Monday, August 20, 2018

Nature Therapy: Mumbai - Ghoti - Trimbakeshwar Road Trip!

Road on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery.
It's a journey of recovery.
It's a journey of uncovering your own inner nature.
It's already there.
~ Billy Corgon.

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Aata, ha sampooorna raasta mhanje, beautiful!
window ughda anni anand ghya.

(now this entire road is very beautiful!
open the window and enjoy)

Waterfall on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

These few words by my driver are enough to jolt me out of my beauty sleep.

I rub my eyes and roll down the car window… a strong gust of wind sweeps off my face. The air is mildly cool blowing over thick vegetation below and the misty mountains above.

Far in the distance is the Sahyadri Mountain range of the Western Ghats wrapped in silvery strands of mist. Closer in the foreground is a blanket of forest, in varying shades of green, stretching as far as I can see. There is no sound except that of the rattling breeze that whizzes past my window as the car trundles along the highway.

Splendorous scenary on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

What is it that you can get in a couple of hours long road trip
that you can never get in an hour long flight?

I am on my way to one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, Trimbakeshwar on the auspicious occasion of Nag Panchmi and Independence Day, and it is already 3 hours since I have long waved goodbye to the madness of the city life, the ever demanding conformities of the society and the world that we live in and am now just about stepping in, into the freshness, freeness, wilderness and stillness of the pristine country side.

The splendorous sight of the greens mixed in a tint of greys fill my senses, soothing my thirsty city-sick soul and something within me tells me… this is going to be one refreshing journey.

Nature's garden on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

But what more does this journey has to offer?
It is yet to be seen… and I,
am in no hurry.

For now, I am just content… to be, to be in the company of nature, to delight in her stories, see them quietly unfold, a million in a single second, blink and you miss! For they all scurry past gracefully, in Her delightful temple, picturesque and grand, bopping freely in Her sacred presence, pristine and wild, throbbing with life and music from the divine, cut off from the madness and craziness of the outside world.

Lovely views on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

The road we have embarked on is the Ghoti pass to Trimbakeshwar, the road less taken, apparently it is a shorter route while travelling to the revered Jyotirlinga of Trimbakeshwar, about 50 kms before Nashik and though the commonest of sights it might be during the monsoons, it is my first to witness such a spectacular display of the warm greens and the sturdy mountains, the powdery mist and the singing streams in this route – The next few minutes, as the car keeps moving, I sit put, in a trance, peeping at the magic unfolding outside.

on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra
Western Ghats in the rains on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

Ah! what a pleasure it is to watch Nature decked up in all the finery!

… like entering a new world, a new heaven, hitherto unexplored, so glorious and riveting, a fairyland created by who else but The Master Himself!

It’s a gala concert and one in which everyone is invited. Here, the music is free, bereft of any baggage and submission comes at no extra cost.

Everything just is … the flowers, the waterfalls, the trees, the fields, the mountains and the mist … and that's the tao, the magic, where nothing moves, and yet everything unfolds, everything is in change and flux.


Gorgeous nature views on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik in Maharashtra
Exquisite Beauty on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra
Scenic splendour on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

There is so much to look at and hear, even more to feel, so many wonders to soak in… inundated by the sensory overload, I pause and close my eyes.

A gust of wind caresses my face and like a faithful pilgrim, I close my eyes instantly in awe and worship.

An unknown, unkempt joy fills the cup of my heart as I sit in rapt attention, hypnotized, tuned in to the dancing trees and the chiming breeze, admiring this matchless performance of Nature, swaying to its own lilting music in the gallery of life.

Beautiful scenic route on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

There is no resistance, only an enthusiastic surrender, to the ceaseless beauty of being-ness, moving as a bolt of energy through my entire body igniting a flame of harmony and One-ness.

So universal is this harmony, the calm so deep, I am absorbed. It matters not what time it is or where I am… the body has now vanished in the echoes of the song… I exhale but I cannot make out my own breath from the breath of Nature, its very own heartbeat drumming as my own.

Monsoon magic of the western ghats on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

When I open my eyes again, stark protruding stretches of brown catch my eye. The curtains of the mist lift occasionally to reveal the mountain Gods honoring the crescendo of the gala winds and the fervor of the dancing trees… a sight, a spectacle, no less than the ones I have seen in great temples of stone, perhaps even more powerful, singing the song of greatness and authority, my very own song, the music I carry in my own heart.

Misty Sahyadri range on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra
Natural wonder on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra
The Mighty Sahyadri mountain ranges of the Western Ghats.

Sagli kade green carpet, aahe, nahi ka?
Hoy, khup chaan.
Mi yethe car thambavat aahe,
mhunoon aapan photo click karu shakta.

(Everywhere there is a green carpet, is it not?
Yes, it's very beautiful.
I'm stopping the car here,
so you can click some photos).

I feel grateful for my driver’s thoughtfulness, somehow the thought of actually stopping the car never crosses my mind.

Carefully tip-toeing onto the marshy lowlands wading through the rushes and the reeds, I find myself a small outcrop of rock to stand, retaining my composure from the swirling wind.

Monsoon beauty on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

A stream flows serenely in the distance. I am not the only human being here; there are some others like me but it’s not noisy. Basking in the shared companionship, I tune in to the constant humming in the air, people – young and old - are laughing, chattering, giggling and ah, of course, taking the ubiquitous selfie!

Western Ghats in the rains on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra (2)

It’s a burst of joy all around, as colors, vibrations, sounds and silences combine in the magic of universal orchestration. I focus my attention on the silence rippling in the stream. Even in the silence, the movement is evident, for there is a fierce interaction with the restlessness of the wind moving as a spark of inspiration to the streams reserved hushedness.

Scenic spot on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra

I inhale deeper and deeper, breathing in the silence as they say silence is golden and it is, perhaps even more, golden and pure, a safe sanctuary where my breath is my only prayer, no ghosts of past nor any anxieties of the future, just a vague sense of timelesslessness, hanging loosely, unbounded, in the air.

Beautiful stream on the Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik, Maharashtra
there is so much peace in just letting be.

A flutter of birds fly over the stream breaking my reverie.

I see my driver waving to me, it's time to head forward towards our destination, Trimbakeshwar. I leave the rock and step down. The mud is marshy and my slippers stick in them, not once, not twice, but thrice!

Uchlun ghya, a man nearby beams at me, aapan ya saarkhe chalu shaknaar naahi (Pick it up, you won't be able to walk like that). He has disturbed his family selfie to help a fellow traveler.

... when was the last time I held the slippers in my hand and walked barefeet on the marshy land?

I wonder.

I turn to thank him but he is already busy with his family again.

I pick up the slippers and settle in my window seat, ready to embark on the journey ahead - the mud from the marshlands sticking vociferously to my feet and the melodic air from the grassland still crisp in my heart.


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A Few Photos From The Destination: The Trimbakeshwar Temple in the Holy Hindu Month of Shravan, Lord Shiva's Favorite

Trimbakeshwar is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and one of most ancient Hindu temples situated in the town of Trimbak, 28 kms from Nashik and 40 kms from Nashik road. Also the source of the Godavari River, one of the most peculiar characteristics of this Jyotirlinga is its three faced lingam embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Built in 1786 and located at the foothills of the Bhahmagiri mountains, the temple took a massive 31 years to complete; and is constructed entirely in black stone with a golden kalash at the temple spire. Kushavart Kund, known as the symbolic origin of the River Godavari and from where the river flows upto the sea is nearby.


Juna Mahadev Temple, Trimbakeshwar -near Nashik in Maharashtra
Juna Mahadev Mandir in Trimbakeshwar near Nashik, Maharashtra
One of the twelve Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra, the Trimbakeshwar temple on Nag Panchmi
Far in the background: see the golden kalasha or the pinnacle at the top of the spire of the Trimbakeshwar temple?
Our Driver said it's akin to having a darshan in the main temple.
Trimbakeshwar -Ghoti road near Nashik in Maharashtra
This ashram was just opposite the Trimbakeshwar temple.

Information and tips for Travelers:

1. Take the Mumbai - NH3 -Ghoti - Trimbakeshwar route while travelling to and fro. It's a bypass around 50 kms before reaching Nashik so you needn't go the extra distance.

The Trimbak – Ghoti road is one of the most scenic routes especially during the monsoons... the road is in good condition and it takes around 45 minutes to reach Trimbakeshwar temple from this route.

2. Camera is not allowed inside the temple.

3. Be prepared for long queues for darshan that could take you upto 5 hours especially during significant events like Mahashivratri and Shravan Mondays which are celebrated with great pomp and fervour.


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Road trip to Trimbakeshwar From Mumbai via the Scenic Ghoti Pass