After waiting for a long time at Pendra Road Station, Gaurella, I caught a train to Jabalpur, 1st AC. That was a first for me and very nice. One of the co-passengers was a French Software Engineer, who came to India via trains. He had seen Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh Sanctuary (no tigers) and was on his way to see Sanchi. He had learnt Hindi consonants and did not know how to combine them with vowels, so I showed him. The highlight of this journey was that I saw the Sun literally sink into the horizon, a first time for me. Previously the horizon was obscured by mists (coastal areas) or by buildings (urban areas). I naturally got all excited by this. The MP tourism hotel in Jabalpur was called Kalchuri Residency and it was quite nice. Right outside you can get the best Poha in the world!
I had a my darshan of Shankar Bhagvan in a temple right outside the hotel. I walked and share-autoed my way to Bhedaghat. I saw the Narmada water falls from the tramcar-in-the air (Rs 40/-) and went for the boat ride on narmada river between marble rocks (Rs 41/-). The boatman gave us a description of the different kinds of marble, pointed out little caves in the rocks where saints meditated, showed shivalingams installed on little islands mid-river by kings and of course the places where the modern devas ie movie stars shot different movie sequences. He had a rather poetic expression and it was nice to see Narmada as a proper river.
A mussalman student in the shared auto told me to visit the Anjani Mata Mandir on my way back. It was such a sweet place, referred to by Markandeya in the Skanda Purana as per the boards. This is the only place known to me where you have a vigraham of Anjana Devi carrying young Anjaneya. Presently the temple is open-air, but the prakaras are being built. Local Villagers believe that Anjani mata will give you, anything you ask for and that the vigraham is at least 2000 years old if not much more.
I saw a squirrel chomping on the flowers and coconut offerings to Anjaneya and felt rather happy with myself. I took another shared auto to the barghi dam bus stop but was advised against going to the dam on my own, and took one final shared auto back to the bus stop.
The dust that I breathed that day gave me a severe allergy to last a few days., but I did save thousand rupees plus on the taxi. Wise or penny wise? After being mis-directed by some untrustworthy folks on the walk back, and having a bad time of it, I almost cancelled the rest of the trip and came home. But then I knew that if I did not finish this trip as planned, I might never go again, so steeling my nerves I went forth to Pipariya and Pachmarhi where I had the most wonderful time of my life.
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