Monday, September 28, 2009

Varanasi Trip

Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together - Mark Twain

Still figuring out what is the best way to start off a blog, as of now still clueless. Anyway just wanted to share my feelings on my recent trip to Varanasi. Been there from 18th to 21st of September. This trip has been truly enlightening in a lot of ways. There is something about this place which is philosophical, thought provoking and mystical. Its one of the oldest inhabited places on the face of the earth. Though on a materialistic level the city is crowded, dense, unclean and abode to some of the smartest and able cheaters, at a philosophical level its altogether an experience that can find no words.

Following are mail excerpts that sent to my dad and mom live from Varanasi. I made some corrections here and there.

day-0:midnight 1:24am

Just arrived in kasi a couple of hours ago. Were late by 1hr as the flight got delayed by 1hr. Landed here at 4:30PM. Even after the delay we arrived at the perfect time to freshen up and attend the famous Ganga harathi. It was quite an experience I would say with so many people thronging the banks, and priests (in their 20s) performed the harathi. After the harathi we went to present ourselves before the lord of lords , the lord and master of the universe Kasi Vishwanath. We first had his darshan and then had the darshan of mata annapurneshwari. After shelling out a couple of thousands we were heading to visit the shakti peet of kasi vishalakshi. The mother ordered us to sweep here temple premises. I personally consider this great chance
and acceptance of our prayers. Next we had a sumptuous dinner, it wasn't great but wasn't bad either. We finished the rally by having the famous Banarasi pan. Though I am not a great fan or expert in pan studies, that was a taste I never tasted prior. We are now heading to the temple to attend the Mahamangala Harathi in the Vishwanath temple. Need to be there by 2 to catch a good place. since I started typing this 2 people got ready, its only my brother now who has to get ready and then off we go to the temple...

day 1 :9:30am
Just reached Gaudiya mission after a very hectic morning. Like I pointed in my last post, we went to Mahamangala harathi in the morning. To state the experience in words wouldn't be humanly possible, it was like seeing lord vishwanath being pampered like a child(my personal feeling). With spending over 1hr looking at him, with his image imprinted on my heart, I think my prayers have been accepted. We completed the darshan at 4:30 had a tea at the local shop. We then quickly came back to the mission and went to kedar ghat after collecting our cameras. Todayfor the first time I touched holy mother gangas feet. The first dip will be long remembered. After playing in her lap for 20 mins, we came back to start taking snaps of a splendid morning. We spent a couple of hours on the banks. we then took a manual boat to visit all the major ghats. We then had breakfast at a local kerala resturant. Reached Gaudiya mission back and now are getting ready for the day ahead

day2 4:30am :
We spent an hour at the mission yesterday after which we hit the road. We covered quite a few temples and skipped a few historic places. Kasi is too big to cover in a single trip so did not try the impossible. Overall the day was tiring and testing. Evening we went to aghori matt. Later we went to vishlakshi temple again, did some shopping and post dinner retired for the day. Currently we a bracing up for the pryaga part of this journey. Plan is to visit pryaga and be back by evening. The driver is waiting the boys are getting ready :)

day3 : 1:15am
Yesterday was an interesting day in this trip we took a dip in the holy triveni sangam. The way one has to take the dip is actually a marvel in itself. There is actually a small wooden platform in between two boats and you are supposed to stand on it and take a dip.

We returned back to kasi from pryaga by evening 4:30. We took a short nap and went out for shopping. We were back by 8:30 PM. While on our way back we had a couple of lassis each and bought some fresh, out of the oven biscuits and cookies. Then we called it a day.
Now we are gearing for the final big moment , we are going to Mahamangala haarthi seva again and we are planning to perform abhishekam. Plan is to take another dip in the ganga at kedar ghat after the darshan , maybe possibly another boat ride :-).

We will all have to packup by 12, have lunch and then proceed to the airport and then come back to the material world.

Well that was the last post I did from Varanasi.

That morning was quite eventful too. We had I guess the best anyone can ask from any darshan and abhishekam. After that we went to Vishalakshi temple and waited for the doors to open. Offered our sincere prayers to mother as her first pilgrims for the day. After the darshan as Ravindra and my brother were taking rest, me and rangu gave up all worldly possessions in the room and went to the kedar ghat to take a dip with just clothes on and a towel to wipe. Spent 15mins again in the mother's lap. We left the ghat asking for permission to revisit the mother.

Later we came back to the mission and started packing our bags. I had severe headache while on the way back. With some kind help of the ground staff of spicejet I had a disprin and was back rocking in a couple of hours.

I will be posting another blog explaining to newbies about how to plan for the varanasi trip , precautions to take and how to enjoy the experience.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to Blogging Back to the Present

My time machine developed a technical snag and stopped keeping pace with the clock. Lost a few clock ticks last November and lost a great deal of time too. Today where I stand I think I understand what every clock tick costs. Anyway I am making another attempt at blogging, and I am back to the present :)

So its been almost an year now since I took interest or time to blog. So this is my second attempt to become a blogger, hope everything goes on well this time. But this time around I think I know why I failed the first time so maybe I have learnt a few things from my experience. This time I plan to write about travel & technology and also about generic life experiences. Will try to make them both interesting & also informative to the best of my abilities.
Wish me good luck with my blogging :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Diwali celebration

I was looking this time around searching for a topic to blog on and I stumbled on a couple of topics which I could rant endlessly but decided it would be better to keep my second blog a bit on the +ive side rather than on the rant side. You may excuse me if  my blogs seem uninteresting or boring as the part of the human brain taking care of blogging has not been fully utilized so far. So its still calibrating itself. 

So coming back to the main content of this blog, I wanted to share the pleasant experiences I had this time being home for Diwali. Though the trip was cut short by 4 days due to some events at workplace (here goes the ranter again SSSSSSSssssh) it was a very pleasant trip.  Going back to your home town (Ok I know vizag is a city) is always exciting, I don't' know about people but every time I plan a travel back home, I get restless from weeks ahead of the departure. Its a kind of restlessness that cannot be explained. So this time once I reached home, things started out visiting temples,  meeting people(mostly family friends, friends parents, friends) , looking around finding out the differentials / deviations from previous visits. 
On this trip there were two things I did which I always wanted to 
  1. Visit prema samajam and find out the activities and programs they undertake
  2. Visit kailasa giri hill park  :-0 (sorry to surprise you)
I visited prema samajam on the day before diwali to find out their activities and programs they run. I was simply surprised to learn the sections of the society they serve to. Right from kids to old people to cows (which are central in Hindu worship) they run programs for each of them. I was later taken around to see  their premises by a girl by name "Asha". True to her name which translates to "wish", "endeavour" ,"hope"(depending on the context) she enthusiastically took me around and explained their schedule, how they stay, what they do and many more that I could just not have imagined. She is in her higher schooling and her brother goes to college and she wishes to be an engineer in life. I wished her the best and made a nominal donation out of my fortune. It then struck me that I could indeed share some sweets with them for diwali. I pledged to the volunteer there (named Ms.Gowri) that I will be back the next day with sweets. While I was returning home I was contemplating how fate / fortune decides who you are and what you get. 
The next day I visited my close friend's family and we set off to prema samajam again with 4 KGs of sweets. It was a wonderful experience sharing sweets with people who come there for their free mid-day meal. 

The day before diwali was also the day me and my parents visited the hill top park called Kailasa giri. It may surprise or even baffle people to know that I did not visit it till date. Well technically speaking I did a few hill climbs to it before it became a park but after it was declared a park I never went there. So finally the wish of visiting it was fulfilled. 

I will be uploading the photos of kailasagiri onto my picasa account shortly. 

Well I feel some how that this blog resembles to the essay "how did I spend my summer vacations" that most of us would have written at somepoint or the other in our school days. Even then I still think its a good second blog :)

Keep visiting for more...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Finally an attempt to blog after so many years of wandering in the web. Well this is my first blog post and I hope I will get into the habit of blogging, sharing my thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you are wondering what brought me into blogging? there is not particular reason so am not sure how successful or entertaining my blogs will be. This is of course a sincere attempt to start off a new habit and let us see when I will do the next post. 

If you wondering about the title "Ekam" it is a Sanskrit word which means quite a few things depending on where you use it and how you use it. Like every other blogger I was wondering what my first post should be titled after and I decided that I should label it after "One", "The One", "Unification", and something that signifies the start of a count too. I initially wanted to name it nĂºmero uno but there are plentiful of restaurants, businesses running after the name. Hence I looked for something @ home and found the title. It also reminds me of my Sanskrit teacher doing the roll call. :-) 

What ever I write in this or the subsequent blogs are just musings of my mind and I hope people will  take them as they are. 

So wish me good luck! blogging!

Ekam Sat, Vipram Bahudha Vadanti