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India

Kashmir Where Jesus came to die

Kashmir

Kashmir - Where Jesus Came To Die

It’s called the crown of India . A valley so beautiful and so abundant with the gifts of nature that it is compared to heaven’s . Mughals made it their summer capital and so did the British who followed . From the gardens of Chashme Shahi to the shikara’s of the Dull Lake . They city grow’s on you . The tradition of the hot tea which is called the Kehwa and the mughal cuisine , the city is laid back and a friendly one . It has been a bone of contention between Pakistan and India for decades and one can see why . The markets are full go kashmiri Shawl’s and rug’s as one drifts through Lal Chowk the main bazaar of Srinagar the capital of the city . I enjoyed the dinners at Adoo’s , my favourite food joint for authentic Kashmiri Cusine . I tasted the Rista , Gushtaba and Tabbak Mans here and smoked perfumed hokka at the house boat where we stayed on the dull lake .

The whiff of Kashmiri charas filled the evening with it’s misty odour. I sat on a shikara the whole day once contemplating and soaking in the beauty of the valley , it’s colour ful people and hills. On the lake i floated into markets selling perfume , tea , herbs , cloak’s and shawls . I choose to buy some shill jeet , it is black paste and is a great aphrodisiac. They sia that Jeus came to the valley during his last days and died here . He was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the valley that he just stayed back . Srinagar is full of water fountain’s that keep the city cool in summers , the temple of Shankracharya and the Shrine of Hazrat Bal are the main religious attraction . One has to climb up a steep flight of stairs to reach the shankracharya temple . Once their we pray to the linga of shiva . A panoramic view of the city can be seen from the temple top , which is made of grey stones and rocks,

On the other side is the Hazrat Bal a shrine which carries the hair of the prophet’s hair. It is typical of all islamic religious sites huge domes and minar’s .One can go into the prayer area wearing a green cap . On the glass and window’s are inscribed words in pharsi that praise the koran. Their is huge silver pot which is used to drink water . Their is a library and places to rest also in the shrine. Kheer Bhawani is another mystic spot , it is a temple where Viveka Nanda meditated once . The pond in the temple is said to turn red in colour to symbolise that a clarity might strike the valley. The pipal tree which has a great hole in ti still stand’s tall and was the place vivekananda would go into his samadhi.Milk and Kheer is poured as offering to the mother godess of the temple as pujari’s do an evening prayer with bells and chanting.

The snow peaked Gulmarg and Sonmarg are also a great attraction .One can take sky trollies to explore their natural beauty or just wander around on the horse. It’s magical presence and fresh air nourishes the mind . Indeed Kashmir Valley is exactly the kind of place Jesus would have chosen to die.

Posted by Anuj Tikku 14:15 Archived in India Tagged snow mountain valley hill beauty kashmir Comments (0)

The Saint's Of The East

Badrinath , Kedarnath ,Hrishikesh

The Holy Men of Asia

India being such an ancient and wondurus civilisation is the land of holy men , aesthetic , Sadu’s and Saints. My travels took me to far away places which are the gem’s of indian spirituality , smouldering with the flavour of Hinduism these pilgrimages where the most enriching experiences of my travelthon. From the banks of ganaga in Hrishekesh and Haridwar . The sadhu’s were everywhere .Smoking chillums , meditating , chatting and drinking sugar cane juice . Some throwing food to the monkey’s that crowd the many temples of the holy cities. In the morning the sadhu’s come for the holy dip into the river . Many come to them to perform puja for their ancestor’s and haw an . In Haridwar their is a famous eatery called Chotiwala which has it’s symbol as a pot bellied sadhu with a huge pony tail. I meet Haridas a sadhu in Hrishikesh “ I pray only at 3 ‘o’ clock in the morning , it’s the best time of the night all energies are aligned and one can get into trance dental states with ease , if one focusses and meditates on the lord Shiva.” Haridas had lived in Kenya for years and was in the Human Resource business until he lost his fortune and thus lost fiends and his only wife . Most of his family are a bunch of greedy liar’s according too him and that is why he became a Sadhu . “ I have been wandering these holy places , also Kedarnath , Chaar Dhaam and the Himalaya’s for two decades now , look at my skin it is all dark and black . I sleep under trees and bate in the river small price to pay for the freedom one enjoy’s “. He was a enthusiastic admirer of OSHO and despised most holy men to be fakes and quacks. “ It’s just a money making exercise , i go to these sabha’s which are telecasted on spiritual channels on T.V , most of the crowd is paid there . When i am short of money i go to these places one can earn a fe thousand bucks just by being there.

In Kedarnath i meet Badri , a young Naga who was covered in ash , with huge dread locks and a trident in his hand , he looked like the fearsome Shiva. I told him about the tragic death of my father and he said don’t worry just remember at any given point of time the universe is giving you the best result . Life moves from perfection to perfection . With these words he blessed me and gave me a silver leaf , which i still carry in my wallet .

In Badrinath i meet Veer a sadhu who begged outside the Badrinath Temple . He was old and dark and smoked bhang . He invited me to his den i sat amongst his merry group to smoke the prasad of Shambhu every day before i went a for a swim into the Garam Kundh . It is a place were pilgrims bathe and purify themselves . Just under the temple run’s the ganga in all it’s rage and icy cold. Badri worshiped kali and sang old bhajan which were a treat to listen . I treated him to a dosa and lassi for lunch and thanked him for his smoke.

Posted by Anuj Tikku 11:08 Archived in India Tagged temple religion holy saint sages pious Comments (0)

Ashrams of India

Ashram

The Ashram’s Of The East

India is the land of sages , philosophers , saints and spiritual healers . It is thus but natural that it is a land over flowing with Ashrams . These are centres of religious ,theological and spiritual growth . Here men come leaving all the heavy chores and responsibilities of the material life to savour the flavours of being sadhu’s or renouncers of the world . These ashrams are all over Haridwar and Hrishikesh , where i started my travelthon . I spent two days in the ashram od Baba Ram Dev in Haridwar . The compound is huge covered with a lush green garden and a huge patangili yog hospital . In the middle of the compound is a huge Statue of sage Patanjali meditating . The is rishi bhoomi indeed , all Baba Ramdev Style. The Ashram has rooms for visitors to stay in and a dining hall , which serves vegetarian food . The near by shops sell products that Ramdev and the patanjali yog centre manufactures through local farmers . These include Ghee , Honey , Toothpaste , Oil’s , juices , sherbets and many other such day to day products . It’s a flourishing enterprise of baba’s .Instructors teach yoga and why it is so important in fighting day to day ailments . Ram Dev once claimed he could eradicate homosexuality through Patanjali Yoga. Indeed abrade attempt to make the uttrakhand area of India into a Rishi Bhoomi.

The other ashram of course is the OSHO Ashram in pune it is the centre .Hailed as a ashram for free sex , it was known for it’s love , music ,dance and laugh philosophy .Mostly run by europeans and American’s who are followers of OSHO , the ashram works like clock work . It is the cleanest and most hygienic ashram i have ever seen . Sanyasis wear white and maron robes . The ashram is a centre for meditation and the teachings of OSHO .Before one enters a AID’S test is carried out . The security had been beefed up lately because a bomb had gone off at the near by German Bakery . This was of course later found to be the work of Hadley who was a friend of Mahesh Bhat’s Son Rahul. Mahesh Bhat himself had been a sanyasi at the ashram for a few years , along with the actor Vinod Khanna of course. OSHO’s provocative lectures , meditation which includes kundalini awakening , laughing and dynamic meditation. Swan’s flot around in the pond wich is full of gold fish , it’s a heavenly sight.

Right at the bottom tip of India is the Viveka Nanda Asram situated in Kanyakumari and the huge vivekananda rock some way into the sea. One has to take a ferry to the rock on which is situated the temple . Here also meditation is the key , pilgrims meditate focusing their energy on the OM symbol carved on the wall , which constantly keeps glowing .Food is vegetarian and the accommodation is simple and sparse . In the morning yaga and puja’s are performed by the priests .Their is the library nnd a grils school in the ashram also . Grand quotes from the great man adorn the walls of the ashram , with huge cutouts of the saint himself. A monk who truly put indian philosophy and religion on the world map.

Posted by Anuj Tikku 18:55 Archived in India Tagged ashram Comments (0)

In Search Of With In

OSHO ASHRAM PUNE

30 °C

The Search of With In

My meandering ways and my travels through india took me to a most fascinating place . Situated in the bustling town of Pune to a mystical ashram called the OSHO international Centre . The Ashram was created by Bhagwaan Rajneesh and his disciples in the early 1970’s .It was re christened as the osho ashram in the late 1980’s when the spiritual guru Rajneesh took up the name of OSHO which means the one on whom the heavens shower their blessings . The resort is now extensively used for meditation and many other therapies . In the middle of the resort stands a towering pyramid like auditorium which is used for Dynamic meditation in the morning and meditations like Kundalini Jagran and Nathbraham . Each of these uses sound and breathing techniques to put the subject slowly into a trance . As one goes deeper into oneself the mind begins to go quite all the cutter stops and slowly one drops the mind completely . This is called the state of the samadhi or what we call no mind . All that is left is the the breath and all that will remain is no mind . As one goes inwards into oneself a realisation dawns that you are not the mind nor the body all you are is the self or what the mystics called Sath Chit Anand . This way total bliss is attained .

The Nathbraham is another fascinating meditation you have to listen to the music and humm in a low breath once you drop the mind and reach the inner most core of your being a realisation of the ‘I’ is achieved . As one comes back from the meditation one begins to laugh very loudly . I came out of the meditation hall and stated laughing aloud . When i asked the instructor why was a laughing he told me “ You see through this meditation your inner being has been classed all sadness , hate , sorrow , defeat all negativity has been removed . So the only thing that is left is a hollow space which is taken over by laughter that is why you were laughing” .

But my most fascinating experience was when i was doing the dynamic meditation in the morning . We were asked to jump and dance with the music . I had my keys in my pocket which began to jingle and make noise .The instructor got annoyed and asked me to leave the meditation hall , she came out and ranted “ you are disturbing everyones meditation get out and go back to your hotel room .Look at you you even look like a monkey .” I was startled to get such a harsh treatment in such a loving place . I went out and started weeping then i fought dawned to me that i am in the house of a man who was thrown out of everywhere in the world where does a man go who gets thrown out of his house . Indeed OSHO had been thorn out of his commune in the US and subsequently 25 countries did not allow him to form an ashram . I took my question to the breakfast table where other osho followers had gathered . I narrated the incident to them in the morning and asked them the same question . Suddenly a old lady from Finland heard my question which was “ I am in the house of a man who got thrown out of everywhere in the world where does a man go who gets thrown out of his house ?” The lady smiled and said “ son their is still one place you can go and that place is with in.”

I got my answer that no matter how bad things are their is always one door that is open and that door is the door with in . One can always go their and one does not need the approval of society or of any one to got into that door .

Posted by Anuj Tikku 12:09 Archived in India Tagged religion god Comments (0)

Sin Free Haridwar

Haridwar where Tikku's Travelthon Started

sunny 31 °C
View Nepal & India on Anuj Tikku's travel map.

Religious hubs such as Hardwar should be on the must-see list of foreign tourists who want to experience the “real” India. Crowds of devotees streaming to the ghats are hypnotic. The single-minded quest to wash away one’s sins by taking a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga and the worship of the pantheon of gods and goddesses brings a semblance of peace.
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I wanted to try and wash away the guilt hanging heavy on my soul and self, participate in this spiritual activity, lose myself in the madness of meaningfulness, and depersonalize my body by merging with the crowds of devotees. I headed for the nearest destination which could provide me with solace and succour. Hardwar was in my sights.
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A taxi ride from New Delhi to Hardwar involved covering over 200 km in close to six hours. The highway seemed to have been paved in a hurry but the sight of green fields on either side made up for the potholes. The colorful hoardings along the way made interested reading. Finally I reached my destination.
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It is not easy to describe Hardwar. What does one start with? The colorful temples, the purificatory Ganga, the salvation-seeking devotees, the commercial-minded pundits or priests, the black-faced grey langurs, the ochre-clad sadhus? So many factors omnipresent make a choice difficult. So I will start with the one and only Mother Ganges or “Ganga Maiyya.”
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The waters at the ghat, popularly known as Har-ki-Pauri, are welcoming, look refreshing and promise a better world beyond the one I inhabit at present. Originating from the icy slopes of the Himalayas, the fast-flowing waters are bone-chilling. I submerge myself in the icy flow thrice. My skin tingles, my senses freeze, my thoughts are focused on “Oh God.”

Hardwar is a different side of India. I was thrilled to be in this city. The panditji seated on the steps of the ghat anointed my forehead with a red tilak and chanted some shlokas in exchange for some money. My spiritual upliftment, the atonement of my sins, the blessings of my ancestors were showered on me. It was now time to fill my growling stomach.

The bazaar was within walking distance of Har-ki-Pauri. My countrymen were dominant, fumbling through the knick-knacks on sale. Bottles containIng Ganga water were a popular item on offer. There was a scattering of foreigners in the crowded market and they were invariably being trailed by sadhus, their hair matted, foreheads covered with grey ash, clutching a bowl in one hand and a trishul in the other.

I located a halwai shop where pooris were being served with steaming hot aloo ki subzi. The shop was packed with families, all talking, laughing and devouring the contents of their plates with a passion. I managed to find a corner of a bench empty and slid into it. I started guessing the regions from where the different families had come from. Dress and language were my two major clues. All the North Indian states and a few from other regions were represented and I was the solitary Kashmiri delegate, or so I presumed.

Millions of pilgrims and tourists visit the Har-ki-Pauri to seek the gift of salvation from “Ganga Maiyya.” From dawn to dusk men, women and children take the holy dip religiously. In the evening as darkness covers the sky, the ghats resound to the echoing sounds of the “aarti” and the waters are lit up by the twinkling of lighted “diyas” flowing along with the current of the Ganga. While Hardwar sleeps peacefully at night, the Ganga continues to flow, not tiring of washing away the sins of its over 1 billion children.

Posted by Anuj Tikku 11:46 Archived in India Tagged river ganges Comments (0)

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