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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with


A week has gone by and I have not been able to write anything. A weekend looms ahead, and at the moment, I have nothing interesting to look forward to. Going over my photographs, wondering what to post, these were the photos that leaped out..... making me wish I was back there, right now! 

The mountains....

the lush greenery.....

snow clad mountains peeking through......

Nature at its best...

Flowers galore...

Shrines all along the way reminding me that I was not on a nature trek, but a pilgrimage...

These were clicked at Vaishnodevi, while I was labouring my way to the shrine......

Our Pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi was the result of months of planning - booking tickets, trying to make arrangements for staying there as well as going there by helicopter, etc. etc. etc.

As it turned out, I had to cancel all my tickets at the last minute and book new ones! While the goddess decided to call us to Jammu in all comfort, by flight instead of train, she refused to oblige us with Helicopter tickets (of course, it might also be thanks to the fact that we refused to pay a huge amount to buy the tickets from the agents ). We ended up walking the 14 Kms up the mountains, which is why I have been able to take all those beautiful photographs!!! It was worth every ounce of the effort we had to put in, though!! Thanks to an uncle with influential contacts, we did manage to get rooms at Bhavan, near the temple, which turned out to be the highlight of our trip!!! We shivered through the night in spite of the clutch of blankets and sweaters we had! And this was in the month of May!! 

Darshan was a cake walk compared to the walk uphill... the arrangements were excellent and we waltzed through the queue without a hint of trouble, pushing, or elbowing!! And this was in spite of a sizable crowd!

For more information about the Vaishnodevi Shrine, and bookings for rooms / darshan / helicopters, visit the Mata Vaishodevi Shrine Board Website

Wish I was there now! *Sigh*

For more beautiful skies from around the world, visit Skywatch Friday


  1. Great post. So good for Sky!
    Have a nice weekend!

  2. Wow, I can't imagine such a trek but I'm glad you made it and were able to share these lovely photos with us. I love snow covered mountains and the terraced hillsides are so lush looking.

    1. Thanks so much, Joyful!! It wasnt so hard a trek actually... there is a road and we can walk along it.. just thats its up and down mountains, so there is quite a bit of slope... i love snow covered mountains too..

  3. Thanks for sharing such beautiful images....

  4. It is said that only the fortunate souls get invited. Photographs are wonderful The first few remind me of places en route.

    1. Thanks so much, PNS!! we had been planning this trip for years, but it worked just this year!! and we had planned a completely different trip... all tickets had to be cancelled and re booked! !thats how she probably wanted us to come!

  5. Magnificent captures. Nature at its best.

  6. Beautiful series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  7. This is so clear and descriptive!How magnificent the peaks look and how welcome the flowers are. The goddess is in Paradise.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  8. Absolutely stunning. Makes me want to go there now.

  9. Wow.... Simly wow.

    The snaps are great.

  10. Jai Mata Di,

    Travel with me with complete detailed information on Vaishno Devi in two heavy duty posts on my blog

  11. it is like sona pa sona , first of all kashmir is like heaven and vaishno devi trip that give it more spritual bliss

  12. Amazing or I can say this is a remarkable article


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