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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

Koti Teertha, Gokarna

Koti Teertha - the name literally means - a thousand springs. 




And that is the legend of this lake, which is believed to be the origin of a thousand springs. Located in Gokarna, at walking distance from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, it is believed to be one of the most sacred water sources in the region. Pilgrims visiting the temple usually bathe here and some also perform the rituals for their ancestors before visiting the temple, believing it will wash away their sins and bring lasting peace to generations past and present. 



The importance of the lake probably stems from the fact that this a freshwater lake, fed by springs, though in such close proximity to the sea. The last time I visited Gokarna, the lake was clean, and there were lots of people bathing there. We didn't have a bath, but did step into the water for a while. This time, I was shocked by how dirty it was! More interestingly, I did not notice a single person bathing, which was a surprise. Looking up some information, however, I came across something interesting. 

Apparently, sometime in Feb 2012, a group of Russian tourists cleaned up the lake, according to this news report in The Hindu. What struck me about the article was, firstly, the lack of interest among the locals, or the scores of Hindu pilgrims who visit the temple. It is a common tradition for pilgrims to bathe at ponds or lakes attached to temples, and you might think they would be bothered by its condition, and participate in the cleaning process. As for the locals, the temple is the centre of their world too, as everything revolves around it, be it business, their daily life, or even their livelihood. The lake would, at some time, have been an important source of water for the area. However, we are content to let it be, least bothered about  the state it is in. Secondly, just over a year later, the condition of the lake seems to be so much worse, you begin to wonder what is it that has made its condition deteriorate so fast. 

A forgotten shrine overgrown with weeds at the centre of the lake

Sadly, this seems to be the state of affairs everywhere in India. Whether it is the state of our rivers, our mountains, or our lakes, our jungles, or even our heritage, I wonder what it is that makes us so indifferent, so uncaring? 

Comments

  1. I havent been to this place. Just visited the temple. Must visit the tempe and surroundings leisurely . it was just a hurried trip as we had to cover many places

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    1. We visited the lake during our first visit, Chitra, which was a solely temple visit. we did the whole temple tour then, visiting all the places related to the temple, and actually wanted to bathe here, this time, we just passed by.

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  2. Yes it is a nice place. One see this pond in hindi film "Singham"

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    Replies
    1. I have no idea about that. movies and me dont really go well together.

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  3. Very interesting place... Nice clicks..

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  4. I missed this pond when I had visited Gokarna a few years back. The main beach too was quite dirty at that time with scores of pilgrims and litter. Hope the authorities would look into the situation of the pond soon.

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    Replies
    1. A few years back, when i first visited, the beach was dirtier than the pond, but we went a little further and found a good place to bathe and generally enjoy, this time, there was no crowd, and the beach looked cleaner from a distance but the pond was a shock! i really wish we all took more interest in the cleanliness of the places we visit and revere

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  5. Thanks for sharing !!! Good Day

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  6. What a wonderful place- great pictures, and interesting and well told story. Really enjoyed it-)

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  7. wonderful place to visit ,thanks for sharing this.

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  8. Thanks for writing about your Gokarna tourism experience. Have been planning to visit this city and was searching for Gokarna hotels and found your blog. Now it's easy for me to explore this city :)

    ReplyDelete

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