Thursday, May 13, 2010
JAI MATA DI.........!!!!!!!!!!
Just back from a wondrous trip @ MATA VAISHNO DEVI. Needless to say it was enjoyable and fun (well, a little tiring as well :P). Anywhere you go with your friends the amount of fun and joy you experience just triples up...!! Same was the case in this trip of mine.....
Initially there was a big strong NO from my dad. He was against my going because he felt the weather wasn’t suitable and the fact that his delicate darling isn’t strong enough to withstand the hard journey. For those who don’t know, to reach the peak of the mountain, where the goddess resides, you have to walk 14 km steep road. Adding the 14 km of the return journey, the total distance to be covered on foot is 28 km.
We started our journey from the bus stand of Jammu. The 20 of us boarded a bus to Katra city. In the bus we had lot of fun and irritated the other passengers by our shouts and songs. I am sure the people there(including the driver and the conductor) will never forget the ear shattering shouts, hoots and whistles we all contributed in while passing from the TUNNEL. Once there, we went to an eatery for our snacks. There two groups were formed and a battle was started as to who will order the most appetizing food. My group ordered a pizza. The other group ordered Nan’s and some paneer dish. When the food arrived each group started mmmmm, aaahhh’s and yummmy’s...!! Our pizza was a disaster, the crust tasted like a biscuit. The trouble was that we had to eat the whole damn thing or else the other group would have taunted/tormented us to no end.....!!
After the yucky pizza and an ice-cream, we started off (kinda). Our speed was super slow... as after every one step, we would start taking photographs, marvel the beauty around, crack jokes at expense of each other...! Had pan’s. After reaching the place which marks the start of the journey, we started off.Full-on with zeal and vigor.
(the place shown in the pic marks the actual start of the journey)
We met a few dhol-wala’s, and the dancers inside us, jumped at the opportunity. We danced for almost half an hour. The journey-up the mountain takes round about 5 hours. But our journey started at about 9 PM and we reached up at 4 AM. Had to...!! Afterall our journey was interlaced with lot of fun. In between many a times, my legs gave up. Breath was coming slow, and I thought “I m gone”. But Mata ka jaikara every time gave me this sudden surge of energy...! The journey is such that when you reach a place, you realise that you have to walk four times the distance you just walked. Trust me; it’s not such a great feeling. But on the way, seeing the enthusiasm of the people you get the required motivation. On the way saw a few people who bowed after every step they took.... clear example of belief and faith.
After freshening up, we did the darshan and were free by 6:30. We went for breakfast after then, where most of us were overcome by the sleeping fit.....!! For the breast fast I as usual ordered the wrong thing. The pau-bhaji I ordered comprised mostly of ginger which I absolutely loath. So I had to eat just the dry pau’s...! Those in the deeper sleep fits, skipped the breakfast all together.
It is said that the darshan are not complete unless you visit the even higher situated BHAIRAV GHATI. It’s the most difficult part of the journey, the distance is short but the peak is the steepest. Also while coming down the steep slope blows the wind out of you...!! I decided to skip this part of the journey as I wasn’t sure whether or not I will be able to manage it and I did not want to be a burden on my friends. There were four of us who were not going to the bhairav ghati. So we separated from the group and began our journey downwards. A friend amongst us was visiting for the first time and he was totally gone. Overcome by sleep and the fatigue. I myself wasn’t faring any better. It was my second visit and I was just as tired. Early morning climate there was freezing cold. We were eagerly waiting for the sun to come out (Sounds so strange, when you live in a place where these days the temperature is above 40 and it’s scalding hot). There is nothing as beautiful as the sunrise and sunset amongst the mountains. The sunrays falling on the highest peak of the mountain is a breathtaking view. It added to our lost energies. Slowly but steadily we walked, taking rests in between. I walked ahead of them to quickly grab a bench for rest. Even the drained energies couldn’t stop us from striking poses for the pics. We clicked as many pics as possible to make our friends jealous. :D
More than half of the downward journey we covered finely. Inbetween we stopped at CCD to revive ourselves. But that rest proved not good at all. My shoes started to hurt like hell. I had to poke my hells out of the shoes for the rest of the journey. Also the sun by that time was directly above our heads which was adding to our woes.....! Now there are two ways, either you walk down the road or you walk down the stairs. Obviously walking down the stairs is shortcut, but it adds to the pain in the calf muscles. We took the way down the stairs. One of them comprising of more than 500 steps. Muscles I wasn’t even aware of introduced themselves to me. The only 1km journey left seemed difficult/impossible to cover. Struggling and staggering we somehow dragged ourselves. Reached the point from where we started. Took an auto rickshaw from there to the main Katra city (when we started, we covered this distance too by foot). Waited in same eatery for our friends.overcome by sleep, most of us dozed off. Slowly our friends arrived in scattered groups, all red from the heat.
Took a bus back to Jammu. The bus ride this time was all quite and calm. Walking or even getting up was now a torture. Legs were all numb and full of cramps. Reached home. Just took off my bag. And slept straight for 15 hours.......!!!
Now missing all the fun. Had a great great great time. This was probably the last trip with friends. And my legs feel better, much better.
p.s will share the pics with you soon....!!