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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.

Navaratri Begins....

Waking up this morning, the first sound that came to my ears was the chanting of the Lalita Sahasranama from the nearby temple. "And so Navaratri begins" was my first thought... an auspicious beginning to an auspicious day! 

Not that we need a reminder. This happens to be our favourite festival, the one we plan for months in advance, the one for which we happily store loads of stuff, forgetting for once that we hardly have space enough for it all. Which is why, at times when we can not celebrate the festival, like it has happened since the last two years, it feels so much worse. The last few days have been the worst, seeing loads of clay and papier mache dolls at every shop, decorations and flowers at every corner, and family and friends eagerly taking out their dolls from storage. We stayed away from the shops selling beautiful new dolls, hoping it would help, but it didnt. Eventually, we gave in yesterday, and tortured ourselves by visiting one of our local shops selling clay dolls, feasting our eyes on the new ones, and wishing desperately we could buy some and keep a golu too.  Sigh! We know that's not possible. But that doesn't stop us ogling at the wonderful dolls representing so many interesting stories. Here are some....

Gajendra Moksham

A Water Pump Scene.. We loved the water pump, though, as Samhith pointed out, we have a miniature water pump that actually works! 

Radha And Krishna

We wondered if this is the wedding feast scene from Abhimanyu and Vatsala's marriage... ... 

And this appears to be Ghatotkatcha, eating everything prepared for the feast

The story of the hare and the tortoise... sorry the pic isnt good, but I loved the milestones...
and had to show them to you!

Lakshmi - Hayagriva and Shiva- Parvati


A Playground...we loved the slide!

Our favourite.... the kili josiyam... or fortune teller with a parrot in a cage.
Kiddo loved the way the cage had been made! 

And so Navaratri begins, with mixed feelings for us.... sadness because we still can't keep a golu; relief because kiddo has exams anyways; and excitement, because, since we have no puja, we can (try) to go out and see some other golus! Of course, the exams do come in the way, but when have we allowed it to interfere with our interests? 

Of course, wherever we go, you can be sure you will read about it here!


  1. Wow, Anu. Creativity at full display and how! Thoroughly enjoyed the shop tour along with you. In our tradition - we don't celebrate it with golus - we only have fasting, feasting and prayers majorly. Hence, this posting of yours is a special treat for me, so much new to learn and see. I love it. Many thanks for sharing, I will be here - in your journey. :)

    1. Thank you, Arti. If you are coming this side, let me know. will show you more of this angle to the celebration! !

  2. Its been years since I celebrate d it and can identify the feeling. Thanks for the imaged. I loved the birds

    1. you are welcome, Sri!!! plan a navaratri holiday soon!!!

    2. haha i would :) to probably ur home :)

    3. anytime, Sri! you know you have a standing invitation!

  3. Year after year, I just wait for your posts on Golu. I visited Giri too this time and brought a festival set. And the hare and tortoise story, me and my little one made it ourselves with her toys..

    1. Thats good to hear, Meghana!!! saw your golu pics. The hare and tortoise story is beautifully depicted!

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