The biggest happiness that one can derive is when an often failed plan materialises and becomes a reality, Some thing similar happened with me when most often my plan to Bhramgiri trek used to get cancelled. Four years I waited and finally it happened for me. Thanks to my friend Sanjay Khadeji who informed me that they are going for this trek and I readily jumped upon this opportunity.
|Me and Sanjayji|
We left at 11.pm from Kalyan and it was 3.30 am when we reached the base of Bhramgiri trek. We felt it would be too dark so thought it wiser to catch a small cat nap and start around 6.00 am.
What I like about treks and especially the one like Bhramgiri is the stories attached to them.Now whether the stories are true or not is not my concern, it excites me and in a way help me to feel more about the place that I am visiting.
Time For Some Story Time:
Bhramgiri as the name sounds means the hill of Brahma, According to the mythology Saint Gautam and his wife Ahalaya resided on this hill.It so happened that saint Gautam unintentionally killed a cow ( Hai ! Gau Hatya) so to wash away his sins he worshipped Lord Shiva to bring Ganga on earth from the heaven. Lord Shiva was impressed by the devotion of Gautam and hence requested Mata Ganga to to flow down to earth in form of Godavari to wash away the sins and purify him. Perhaps due to this reason the river is also called Gautami river.
Then there is another story which considers Brahmagiri Hill as a huge form of lord Shiva and hence climbing this mountain was considered to be a sin.(Hai! Paap).
In the year 1908 seth Lalchand of Karachi (dont forget pakistan was once part of India) and sheth Ganeshdas built 500 stone steps at the cost of Rs 40000.
Now our Story:
We started our trek from these Rs 40000 worth stone stairs which are thankfully reconstructed. It was still dark so we had our head lamps on, As the initial route was from the stairs so there was no worries of falling from the cliff.This been a holy pilgrim place so its not uncommon to find devotees climbing like us in wee hours of the day.
|Trek starts from the stone stair case (with Niraj and Sanjog)|
Early morning climb accompanied by cool breeze was the perfect recipe for us, laughing cracking jokes and some of us trying to take pictures in low light was the order of the day till now.As we were climbing through proper stairs, so hike was not at all a tough preposition.
|Narrow passage before the first Darwaza|
After climbing for an hour or so these stone stairs bring you to spot where there is a narrow passage and the first Darwaza. Enclosed passage with high stone walls can give eerie feelings.
|Mountain and a lake…a perfect union|
However just before entering this narrow passage the scene looks absolutely amazing, red skyline atop the mountain range and a lake below was a perfect setting, the time stood still.
|Time stood still|
As I stood admiring the beauty around me I was jolted to reality when something happened which I was wishing away, Someone shouted “Arre dekho Bandar aage” Yes it was the attack of monkeys. Actually I don’t know who was more afraid they or us. There were monkeys all over the rocks ready to pull ambush on us. Thankfully Nikam sir had borrowed stout stick from the tea seller at the base and like a trained warrior I must say he started hitting the stick on the rock and ensuring that we all keep moving safely. It was not a long battle but when it lasted it did lasted and before we could realise we were at the first Gate.
Photography was done under the most stressful conditions and once we entered the gate we could breathe easy.These rock stairs keep going even after the Darwaza.
|Ancient Stone Entrance|
Little climb and we could see a plateau. Just out of the stress everyone took out their Cameras and we had our photo session Koi pattar per chad kar toh koi fence par. Sanjayji had to push everyone to move from there and finally we moved our bums and started further walk towards the right side after coming out from these stone stairs and one can see the hanuman idol.
Walking through this part was really a joyful experience especially when you see yellow, white, purple flowers smiling and waving at you in sheer happiness ( Ab yeh mat bolna ki fake mar raha hai….arre kabhi william wordsworth ki Daffodil padhi hai kya, bas woh wala ahsaas tha…Kya samjhe !!)
|phoolo ke dere hain, saaye ghanere hain ,
jhoom rahi hain havaayen,aise nazaaro mein,
khilti bahaaro mein pyaar mile to ruk jaayen
|Nazare ka luft lejiye hazoor…
Oye Niraj mudkar kya dekh raha hai
I must have hardly moved out walking from this blissful experience of flowers and country side view and taking this stone laden path,that another mesmerising moment was waiting to happen.
|Stone laden path going towards the Temple|
Yes!! The moment that I always look forward to with a baited breath, the moment when the sun rise, cutting across the maze of clouds and spilling the golden gleam over the humanity…. ( kuch jyada toh nahi ho gaya na… arre bhawnao me bah gaya yaaro.)But just have a look at pictures and tell me …Kon nahi hoga yamlaa pagala deewana.😄
|Thank God for such amazing morning|
|Sunrise at mountain top|
After enjoying the Mountain top sunrise we reached the plateau which spreads like a big playground sloping downwards and standing atop from here on our left side is the Bhramagiri Temple and on the right side is Jatayu temple.
|Amazing view from the Plateau|
|Bhramagiri Temple on the left from where we stood|
|Jata Mandir on the right side|
There are actually stairs leading towards the Bhramgiri Temple. one has to descend little and you reach Bhramgiri Temple.
|View of Bhramgiri Temple|
The temple is almost perched on the edge and standing along the railing one can see the Harihar, Basgad Forts.
I was told that in Shravan season one can see hordes of pilgrims coming to this place, luckily for us it was deserted today. Once you enter the temple you see a small kund and on the right side of the gate the sacred Shivling is there and as usual the nandi outside it.
|Shivling of Bhramagiri Temple|
And just opposite this Shivling is the idol of Devi Godamai and just below that there is Goumuk from which the river originates and pours into the Kund.
|Devi Godamai with water flowing from Goumukh|
We paid our respect and moved on to another temple little ahead of this.Few steps forward and on our left we see another kund , though neglected in today’s time, I couldn’t find any historical reference to it. Probably it may be a storage tank in the olden days.
|Old neglected Pond|
After checking out this enclosed water pond and taking the picture I moved out from here and I come across the Mulganga temple, purported to be the source of sacred River Godavari.Source situated at an altitude of 1298 mts.
|Mulganga..Source of Godavari River|
If you ask me I was very excited to come and watch the source of Godavari River but Yeh kya such ill kept place , Arre I really felt bad for Mother Godavari. With so much Pilgrims coming and visiting I dont understand why can’t they maintain it in a much better manner.Such holy place aur yeh haal…Uff
|Oh! Is this the source of Godavari River|
One look around this temple we see different idols all around. Most prominently perched on a slab is the idols of Rishi Gautam and his wife Ahalya.
|Rishi Gautam and Wife Ahalya|
So Stay tuned and wait for the folklore of Rishi gautam , Shiv Jata Mandir and finally the Thrilling DurgBandar in my next blog.