Thursday, 3 May 2012
Hrishikesh - a tale of two bridges
A tale of two bridges
In epic Ramayana Lord Ram and Laxman are like two ends of a bridge by nature. Ram is described as responsible serious, ethical and strict by nature whereas Laxman is just opposite by nature. He is frivolous sometime, joyful, jovial and equipped with sense of humor as Tulsidas describe him in epic. The bridge that connects both of them is commonality of purpose. Not only they belong to same family but also both the characters are known for the resolve they took for well being of people.
It is said Laxman took a penance in Hrishikesh. A flimsy rope beneath Laxman jhula, first suspension bridge of India engineered by British during pre- independence era, reminds of him who might have used rope to cross over mighty waves of Ganga. Though exact location is not known but many temples claim and give us a feeling of his presence a long time back. Both brothers spend a long time here as per epic and now reflections of their natures are seen in environment in and around both jhulas i.e. ram jhula a recently built suspension bridge on entrance of Hrishikesh and Laxman jhula.
Around Ram jhula are hordes of ashram where you will find most of the time Darby and Joan like characters seeking spiritual path and lessons at prime of their age. Euphony of bells in the temples accompanied with Aartis and bhajan chants generates a sense of surrender towards Supreme power. Ashrams have strict rules and regulations when it comes to daily routine and meals. Meals often called as 'Prasad' are served free of cost in some ashram or at very nominal price of Rs.10 and take word it is an experience to have a food with beggar might be sitting next to you and eating tastiest of meal ever served prepared with shuddh ghee most of the time. If you manage to take a stroll on the roads just keep walking and at last corner of muni ki reti you will see a damp isolated building that once upon a time was ashram of Maharishi Mahesh yogi where Beatles spend time as spiritual seekers for six months.
It is situated on foot of Muni koot parvat starting point of Himalayan ranges. As per anecdote on this mountain, when requested by Gods, Lord Shiva came here to drink venom that saved earth. His throat as a cumulative effect turned blue so he was given name Neelkanth (one who has blue throat). It's best to visit temple taking trek route which begins from temple of ghosts. During 11 kms of journey you will come across variety of snakes, leeches, lizards, crabs and other poisonous creatures that it is said they are soldiers of Lord Shiva still on work to mitigate effect of venom spread out thousands years back.
Yogi of fame Baba Gorakhnath worshipped Lord Shiva in Jhilmil Gufa situated above main temple. As name suggest it is filled with natural light all the time, a cave without a roof top.
As stated nature around Laxman Jhula have impressions of very nature of epic hero. Frivolous Ganga is one of white water source here available in world for river rafting along with other water sports.
With food of all varieties and International flavors available on throw away prices, housing too is not a problem. You can take rooms with all amenities on daily to yearly basis even. All westerners prefer to stay here and learn yoga and other spiritual techniques of holistic healing, from local to International yoga classes available.
Ananda Spa situated above in mountains offers relaxation and rejuvenation of soul at luxurious prices. Life is celebrated here and instead of ghats you will find Ganga beaches full of foreigners basking in the sunlight. As evening grows life blooms in full swing and you can hear tunes of drums and guitars and people celebrating life on roof tops of restaurants. All restaurants are here with a view. It's an experience when you sip a ginger tea and keep staring flowing Ganga and after sometime it becomes like meditation where you become witness to situation and mirror your thoughts in waves of river. You are still but life is flowing in front of you. Hrishikesh has started captivating your senses. Its Hrishikesh meaning lord of senses or Hrish ka ish. Water, trees and mountains are part of nature and proximity to it means natural happiness number of time you see it in front of your eyes and that's for the reason it is a perfect destination for attainment of spiritual path. It's a pilgrimage and spiritual place where spiritual seeker seeks highest good and absolute freedom staying for long time over pilgrimage that is of short duration.