I kind of did the gandhi class travel on this trip. Second class sleeper, railway waiting rooms, shared autos, cold water baths, eating food given by nice strangers… That sort of thing. The plus was that it was really cheap. The minus was that I was rather ill by the evening of the 5th day and I am flying home today., stuffed with painkillers. It was also impossible to wash clothes so, my bag was heavier than necessary.
I took my samsung galaxy tab, bsnl 3g with me on the trip. It helped me with navigation, kept me in constant email contact with my family, helped me check pnr status on trains, buy this airticket home, and display my e-ticket on the display on airport entry. It also attracted boys of all ages.. Who came up to me and asked ‘yeh kya cheez hai’ but funnily enough no girls of any age.. unlike what they show in ads. Finally we decided on ‘phone se jyaada, computer se kam’ . This thing is a battery guzzler and 3 G coverage is erratic. But it is still fun. You make cell phone charging friends. Have your 2G phone also with you.
Veraval is one of the stations close to somnath.
Bhalka Tirth :
This is also called nija dhaam = neejdhaam. It is where the hunter shot Sri Krishna’s toe by mistake on chaitra sukla padyami.
Then Krishna went to the bank of the Hiran river and went into a permanent yogic state. A Gita Mandir has been built there. I chanted about 3 chapters off the pillars, where all 18 chapters have been inscribed… Since it was Gita Jayanti.
I sat under a tree close to the exact place of Krishna’s ascent, feeling very peaceful. Don’t miss this place.
Somnath Siva Jyotirlingam :
The sea around is stunningly beautiful and the direction of the unobstructed view of the south pole is marked.
The first in the list of jyotirlingas is very beautiful, once worshipped by Chandra and much later by his descendant Sri Krishna.
You are not allowed phones, cameras, shoes belts, computers etc. They look after them for you while you have your darshan.
There are camel rides and stuff to eat in the beach.
Any difficulty I faced was due to my own experimental planning. The people are courteous, the place is clean and overall gujarat is orderly. I was never hassled or harassed by anyone anywhere, either for money or for anything else.
And even though waitlisted folks are allowed into second class compartments in the day time, they won’t sit in your seat or quarrel with each other. One bunch of boys was actually very friendly with a very pretty eunuch. They sang ‘Sheila…’ to her and she blessed them all touching their heads. They chatted for a long time after that and she moved on.
Authorship , Photography and copyright notice : Satya Sarada Kandula. All Rights Reserved.