Vindhyachal-Dwelling place of Maa Durga (MaaVindhyavasini)

On the first day of this auspicious festival of Maa Durga-NAVRATRI, I am reposting my experience visiting Maa’s Siddh Shaktipeeth- Vindhyachal. Read and enjoy.


The sun was glinting gold in the afternoon when I landed a narrow alley where one of the most revered temples of the world dedicated to Maa Durga-temple of Maa Vindhyavasini-is located.Numerous small shops with coconuts, vermillion,chunari, and other sacraments which are offered in the temple traditionally caught my attention as soon as I set foot in the main alley leading to the temple. It was an experience different altogether.


The moment I entered the vicinity of the main temple, I saw a long queue waiting to get inside thegarbhagriha-sanctum sanctorum of the temple. After few minutes, crossing the threshold of the first chamber- on the left side was a wall black in color where I could see buzzing flies and realized that that was a chamber made for animal sacrifice. Crossing the second chamber, which was the sanctum sanctorum, I saw or I should better say, was bestowed with fortunate and blessed opportunity to behold the beautiful deity of Maa Vindhyavasini full of maternal affection and love.


Idol of maa Vindhyavasini is of black stone and can be seen highly adorned with gold and silver jewellery as well as embellished garments. Though pilgrims are allowed to worship the deity for just few seconds, it seemed to me an experience of lifetime and after only few seconds I was out of thegarbhagriha and was in the temple complex where many chambers with many deities can be seen.

After experiencing this blessed occurrence, I embarked on my way to visit other two temples located on the nearby hillocks to complete theTrikona Parikrama.

Temple of Maa Vindhyavasini is one of the Shakteepeeths dedicated to Maa Adishakti. Located in the Vindhyachal mountain range, it is one of the most revered as well as one of the most visited Shakteepeeths of Maa Durga. But there is not only one temple in this range and there are two other venerated temples on nearby hillocks in the vicinity-temples of Maa Ashtabhuja and Maa Kaaliin Kaalikhoh (cave of Maa Kaali). Circumambulation of these three deferential temples is called Trikona Parikrama– worshipping of three sacred points situated in a triangular angle. It is also said that these three temples are in an angle similar to that of Shreeyantra. Also, it is the only Shakteepeeth on the banks of the Ganges.

So my next point was the hillock on which Kaalikhoh temple is situated. Few kilometers away from the temple of maa Vindhyavasini was a hillock on which I was told the Kaalikhoh temple was located. It was quite dreary place unlike the one had just visited. Ascending many steps, I entered a cave inside which an idol of Maa Kaaliwas installed and only one priest was there for the worship at the moment. After few minutes I left the cave after worshipping the deity of maa Kaali in her fierce yet affectionate motherly form.



But then I saw some more steps leading to the extreme top of the hillock and I could not stop myself from exploring it and within a minute I was there. It gave me an extremely beautiful look of the Vindhya mountain range and the valleys from this point and also, a small Shivling with mysterious yet profound beauty and serenity.


I was in the domain of the temple of Maa Ashtabhuja after some time and was again experiencing the jostling yet composed pilgrims. The cave below the ground was the sanctum sanctorum here where I had to bend double to reach the deity and came out in the same way.


The deity here was also black in color and was beautiful to look at in an affectionate motherly form. There is another cave beneath the ground nearby the cave of Maa Ashtabhuja.


I again had to bent double and almost crawled to the innermost bent where idol of Paataalvasini Maa Kaali was installed. From the bent there I crawled my way back to the plain ground and I realized that my circumambulation aka Trikona Parikrama was complete.

This journey was complete but the experience I had here was lifetime and it had to be cherished forever.


From the great mountains and hills of Vindhyachal range to the milky water of the Ganges from the hilltop, from the appeasing sound of bells to the divine fragrance of flowers and incense, everything here was serene enough to mollify the tension and problems we come across in our day-to-day lives. I would ask anyone who has faith in god or love for nature to visit this place once in life as this one day jaunt is not only soothing and relaxing but it will also make all your sorrows wither away when you will visit this dwelling place of Maa Vindhyavasini.

Pictures courtesy- Except few pictures of deities(from Google), all pictures were clicked by me and some of them are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s

Taj Mahal…Love, Art and Culture personified…

It is an epitome of love, a sheer poetry of passion, an artistic brilliance representing the ardour of love and the agony of lovers departed by the death and then commingled by the same. It is THE TAJ MAHAL.


Died in the fort of Asirgarh, the beloved wife of the fifth Mughal emperor- Mumtaj mahal was buried here years later.

Being a very non-romantic person, Taj was not on my “to-be-visited” list but being a student of history and a lover of beautiful monuments specially those representing the extravagant lifestyle of the Mughals; I had to visit the Taj. The architecture of the Taj is not only beautiful but also very unique and advance as compared to other structures of its era. On the entry from huge gate just before the Taj mahal, Taj looks as if it is floating in the sky and I thought I was the only one to experience that but going through many books regarding history, I got to know that it was the style adopted by its makers to make it look like that- floating in the sky as if it is a building that belongs neither to the earth nor to the sky. Turning around to see the interior part of the gate, I was glad to behold the incised work on the inner side of the red gate of sand stone and realized that it is something which cannot be ignored while entering the complex.


The fountain with bubbles of water in a straight symmetry in the center with the pathways both the sides leading to the tomb is imperial in its own way. Beautiful flowers and lush resembling green velvet carpet with red and grey stones on the pathway makes the whole experience very rich.

But the magnificence of this most beautiful building of India is experienced when you reach the main complex outside the mausoleum of Mumtaj Mahal-people coming from the huge main gate known as darwaza-i-rauza of sandstone with white marble, dome of Taj touching the sky, minarets on four sides of the main building, mosque on one side of the tomb and the building made for the pilgrims to rest-who would come to visit the mausoleum-on the other side….everything looks stupendous and spectacular.







But this is not enough; every inch of this structure tells the story of eternal love and every corner shows the beauty which doesn’t only have the random doodling and designing but has a meaning. The Persian verses in calligraphy on the marble walls around the entry door with black marbles inlaid are taken from the holy book of Quran.


The design of marble jali lattice and reflective tiles in and around the sarcophagus is ethereal.


Plant motifs here caught my special attention. They are designed as if are unfurling or swinging with the blow of wind. Flowers carved in the marble makes it clear that Shah Jahan wanted to make Taj mahal a replica of paradise on earth.








The intricate work is praiseworthy. The details of pietra dura jali inlay and intricate pierce work is spellbinding.




Filial on the top of the main dome also believed to be the tamga(stamp or seal) of the Mughal Empire which looks majestically grand and imperial in look must have made Taj look like a paradise in the sixteenth century with Koh-I-Noor atop of it.


In short, from the filial at the top in the form oftamga to the stones on the floor, every nook and cranny of the Taj is remarkably beautiful. Taj is not just a paragon of love but it is the love personified itself in the form of this beautiful white tomb. It is an epitome of exceptionally astounding prowess of the architect and the workers involved in making it as well as of their aesthetic sense.


All that I can say after visiting the Taj Mahal is that the archetypal beauty of Taj does not only compel us to praise it because it has a tragic quintessential love saga being told to us since centuries but also the effort and efficiency of the workers who left no stone unturned to make this monument of love the way it is and did their utmost in all the ways possible to fulfill the megalomania of a Mughal emperor. It is not only a love story which has made Taj a monument of love but also the other way round; it is this structure which has made the love of an emperor eternal and immortal and THAT probably is the reason why Taj Mahal is and SHOULD be visited by one and all- to experience an ethereal love story, to feel that two lovers and not an emperor and an empress are resting in peace here, to know how vulnerable we all are in front of love and death, to see how love can probably look if manifested in a form, to see the grandeur of the Mughal architects and workers and of course… feel the love in the air here…so pack your bags and get ready…to live the experience yourself and to feel the love.

Pictures courtesy- All the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s

Mussoorie-Queen of hills…through my eyes

My latest craving for a jaunt landed me at a place known for its extraordinarily beautiful hills and sunset points-Mussoorie. Also known as the queen of hills, Mussoorie is extremely picturesque. It indeed is a queen of hills. 33 kilometers from Dehradun, and only few kilometers from the holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh, Mussoorie is one of the most popular hill stations especially for honeymoon couples and friends looking for a perfect destination for picnic and leisure.




To reach Mussoorie I first landed to Dehradun airport and taxis are easily available for several destinations near Dehradun. Road to Mussoorie from Dehradun is an experience different altogether in itself. Zigzag routes amid the sky touching hills on one side and deep steeps on another makes the whole experience rich. Not only this but one can also feel the fall in the temperature as one reaches near Mussoorie away from the hot or moderate temperature of Dehradun. After an hour and half long journey I was near picture palace road where I had my hotel booked away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s famous mall road which is a unique tourist attraction here but I wanted a place seclude to feel the serenity of the cold hills. An evening stroll, walk in leisurely manner at the mall road is one thing no one coming to Mussoorie wants to miss-neither did I. A cool temperature with chilling wind makes the whole place extremely fascinating and exciting. From books to bakery, apparels to antiques, jewelry, to roadside vendors, mall road never falls short in adding to the exotic experience of tourists the essence of Mussoorie.



Whole city of Dehradun looks amazing from mall road in the evening and makes one feel as if glittering stars have fallen in the valley.


Walk through the narrow lanes or sit on the benches or just enjoy the quaint beauty; shop, bargain cater your taste buds or just spend the quality time with you kith and kin, you can do all this and enjoy the mall road as it has something to offer to everyone coming to it; a solo traveler or a group people.

On day two of my jaunt I landed to Dhanaulti. Dhanaulti is 31 kilometers from Mussoorie and most famous attraction where almost everyone visiting Mussoorie loves to go mostly for its eco park. Dhanaulti is a place where temperature falls to some more degrees. One more place which completes the visit to Dhanaulti is the Surkanda Devi temple. Known as a Shakteepeeth Surkanda Devi temple is situated atop a hill and people walk all the way to the temple. Ascending to the top of the hill is very exhausting but once you are there inside the temple premises, all you feel is the bliss. But it’s not over since from the temple’s open area what you can see is completely enthralling. All the hills and moving clouds over them, fog mixed with mist, great hills extremely high to valleys extremely deep. Peaks of Himalayas are also visible from here as I was told but since it was evening and fog was in abundance, I couldn’t get fortunate enough to behold its view. As per the legends, it is the place where head of goddess Sati fell and a blog on this temple and its story is written by me and can be found in my blogs here (my exact previous blog post).









Eco park-though is a huge park with trees and forest like environment, but what I wanted to experience or what one must do here is to go to the top of the park and see the highest peaks and especially the Himalayan one. What I saw there can be seen here in the pictures.






I didn’t forget to buy the bottles of famous litchi and flowers’ juice just outside the eco-park which this place is famous for and after relishing a sip or two of it, I realized why.

In the evening while returning back to Mussoorie it was in my mind to visit Lal Tibba which is a famous point on Landour road, some 4 kilometers from Mussoorie and is famous for its sunset. But another thing which is worth mentioning is the icy cold wind which kept on making me tremble with cold till I was there taking some pictures of the sunset. It is the highest point which gives splendid view of surrounding landscapes. There was no place in my whole journey where weather was this cold and surrounding was impressively scenic. Sunset however looked something like never seen before by me. Pictures below can speak more on my behalf I guess.






After this, I left for Mussoorie again to continue the trip the next day.

On third day- my focus was mainly to visit a famous yet place less jostled by the tourists- Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Charleville. It is only 3 or so kilometers from mall road. Through roads sans many vehicles and cars unlike all the other roads of Mussoorie I had seen, I reached the temple through narrow road at the end of which is this monastery or temple is located. First thing that came to my mind when I saw it from outside was-beautiful…simply beautiful. The colorful building with cool colors is perfect to look at. Designed like any other Buddhist monastery, it has many small temples and chambers in the temple complex. Main building of temple as any other monastery had Buddha as a prime deity.








After spending some time in peaceful surroundings, I left for Santura Devi temple which was on my way back to mall road. It again is a temple on top of a hill which gives scenic view. It also had many deities inside the temple which again made my whole day very peaceful and blissful.


maa kaali.jpg






Kempty fall though is very famous or the most famous place in Mussoorie but as I like seclusion more than the throng of tourists, I spent not more than 10 minutes at Kempty lake and left.

After this I headed for my hotel at mall road as the day had already been exhausting for me.

Next day I had my flight booked and I left for Dehradun airport again.

And this was my trip to Mussoorie-queen of hills. It was great, it was beautiful, and it was a journey to get me rid of tensions that we all have in city’s diurnal activities. It is a beautiful place indeed to forget worries of life that we have and at least once in life one should visit it especially if one fancies hilly areas and on top of that if one likes to be away from other things to get some quality time for self to explore not just this beautiful place but also one’s own mind and soul.


Pictures courtesy- All the pictures were clicked by me and some are originally posted on my Facebook page Shekhar’s