The Trip

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Hiya. Sorry for the silence. I wanted to blog about many things but life has been extremely busy. Last Saturday, my parents had a stop over at Delhi on their way to Srinagar. I did not join them on the Kashmir trip since I had month end. They landed at 9 am and I took them to the mall in Vasant Kunj. After some retail therapy (why do shops open soooo late?) I dropped them at the airport and rushed home. In the evening while heading to the gym D called and invited me for dinner to Nizamuddin. KC and I had planned a night in with some wine but I really wanted to try the non veg at Nizamuddin. It is a very famous place where people park near the road and eat non veg and have liqour in the car. No, there are no cops. Cops look the other way. It is hard to find if you don’t know where exactly it is located. Umm, it is between Khan Market and NIzamuddin… just before the signal. We had mutton burra kebab, chicken seekh kebab and mutton burra roll. I do not eat mutton ‘coz it is red meat (and unhealthy) and also I find it harder to chew. Here, I fell in love with the mutton… it unbelievably soft. For 3 kebabs and 5 rolls, we paid 300 bucks per head among 5 people. Not bad.
On Monday night, we headed for Avengers. I reached the mall from office while KC came direct from Noida. I was exhausted waiting for him and it was a late night show. I fell asleep within 15 mins of the movie. I don’t think it was too great. We left for home in the interval.
On Thursday I left for Jammu from where I took a bus to Katra to go to Vaishno devi. No, I am not religious. On the contrary, I am allergic to anything remotely religious. I think it is all a farce… people are just trying to find something/someone to blame for their problems and God becomes a convenient excuse. It gives them false hope and they keep waiting for miracles to happen to them instead of finding their own solutions. To counter my own self, it also gives people hope and a strength to fight life’s battles. I think I can fight without heavenly help. My parents, specially Mom, is overally religious and our views do not match on the subject. Few years back, she had expressed a wish to go to Vaishnodevi. She wanted me to come along since I was in Gurgaon then. I had reluctantly agreed but the trip never materialized. She has been to the temple twice already and this time wanted my bro to come along. I decided to join them to gain some goodwill.
Vaishnodevi is a temple located among the Himalayas… 11 km from Katra. People generally walk all the way… there are options of horse ride or palkis for those who cannot walk. I reached Katra at 7 pm. After dinner, we negotiated for a palki for my dad since he cannot walk. Since it was night and the government palki wala was closed, the locals had doubled their rate. We had no option but to pay. Mom, bro and I decided to brave the walk. The 11 km are steep, on a winding slope. There are steps at some places but climbing steps creates more pressure on the knees. We walked… and walked… and walked… all night and reached the temple at 3.15 am. (We started walking at 10 pm). The first 5 km of the road are lined with markets selling food, snacks, handicrafts, knick knacks which are open all night and day. There are 2 CCDs on the way. Anyway, there was not a long queue in the temple but it was still filled with people. After a quick darshan (very, very quick) my mom insisted on going to another temple 2 km away. Now, I was pissed. I just wanted to get over with and go back to the hotel. So, we walked… the most difficult part of the journey… since the 2 km were ascending directly upwards. There were around 1000 stairs incase someone did not want to walk. I rushed through the darshan which pissed off my mom. I didn’t care… it was some Bhairon’s temple. Not that it matters.
On the way back, we took a tempo for the first 5 km and horse ride for the balance 6 km.
We slept all day and then headed to Jammu next morning.
I think the place is over rated… the whole idea is to get people to spend money and boost the economy of Katra. I believe that in a religious place people will be polite and charge correctly. Not so here… from the palkiwalas to tempo guy to horse guys… everyone charged a bomb. I was disgusted. These people are taking advantage of religious sentiments. The management in the temple is pathetic. Going during the day can be mind fucking.
If you are very religious, please go visit the place. You will love it. If you are anything like me, avoid. Pathetic place.

8 thoughts on “The Trip

  1. It wasn’t so commercial years ago when i had gone. I was quite religious and a kid then….but still I remember the journey..we too walked the entire nite and did early morning darshan in huge crowd.. its much simpler than many others like.
    and BTW vaishno devi darshan is considered incomplete by many without the bhairon dev darshan.

  2. haha I totally agree on the religious part as I am mostly like you. But that make people hate me who would otherwise love me. Religious people want everybody to be religious. Non-religious people like us really don’t care!!!

  3. @ rt:

    > and BTW vaishno devi darshan is
    > considered incomplete by many
    > without the bhairon dev darshan.

    This traditions are brought into practice so that people visit bhairon dev otherwise who would walk those extra 2 kms

  4. Red meat isn’t unhealthy. Lean beef (and I know you won’t eat beef) is among’st the healthiest meat one can eat along with turkey or chicken breast. Of course, getting it in India is a whole another story….

  5. I can sense the irritation even after your trip is over. It is allover your writing. I feel everything should be given its due respect. Religion too. Not the blind faith sort of a religious doctrine but the one where there is a spiritual connection.
    I am actually irreligious but having a child can change all that. You suddenly become God fearing because you want and wish the safety and happiness of your child. Our parents go to the religious places to pray for us and not for them. But that is something I have understood only now after having a child myself. I was writing about this when I saw this post of yours. So I thought I should read it first. It gives me more ideas to explore.

  6. @ RT: Who is Mr Bhairon??? and should I have to walk 4 km extra for a rendezvous with him? Somehow, most people did not know him. None of the others from our tour group went to the temple

    @ Anonymous: Love the comment “Religious people want everybody to be religious”. They cannot understand how we cannot be like them… while we believe in live and let live

    @ APC: Hellios… Are you even alive? Btw, I have eaten beef and would eat it again if I could find it somewhere. I do not discriminate among animals.

  7. @ Anita: The irritation is not about going to a religious place. It was my decision. I could have refused. I am annoyed because how are people expected to have a religious experience when they have to spend time bargaining over money.
    Your child is small now but when she grows up, she will have her views which you may or may not accommodate. You may want to go to the temple but she may not. I hope you are a mom who gives as much respect as much you expect back. Indian parents generally suck at that.

  8. @bulz & @ anonymous: for that matter who is the goddess u visited…y do u have to travel so much to meet her?? just because of the beliefs right? similarly there are religious beliefs/tales related to Bhairon Dev as well.

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