S K Ojha(62), retired manager SBI,travelled to Gujarat once again 19.09.2009 to 29.09.2009 via Delhi & Ahmadabad to see & experience the interior places like Palitana, Bagdana, Mahuva, UnchaKotda, Gopnath, Bhavanagar, Ghogha, Koliyak (NishkalankMahadev), Khodiyar Mata temple, Botad, Sarangpur Hanuman temple and Swami Narayan temple
Passed nights / stayed overnight
19.09.2009 to 29.09.2009 Travel details
Interacted and thankfully got useful guidance from many helpful Persons enabling me to know & see few interior places during this visit
Some of these persons are Mr Jaswant Bhai Patel (45) cell # 9427227988, Mr Arun Bhai (40) Cell # 9727264461 both from Ahmadabad, Mr Mahendra Jain(39) of Kota Nageshwar Parshvanath near Ratlam, Smt Pani Bai (73) from Mumbai, Mr Pravin Bhai Jain (55) from Mehsana, Mr Lalji(19) student from Ahmadabad,Mr Badal(19) student who walked from Devas(MP) to Gandhinagar reaching Uncha Kotda in Gujarat, Mr Ladumore Ahir (61) retired Naib Mamalatdar Talaja,Mr Pravin M Karia (50) BM SBI Ghogha cell # 90990090710,Mr Bharat(30) and his wife Mrs Varsha (28) from Sutrapada near Junagarh, Mr Dabhi Jagdish (26) teacher at Swami Narayan trust BAPS School at Sarangpur.
21.09.2009 (Monday)Visit Ahmadabad to Palitana
11.15 am Day journey from Ahmadabad to Palitana ( 228 Km ) by Gujarat state transport ( ST ) bus No. GJ 18 Y 408 (fare Rs 109 ) 01.00 pm Bagodara ST bus stand on NH 8E. Longer forced halt due to bus tyre change by local mechanics.had some snacks Rs10 02.30 pm Dhanduka ST bus stand on SH 36 and then reached Barwala bus stop by 03.10 pm, Ayodhyapuram Jain Tirth by 03.30 pm 03.40 pm Vallabhipur ST bus stand and then reached by 04.00 pm road to Bhavnagar (37 km) bifurcating for Palitana (47 km ) 04.10 pm Sihore ST bus stand. The Sihore Railway station was seen at a little distance. Got down at Palitana ST bus stand by 04.45 pm 05.00 pm Learnt that Palitana temple was 3 km from here to reach the place called Telhati. Went there by bike lift, Saw SBI ATM 05.20 pm 06.00 pm While searching for staying place, met Mr Mahendra Jain, a devout Jain who said he was alone here and staying in Jambu Dweep 07.00 pm Mr jain took me to his staying place. Being non jain, I was very reluctantly accommodated for one night only in that Dharamshala 08.00 pm We walked about 2 km then I got food (Gujrati thali Rs35) to eat in Chetana lodge. It was too late to get food at jain Bhojnalaya Entered a well maintained illuminated jain temple and had darshan. Made a long call to Rashmi in Hyderabad to know about Anurag 09.00 pm We took tea(in one no sugar no milk) at a road side shop costing Rs20 as against Rs8 per cup tea served overflowing in the saucer 09.30 pm Took bath and while resting in bed Mahendra jain shared about family members and his profession. We slept by 10.00 pm
22.09.2009 (Tuesday) Uphill climb to Palitana temple an d then by bus Palitana to Bagdana
06.00 am After fresh up and without waiting for tea or breakfast, early morning we started climbing cemented steps leading to Sacred Palitana temple on Shatrunjay hill top. While Mahendra Jain hurriedly walked fast bare foot, I with my shoes on, opted to go slow and stopping for rest some times. At about 6.30 am, met one very old woman with bent back Smt Pani Bai Kuchhi, also climbing up hill with the help of a walking stick only in her hand. While some others who were not so old had to hire Dandi, Doli etc, lot many were climbing up hill like me only. At 07.00 am, Pani Bai shared about her Mumbai based retired businessman husband, her Doctor daughter in Mumbai. As a devout Jain, she(73) and her husband(75) stay in Palitana for 4 months every year and climb up to the temple top daily to worship and return back to their place of stay in a Dharamshala. Only to day her husband was not feeling well, therefore she was climbing alone. At 08.30 am reached hill top after climbing 3.5 km long cemented road with more than 3200 steps ( total 3600 steps up to temple ) Entered main Jain temple and sat by the side of Mahendra Jain who was already sitting there praying God Adinath by reciting holy book Mantras. He said that he would come back only after main prayer in the temple by about 10 am. I decided to return alone over seeing the temple premises and after buying for Rs10 and tasting fresh curd being sold by local tribal milk women sitting out side temple gate. At 11.00 am, I was back to Jambu Dweep Dharamshala. Met manager paid Rs25 staying charges and Rs 15 for one of their publications Jain Darshan Pustakmala in Hindi written by Shri Rudra Dutt Tripathi, edited by Shri Abhay Sagar Ji at the instance of Shri Ashok Sagar Ji. Also read the inscriptions on their main temple inner walls. At 11.45 am, walked up to Jain Bhojnalaya ½ km away at Giri Vihar. Re1 food coupons were for Jains only who could recite their Namonkar Mantra fluently. It is here I met with Mr Pravin Bhai Jain who also advised me to visit Bagdana to see Sita Ram Bapa Ashram. At 02.00 pm, took a rikshaw up to Chetna lodge to eat last lunch in Palitana for Rs35
Palitana is a city, a municipality and former princely state in Bhavnagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat. It was the capital of a princely state of the Gohil Rajput clan.
It is located 50 km South-West of Bhavnagar city and is a major pilgrimage centre for Jains. It is believed that every Jain should visit Palitana at least once in his lifetime to get "Bhavya" status (fit to attain nirvan or salvation).
It is also one of the greatest tourist attractions in Gujarat for foreign tourists. Every year millions of people come to visit these temples. There are hundreds of other temples (besides those on the Shatrunjaya hills). Guest houses (dharmashalas) are found in Palitana city.
The Palitana temples are considered the most sacred pilgrimage place (tirtha) by the Swetamber Jain community. The town is considered by many Jains to be more important than the temple covered hills of Jharkhand, Mt Abu and Girnar
No one is allowed to sleep overnight including the priest, because the temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods..
The splendid “Palitana Jain Temples”
A rough analogy of Rome and the Vatican can be made to explain the wonder of the Palitana Jain Temples.
The culmination of efforts of generations of Jains over nine centuries is the Palitana Jain Temple Complex.
Train There are two trains a day to Ahmedabad (300km) and an overnight train to Rajkot. There are three trains daily to Palitana (2 hr, 50km). Ahmedabad Shetrunji Exp #9909 (5.40 am, 5½ hr), Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad Exp #9935 (3.15 pm, 5½ hr).
Bus There are state buses to Palitana (1½ hr, hourly), Ahmedabad, Una for Diu (6 hr, hourly), Diu (6½ hr, one daily), Junagadh, Bhuj, Veraval, Surat (8 hr, four daily), Mumbai, and Vadodara (6 hr, ten daily), and other places in the state.
By Road: There are buses for Bhavnagar from Palitana. Regular buses are also available from Ahmedabad, Talaja, Una, and Diu. Taxis are also available on hire for Palitana from Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad or Vadodra. The bus stand is situated 800 meters away from the Palitana railway station. Since Palitana is an important destination for a lot of people who follow Jainism, and the fact that there are a lot of people in Mumbai (Bombay ), there are buses that run daily between Mumbai and Palitana.
Sihor, the erstwhile capital of the Gohil Rajputs, is an ancient town located in the Bhavnagar District, Gujarat. Surrounded by hills, it is situated about 20 km from Bhavnagar.
Major points of attraction are the 12th century Brahma Kund (a stepped tank surrounded by idols of Hindu deities) - built by Raja Sidhraj and the 17th century Vijay Vilas Palace of the Maharajahs, with fine paintings and wood carvings. The Shiva temple is an important pilgrimage worth visiting. Other tourists interest in and around the town include the Khodiar Mata Temple and the Sihori Mata Temple – which offers panoramic view over Gautameshwar Lake and the whole town. The old fort of Sihor with its wall art is worth a visit.
22.09.2009 (Tuesday) after Palitana temple travel by bus Palitana town to Bagdana
03.30 pm After waiting for about 1 hour, travelled by a ST bus (fare Rs18)from palitana town to Bagdana (39Km) 05.00 pm Reached Bapa Sita Ram Ashrma, Bagdana and saw the temple premises and Ashram activities
At Bagdana, learnt about Of Charismatic (Died in 1977)
Now the temple trust is head by erstwhile local village resident, now a big businessman settled in Surat City
People having blind faith in Bapa’s charisma , flock here day in and day out by buses, taxis, cars, bikes et el in the hope of their wishes being fulfilled, chronic deceases cured, offspring born, legal disputes settled etc Name of The Bapa Sita Ram is so revered in most of the villages, towns here that they have erected gates, temples with Bapa’s statue. Websites have been launched on internet with copy right reserved.
Secured with a Govt police Chowki, Bagdana Ashram is situated on main road from Palitan to Mahuva
A new temple of quite a large size with latest designs is under construction over an elevated big marble platform. Devotees pray well illuminated Bapa Sita Ram’s glittering statue already installed therein.
Adjacent to temple, opposite to quite spacious parking land, there is Nandi Gram with free staying arrangements and next to that, opposite to the temple market, there is Gopal Gram providing free food served to all visitors. Being Bapa’s favorite, people sit in lines in the original temple premises for tea which is still served in saucers. I noticed a young software Engr from Bhuj visiting Bapa Sita Ram Ashram because his parents used to come here.
23.09.2009 (Wednesday) after Bapa Sita Ram temple travel by bus Bagdana to Mahuva
05.00 am Like all others, I also got ready for morning Arti darshan in the main temple premises, where the tea was being served in saucers. In my saucer of tea, I mixed coffee powder and took it as a refresher. After Arti was over, walked out to the local market near bus stand. The first bus from Palitana to Mahuva was waiting for passengers at Bagdana. It was still a little dark. So I preferred to wait and use the clean services of Sulabh toilets and shaved. By this time it was 06.30 am and the next bus for Mahuva, arrived here and I boarded this bus for fare Rs17 ( 39 km). I noticed that there were frequent buses, taxies, tempo services available for passengers going to different places. 07.00 am The bus was running now on NH8E and Mahuva was just 8 km away. But the bus reached Mahuva ST bus station by 07.30 am Learnt about Bhavani temple at mahuva sea beach about 16 km away. By 08.00 am I decided to take an auto rikhshaw (Rs15) to go to Morari Bapu’s Gurukul, when I was told that Ram Katha by Bapu, is currently going on there with staying facility and food etc arranged by his Ashram at Chitrakoot in his native village Talkajarda (2 km from NH) in Mahuva. Free bus services by Ashram were available for all. After reaching Gurukul, took coffee and met the Manager who allotted coupon for my staying in their Dharamshala at Nand Kunwar Baug Like here, Bapu has Kailash Ashram in Rishikesh and Haridwar also. Sat on green carpet spread under big pundal raised in the midst of green shady trees. Right at 09.30 am, Morari Bapu arrived at the Vyas Peeth and started Ram Katha. Just then I noticed two small children aged about 3 were playing with Bapu. Later I came to know that these are twin grandsons of Bapu. Parth(ive), As against local custom, Bapu’s son is married to his maternal uncle’s NRI daughter from England. Till 12.30, Bapu explained Ram Katha mixed with Gopi Geet. After 12.30 pm, the crowd lined up to sit in the buses one by one for taking food at Chitrakoot and return to Gurukul for rest till 03.30 pm. After 03.30 pm, the crowd again sat up to listen the Manas Path recited by a group of Bapu’s chosen followers till 07.30 pm. After 07.30 pm, the crowd lined up to sit in the buses one by one for taking food at Chitrakoot and return to Gurukul for Garba at 9 pm in which Bapu’s NRI daughter in law, now young mother of her twin sons Lav , Kush, also danced. It was then Mushaira 10.30 pm till 12 night After 12 in night, slept under the pundal itself, like many others, instead of going to the allotted place of stay in Ashram’s Dharamshala.
Mahuva Junction Railway Station is on the coastal town of Mahuva, on the Gulf of Khambhat. The station is located about 2 km from Mahuva Teerth. The nearest main station is Dungar Junction Railway Station, situated to the west of Mahuva.
For local transportation, buses and autorikshas are available from the railway station.
Morari Bapu’s Village Talgajarda (Mahuva)
Bapu was born on the 25th September 1946 in Talgajarda (a small village near the port of Mahuva in the State of Gujarat, India), to Prabhudas Bapu Hariyani and Savitri Ben Hariyani. Pujya Bapu has six brothers and two sisters. From the very beginning young Moraridas (Bapu) showed signs of extraordinary brilliance and spent most of his childhood under the guidance of his Grandmother often spending hours listening to folk tales of traditional India.
At the age of five Bapu began learning the Ramayana (Ram Charit Maanas) from his Grandfather and Guru, Tribhovan Das Dada. A principled and learned scholar of the Ram Charit Maanas, Tribhovandas Dada would teach five chowpais (couplets) to Bapu each day who then had to memorize them with their meaning throughout the day. The study of the Ram Charit Maanas would take place on the site today known as Chitrakut Dham in Talgajarda and has become a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people. Both Bapu’s grandparents were the guiding force behind his upbringing and the most influential persons in his life in his formative years. The nearest school was some 2km from Talgajarda and Bapu would memorize chowpais from the Ram Charit Maanas he had learnt earlier in the day as he walked to school, often, singing to the trees and the plant life on his path. On his return home Bapu had to recite back to Dadaji what he had memorized.
At school, his teacher, Ram Shanker Bhatt, remembers Bapu as a young boy who was “an introvert, quiet and an independent student”. The High School Headmaster, Narotamkaka Mehta, recalls Bapu as being an intellectual student with an unusually high regard for cultural and religious values and as “a good student of the institution”. Such was the relationship between the teachers and their pupils that in the monsoon months when the river Maalan between Talgajarda and Mahuva became waterlogged and unpassable, Bapu and his school friends were encouraged not to venture home. The teachers would, instead, accommodate the young boys safe in their homes. Bapu often cites the journey to and from school which he says played an instrumental role in allowing him to sing and understand the depths of the Ram Charit Maanas. Even today when Bapu is at home, he walks the path between Mahuva and Talgajarda (now a proper road) where the village folk join in and talk to him about the issues concerning the village.
Born in the Vaishnav Sadhu Nimbarka Parampara (lineage), Bapu was also encouraged via letters from his paternal great grand father, Mahamandleshwar Vishnu Giriji Maharaj of “Kailas Ashram” Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges, to be proficient in the Bhagvat Gita and the Vedas. At the age of 12, Bapu began to recite the Ram Charit Maanas by heart. Bapu recalls the birthplace of his first recital where he made a small platform out of mud and placed a portrait of Lord Ram and began to decipher to a few herdsmen who had come to quench their thirst in the evening. The shrine today is commemorated in Talgajarda with a temple of Hanumanji Maharaj and named Ram Vaadi (meaning Lord Ram’s orchard).
As years went by, Pujya Bapu began to attract the attention of the elder villagers who would test his knowledge of the Ram Charit Maanas and on every occasion the young boy would leave the elders stunned. On completing secondary school, He started a teacher training course at Shahapur College in Junagarh. Bapu today talks about his years in Junagarh where he would sit with his mala (rosary) for hours on end and his room mate being concerned would complete work on his behalf. Little wonder then that Bapu jokes that he managed a Hat-Trick by failing his exams three times. It was during this time that He spent his free time to attend discourses by well known speakers and reading scriptures or singing chowpais of the Ram Charit Maanas with music.
On completing his teacher training course he returned to Mahuva where he became a teacher at the J.Parekh High School teaching various subjects including English. During his ten years as a teacher, Bapu often took time off to listen to prominent speakers and meeting some of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, among them Vinobha Bhave, Dongreji Maharaj, Punit Maharaj and Krishna Murti. At the same time Bapu’s interest in Indian Literature and poetry grew fonder and he regularly attended sessions on various literary subjects by high ranking orators. Bapu often quotes some of the finest works by poets such as the nationally recognized Indian poet, Zaverchand Meghani, whose poem on Mahatma Gandhi inspired him tremendously. Increasingly Bapu’s quest and thirst for Ram Katha (The story of Lord Ram) began to take precedence and he would sit in the Ram Vaadi in Talgajarda singing the Ram Charit Maanas and interpreting their meanings to the villagers. Bapu’s extraordinary command and oratory style quickly gathered crowds and the first ever Ram Charit Maanas Maas Parayan ( a month long discourse on the Ram Charit Maanas) was organized at the Ram Temple in Talgajarda in the Chaitra Month of 1960. People from nearby towns and villages packed the small temple to listen to Bapu whose popularity quickly spread and subsequently led to a number of month long discourses.
The first Navaan Parayan (nine day discourse) was held in Gaandilaa in Gujarat in the presence of Pujya Ramfardasji Maharaj (a respected and revered saint from Gujarat) in May 1966. Morari Bapu’s name and command of the Ram Charit Maanas and his heart rending narrations brought people from all over India in their thousands to listen to his Ram Katha often overwhelming listeners and organizers alike. This was the beginning of a reawakening of large numbers,in particular, of young men and women listening to Ram Katha. The era of listening to Ram Katha in large numbers had begun in India and lovingly he became known as “Bapu” (meaning Father) and the first ever recital by Bapu outside India was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976 when He was merely 30. This was the beginning of Pujya Bapu’s untiring quest to bring about a new upliftment and commonality amongst all living beings not only in India but throughout the world. A deep sense of pride in one’s own religion once again reawakened peoples’ beliefs and at the same time learning to accept and tolerate other faiths. From 1960 to date Pujya Bapu has recited Ram Katha throughout India including places of pilgrimages at the heights Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri in the Himalayas. In 1984 preceding a nine day recital in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, Bapu resided within the compounds of Bhavnagar Jail to impart a spiritual message to the prisoners and prison authorities alike. Today thousands flock to listen to Pujya Bapu’s benevolent message from the Ram Charit Maanas. Soon Bapu was to enlighten people living not just in India and Africa but in various parts of the world including the U.K. and the U.S.A
He moves among people continuously, where in his everyday life one can see a conglomeration of ideals that are the basis of a good social structure, and on the other side, smoothly harmonized spiritual practices, devoid of all harshness that so often creep up on the austere aspirants. This way of living a life, called Dharma, has been a very stable source of inspiration to people from all walks of life, both in India and abroad. His entire living is to bring many different branches and sects of religion (even of other faiths), different parts of this nation with variety of languages, and the different levels of society with a panorama of cultural variation to a common ground of undivided understanding. He shows a way of uniting not just one nation, but the whole of human race, while, at the same time preserving their individual fragrances. He expressly calls out to the humanity for love and respect for each other, because that is the only way to save the whole world from disaster and complete ruin.
People who have seen him for the last forty years say, that, he lives each principle or ideal for a length of time, realizes its worth, only then he wishes for those who listen to the Katha, to take his words not just on their face-value, but, suggests that they should see for themselves if the teachings are applicable to their problems and livable in their own lives. He looks on life as a whole, in all its variety of aspects, from a different level, and uses his extraordinary vision and insight, seeped in love, to look for an optimal solution in each situation that presents itself to him. In and through all his actions, a watchful and trained eye can see him staying above the waves of involvement, as a lotus rising above the waters and blooming for the sun, seemingly without any effort on its part. Perhaps, the most striking and realistic feature of a meeting with him is the calmness of mind and a song of inner joy, that is so often felt by so many. Even without indulging in any conversation, sorrow is forgotten. A wave of peace and purity is felt immediately. Love is his medium of teaching. Those who have the good fortune to watch him at close quarters, having done so for decades, are established in their salutation of him as an embodiment of pure love and deep compassion for.
Shree Sitaram Seva Trust (UK) under the auspices of Hanumanji Maharaj was graced with organizing the Setubandh Ram Katha on board the Cunard Princess, a Mediterranean flagship, to enable the sea world with the opportunity to listen to a Ram Katha. This benevolent Katha was to mark the beginning of Pujya Bapu’s long-standing inner wish for peace in the universe. In 1992, an International katha was staged in New York to mark Bapu’s thirty years of recitations with a variety of exhibitions and partaking events. This was followed by Pujya Bapu circumambulating (Parikramaa) the United Nations Building in New York and The White House in Washington praying for World Peace.
In July 1994 Pujya Bapu’s “Sambhav” Ram Katha brought religious leaders from various faiths on one platform in London and the entire Katha was televised live on satellite T.V.
In 1994, a Parikrama (circumambulation) of the world with the Ram Charit Maanas on the “Pushpak Ram Katha” was organized by the Shree Sadguru Seva Foundation USA At the time of giving the dates for this Katha Pujya Bapu was unaware that the start date (13th August 1994) was also the birthday of Goswami Tulsidas, the author of the Ram Charit Maanas. This must have been the wish of Lord Shiv (who had certified Goswami Tulsidaji’s Ram Charit Maanas) and Hanuman ji Maharaj (the constant listener of Ram Katha) to be able to listen to Ram Katha by a much loved and revered sant with the intention of the divine chowpais reaching every part of the world. For the very first time a Ram Katha with 250 people on board a specially refitted plane was recited at the height of 37,000 feet in different time zones crossing international boundaries, during the day or night and overwhelming all aviation and immigration regulations. The Pushpak (Plane) took off from New York with overnight stops in Los Angeles (USA), Honolulu (stopover), Nadi (Fiji), Auckland (New Zealand), Singapore, Mumbai (India), Nairobi (Kenya), London (England), and Toronto (Canada).
1996 marked Pujya Bapu’s 50th Birthday and also his 500th katha. The Gujarat City of Baroda was graced with organizing the 500th Katha during the Chaitra Navraatri (the first nine days of the month of Chaitra) in March of that year.
From 9th August to 19th August 1997, Pujya Bapu recited from the Ram Charit Manas in the most sacred of abodes at Manasarovar “Lake of the Mind” at the foot of Mount Kailas in the Himalayas. Manasarovar is a natural lake at 15,500 feet above sea level which is the source of the River Saryu which flows in Ayodhya (India ) and the origin of Ram Katha by Lord Shiva. Those privileged enough to accompany Pujya Bapu to listen to Ram Katha at Manasarovar were blessed with Pujya Bapu’s words and experience the greatest episode of their lifetime. Again, Pujya Bapu’s love and respect for the Ram Charit Manas and it’s status in resolving all miseries was recited in the most sacred abode.
The Maanas-Kailas Yatra (Pilgrimage) commenced on 26th July 1997 and concluded on 26th August 1997 taking the two hundred pilgrims during the holy Hindu Shraavan Month from Lhasa to Maansarovar. Eleven pilgrims undertook a three day circumambulation (Parikramaa) of the Mount Kailas where Lord Shiv resided with his consort Goddess Parvati. A time-capsule containing Pujya Bapu’s personal items, the Shree Ram Charit Manas and Srimad Bhagvat Gita scriptures, various books, photographs, artifacts and documents, was also be laid by Pujya Bapu to commemorate the Yatra and the Katha at Manasarovar. During the Katha, Pujya Bapu together with the pilgrims also celebrated the 500th Jayanti (birthday) of Goswami Tulsidas, the author and composer of the Shri Ramcharitmaanas on Sunday 10th August 1997, India’s 50th Independence Day on Friday the 15th August 1997 and Rakshaa Bandhan (tying an auspicious band by the Guru on the Shisya or sister on the brother wishing them a blissful year) and Purnima (full moon) on Monday the 18th August 1997.
The Manas – kailas Yatra is a focal point for all those who aspire to reach this sacred abode and for all those who were unable to join. Over the past 38 years Pujya Bapu has undertaken Ram Charit Maanas pilgrimages in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, UK, USA, in the air around the world and at sea but Maanasarovar is considered to be the most important recital ever to take place.
As usual, On Full Moon in July every year on Guru Purnima thousands gather to listen to and pay their respects to Pujya Morari Bapu in Talgajarda. This is the most important day in the Guru – Shisya Paramparaa and people from all over the world converge at Chitrakut Dham, Talgajarda to listen to Pujya Bapu’s divine message.
24.09.2009 (Thursday) after Morari Bapu’ Gurukul travel by tempo Mahuva to Uncha Kotda
07.00 am, After fresh up and taking tea mixed with coffee powder, as per guidance received from one of the Ram Katha co-listeners, I came out at the main gate of Gurukul and luckily got a shared tempo (Rs15 per seat) direct to Uncha Kotda ( 24 Km on MDR 22 ) traversing through number of villages and finally reaching there by 08.30 am at
Uncha Kotda ST bus stand. From here walked up to the beach side tea / snacks shops before reaching up to the Temple at a little height. At the tea stall, met an other young married couple from Surat who have come to Uncha Kotda for overnight stay and Puja seeking fulfillment of their wishes. They helped me in getting the desired snacks Papda but could not get the tea here. Phone to Mudit & Peeyush. 09.00 am, met the Manager of the Uncha Kotda Chaumunda Mata Shakti Peeth temple trust and got room in their guest house.. At 10am, after washing my cloths and taking bath, enjoyed the sea view from its balcony / verandah. 11.00 am Walked in to temple and had darshan. At 12 noon, met Lalji a young student of class XII from Ahmadabad who with the help of his mother there, arranged for me sugar less red tea and then took me to for food served by temple trust in their bhojnalaya under the shady trees and tasty water from Narmada on this sea beach. He then told the story about this temple and showed the Shiva temple within the sea water. Walked along sea beach , Shiva temple in the evening after 5 and saw near bhojnalaya, several photo frames hanging on the walls. These were the photos of blessed children At 06.00 pm, met another young boy Badal(19) who had come here from Devas(MP) by walking all the way to Gujarat. At 07.00 pm, with the consent of temple manager, I offered him place in my room. After taking food in temple bhojnalaya by 8pm, we shared our thoughts till 10 pm and then slept.
IMAGE OF SEA MERGED SHIVA TEMPLE AT UNCHA KOTDA
At the age of 3, Badal (Kajle) s/o Sumer Singh born in village Bagli (Devas) lost his father and also his mother died in 2008,told that he was now 19 years old and as orphan student of class XII with the support of Jata Shankar Ashram in Distt Devas(MP) under Ashram’s Phalahari baba Guru Keshav das ji Tyagi (died 2006) and now Guru Badri das ji Maharaj. As a motto, Badal runs with Indian flag for the sake of brotherhood in the Country. Badal running / walking records so far, are published in the Local News papers :
On05th January 2008 : From Bagli Gurudwara to Devas Gurudwara ( 65 Km ) in 07 Hrs 20 Minutes On 23rd March 2008 : From Bagli to Mahakal Mandir ( 100 Km ) Non stop in 10 Hrs and 30 Minutes On 23rd July 2009 : From Jata Shanker Ashram Devas to Red Fort Delhi , walked for 16 days and hosted flag on 1th August 2009 On 8th Sept 2009 : From MP (Devas) to Gujarat ( Sabarmati Ashram, Gandhinagar, reached Uncha Kotda on 24th Sep 09 by walk
Gopnath temple Gopnath temple trust guest house
The 700 year old, Gopnath Temple is a must visit site. It is perhaps the only temple in India which hoists two color flags. One is white, denoting the Vishnu temple, whereas the second is saffron, depicting the Shiva shrine. It is at this place that the renowned poet Narsinh Mehta attained enlightenment. The temple is surrounded by a many budget accommodations like dharamshalas and guest houses. Other one of the fascinating sites nearby is Alang. It is the largest ship breaking zone in the world.
26.09.2009 (Saturday) after Gopnath travel by bus Gopnath to Bhavnagar, Ghogha,Koliyak(Nishkalank Mahadev temple) Khodiyar Mata temple
05.30 am It was still dark when I packed up and walked up to the temple gate only to find that the first direct bus to Bhavnagar had just left at 05.30 am. So I waited till 7 am when the next bus up to Talaja arrived. The bus fare was Rs12 (28 Km) as against the tempo fare R10 only. Reached Talaja at 8 am and boarded an other bus (R36) for Bhavnagar( 67 Km) via a diversion road through Shatrunjaya river bed due to damaged bridge on the main highway. Reached Bhavnagar at 10.00 am and had tea with coffee. Then used Sulabh Sauchalay at the bus station. Boarded a waiting bus(Rs11) to Ghogha(21Km) reaching there at 11.00 am. Saw SBI Ghogha branch and met the Branch Manager Mr Pravin M Karia who over a cup of tea, apprised me about Ghogha sea beach(1.5 Km) over looking an Island ( Beyt ). There are Jain temples also. 12.00 noon Sat in a shared tempo(Rs10) and returned to Pipaliya Pul(5Km) and waited for bus to Koliyak. 02.00 pm Buses to Koliyak were not frequent and the occasional Jeeps going there were overloaded. Two young men on one bike gave me lift up to Koliyak and at 3pm from there similarly another two young men gave me lift up to the sea beach of Nishkalank Mahadev. I saw people wading through sea water up to the temple. At 4 pm I also followed them leaving behind my shoes at beach before knee deep sea water. Here a Gujrati NRI family from Navasari was performing an elaborate Puja. They offered me lift up to Bhavnagar at 5.30 pm took a shared tempo(Rs10 for 17 Km) from Bhavnagar ST bus station to Khodiyar and then by shared autorikshaw(Rs5 for 02 Km) up to KhodiyarMata temple. Took bath at 6 pm in temple dharamshala Here met another young couple Bharat & Varsha from Sutrapada near Junagarh . They advised me to visit Choteela temple situated on highway Rajkot road. I then climbed up to the temple of Khodiyar sisters at a small height which has also a rope way. At 7 pm, after Arti Darshan of Khodiyar Mata, walked into well maintained temple guest house and occupied dormitory bed (Rs50). At 7.30 pm took bath again and went for Gujrati thali(Rs35). At 8.30 pm returned back to guest house, met the manager to know about route to Sarangpur, Choteela etc. Also talked with the room mates till I slept at 10 pm.
Khodiyar Mata is a temple located on Rajkot Road at a distance of 4 kilometers from Sihor and 15 kilometers from Bhavnagar in Gujarat. Khodiyar Mata of Gujarat stands on 36 pillars, which support the mandap. The mandap is the central structure, where the main idol of the temple is placed. The presiding deity of this temple is the ancestral Goddess of Bhavnagar.
Koliyak is located at a distance of about 23 km to the east of Bhavnagar. It is said that Pandavas established Nishkalank or Nakalank Mahadev on a new moon night of the Indian calendar month of Bhadarva. The famous fair popularly known as ‘Bhadarvi’ is held on the new moon night in month of Sharvan, as per the Indian calendar. An idol of god Shankar was established in an island, over the sea about 3 km to the east of Koliyak. This temple can be reached between 9.00 am to 12.00 pm on the day next to the new moon night. It has to be noted that the place gets inundated under the tide so the visitors should careful to leave the place before 1.00 pm
At Nishkalank or Nakalank Mahadev
Nishkalank gets inundated under the tide (see the image below)
27.09.2009 (Sunday) after Khodiyar Mata temple travel by tempo toRangoli hotel Chokdi and then by bus to Botad and by tempo to Sarangpur
06.30 am Got up and waled out in search of sugarless tea at the temple gate. Got tea for Rs7 07.30 am Took bath, got ready and walked about 1 Km out on road from temple to Khodiyar 08.00 am Took shared autorikshaw (Rs8)up to Rangoli hotel Chokdi on Road to Bhavnagar 09.00 am Got a private bus and reached Botad (Rs35) at 11 am . Took autorikshaw (Rs10)for a short distance up to Sarangpur Road taxi stand from where got a shard tempo (Rs10) and reached Sarangpur Hanuman temple at 11.30 pm. Entered their Dharamshala, paid Rs50 and kept my bag in the locker. As suggested by Dharamshala Manager, walked in to the temple for taking food before 12 noon. The temple remains closed from 12 noon to 3 pm. 12.30 pm Walked in to Swami Narayan temple and contacted Swami ji who gave me a coupon It was for taking food. I had to come back and got another coupon for staying arrangement in their newly constructed guest house. Took rest up to 4 pm in my bed here. 04.00 pm Walked around Swami Narayan temple premises. There are few well managed snacks ice cream book shops where I had coffee for Rs 5 with more information on these two temples. 07.00 pm After Arti Darshan, came back to room and took rest. Talked with the room mate till 9
History and description
This temple is among the more prominent ones in the Swaminarayan Sampraday. The image of Hanuman was installed by Gopalanand Swami. According to author Raymond Williams, it is reported that when Gopalanand Swami installed the image of Hanuman, he touched it with a rod and the image came alive and moved. This story has become a charter for the healing ritual performed at this temple. The image of Hanuman here is a stout figure with a handlebar moustache, crushing a female demon under his foot and baring his teeth, standing among sculpted foliage full of fruit bearing monkey attendants.
The image of this temple is said to be so powerful that a mere look at it by people affected by evil spirits, drives the evil spirits out of the people affected. Saturday is the designated day for a special ritual (as Saturday is dedicated to Hanuman) for those affected by mental illnesses and other disorders. They are brought to the temple to be touched by the rod used by Gopalanand Swami during the installation ceremony of the image. This rod has now been covered in silver. The temple administration has hired a brahmin householder to act as a priest at the temple and conduct this ritual. After this, the person affected is instructed to circumambulate the shrine and repeat this after doing darshan a number of times. Some people take a special vow to do this a certain number of times or to chant the Swaminarayan Mahamantra whiles doing this.
28.09.2009 (Monday) after Sarangpur ,travel by bus to Ahmadabad , by train on 29.09.2009 (Tuesday) to Delhi, by bus to Dehradun
06.30 am Walked out to get a cup of sugarless tea for Rs7 and then further walked up to nearby other temples, schools and finally the well maintained miraculous Narayan Kund etc. 08.30 am Had breakfast in temple and at 9.30 am, from temple premises itself took ST bus Rs85 reaching Ahmadabad at 2 pm and then by a bike lift reached railway station. Took rest till 5 pm in the waiting room and boarded Ashram Express train by 5.30 pm. Slept in the train by 9.30 pm
29.09.2009 (Tuesday) from Delhi, by bus to Dehradun
10.25 am Reached Delhi Railway station right time and walked up to Kashmere gate ISBT 11.00 am Took Uttarakhand Parivan bus for Dehradun Rs 145.