Monday, July 22, 2013
On the Way
Hamlets on the way up
A Peacock Dancing in a Glen
Near Khandala Ghat
The Narayani Dham Temple Complex
We had planned a day out to our nearby twin Hill Stations Lonavla-Khandala on the 20th. July and as our group of 12 had dwindled to a mere 6 women,we had booked one big SUV large enough to accomodate all of us comfortably.We had decided to start in the morning by 8 a.m. and had made elaborate arrangements to have Breakfast on the way--as usual had over ordered the Food stuff!!So we were armed with packets of Theplas and Pickles,Fresh Pea stuffed small "Ghugraas" or Cornish Pasties,Taro Leaf Rolls called "Patra/Alu Vadi" and soft,steamed White "Dhokla" made with a spicy mix of Rice Flour and coarsely ground Black Pepper!!However Saturday turned out to be a very Rain swept day---it had been pouring cats and dogs all night--the Rain literally coming down in torrents and though it eased off sufficiently for us to make a start after a while resumed in all it's fury---sometimes so heavy that it was affecting the visibility!!!
Another minus was the Traffic---for all the Monsoon enthusiasts had taken the same route to the same destinations--and as a result some stretches that should not have taken more than a few minutes almost stretched into hours!! Despite all this Nature compensated us handsomely for taking the pains to travel on that day.The beautiful surroundings were picturesque and completely breath taking----the rich Leaf Green carpet of the Paddy fields bordering road was enchanting--steeped in knee high Water.The Sahyadris peeking through their thick mantle of dark,stormy Rain Clouds and fine Mist and those White foaming streaks of cascading Water Falls gushing down the steep slopes their bare Hill sides clothed in soft Pale Green of luscious and tender Grass!!The Air was scented by the heady perfume of the wet Forest surrounding us as we climbed up to the Hill Stations----however we just barely managed to click a few Pictures before the Mist closed in once more--- completely enfolding the Hills to form a thick curtain over the View.
We drew into scenic Lonavala--- driving straight to Sonia's parents Bungalow to cups of hot Ginger spiced Tea with some of the delicious Eats we had carried with us.The Caretaker had fetched our Food Coupons from the huge,beautiful Temple built nearby called Narayani Dham.After relaxing for an hour we made our way there--and as we stepped into the Temple Portico I promptly fell in love with it.There are no words to explain the simply divine mystical pull of the place--huge,palatial and spotlessly clean it leaves an extremely favourable impression on the beholder instantly.The White Marble temple however was shut till 3p.m. in the afternoon so we could not pay our respects to the Goddess Narayani till later so made our way to the Dining Hall instead.The simple "Sattvik" food cooked in Ghee without Onion and Garlic was exceedingly delicious and tasty yet light and all of us ate a very good meal.Replete and satiated we returned to the Bungalow for a siesta before going back to the Temple to pay obeisance to the Goddess Durga--also called Narayani. The way back was one where each one of engaged in desultory conversation--completely overwhelmed by Nature and Divinity and blessed with a certain Peace and Traquility of Spirit--soaking in the after effects of a memorable day!!