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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

A Boat Ride down the Ganges

Row, row, row the boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,
Life is but a dream……….




This is one of my son’s favourite rhymes, and it describes exactly our experience during a boat ride on the Ganges.


Samhith with our boatman Raju

We spent 10 days in Varanasi, and not a day passed without us taking a boat ride. My husband Shankar made friends with a young boatman named Raju, not yet out of his teens, and we found him waiting for us, ready to take us to the other bank for a bath, or a long, leisurely boat ride down the river. It was he who took us for a tour along all the Ghats, a trip to the Ramnagar Palace, and also to the temples via the Ghats. It was a wonderful experience, one I shall never forget. Read the full post...

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To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.