Saturday, November 24, 2018

Life Reflections From My 9 Year Old Travel Blogging Affair!

November 21, 2009:

Birthdays are a good reminder that this was the day when you came into existence one fine day. That the moment you were born, you’d started collaborating with the Universe to create something so beautiful, magical and worthwhile. That no matter where you are in your journey, or what you think – YOU, the real you is always a star. And so are the others… dabbling in their own source of power waiting, wanting, to share their own spark with you. That the Universe adores you for every breath that you take, for every word that you write – for that precious tiny voice, that still echoes in the deepest recesses of your heart.

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On some days, I just want to zone out of all the noises all around and retreat into a safe zone that’s silent, calm and tranquil.

That zone, that allows me to pause, slow down, unplug and just be – as I really am - in my own little world.

That’s when I turn here, my very own temple, a sacred space, a home that accepts me as I am, for who I am and actually celebrates me for it.

9 years ago, I created my blog with no expectations – neither from the space itself nor from my own self.

At that time, I was an absolute amateur, raw and unversed, unskilled for either writing or expressing. What helped was the blogging world was somewhat raw and new too, just like me, still untouched by the incessant digitization of the industry. In simply doing my best and sharing whatever I had honestly, there was peace.

There still is.

Me and My Yatra Diary - A Nine year Affair.

We'll never find peace of mind until we listen to our heart. - George Michael.

Little did I know back then that this inner peace is the real asset very few people talk about and it is all that you need to put some of your other valuable assets into motion.

Wonderful creative people joined in, and amongst us all, we shared moments that felt like play – and I felt like we – both me and my little diary - were encircled in a bubble of na├»ve innocent love.

And, we actually were – it’s only today I realize how, over the years, that love has metamorphosed into something that is more real and special, the kind of a bond that is old, weathered and polished, hard-earned with efforts and time.

Heart in the sky at the beach

You are worth finding. Worth knowing. Worth loving.
You + all your one million layers. Always hold that close. - Danielle Doby.

Bubbling in joy and riding in the untamed thrill of the unknown, I’d nosedived into her world of words without putting up any walls or any sort of resistances.

I allowed the ensuing experiences to move my body, heart and mind as they wanted to, plunging deep into those spaces within where I had never dared to venture before. From being tossed high into ecstasy, or pushed deep into dejection – I must say she has been the fearless one, holding me close – making me fall in love with her deeply than ever before.

Beautiful patterns at the sea shore.

Adventure is not outside man, it is within. – George Eliot.

Along the course, I learned about going with the flow which threw open a whole new can of emotions in front of me: the joy of creating something new, the thrill of new connections being made, the fear of being seen as I was and the probability of being judged for it and the resulting fatigue of failing to act on things spontaneously.

Wonderful light at the beach

Just go with the flow. Better still, be the flow. ~ Unknown.

But do you know what about us mesmerizes me the most?

That no matter where in the narrative we are - every time, I am welcomed in the house with a loud grating roar, encouraged to open my heart as she opens her own. There are many times I am pushed to the edge. It’s uncomforting to decide whether to leap forward or keep walking the shore. That is, until I meet her again - powerful and dynamic – she thrives on adventures, is ever changing and ever ready to start afresh. Yes, she is wild and raging, always giving me a higher perspective and urging me to take the bull by its horns and embrace the wild.

And then sometimes, just sometimes,
the colors of our Universes collide with each other never to be the same no more.

Stunning Colors in the Universe

We reserve the right to have crappy ideas ~ Laura Simms.

It is in this collision, this chaos, this conflict that we find our peace. How strange!

I sit down hours with her, gazing afar, into nothingness, trying to rearrange a few fragile thoughts of mine in her waters of clarity. The horizon, though far in the distance, is our meeting, melting space – there’s a strange sense of content, comfort and security in surrendering to the magical mystical light, something that is broader and brighter than my own tiny self. Sometimes, the thoughts drift away, getting smaller and smaller until they finally drop over the horizon and out of my sight.

Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing.
Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure. — Baruch Spinoza.

I wouldn’t call this a paradise, no. It is a bitter-sweet communion, with its fair share of both - the ebbs and the flows. The journey is not easy, not all the days are happy; there are days when I question my decisions, days when I feel sappy, self-doubting and weak. Each year is threaded in a garland of many ups and downs, laughter and tears: Yes, this is life and I am learning to enjoy both, enjoy till they last.

In the wake of such moments,
there is a chance to be born again, many such opportunities galore.

Breaking of the waves at the beach.

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. - Friedrich Nietzsche.

It’s often between us that I am shown who I really am. Clearly. Without any deceptions. Like a spotless mirror. Revealing the true features. Making me aware of the perfectly imperfect beauty of my own self.

Here I see, lists and awards and numbers for what they are - feathers and recognitions, not permanent stamps to base your worth to. What’s truly worth is the work that we do through our given set of challenges and conflicts - the yearning to discover and create, the longing for authentic self expression, the connections that we make, the satisfaction that we feel and the happiness that we harbour in our own hearts  – this work is success, the greatest achievements that make a blogging journey so worth it, so much more than worth it.

Seek company of clear waters, for in them,
you’ll see your own self, your own worth and your own powers.

Serene sea water reflections

You were not born to use this life to refine or improve yourself. 
You were born to use this life as a canvas to paint yourself across. - Teal Swan.

Friends, well wishers, kindred souls have sat with me as passengers – all kind and eager to share their riches, encourage my uniqueness and motivate this bond of mine. In the give and take of divine love, joy spilling from our hearts – fulfilled, many have left blogging, some drifted away, continued to walk their own paths. I keep them all in my heart, thanking them for their warmth and friendship in my blogging yatra.

Friends for life - Marine Drive

Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life,
you can barely remember what life was like without them. - Anna Taylor.

To be with My Yatra Diary… has blessed me with a strange calming sense of security and content that I am yet to find anywhere else. And for this bond of mine, I have only YOU to thank for. Thank you for lending me your hands in building this little home of mine, a long forgotten one, from where I embark on voyages and explore with the simple intent of creating something of my own in the world – the most wonderful among them being the voyage into the true nature of my own self.

Gorgeous sunset at Rameshwaram

Thank you God for all the blessings you have given me yesterday,
today and for all of my tomorrows.

So here we are, 9 years and counting, and this is all we have, right here and right now, and I do believe she’s beautiful which is why it’s close to a decade now, and I am still absolutely enamored and passionately committed to her, inspired to keep writing, keep discovering, keep expressing and keep sharing.

Just in case, you may wonder – "who really is this she, this yatra blogger keeps referring to? Can I see her?"

No, is the answer, no you can’t and neither can I.

Because, we ourselves carry our voices, the words resonating within our own hearts, like these waves, they move in us, through the vastness of our blogs – through you and me.

This lady, this crazy gypsy woman, this she, she resides in me.


Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat,
only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our
pilgrimage to no country and to no end.

In that shoreless ocean,
at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in melodies,
free as waves, free from all bondage of words.

Is the time not come yet?
Are there works still to do?

Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore
and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.

Who knows when the chains will be off,
and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset,
vanish into the night?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sunset At Old Bhadkeshwar Shiva Temple, Dwarka.

Beautiful Sunset at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

Every parting is a form of death,
as every reunion is a type of heaven.
— Tryod Edwards.

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Sunsets are special, just like sunrises. I have been blessed to witness both in my yatras and each time, the feeling has been beyond ordinary comprehension. Even accentuated significantly… especially if the same were to occur near a water body.

My visit to the old Bhadkeshwar temple in Dwarka, situated on the coast of the Arabian Sea, during the magical sunset hour was one such experience - from where I returned soaked in the splendor of nature’s most precious gift – a beautiful sunset swirled in the lapping of waves and the divinity of a holy place...

Come Along With Me... To The Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple in Dwarka!

Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

In the wake of the otherwise huge Dwarkadhish temple overlooking the town, Bhadkeshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (or Lord Mahadev) feels tiny. It’s a wonderfully scenic place to catch a sunrise / sunset after a tiring day of exploring the town of Dwarka and Bet Dwarka. Hence, it is also sometimes referred to as the sunset point.

The pretty Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
Old Shiva Temple in Dwarka.

When I reach the place, there is still some time for the sunset, leaving me enough time to observe the area and pay my respects to Lord Shiva in the temple. The path to the temple is lined with a number of souvenir hawkers and food vendors. So there is a chana jor garam wala, the nariyal paani wala and the bhutta wala adding their respective flavors to the chirpy atmosphere. Oh wait! There sits a gorgeous camel too, gaily decked up in colorful dress and traditional ornaments, waiting for someone that can be taken on a ride.
Camel waits for sunset ride at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
Anyone wants a ride?

All this can be seen, on a rocky outcrop, crowded with pilgrims, filled with incessant murmuring and chatter, looking out to the sea. The outcrop extends into the temple area which can be accessed by a narrow bridge and a few steps opening into a circular jagged rock island, standing a few meters above the sea level. In the center of it, is the stone temple housing a small Shiva lingam known by the name of Chandra-Mouliswar. The Shivlingam is believed to around 5000 years old, found at the confluence of Gomati, Ganga and Arabian Sea by Acharya Jagatguru Shankaracharya himself. Though the lingam might be old, the temple itself looks pretty modern in built with tiles printed in religious symbols like Aum and other colorful motifs.

The ancient Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

A red flag above the temple flutters raucously in the sea breeze complemented naturally by the orange in the sky that has now deepened, giving the evening a lovely flavor. I find for myself a spot, a little away from the crowds to experience the magic of this beautiful hour.

The sea is blissfully boisterous, swirling, dancing to the tunes of the wind. A boat crosses my line of vision even as the sun keeps spraying confetti glitter all over the sea. On the left side, far in the distance, is the towering circuit / light house which is now inaccessible to those who wish to see. Somewhere behind is the Gita Mandir (not seen in the picture) and in the front is the sun – which otherwise mighty and strong for the entire day – is now ready to surrender itself to the unseen realms of the infinite.

Lighthouse during sunset hour at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
The circuit house towards the left ... and,
Sunset view of Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
...the Bhadkeshwar Temple towards the right side -
as seen from the rocky outcrop.

There are people - families and friends, young and old - clicking pictures, taking selfies with the setting sun, with each other and with their own self. While some others stand and stare in quiet contemplation.

Capturing sunset at Bhadkeshwar Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
Devotees basking in the sunset at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat
Devouts watching a Sunset at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

Even as the light of the sun grows weaker and weaker in the horizon, one can feel warmth all over the place. The warmth is calming.

Magnificient Sunset at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

So calming...

that standing at this threshold,
the ending of light and the beginning of dark...
feels nothing short of a miracle.

Sunset play at Bhadkeshwar Shiv Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

The miracle that lies hidden in every moment of life –
whether it be birth or death, endings or beginnings, whether it be acknowledged or not -
it is still full of riches and bounties...
bounties that can never be touched but only be felt with the heart.

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PIN IT For Later!

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- The temple gets submerged during high tides while it's open to devotees during the low tides. Hence, I would suggest you to check the high tide / low tide timings before going to the temple.

- The temple is near Circuit House, Sunset Point, Dwarka.

P.S. I thought of doing this post as the country celebrated Chatth Puja (a centuries old tradition observed over a period of four days, today being the main day), a day when people, mainly from Bihar, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Nepal offer their prayers and salutations to the Sun God for providing and sustaining life on earth.

Personally, I don’t observe the tradition, so to speak, but I’m always fascinated by the Sunset and the illuminating power of the Sun God Himself. Hence… reminding myself, and you - of the significance and beauty of all the various sunsets in our lives.