #captions #writersoninstagram #written #words #wordsofwisdom #musings #bible #geetagyan #wisdom #wabisabi#blogpost
A post shared by Kokila Gupta (@sunshinebluegirl25) on


5. Rachna Parmar @rachna.parmar

On an early morning walk on #MarineDrive with the husband, I came across this stray with her puppies. Her little pups were scampering around while walkers passed on. She has no possessions. Possibly does not even know where her next meal will come from, but do they look worried? No! 

They are happy. As happy as one can be even when their lives is a struggle.
Nature shares is bountiful lessons every step of the way, if only we'd stop and stare.
I find a calm in mundane, everyday happenings.
Do you as well? #soulie


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Soulie Saturday #13: A Souvenir In The Little Flower.

Admiring Little Sunflower Flower in the compound of Smart Inn hotel Pune
The Little Flower.

Standing there, I find my high and also my centre.

I marvel at her sheer magnificence in awe… Delicate and petite, so many numerous petals leaning outwards in the pool of the breeze, she looks gorgeous, full of life, full of idyllic grace and innate beauty. I stretch out my hand to touch her petals careful not to hurt; they are so soft, even silky and smooth. In return, she touches me with much more...

One of her petals is chipped off but that has not taken away her spirit of growth. She is continuously rising, albeit a bit obliquely, making her way gradually out of the dewy green flooring beneath.

Blooming around the compound periphery of a budget hotel in Pune, who knows if she is being watched by a gardener but what delights is the realisation that she will still be taken care of. Mothers are mothers after all, compassionate and nurturing, even Mother Nature. She can never leave her kid to fend for herself alone, can she?

The earth fosters her with her leafy warmth and natural affection. The sky facilitates her development by his sunny ambience and rainy dew drops. The environment keeps her company through the humming bees and the cool caressing zephyr fluttering around.

Nature speaks in a beautiful timeless language, seeped in wisdom and depth, much of which is beyond the visibly comprehensible or the spoken word. The great and enlightened have already pointed their finger in this direction where nature is a natural healer – emotional, mental, physical, psychological and spiritual. Numerous scientific studies have shown the abundant benefits of spending time in nature.

Appreciating the beauty in natural creation budding all around us and interacting with it in a positive, understanding way can help us break past the barriers of our heart and open our eyes to the real nature of our own selves, to love.

Standing there beside her, my brain finds my high. My heart a center... and my soul a life. All in a matter of a few moments. All while snuffling a little petite flower on my way out of a hotel. This is the real joy of travel. This is a souvenir for life. And all the gifts are out there for all of us to discover.

If only we could take one moment off from our hectic schedules and ‘to-do-lists’ to absorb God’s wonderful creation all around us. If only we could take our eyes off from the bright digital screens in our hands to notice the astonishing world that surrounds us. In return, we could gift yourself the biggest present of being open to all the loveliness inherent in the fabric of the Universe.

So the next time you are out travelling, take a moment with nature, to notice a thing of beauty without walking past it – it could be a flower or anything else that life has placed in your way and see what or how it inspires you. It will not fill your pocket but it will certainly fill your heart with happiness and your soul with delight.

Go try and don’t forget to share your story with My Yatra Diary! :-)

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Each Flower is a soul opening out to nature. - Gerard de Nerval. 

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Thank you to everyone who have contributed to #soulie till now, next week I will be collecting all your wonderful posts in My Yatra Diary. To all those who have shown an interest, I so look forward to see your shares this week itself!

A Soul Selfie series or “#Soulie” series aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you can choose to call Him by any name you like as long as the reference is maintained and more importantly the essence) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts.

Here is what you can do if you wish to join in.

1. Send me one picture over e-mail / blog / instagram clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Soulie Saturday #12: Intimate Moments With The One (Monsoony Marine Drive, Mumbai)


Monsoon at the 3.6 km long boulevard Marine Drive, South Mumbai
Dark grey monsoon skies at Marine Drive, South Mumbai.

The sky never ceases to amaze me. As I sit on the narrow dry promenade doubling up as a bench and watch in rapt attention, the experience is almost surreal. My gaze is filled with a sombre grey horizon growing in color and depth with each passing moment and a thick blanket of fog hovering a few feet above the endlessly raging ocean, giving the high rising world of concrete in the distance a claustrophobic feel.

I have far left behind the city hubbub and honking of the taxis but a swarm of people are all around me – they come in groups, as two, three, four, sometimes alone. Sometimes for a brisk walk, sometimes to take in the sights and sometimes to just stare listlessly at the incessantly changing canvas like me. A father and a young kid are sitting next to me, the father listening ever so intently to all that his son has to say. On the other side are 2 men lost knee deep in conversation, their battered slippers neatly tucked beside them. There is a continuous stream of people strolling and jogging on the broad windswept promenade, each marching on in their own personal missions, treading over annals of ground fused with impregnable laughter, chatter and cacophony and yet, the air is seized with such perpetual stillness.

I inhale a slice of the stillness as my vision is arrested by a 360 degree panoramic view of the endless amounts of space stretching seamlessly across my field of vision. A space where dreams are rooted in the waking world… where lines between the real and the surreal blur, where all the great worries wash away, where life acquires a new meaning, the magic of living in the moment comes alive, also the space every breath becomes a connect to the vibrant energy flowing through the Source from where we come and whence we will be gone.

Two friends lost in conversation on the Marine Drive promenade, Mumbai

I am at the 3.6 km long boulevard, Marine Drive in South Mumbai - a C shaped promenade sweeping around the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Chowpatty Beach to Malabar Hill only to realise and reaffirm my faith in how much more there is to this place than what meets a simple definition. It is a sacred space; all the time spent in her presence, a prayer, a meditation.

Sacred because here, there are no distinctions made. Every mortal being who comes here - no matter what the age, stratum, status or other tangible strings attached - is revered as a precious child of the all pervading Master in the tapestry of the universe. Marine Drive goes through, past the veins and into the blood, piercing the heart of each person sitting in her comforting blanket of embrace. It is not just another landmark of a city that never sleeps, it is a world where innumerable memories, feelings and emotions are splashed upon such that dreams take shape on the canvas of the infinite.

That is the magic weaving in and out of the misty veil of Marine Drive today, perhaps this will also be the case tomorrow, every day. Such is the lure and the enigma of one great masterpiece by an artist at work blending the material with the ethereal attracting people from all over the world, there is love and compassion and acceptance and empathy all rolled into the fabric to craft a creation that touches everyone who comes in contact with her beauty.

It must be the wonder of her beauty, why! even time here comes to a standstill… perhaps to gaze its reflection in the roiling waters of the oceanic cosmos. The waves are alive, and breathing - each moment, new ebb, a different low, often a moribund zenlike flow – transient yet always there. The movement of the waves create music and magic, each note spraying a myriad of feelings and emotions as they keep resonating through the empty spaces above, and keep beckoning for more. The waves dance, crashing on the rocks, breaking to soften and rest - as if sorting their life and then flowing again all at once to embrace their destiny unafraid. Isn’t the movement of the waves a choreograph of life? I wonder.

Within the choreography, what delights me are the hidden gifts of nothingness, void, introspection, lull and pause. Waves fall and rise again, coming back with a power even more expansive and energy more abundant to fearlessly live their fate. Time, every moment spent in nature, shows me the path to self-renewal, self transformation and self birth – seamlessly blended in one another as fleeting threads of life. It reminds us that in periods of nothingness, there is a force of creation at work which we cannot see. Amid all the introspection and reflection, there is God’s basking presence. Amid all the aloneness and silences, there is faith and a prayer of patience and a souvenir of inner peace.

Waves crashing on the rocks at Marine Drive, Mumbai

A few drops of water suddenly splashes onto my face, another wave has met its fate or has it started drizzling? Whatever is the case, I close my eyes and consider it a blessing, it is my memento for the stay. It carries the gift of the musical waves - to me as also to every one sitting at the shore - no distinctions made. I inhale deeply and feel grateful for mine; the fresh sea air pumping right through the windows in my spirit, opening the doors to joy and happiness.

The sky never ceases to amaze me. Everything I am, have ever been or ever will be is concentrated in these little petals of moments tossed upon the canvas of an endless sky – this is the moment I am truly born.  As I hop down from the promenade ready and revitalized to step back into the busy city streets, my heart feels infinite, still humble but deep enough to encompass everything and everyone. Everyone is a piece of myself as I am a part of the oceanic humankind – and we share our thoughts, struggles, nothingness, aloneness, joy, hope, happiness and dreams – all roaring, raging, falling, breaking and rising again in our quest to embrace The One.

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We return to each other in waves.
This is how water loves.
~ Nayyirah Waheed.

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A Soul Selfie series or '#Soulie' series aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you can choose to call Him by any name you like as long as the reference is maintained and more importantly the essence) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts.

Here are things you can do if you want to join in.

1. Send me one picture clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Soulie Saturday #11: Baby, Just Sway! (Nurpur Fort near Dharamsala)

Natures beauty from Nurpur fort Dharmashala, Kangra Himachal Pradesh
A tree swaying in the evening breeze as seen from Nurpur fort near Dharmashala
in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.

Baby, just sway,
Do not be afraid --
Of the powerful breeze hustling away.
Your roots are sturdy and strong
And I am here to stay
We are a team;
Together, we will sing,
Create a beautiful song.

Baby, just sway,
Let those dead leaves fall out and decay.
Keep all your doubts at bay
Nature renews and refreshes --
every moment, every single day.
Fill your eyes with the beauty of the fresh sun ray, 
You are beautiful in your very own way.

Baby just sway,
No matter what season, or come what may;
Spread out your branches
Go fly high and out in the world - you play
It is your sweet fragrance that freshens my morn,
Oh! Look at your halo’d enigma!
Casting all the darkness of the universe away.

Baby, just sway,
So enchanting are your ways
The skies swoon over you – Miss Tree (Mystery),
You are the symphonic fire
Lighting embers of hopes
In hearts that tire
Taking all our thoughts higher and higher.

Baby, just sway,
Such a sweet sweet day
Hear in these silences,
What the great men say ---
Light is love and love is light
All else an illusion; in this your real truth lay,
Don’t believe them, just ask your heart –
it won’t say nay.

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Don't you know yet?
It is ---
 Your Light
that lights the worlds.

~ Rumi.


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I clicked this image while wandering in the courtyard of the ancient Nurpur fort, previously known as Dhameri fort renamed later by Mughal Emperor Jehangir after his beloved wife Noorjahan who was in love with the beauty of this place. Built by the Pathania Rajputs, the historic fort is a vast area which now lies mostly in ruins - forgotten and ignored - but one can still feel the magnificence of the era when one turns some pages in history and maps them onto the enormity of the scattered ruins.

Surrounded by natural beauty and home to an ancient 16th century temple, the fort is a treasure trove for all lovers of Indian heritage, culture and history. The Brij Raj Swami Temple in the courtyard houses a beautiful deity of Lord Krishna, the one which was worshipped by none other than Meerabai herself. A must visit place when in McCleodGanj and Dharamshala!

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Be a part of #Soulie!

A Soul Selfie series or '#Soulie' aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you may choose to call Him by any name you like, as long as the reference and more importantly, the essence is retained) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Do take part and share with My Yatra Diary... a piece of your heart.

Here are things you can do if you wish to join in.

1. Send me one picture clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that captured moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

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Also linking this post to Parul's #ThursdayTreeLove, an initiative celebrating our green friends in nature. Do follow the link and hop over to her blog and share more love.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where to have breakfast early morning in Pune? Amruteshwar Bhawan!

We started from Pune towards Pandharpur early in the morning at around 6 and the question on everyone’s mind was where could we have breakfast at this unearthly hour before moving forward? Hungry and craving for breakfast, we turned to google for help but all the restaurants that came up were still to open for the day. Except, of course, for Amruteshwar Bhawan - our saviour for the morning.

Amruteshwar Bhuwan breakfast Pune
Amruteshwar Bhawan in Pune, the place to go for an early morning breakfast!

Amruteshwar is a one of its kind small eating joint serving breakfast for students and locals alike in the wee hours of the morning – a saviour for travellers like us and a haven for students starved for home cooked food. A small hole in the wall shop, Amruteshwar opens as early as 3 in the morning and runs all the day till 11.


Menu at Amruteshwar Bhuwan Pune
Amruteshwar Bhawan Menu: Take your pick!
At Amruteshwar, you can get Puneri Maharashtrian style breakfast like Pohe, Vada Pao, Misal Usal Pao, Sabudana Khichdi, Shira, Idli, Khari Pattice, Nimbu Paani etc. The mention of so many dishes including Pohe and Misal bought water in our mouths and we didn’t need any more reasons to convince ourselves and take a turn over to Amruteshwar.

Puneri Breakfast at famous Amruteshwar Bhavan in Pune
Puneri breakfast on a platter: What will you have?

The fact that locals start queuing up as early as 3 AM when the shop opens speaks of the legacy the shop has built for itself. It’s a standing eating joint and though the cleanliness standards and the ambience are questionable at first sight, I still loved the place for taste of the dishes.

Appa at Amruteshwar Bhawan In Pune
Proud ownder of Amruteshwar: Anna or Appa as he is fondly known
We had a plate of Pohe with sambhar, Samosa and a plate of Misal Pao. All of them were fabulous for a quick morning snack. The tea was pretty good too. The prices are very reasonable as well keeping in mind the student base which form a major chunk of the customers here.

Puneri Breakfast, Pohe at Amruteshwar Bhavan Pune
Rice flakes - Pohe with Sev; sorry for the blurry image... had butter fingers.
Misal Pao at Amruteshwar Bhawan Pune
Potato-chiwda mix topped with lemon and coriander - dig into the spicy Misal Pao!
If you are searching for a good place to have breakfast in Pune very early in the morning, don’t think twice - this is the place to go! And after you are done eating, don't forget to buy a plate for pohe for these lovely little creatures as well, you will get a packet of happiness and blessings for your way forward.

Pigeon eating Pohe Amruteshwar Pune
Pigeons having a feast at Amruteshwar's!

How to get there?

Take the Lane No. 5 on Maharshi Karve Road. You will come across Amruteshwar Bhawan as a small hole in the wall shop.

Address: Apex Colony, Warje Malwadi Road, Abhinav Chowk, Nal Stop, Erandwane, Pune
Hours: 3 AM – 11 AM.

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