|Our Travel Diary||
||How did we travel||Important tips||Sthala puranam||On Salagrama worship||In Nut shell||Images|
finishing our dinner, we
happened to peep into one of the tourist offices near the
hotel opposite to Railway station. There
are many travel agents near the station who arrange for pilgrimage,
mountaineering and sight seeing trips to
From Lumbini we drove to
Pokra . Since 95
% of the land area in
(3000 feet above sea level
surrounded by huge mountains on all
sides and several lakes offers a picturesque view . Situated 200 kms
Pokra- Ticket dilemma
there, we proceeded to DEVI’S
FALLS on the other side of the road. The
water from the falls joins the Phewa river.
This was discovered few decades ago
during a sudden gushing of water into the town. Bhairavi temple
on the other side of Phewa lake has to be reached by
The charges for the boat ride is 20/- NR. It is a common
Trip to Chitwan,
Katmandu and Bhaktapur (Not part of Mukthinath pilgrimmage)
Not preparing for further
exploitation, we left for
5th, went for
local sight seeing in
Our next point
temple, 9 kms from
We then left to
next day , 6th Oct, we checked out around 8 A.M to
visit Bhaktapur also known as
Patan which has old monuments. One of the
attendants who accompanied us as guide
shared his info with us about Bhaktapur.
He said that earlier, this was the capital of the Nepali kings. This place with all its monuments is worth
seeing including “PACHPAN(55)
Resumed our journey to Pokhara around 11 A.M. after dropping the guide at the hotel after paying him Rs.100/-INR. En route , at the junction where one route goes to Chitwan and the other to Pokhara, there is a famous temple known as “MANOKAAMNA MANDIR” – a temple dedicated to an amsam of Parvati. This temple is situated on top of a hill and has to be approached by ropeway. Similar temple is found in Rishikesh too. A We were running short of time, we didn’t alight here and continued our journey to Pokara. On reaching Pokhara at 1700 hours, we approached Gorkha Airlines office regarding our return journey confirmation but got a negative reply. However, the manager Mr Rane spoke to his counterpart in Jomsom and issued us REQUEST ticket. Our car driver suggested us to stay in Hotel Degchee run by a Punjabi which was a better place to stay than Hotel Blue Heaven. We were delighted to see few south Indians in a nearby hotel . The hotel incharge was very cordial and seemed to have contact with Jomsom hotels, He made arrangement for our hotel stay in Jomsom and Muktinath, trekking permits, pony ride for children. We learnt from him that there are different modes of transport to reach Muktinath from Jomsom.
Confusion at Pokra Airport
the auspicious month of Purattasi. , finishing our morning prayers, left for airport which is a 10 minute drive
from the hotel. Our flight was scheduled
to depart at 8.30 A.M. (fifth flight). As mentioned earlier, Gorkha
and Royal Nepal Air lines, run by Government
,operates service for POKHARA-JOMSOM-POKHARA sector presently .
For the record, Royal Nepal Airlines, have
only 1 or 2 flights operating (
Depending on their moods) is known to be the most unreliable airline in
As the services resumed only 2 days earlier after a gap of 10 days., heavy traffic both at Jomsom and POkhara had to be cleared. To our dismay, we learnt that though it was nearly 9 A.M., the first trip itself did not take off due to fog. Boarding pass were not issued to us because our names were in the 5th trip. The officials were doubtful because after 11 AM , usually flights cannot reach Jomsom due to heavy winds. Our hearts beat fast chanting Dwayam. We started reciting Vishnu Sahasranaamam in the airport and prayed ardently to Periya Thiruvadi and Siriya Thiruvadi for His intervention in reaching Lords abode . We recollected elders say that this kshetram could be visited only if GOD desires to give HIS darshan to the devotee. Adiyen recollected Thirumangai azhwar’s pasuram on Thirvengadam “PAAVAME SEIDU PAAVI AANEN” as tears rolled by uncontrollably unmindful of many eyes watching us. Prayed sincerely to Lord Anjaneyar to come to our rescue and resolved to offer “VADA MAALA” at our Kushaiguda temple to Him on our return .
of us were excited when
there was an announcement that the services would resume as the sky
clear. Our turn to board the flight
came at 11 A.M. Thanking the Lord, with tears rolling , we boarded the
seater propeller flight with window seats for everyone at 11 A.M .
The craft started moving at 1115 hours. 18 passengers plus the
flight attendant squeezed into these little seats. No overhead baggage
compartment. Infact, we had to keep our baggages near our legs. We were carrying camcorder, digicam with us
to catch the beautiful sight of the snow clad mountains at close
quarters. The flight attendant passed out
and cotton for people to plug their ears. The captain was still
the RPMs and until the flight took off, the anxiety was continuously
increasing. We sighed relief when the
took off. During
our 20 minute fly, We were continuously
chanting Govinda Naamam while admiring the aerial view of the valleys ,
The aircraft was flying amindst Himalayan mountains and We were so close to the mountains that we felt that we could touch them!!. The snow clad mountains were clearly visible and we guessed every mountain to be
around the small airport surrounded by
mountains . We could see plenty of foreigners accompanying us . Jomsom
is the base for trekking and houses many
lodges/hotels with internet
facilities on either sides of the path. A serene place with cool breeze
. Apart from nurturing apple orchards, the other main occupation is
were available for Rs.6/- per kg. We
took 3 kgs of apples. Thanking
we briskly moved and located
the hotel . As assured, the incharge had made all arrangements for our trip to
Enthusiastically, we started walking down the narrow stony path and after about a mile, we reached the banks of Kali Gandaki where 2 ponies were made ready for us. After sprinking the clear waters of Gandaki, children were made to sit on the ponies and baggages tied to it and were instructed to wait for us at Eklabhatti, the first settlement. My children happily rode the horses chanting the Dhyana sloka as I advised them to sincerely pray and look in the river for holy Saalagramama silas .En route after offering oblations and sincere procrastinations to gandaki river I requested the horse man to help the children in looking for the Saalagramama which he readily obliged.
Apart from a set of change of clothes, we had taken pooja items, vastrams, dry fruits, etc to be offered to the Lord. We had also taken some coffee powder, bournvita, milk powder and sugar and some pain killers. Though we had taken enough medicines for fever, cold, pains , etc. along with first aid , by the grace of Lord, we didn’t have to really use anything until we returned to Secunderabad.
We found there was a path that skirted the riverbed, but we preferred to walk along the riverbed. As we walked along we started to notice the wind was picking up and the clouds were closing in from the mountains on either side of us.
were now in the Lower Mustang belt as per the Map . Mustang is an
Anglicization of the Tibetan Lo Manthang, which is an autonomous region
Kali Gandaki and climb up to
Muktinath is a highlight. As one ascends
, we reach plateau after plateau where we tend to think that we have
the summit, but it just keeps on going.
We walked across many plateaus and each time , we used to feel
have reached the destination.
Surrounded by Annapurna
mountains on one side and
told us that from this place, there are 2 routes –
one towards Kagbeni and the other towards
Khinga. Kagbeni is a small developing
village with staying facilities and people with sufficient time stay at
kagbeni. But as We were
of time, we opted to go via Khinga. Further
trail to Muktinath carries us out of the
Chanting loudly Lords
climb the steep slippery mountain for about
half an hour . The pony rider advised us
not to look up or look down as it would instill fear in us we trek like
sheep. There is a very narrow path where
one can put
only one foot carefully . Children were
frightened to sit on the pony but having come half the way, they had no
choice but to keep their eyes tightly closed and pray to Lord. We were passing thru a deserted place where
there was no vegetation but only few mountain shrubs. We were literally
for breath. Added to this, wind started
blowing and it was becoming even more difficult to trek.
After climbing the steep mountain, we kept on
walking on the narrow way for nearly an hour .
Suddenly the weather changed and it started drizzling. We were unable to put a step further because
it was slippery and the rains would make the road worse.
Added to that, there was no one in sight to
help us in any adverse condition. Once again, our prayers to Lord did
not go in
vain. It stopped drizzling and there was only cool soft breeze. After 2
hours of continuous trekking
we finally reached Khinga. It was 4
PM in the evening. The milk
powder, sugar, coffee and Bournvita which
we had taken with us came very
handy. We did not carry flask as hot
water is available at the settlements.
We can also get some fast foods like noodles etc. though they
definitely costly but is worth it as we don’t have to carry unnecessary
luggage. The pony rider asked us to walk
fast as it was getting dark but as we are not used to walking and as we
to enjoy the nature, we did not do
The trek from Khinga was not very difficult. In and around Khinga, we came across rich vegetation, and the dwellers in these places, polite by nature, were seen knitting mufflers and other woolen products. Apples were available in plenty , though a bit costly compared to Jomsom, we could get them for Rs.10/- per kg. On the way, we had to cross few mountain streams while trekking which was refreshing. It was becoming dark at 5 itself and by 6 P.M., we could not see anything. We could hear wild dogs barking and as we exhausted and were not prepared to face any adverse situation, we decided to stay overnight in the nearest settlement. The inn-keeper charged Rs.300/- INR for 4 beds. After finishing our supper(one roti costs 70 NR), we retired for the night. The inn keeper cooked food without onions and garlic. Hot water was provided for everything by the homely inn keeper. It was very very cold. Although short of breath, and having to stop every few hundred feet and rest, and although it took me 6 hours to get up there, I made it. Practically it was a miracle. Although I am sore tonight, I am not at all sorry that I went there and I'd gladly go again in the future
route we happened to see helipads. Helicopters from Pokhara/Jomsom upto
Muktinath and back fly daily. During peak season, the copter flies many times .
Also, We were told that the weather conditions do not affect the
much. We happened to meet few Tamilians
Mukthinath our final destination of this trip
few more steps, we finally
reached our destination. There is huge bell hung in front of the gate. Having
passed through the entrance gate, we proceed to the complex's first
Muktinath is sacred to both Vaisnavas and Buddhists.
My dream comes true. I along with my family
members are very much in the 106th Divyadesam Lord
is, for Vaisnavas, Sri Padmapani (the form of Lord Visnu from whose
sacred waters flow). Tibetan Buddhists worship Him as Adi-Buddha. Lord
Muktinath's form is manifest in brass. In bodily shape and posture He
the Yoga Narayana Deity Atop the hill behind the
Buddhist lady accepted our offerings
to Perumal- vastrams for Perumal and Thayar, dry fruits, honey, sandal
rose water etc. which we had carried with us for offering it to Lord. This lady gives theertha prasadam and offers
neivedyam and is restrained from doing Thirumanjanam to the Lord. Unfortunately, the male priest was not
available in the temple and hence we could not perform Thirumanjanam. However, the lady offered us to take one
outside the garbagriham and perform Thirumanjanam but Adiyen felt that
incompetent, I did not accept the offer.
There was no rush and We were able to have darshan to our
content. Perumal’s smiling Thirumugam is
very enchanting and we could not take our eyes off .
We recited 108 divya desa naamavali in front
of Perumal and recited Thirumangai Azhwar’s pasurams on this divya
desam. In ecstasy, I remembered
pasurams on Naimisaaranyam which is full of repentance and started
same in the temple. My children sang few
Annamaya Kirtans and Thyagaraja kirtanas
amidst few piligrims. Adiyen thought of
everyone associated with me and prayed the Lord to bestow moksham and
devotional service on them .
Adiyen prayed to the Lord to give me another
chance to visit this shrine with my wife again and give another
visit all the divya desams .
Nepali security emphasized that
the temple was 500 years old and it would be closed during severe
from October to February) every year.
Due to time constraint, we left the temple reluctantly after
had heard that Westerners aren't allowed in the temple of
Muktinath, but that's not true. It is said that Badrinath sent
this place, high up in the mountains. I
overhear a foreigner saying that anyone
who takes the trouble to visit that place will get liberation. I,
not pray for liberation. Rather, I prayed for pure devotional service.
the hill behind the Muktinath Temple is a Buddhist shrine.
Incredibly, some Buddhist nuns who serve at Muktinath daily climb this
also perform worship up there.
the way back, we visited a small
thirumaligai run by a
Srivaishnava, a disciple of Chinna
Jeerswamy. He greeted us warmly and
offered us some herbal drink which would act as an anecdote against the
weather. Infact, despite our bath in icy
cold water, none of us fell sick . When I was expressing my desire to
he immediately gave me 5 Saalagramams , out of which 2 were collected
Damodar Kund and one moorthi was receiving his upacharams daily
Acharyar dhaniyan and Thirupallandu.
After making few purchases of photos, chains etc we left the
place . We called up our parents ,
from Muktinath who were elated to learn that we had very good darshan. It was only due to our poorva janma sukrutam
we could make this happen.
having few refreshments at Hotel
Muktinath, we started our return journey to Jomsom.
As we had taken enough photos and videos , we
handed over the same to our children. We were told that it would take 4
for us to reach Jomsom as it is easier to walk down the mountains.
Back to Jomsom (Lost our way enroute)
my wife was suffering from knee
pain, walking was tougher . We were
lagging behind. Added to this, we missed
our route. Though We were doubtful about
the route, we could not get clarification as there was no one around us. Guessing our way, we climbed down the hill
and reached a cliff which was the dead end.
Below the cliff, as we saw
Gandaki flowing, we guessed that it should be the route and while
trying to get
down, we nearly had a fall. Clinging to
each other both of us were totally perplexed, frightened and chanted
Hanuman Chalisa. Luckily we spotted few
farmers who were working in a far away field and waived a cloth towards
. Immediately a young lad of about 15
came to our rescue. After saving us from
this fall, he accompanied us for half an hour or so and led us to the
path. He told that we had come near
Kagbeni village and that particular place was the route to Domodar kund
the origin of Saalagramam begins and
that Eklabhatti was far off. Added to
this, due to heavy winds, We were finding it very difficult to put even
further.Kagbeni is known for strong dusty winds and it is very
withstand without any support . By
straying on the wrong path, we had to walk for another 2 hours. Finally, we reached Eklabhatti at 1700
hours. Meanwhile, children were worried
and were enquiring about our whereabouts.
As we had gone on the wrong side, they only got negative reply
to their worry. Meanwhile, my children
went to the banks of Kali Gandaki river and while reciting the sloka
told by my
father , they were able to collect some Saalagramams right from the holy river.
As told by my koil Archakars ,one
murthi was that of Sri Rama, one Sri Srinivasar, Varahar,Matsya murthi
Hiranya garbhams. They also collected 2
big Saalagramams which we wanted to gift to our Kushaiguda temple. But maybe it was Perumal’s
will to stay back in Jomsom itself as the airport authorities did not allow us to
take the bigger ones. It was already dark when we reached Eklabhatti
and as we
had another 1 hour trekking, the pony rider advised my wife to ride on
pony. My younger daughter trekked with
me for more than one and half hour amidst
chanting bhajans and hare Krishna maha
mantra We reached Jomsom at 19
hours. We were pleased to hear about our
ticket confirmation from the hotel owner.
Our flight was scheduled to leave Jomsom at 9 A.M. the following
morning.Thanked God for all His grace and retired for the night. We called home from the satellite telephone
and informed Lords grace in giving us a darshan .Afterall any
desires he vist all the Divya desams and take to spirituality . It was
day, i.e. on 9th
October,2006, when We were about to check out, the hotel manager
and informed that the flight to Pokhara was cancelled due to technical
of the aircraft. As the technical support for rectifying the aircraft
come from Katmandu and also keeping the weather conditions in mind, he
it was doubtful whether the flight would take off that day. On
hearing this, We were totally shattered .
He advised us to either take a helicopter (a private one-Manang
which he was arranging for others by paying for the tickets in dollars (INR 30,000) or
either go by jeep upto 20 kms, walk for
about 15 hours to reach Thathopani, take a bus to Pokhra which would
20 hours. As the second option was
we decided to opt for the first one and gave our consent.
Arrangements were made to get a helicopter
from Katmandu . Though the scheduled
departure was at 12 noon as promised by the hotel manager, the
arrived at Jomsom at 1600 hours only. We had no other choice other than
loitering around. WE got our Gorkha
ticket cancelled but were advised to collect the refund at Pokara
office as the
tickets were issued by Pokara office. Jomsom
to Pokra (Flight got cancelled)
to Pokra (Flight got cancelled)
We were thoroughly whisked by the security in the airport as we are not supposed to take saalagramams with us. We hid the small saalagrams in different baggages and were ardently praying to the Lord to help us out of the situation but 2 big saalagramams which we wanted to gift to our Kushaiguda temple was retained by the authorities. Tension was once again mounting as we had to go to Janakpur that night itself and reach Gorakpur on 10th at any cost. We were told that night journey to Janakpur is not advisable due to moists attacks which was very common in that route. Even the car drivers resent to travel during night which meant that we had to cancel our Janakpur even if we got further delayed.The technical engineers arrived in a small copter at 1630 hours and we all boarded it and reached Pokhara at 1700 hours. The 20 minute journey by helicopter was very inconvenient and fearful. Worst with noise and full of congestion. Adiyen was continuously chanting Maha mantra and the moment we left the copter, 2 devotees who hail from England approached me and offered Prasad saying that they had done Pournami pooja at Muktinath, a day before we reached the holy shrine. I was happy to learn that they have migrated to Kashi and having undertaken penance, they are simultaneously doing research on Vedas. <>
It is only due to the abundant
Perumal on this sinner that Adiyen could visit all the divya desams
wife and children. I attribute this to my previous janma wherein I
been associated with Srivaishnavas by touching the dust of their feet
or I must
have done some petty kainkaryam which yielded this fruit of visiting
desams in this janma. May the divine
forms of Perumal of all divya desams remain fresh in our memories and
lips continuously chant the holy myriad names of the Lord.
May our visit to the divya desams remain
fresh in our minds so that when we leave this human body, we would be
to get moksha.
The cab driver whom we got used to address as “kaka” was waiting for us at the airport. We rushed to the hotel where we had left our baggages and without losing any time, and left the place to go to Janakpur. Thanked the Hotel manager and his brother-in-law for all his intervention and help. But for him, it would have been impossible for us to go to Muktinath. We decided that we offer our prayers to Sita Piratti .Taking clue from the fellow Nepalis we dashed into the cab with the available 24 hrs left . We traveled whole night and at 01.00 hrs we alighted at a thickly populated area and rested in a hut. At 5AM we resumed our journey to Janakpur which is located near Bihar border in Nepal is one of the most attractive tourist spots.This is the birth place of Goddess Sita and the place where the famous “SITA RAAMA KALYANAM “ took place. So, we didn’t want to miss this. It took about 8 hours to reach from Pokhara and we had to cross Chitwan jungle in the midnight. Some info that we learnt as to how wild animals encounter the passers by was enough to put us in fear and as usual, we sought Hanuman’s intervention. We were not prepared to face any such encounters with either wild beasts or moists. We reached Janakpur at 0800 hours on 10th October,2006. The driver informed us that it would take another 10 hours for us to reach Gorakhpur provided there was no traffic jam. We had to hasten ourselves as we had to be in Gorakpur at any cost that night. We quickly went inside the palace –converted into temple. Prayers on Goddess sita was written in Hindi on display boards. Morning abhishekam was just over and we had to wait for few minutes to have darshan of Thayar. In the sanctum sanctorum, Lord Rama, Sita Devi and King Janaka are seen. During aarthi, prayers on Sita Devi were sung. Apart from this, the palace houses other shrines too. In one of the shrines, we could find full family of Janaka - Lord Rama –Sita, Lakshmana-Urmila, Bharata, Shatruguna –Srutikeerthi, King Janaka, his brother, his queen . Apart from this, this shrine houses 3,000 Saalagramams which were covered by a red cloth. Impressed by the songs sung by my daughters on Lord Rama, the priest started enquiring about our trip. He was very happy to learn that we had been to Muktinath,and immediately to our astonishment, removed the red cloth and showed us the Saalagramams. He advised us to make an offering for annadhaanam for a day by paying 251/- and gave us some rice as prasaad which he said would bestow progeny on the couple who prepared rice with it. Else , we could simply place it in the pooja altar . After our photo session with him, we went round the temple where we saw continuous chanting of Raama naamam 24 hours a day by some devotees. We proceeded to Sita Rama Kalyana Mantapam which is situated just outside the palace on the left side. Rs.5/- is charged as entrance fee . A big mantapam in the centre with life –size images . Lord Rama, and Sita in Kalyana Thirukolam in sitting posture,Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatruguna also in Kalyana Thirukolam, King Janaka and his brother in standing posture, Dasaratha,his queens, Sage Vasishta and other rishi in sitting postures, Brahma, Shiva and other devas blessing. The sight was a real feast to the eyes. Around the mantapam, on 4 sides, there are 4 sannidhis for all the 4 brothers with their wives. We were regretting for not having the camcorder with us.
left Janakpur at 0930 hours and
having visited all the places as per our schedule, we continued to
final destination, Gorakhpur. We
crossed Nepal border at 1500 hours (that was the last day of our
bihar. The highway roads in Bihar is the
most horrible one with full of bumps and it took more than an hour to
border on the Indian side. There is absolutely no cleanliness, no
traffic rule, no proper roads. Uttar
Pradesh which we entered around 6 P.M. was more horrible with traffic
jams. We were stuck in traffic jam for
more than 5 hours. No police to regularize the traffic.
We learnt that it was very common and most of
the truck drivers had left their trucks on the road itself and were
loitering. Once again , our sincere
prayers to Lord
Hanuman was answered. After hours of
pleading the truck drivers, we somehow got way to move . But the way
sufficient for a car to pass through. the the driver literally tilted
because of muddy road on his left and drove only on 2 wheels carefully
than 2 kilometres . With great
difficulty, the impossible task was made possible by the grace of Lord. Reached Gorakhpur at 2300 hours in the
night. Checked into one of the
near the station, and retired for the night.
Thanked God profusely for the successful, impossible adventurous
to Gorakpur (Tension on Road)
to Gorakpur (Tension on Road)
Express at 0600
hours on the following morning, i.e. 11th Oct,2006 and
Secunderabad at 1830 hours the following day.
Thus ended our trip to Saalagramam.
<>After a short break of 2 days, we went to Tirumala with our parents and thanked God for His abundant Grace on this sinner . As part of our VIMSATI DARSHANAM scheme, we participated in Suprabhata seva, Unjal seva, Archana Anantara seva for 2 days and also performed Thirukalyana utsavam to Malayappa swamy ( our parents performed the same).
also visited Thiruvellikeni and
thanked Sri Parthasarathy Perumal for successful completion of divya
yaatrai as way back in 1998, we had prayed to this Perumal for visiting
Our travel diary
Sep 06 Left
30th Sep 06 Reached Gorakhpur at 20.00 hours and took rest. Train dealyed
1st Oct 06 0900 hours left for Pokra via Lumbini (birth place of Buddha)
2nd Oct 06 In Pokra Local site seeing.
7th Oct 06 Pokra to Jomsom Left at 1100 hours and reached Jomsom at 1140 hours.
29th Sep 06 LeftSecunderabad to Gorakhpur by Secunderabad-Gorakhpur Express at 0800 hours
Trekking commeced at 1200 hours
Reached Ekalbhatti after two
hours of trekking.
Around 6 PM reached Khinga. Stayed in a settlement for the night. (Originally supporsed to reach Jarkot)
Oct 06 0530 hours
left for Jarkot reached at 6.30 AM
One hour further walk to Muktinath. Reached temple by 0900 hours
Left around 1100
hours trekking back to Jomsom. Reached Jomsom around 1900 hours
Oct 06 Left Jomsom
to Pokra by helicoptor (flight got cancelled) 1600 hours to 1700 hours
Left for Janakapur from
Pokra in the evening itself. Night stay in a hut enroute
Oct 06 Reached
Janakpur 0800 hours. Left the temple by 0930 hours. Reached border at
1700 hours and Gorakhpur by 2300 hours.
Oct 06 Train to Secunderabad
at 0600 hours.
12th Oct 06 Reached Secunderabad by 1830 hours.
Oct 06 Pokra to
In addition to this, since we had three days free from 2nd Oct due to non availability of flight tickets to Jomsom we had been to these places for children's educational purposes but not part of mukthinath pilgrimmage.
Adiyen wishes to share sthalapuranam and some interesting facts about this divya desam which may be helpful for future pilgrims.Muktinath is situated in Upper Mustang area which is a protected zone and hence permit is required from the government. WE had read in some book that this divya desam is in the midst of forest in an isolated place with no facility but it looks like it is developing now. One need not worry about this as you find travelers now and then, there are sign boards and some hotels/lodges at settlements enroute. One can hire a pony so that the baggages can be tied to it and the pony incharge will himself act as guide. Chant the holy names while trekking and GOD will take care of everything. I was enthusiastic in revealing the legendary stories about this punya stala to my kids who are distinguished as they also joined in the 106 Divya desam yathirai effortlessly. <> <>
devi Dwaravati bhaved
Muktisttattra na samsaya."
the north of the river,
Gandaki (also called Narayani), and south of the
it that once Bramha was exasperated at the rate of increase of the
among his creation. Then drops of sweat rolled down his cheeks (Ganda),
ultimately collecting themselves into the form of a female child called
"Gandaki." She took it into her head to do a severe penance which
became so overwhelming that the Devas started trembling before her. As
they offered her the bait of a boon on return for her stopping her
they met a Tartar in her, for she wanted to mother all the Devas. Not
the power to grant such a boon, the Devas pleaded their inability, at
Gandaki became furious and cursed all the devas to be born as worms on
earth below. The Devas in their turn placed a countercurse on her head
should become "Jada" or inert matter.
Naturally Bramha was concerned with this unexpected development. Unable to find a way out, he consulted Indra and Rudra. With them also he drew a blank. Finally, all the three turned to Vishnu, who said: "Inasmuch as the curses have been already pronounced, they cannot be revoked, and both parties affected must suffer them. The problem is how to make them work to their mutual and ultimately universal benefit."
I told them there are
many aspects of this pilgrimage right
from going to the Holy Tirtha of
high in the Himalayas; the challenge of one's faith, to be there and to
one's worshipful Lord; the material elements, and other various
walking many miles/kilometres, high altitude, no food, the weather, the
constant wind, wild animals, dacoits and theives, mundane trekkers, so
things. We were trekking near the
of Gandaki river. Which rises beyond the
Himalayan ranges, probably in
sada savitra mandala
madhya-varti--- naryanah sarasijasana sannivistah
keyuravan makara kundalavan kiriti --hari hiranmaya vapuh dhrita sankha cakrah
Narayana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be meditated upon in the center of the sun globe. He is situated on a lotus flower and seated in the lotus posture. He is adorned with beautiful golden bracelets, amulets, earrings, necklace and a crown. He has the golden effulgence and is seen holding the pure white conch and Sudarshana cakra in His lotus hands. Oh wielder of the conch, disc, club, and other natural weapons, You are the Lord and resident of the spiritual realm. Oh indestructible one, protector of the worlds, oh lotus eyed Lord, please save all of us who have taken shelter of you and appear before us .
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS DIVYA DESAM:
· The significance of Saalagramama kshetra is vividly mentioned in Himavat kanda of Skanda Purana wherein Lord Subramanya explains to Sage Agastya about this kshetram and its mahatyam.
· In Varaha Purana, Lord Vishnu Himself explains to Bhoodevi about the importance of this kshetram and the various theerthams in Someswar, Harihar and Mukthinath kandas.
all the major rivers in Northern India like
river Gandaki is a very ancient
river; and the geologists say that it existed even before the formation
Himalayan ranges. It rises beyond the Himalayan ranges, probably in
· Varaha Purana mentions that Perumal conceded to Gandaki’s request to be born as her son and hence Perumal manifested Himself as salagrams in water. Due to the Perumal’s presence, this has become the most sanctifying river and a dip in this frees one from all sins committed by thought, word and action in innumerable lifetimes, forefathers shall reach heaven and finally attain moksham.
· Near to this place is Someshwar , a mountain which is the abode of Shiva where he has manifested himself as lingams
· The vast tract of land through which the sacred Gandaki flows is known as Saalagramama kshetra. As this area was full of “sala” trees, it is known thus.
· Lord Vishnu with all the demigods is present in the form of Saalagramams . These Saalagramams are worshipped in all the major temples across the globe.
· Tulasi, wife of the demon Sankhachoodan cursed Lord Vishnu to become a stone as the Lord as part of His divya leela , deceived her. Hence, Lord has taken this form as this is an easier form of worship. The bones of Sankachoodan who was killed by Lord Shiva turned into conches and Tulasi transformed herself into Gandaki river. The tresses of Tulasi turned into Tulasi bushes. As per Tulasi’s request, Lord conceded to remain as stone on the banks of Gandaki river.
· Lord summoned the divine architect, Viswakarma to make different images of Him indicating Lords’ various manifestations and accordingly, Viswakarma transformed himself into vajrakreeta worm and made various signs inside the Saalagramamam stone with its sharp nails.
· The origin of these saligramams are at Damodar kund which is another 3 days trek from Muktinath and special trekking permit is required from Nepalese government as it is at a higher altitude. These stones mingle with the Gandaki river which has its origin beyond Damodar Kund and gets deposited along the river side. Damodar kund is the place where Nalakuvera and Manigriva , the sons of Kubera who were redeemed from their curse by Lord Krishna as Damodara had bath as per Lords’ instructions and attained effulgent bodies. Hence, this kund is known as DAMODAR KUND. Just by visiting and bathing in this , on attains the ability to achieve all his desired objectives and become a detached person even if he is a householder and will not be troubled by pleasure or pain.
· Any fossil stone found on the banks of Gandaki river is deemed to be saligramam especially the ones with marks of discus are manifestations of the Supreme Lord, Sriman Narayanan.
· As a householder may find it difficult to offer prayers by doing homa etc. daily as in earlier yugas, Perumal has manifested Himself in this form which does not require any purificatory rite. The aaradhanai can be started directly and is very simple. Aaradhanai to Saalagramam is to be done with tulasi leaves placed on conch and water to be poured on the saalagramam through the nose of the conch.
· Any act at this place fetches manifold benefits on the doer
· A 2 minute walk from the temple leads to Jwalamukhi, the place where Brahma did penance for universal welfare and he invoked Lord Vishnu in the form of water and Shiva in the form of fire and offered sacrificial butter and payasam. All the demigods personally attended the sacrifice and accepted the offerings. The remnants of this yagnam which is in the form of soil near by is partaken by devotees as prasadam.
· Brahma performed 3 types of yagas at this place-DRavya yagna (sacrifice with materials), gnana yagna (mental sacrifice-in the sacrificial fire of minds with the sacrified spatula of breath he meditated on the Supreme Lord Narayana and burnt the material contamination in the form of offerings.), upsasana yagna.
· Any living being which dies in this place attains moksham.
· AT a particular place between the temple and Jwalamukhi, one can hear the sound of Ganges flowing into the Patalalok.
· In Varaha Purana, Lord Varaha mentions about the importance of various theerthas and the results of having bath in those many of which are in different locations on the mountain. He also mentions about Someswhar, the abode of Lord Shiva and the benefits of worshipping Him.
· Many devotees and rishis like Ambarisha, Pundareeka etc have attained liberation after visiting this place.· As per Mahabaarata, King Bharath after renouncing his kingdom reached this kshetram and performed austerities . this place is known as Galeshwar and there is a temple dedicated to Harihar Galeswarnath. Shiva is present in the form of Sadguru Yogeshwar and Vishnu as Lord Jadeshwar.
Saalagramam and its importance:
Ø These are considered divine manifestations of Perumal and hence they don’t need any special consecration rituals to be performed.
Ø There is no dosham to Saalagramams and even it is broken due to accident or naturally, the divinity is said to exist.
Ø The water which was used for performing abhishekam to saalagramam bestows liberation to the person who drinks it knowingly or unknowingly. This practice is followed even today in all Vaishnava house when a soul departs from a body.
Ø Saaligrama aaradhanai is always to be done with conch and tulasi.
Ø In the Skanda Purana, Skanda classifies the types of Saalagramam to Sage Agastya :-
· LORD VARAHA:- two proportionate marks of discusses on the face of Saalagramam
· LROD VASUDEVA:- white in colour, very attractive, 2 proportionate marks of discus
· LORD PRADHYUMNA:- long, yellowish, with small marks of discus and with many faces (surfaces)
· LORD ANIRUDDHA:- dark saalgiram with marks of three lines and a lotus
· LORD NARAYANA:- dark with features of Anirddha and has a protruding navel with marks of discus.
· LORD MATSYA:- saligramam with a depressed top and a bulge on both the sides
· LORD KURMA:- very bright three faced Saalagramam with signs of either conches or discus
· LORD NARASIMHA:- very bright brown coloured Saalagramam with signs of three lines and two different discus- only brahmachary should worship this.
· LORD LAKSHMI NARASIMHA:- salagra with signs of two discusses to the left and hallow –this bestows both material pleasures and liberation.
· LORD VAMANA:- meronish coloured Saalagramam in the shape of a globe with 5 lines
· LORD BALARAMA:-a conch shaped, yellowish tinged Saalagramam with the marks of plough.
· LORD RAMA:- a conch shaped, yellowish tinged Saalagramam with the marks of bow
· LORD PARASURAMA:- a conch shaped, yellowish tinged Saalagramam with the marks of axe
· LORD SUDARSHANA:- reddish flower like Saalagramama with a blackish discus
· LORD DAMODARA”- big Saalagramam with sudarshana features and with signs of mace and discus to the left, a line on the right and narrowish in the middle with signs of discus.
· LORD PARAMESTI:- Saalagramam with signs of white lotus and discus
· LORD SRIDHARA:- yellowish black bud shaped Saalagramam with signs of two big discus on the back, five lines in the form of a mace and vanamala
· LORD TRIVIKRAMA:- bright dark coloured Saalagramam with signs of kadamba flower going from bottom to top on both sides
· LORD HAYAGRIVA:- green tinged Saalagramam with manyhallows and signs of hook shaped discus and a line of knowledge
· LORD GADADHARA:- saligram with 3 lines and any three signs
· LORD ANANTA:- saligram with many faces and signs of many bows clubbed together in the form of a serpent· LORD
SRI SRIDEVI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI SRIMOORTHY PARABRAHMANE NAMAH:
SRI MOORTHI IN VEETRUIRUNDHA THIRUKOLAM FACING NORTH also known as MUKTHI NARAYANAN
SRIDEVI, BHOODEVI IN NINDRA THIRUKOLAM
BRAHMA, SIVA, GANDAKI, GARUDA, VINAYAGAR
THIRUMANGAI AZHWAR- 10 PASURAMS-988 to 997, PERIAZWAR- 2 PASURAMS(206, 399)
GARUDA, BUDDHA, VINAYAGAR
In Peria Thirumozhi, Thirumangai Azhwar has dedicated 10 songs to this divya desam. In the pasurams, Azhwar advises his mind to go to Saalgramam and pray to Perumal who
as Sri Ramar , humiliated Soorpanaka and killed Ravana thus emerging victorious in the battle,
as Sri Krishnar who killed Putanai, ate butter,
as Vamanan who approached Bali Chakravarthy and by asking for 3 feet land measured the 7 universes, ,
as Sri Narasimhar who pierced Hiranya kasapu’s heart,
as the Lord whose expansions are the Sun, Moon, Ether, Mountains, Oceans, fire and who is the Preserver of the Universe,
as the Lord who redeemed Shiva from his curse who was roaming with kapalam in his hand due to brahma hathi dosham committed by him.
He adds that Perumal who is residing at Thiruooragam(in Kanchipuram), as Perumal who is in half-reclining posture at Thirukudanthai (Kumbakonam), as Adi Ranganathar residing on the banks of Kaveri at Thiruppernagar (near Thiruchy), the Lord with innumerable myriad names (sahasra naamam) is in Saalagramam. He says that all the demigods, vaishanavas, brahmanas rishis offer prayers to this Lord who is residing in the mountain which is decorated with varieties of flowers where the honey bees sing sweetly after sucking the honey from the flowers, where the lakes are filled with lotus and fish who happily jump about. In the set of 10 pasurams, Azhwar advises his mind to go to Saalagramam and offer obeisance to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sriman Narayanan. He further advises to either continuously recite the innumerable names of the Lord or recite the 10 pasurams on this Perumal.
has composed 2
pasurams on this divya desam . In
pasuram 206, he narrates that
In Nut shell
Saalagramam, one of the vada naadu divya desams is the only one which is situated outside India in Nepal. This divya desam is located in the Annapurna ranges of the Himalayas. Saalagramam is at a higher altitude about 2200 feet more compared to Badrinath which is at 10, 200 feet .
HOW TO APPROACH:-
1. BY AIR:- from Delhi/Varanasi/Kolkatta to Katmandu and from there to Muktinath via Pokhara and Jomsom
2. BY ROAD:- reach Gorakpur (Uttar Pradesh) directly or from Varanasi/Lucknow take bus/cab to Gorakhpur (3 hrs journey)- from there to Sunouli, the last Indian village on the Indian border, cross the border, go to Pokhara via Bhairawa
3. BY ROAD: from Patna (in Bihar) to Raxaul (the last Indian village ) to Pokhara from Bhirgunj
4. BY ROAD:- from Darjeeling/ Siliguri (assam) to Pokhara via Kakarbhitta<>
It is advisable to take a taxi to go to Nepal if you are
going by road. One can negotiate with the travel agents and can choose
places to visit according to our convenience but be prepared to bargain.
Many travel agents provide services for sightseeing in Nepal at
Gorakhpur itself. They have a range of
vehicles-cars, jeeps, buses etc for us
to choose from depending upon the number of pilgrims.
If one wishes to cover other interesting places in Nepal
apart from visiting Saalagramam, it is advisable to engage a vehicle at
Gorakhpur itself. Some of the places of
Ø LUMBINI:- the birthplace of Buddha; monastries, holy pond etc.
Ø Katmandu,( the capital of Nepal)- Pashupathinath temple dedicated to Shiva,. ,Buddhanilakanta temple (Maha Vishnu), Harey Krishna (ISKCON),Buddhist stupas in Katmandu, Bhaktapur (Pataan), Lord Krishna temple and Durbar Square in Bhaktapur
Ø POKHARA:- Gupteswar cave, Devi’s falls, Phewa Lake, Macchapure mountain, Manokaamna temple dedicated to Goddess (between Katmandu and Pokhara)
Ø CHITWAN:- by pass road from Manokaamna temple – jungle for rare species of wild animals (this is near Bihar border)
Ø JOMSOM:- base for Muktinath
Since Shiva is the ruling deity of Nepal, there is a belief that pilgrims must visit Pashupathinath temple in Katmandu before proceeding to Muktinath . Similar belief in Badri too. One has to first go to Kedarnath or atleast offer worship to Kedareshwar before entering the main temple in Badrinath.<>
Normal food expense at Katmandu and Pokhara would be app.
100/- per day (square meal consisting of rotis,rice, tea, tiffin) , we
rice at Jomsom too (but costly) but way up , we can only get rotis ) As you go higher, the food bill increases and
it may cost 300/- per person approximately. Due to globalization and as
exports all its food products to Nepal, we can get the same brands and
have to carry anything. Infact, but for the mountains, we feel that we
much in India.