By Vasumathi Sridharan
Also by Ramanuja DasargaL at the end of this posting..
As promised, here is my account of my Visit to Saligramam.
16th Apr - My mother and me left Bangalore to Delhi by the first flight.We were joined by our family friends
at the Delhi airport.Left to Kathmandu and reached by 4 in the evening.Rested and awoke to a bright
and sunny day on the 17th morning.
17th Apr - Visited the Iskon temple, a lovely temple, very small compared to the bangalore Iskon,
but very calm and peaceful.Then visited Sleeping Vishnu, also called Budhanilkanth.(Picture of this temple is
posted on the internet).Then visited Swayambhu , basically a buddhist site , situated at a little hill,
the view of kathmandu from there is quite astounding.Ended the day after visiting the Pashupatinath temple.
18th Apr - Left to Pokhrah.A lovely place which was very fresh and green after a shower of rains.
We stayed at the Central Inn that faces the snow-clad mountains of the Annapurna Range.Also
visited the Fewa Lake in Pokhrah.
19th Apr - Awoke at 4.30 to witness the lovliest sunrise of my life (Posted pictures). Left to
muktinath at 11.30 by helicopter.Fortunately, there was no place or me in the copter.
I guess i just got lucky that I got to stand behind the pilot and observed every second from take-off
till landing and back the same way.The best moment was when the helicopter went in between
the snow-clad mountains , oh my..was quite breath-taking.The moment we got off the copter,
we were greeted by a gust of chill wind, we climbed up the 40 odd steps, and got the darshan of
muktinarayana. What a lovely looking god he is! I prayed for every person i know, I also prayed
for the well-being of all of you and your families.A Nepali lady offered teertham and shadari.She
also kept a large shaligramam on our heads and blessed us. Without our knowledge, all of us had
tears in our eyes . The marble on which we were standing, was covered with ice, our feet were numb
due to the ice.It was all worth it.There are 108 places from where there is water flowing, on taking a
bath from there, it is said that you will have blessings of gods of all 108 divyadesams.We did that
and gave the rest of the group members to offer their prayers.Our 40 minute stay in the temple came
to an end and we were hurried by the Flight attendents since the weather was getting
bad.We faced minor turbulance on the way back, but landed safely at the
pokhrah airport. The same day we were back to kathmandu.
20 Apr - Was the last day of curfew and strike at kathmandu.The situation was grim as there was
shoot at sight order. We left to the airport amidst tight security and landed at Delhi.The flight
from Delhi to bangalore got delayed by 6 hours and we landed at bangalore at 2 in the
And thus ended a memorable journey. In spite of tension and curfew in both kathnamdu and pokhrah,
we had a smooth trip, thanks to god and all your blessings and prayers.
Our trip was an organised tour completely by air, it costed us Rs.32,000/- per head.
The copter charges alone are Rs.13,000/- per person. and the copter can hold 28 to 32 persons.
Do write to me and tell me how you liked them.
May the lord bless all you with his darshan in the near future.
Thanks to all Srivaishnavas, who replied to this posting with much interest.Nowadays, we see many
Srivaishnavas making atleast once to Salagramam. (and some do repeat-visits). Apart from Muktinath
there are many divine ( &purANic) places to be visited in Nepal by Srivaishnavas.
1) From Delhi we reached Kathmandu by flight (1hr 30 min). As we engaged a trekking agent from
Kathmandu, they took care of everything from Kathmandu airport. (For first-timers, it is better to
go in package tours or engage agents in Kathmandu) From Kathmandu we reached Pokhara by propeller-flight (40 min),
although the plan was to go by bus (Curfew was prevailing during our visit). From Pokhara we reached
Jomsom by another propeller-flight (20 min), which flies only in the early hours of the day due to heavy wind conditions
in Jomsom after 10AM.
2) We stayed in the so-called 'tea-houses' which are decent in accomodation and warm-water facility
(which is a must, as water is at below 6 deg at higher places). Each of us took with us lot of Meusli-bars. Milk is
available in tea-houses.
3) Return journey followed the same route. We could find many Salagrama mUrthis on the bed of Gandaki river during both
onward and return trekkings. All the six members have kept a kshetram (12 mUrthis) of Them for our daily tiruvaaraadanam
and the balance were given to interested Srivaishnavas as dAnam and a few perumal temples (who asked for Them)
As agents' fee is nominal, please try to engage them, if you would like to go by trekking (2 days up and 2 days down).
You need permit for trekking and guides for taking you thro' proper route. Others may go on package
tours which cost around USD 750 (or INR 35,000) in which case they take you by helicopter from Pokhara to
Muktinath (helicopters are engaged just for 3 hours and you'll get an hour for darshan in Muktinath. This method
saves you 5 days and you need not worry about clothing and food)
Also, please note that only a few seasons are good for the trip (March-May & August-October) and you should equip
with necessary kits (wind-shield jacket, gloves, climbing shoes etc for trekking)
Through't Nepal, they accept Rs.100 bills (other big denominations are illegal). You may find ISD booths and
Browsing centres in Jomsom and Muktinath, while roaming cell-phones may not work after Pokhara.
" sAlagrAmam aDai nenjE " - kalian