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Jul 20, 2011 11:12 AM 3588 Views
(Updated Jul 20, 2011 12:38 PM)


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Many years back I got hold of a book by a swamiji from Rama Krishna Mission. He was contemporary of Swami Vivekananda. If I correctly remember the title of book, it is Devatma Himalaya. He has compiled his experience of Himalayan travel at the age of around 14 year onwards. He has narrated it so well that one would like to read it again and again.

He mentioned about his experience of visiting a Siddha Peeth Chandravadni. Tale goes back to time of Rajas and journey by foot as other means of transports were not available then. This temple is situated near Devprayag, about which I have written in my earlier review. Whenever I used to pass through Devprayag, I used to remember about Swamiji’s chapter on Chandravadni temple visit. But as we had fixed destinations so I was never able to explore this place.

During one of my tea stop at Devprayag dhabas, I met a local person there. When I asked him about Chandravadni temple, he was bit surprised as to how I know about it. According to him mostly local people visit this temple and it is not known to outside people. On basis of Swamiji’s experiences, I asked some questions about the surroundings of temple location. He was pleased with my information and asked me to visit it as must and also gave me additional information about a place called Dashrath Shila.

During my recent visit to Rishikesh, we decided to stay at Devprayag so that we can go to Chandravadni next day. We started from Rishikesh around 2 pm and stopped for delicious lunch at Bayasi. Thali of dal, vegetable, Kheer(payasam), rice and chapatti cost just 40/-. We were bit surprised because as you go up cost becomes high but it was a different experience. There was hardly any traffic on road which was in contrast to our visit to this place just a month back. We reached GMVN guest house Devprayag at 4 pm. There was no one at reception. We searched for the person and after 10 minutes or so, some one appeared.

I had earlier stayed at this place but was surprised at present condition of the building. It’s shabby, not maintained and kitchen is closed. Since we had no option, we stayed here in a small room costing Rs. 550/-. We had few light hours so decided to go to Bhagirathi and Alaknanda confluence. We had to get down to rivers after a long walk. Rivers are violent at this time of year and we had no courage to get down in rivers. We had Alaknanda on our left and Bhagirathi from Gangotri on our right. With help of jug carried from GMVN we had chilling bath and spent some time there. Water levels here may change from one meter to 5 meters any time. We met a local boy who told that previous night the level was at least 8 feet up from where we were sitting now.

From local persons we inquired about Chandravadani and Dashrath Shilla. Chandravadani is around 33 km From Devprayag and then 1 km by foot. Dasharath Shilla is very far and it was behind the mountain in our view. So there was no plan for Dashrath Shilla.

We got up at 4 am next day and started our journey to Chandravadni by 4.55 am. It was little dark and we drove with head lights on. I have driven so much in hills but this was a scary road. It’s narrow and at some points does not allow 2 vehicles to pass. Being early, we did not come across traffic from opposite side. At some places there were debris of landslides, but the road had been cleared. During my earlier trip I used to see houses at top of hills and always wondered as to how they reach there. This was an interior road hence got the chance of passing through such settlements. We passed through 2 such villages at top of mountains.

Road was taking us up and up with no protections on gorge side. We were driving now on Chandrakoot Mountain and reached the base of temple at 6.20 am. We immediately started ascending and were first one to reach temple. On our arrival there were some noises and then temple pujari appeared. He was bit late today as it was all foggy around the top at height of 8500 ft. It was all Goddess wish as we attended first morning puja.

It’s an ancient temple and goddess is worshiped in form of Shree Yantra. We could get chance of rituals done for Shree Yantra. It’s said that there is light form of Goddess which was covered by Shree Yantra during the visit of Adi Guru Shankaracharya in 8th century. I had read that celing of temple is covered by a cloth and no one is supposed to look at the roof. This was an experience of a person 100’s of years ago and now I was witnessing his descriptions. I confirmed from pujari about the visit of Swamiji. He had heard about it from his grandfather.

There is dense forest around temple. We had heard the chirpings of different species of birds. We were told that there is wildlife in this forest and one can see leopard, bear and stags along with other species of animals. It was a wonderful experience to be at such a place and I wish to be there for long time.

Downward journey was without any major event except that it was raining heavy and we were held up at 2 spots because of land slide. It is pleasing to see the skill of earth moving machine operator, who with swiftness clear the large boulders away from road and open it for motorist.

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