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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.

Ganesha with a Message

While I enjoy going to see all the Ganpatis in their various avatars around Mumbai during the ten days of Ganeshotsav, it is those with a message which really touch my heart. Among my favourite ones - one I have been seeing for almost 20 years now, and which is located right outside my college - is the Ruia Naka Ganpati. 

This year the theme is 'Save the Girl Child'.... And they have chosen to depict it through the medium of the Goddess as well as women achievers.

Maharashtra is home to 3 1/2 Shaktipeethas - 52 temples of the Devi located in the Indian Subcontinent - From left to right in the pic - Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, Tulja Bhavani at Tuljapur, Renuka Devi at Mahur and Saptashrungi Devi at Vani.

And behind these deities are women achievers from every possible field.. There is a board in front of the deity -

The issue taken up here is the spate of female foeticides, and in Marathi is a poem asking the Lord to bless us with a vision that makes us see, not just a girl child in the ultrasound, but an achiever. 

What I really liked about this one is how it focuses on changing our vision - after all, it is how we see things that decides how we react to issues. So it is that vision we need to change!

Usha, I really missed you this year! Esp when we visited this Ganpati.. which, I remember, is the only one you really liked when we visited Ganpatis together!


  1. It is that time for you again when festival after festival will arrive! Enjoy Anu and I will enjoy through you.

    1. oh yes, Mridula, the festive season has indeed arrived...and with all your travels, it looks like its the travel festive season for you :D

  2. I agree with Mridula! I wanted to come read this one for what is your little "ganpati' saying to all this? He probably is enjoying the modak more LOL

    1. Thanks Julia! the little ganpati is so busy with stuff at school, there is no time to do anything :( as to modaks, unfortunately, we cant make them this year for some reasons, so he is missing out on them.. have promised to make them for him once the festival is over, though :D

  3. I wanted to read your post long ago. So what is your little Ganpati saying to all this? He is probably enjoying the modhak more LOL

  4. I love to read your posts during festival times.They are colurful,full of life and you bring the essence of each through your posts.

    1. Thanks so much, Chitra.. its nice to see u here again!

  5. I wish you a happy festival time. I have enjoyed visiting your blog. Thank you very much for sending me the link.

  6. That is very thoughtful!
    Happy festival greetings!

  7. Wow Anu, that is a wonderful theme and very creatively done! Loved it, thanks for taking us there! :)


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