Saturday, March 7, 2009
Very aptly, the Tercentenary Commemoration of Shri Chitrapur Math began with the Kurukshetra Saraswati Yatra to Adi Badri, the Udgam Sthal of River Saraswati Yatra and one of the concluding events was the Prabhas Teerth Somnath Saraswati Yatra where River Saraswati meets Sindhu Sagar (
Param Pujya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji reached Ahmedabad on the evening of
Come 26th January, and the Yatris started arriving. Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, the well known ‘Saraswatilogist’ spoke to the Yatris, and showed a film on River Saraswati.
The next day the Yatra began with a visit to Rani-ki-vav or the Queens Step Well. It lies on the left bank of River Saraswati near Anahilwad-Patan, the ancient capital of
At Rani-ki-vav there is a small gate below the last step of the step well which has a 25 kilometer tunnel built (Now it is blocked by stones and mud) which leads to Rudra Mahalaya in the town of Sidhpur which was the next destination for the Yatris.
Sidhpur is one of the holiest places in
The Yatris returned to Ahmedabad for a strenuous journey the next morning to Somnath via Nal Sarovar. Believe it or not – even senior Yatris started waking up enthusiastically at to get ready for the journey which was to commence at ! And by all the buses departed for Nal Sarovar! The traditional discipline of Chitrapur Saraswats was loudly visible.
Nal Sarovar, a repository of River Saraswati was like a fairyland out of a story book - lit with stars. A clear sky enhanced the beauty of Nal Sarovar. Appreciation of one of nature’s grand spectacles, of the early morning scene at Nal Sarovar only comes to sensitive souls - like those of the Yatris. Yatris who were requested to maintain pin drop silence savored the lovely noises of the chirping birds which gather at Nal Sarovar to escape the extreme winters of the European countries. Maa Saraswati, like a loving mother, ecstatically gives them shelter during these harsh months!
An informal talk by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi in the mini-amphitheatre threw a lot of light on Nal Sarovar. A large array of birds perched on the trees also patiently listened to Dr. Gandhi! Possibly they have a story to tell after their return to Europe and
After this grand display of nature, the Yatris proceeded to their final destination – Prabhas Patan and Somnath. According to legend, Somnath is as old as creation, built by none other than the Moon God himself. The remains of the
Early morning on
No sooner Param Pujya Swamiji entered the
Later Param Pujya Swamiji along with the Yatris visited Bhalka Teerth. Bhalka Teerth is a sacred spot situated between Somnath and the Veraval Port. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and shot by an arrow in the foot by Jara the Bhil hunter, while Lord Krishna was sleeping. The temple depicts this scene accurately.
The highpoint of the Yatra was the visit to Triveni Sangam at Prabhas Patan, where Rivers Hiranya and Kapila from the surface and River Saraswati from beneath the ground meet Sindhu Sagar (wrongly known as
The next destination was Gita Mandir. Located very near Triveni Sangam, Gita Mandir is about 1 km south of the
In the temple cluster here is also the 'Balaram Gufa' the place from where Shri Krishna's elder brother Balaram is said to have taken the journey to patal assuming his original form. It is said that after Balaram witnessed the disappearance of Lord Krishna, he sat down in a meditative state and departed from this world as Shesh Nag.
Param Pujya Swamiji spoke to Yatris here while Dr. Gandhi continued his description of this place.
Shri Shiv Pujan and Dharma Sabha followed the visit to Gita Mandir. Personalities who contributed to the Prabhas Teerth Somnath Saraswati Yatra were felicitated and honored by Param Pujya Swamiji.
Later once again, the Yatris proceeded to
On 30th of January, the Yatris left for Ahmedabad via
The convener of Prabhas Teerth Somnath Saraswati Yatra (and the owner of this blog), Vivek Hattangadi is greatly indebted to the over 25 Yatris from outside Ahmedabad who made a significant contribution to this Yatra and without whom the Yatra could not have been even thought of. Their names have been acknowledged elsewhere in this blog.
Vivek Hattangadi is also deeply indebted to the following non-bhanap Sadhakas who complemented the activities of the core team:
And lastly to Shri Kishore Shashital, Pune Region Sangahachalak, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh whose behind the screen activities helped us greatly in conducting the Yatra in the Somnath leg of the PTSSY.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Sapna Ullal, PTSSY Yatri (18 years)
Kurukshetra Saraswati Yatra organized by the Delhi Sabha in October – November 2007, marked the inaugural event of the Tercentenary Commemoration. Inspired by this, the Ahmedabad Sabha felt that it too must do something during the Tercentenary Year. During the Devi Anushtan Pooja in August 2007, Shri Shashimam Stalekar put forward the idea of similar Yatra to Sidhpur where River Saraswati is revered. Shri Sureshmam Bankeshwarsuggested we carry this Yatra forward to Somnath where River Saraswati meets the Sindhu Sagar (wrongly called as Arabian Sea) and thus a Yatra along the route of River Saraswati in
Param Pujya Swamiji arrived at Ahmedabad three days prior to the PTSSY, i.e. on 23rd Jauary 2009 evening.
On the evening of 24th Janaury, Param Pujya Swamijireleased a booklet compiled by me titled "River Saraswati and its Relation with Gujarat" which was later given to all the Yatris in their welcome kit. The booklet was designed by a well known designer and visualizer from Ahmedabad, Ms. Komal Patel, as a seva towards Lord Bhavanishankar, Shri Chitrapur Math, Guru Parampara and Maa Saraswati.
The Yatris started arriving on 26th January 2009. From 4.00am, over 370 Yatris from all over the world (including
At 6 pm Yatris assembled in the auditorium to get a briefing from me on the Yatra.
Later there was a presentation on ‘River Saraswati’ by a research scholar and renowned ‘Saraswatilogist’, Dr. Jagdish Gandhi. He has done a lot of work on River Saraswati. Dr. Gandhi also showed a video of his journey from Yamadhara,
On 27th January 5.45 am, the Yatris boarded ten buses assigned to them. Every bus was named after a river from
Rani-ki-vav is 7 storeys deep. The view from the top revealed a breathtaking subterranean passageway with stone steps leading to the bottommost (seventh) storey. Tall pillars added charm to the sunlit brown monument. As Yatris approached, one could appreciate the intricacies on the brackets and columns. Each wall has numerous niches with delicately sculptured figures of Hindu deities- especially of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu (Varaha, Vaman, Ram, and
A secret passageway of 25 km leads from Rani-ki-Vav to Sidhpur that served as an escape route for the royal family. Next we left for Sidhpur also known as Siddhakshetra or Siddhasthal.
A comfortable guest room awaited the Yatris. After freshening up, the Yatris reached Bindu Sarovar surrounded by temples. This is the place where Shri Kapila preached the Samkhya philosophy to his mother Devruti; Bhagwan Parashuram performed Pind daan for his mother Devi Renuka. It is believed that Kardama Muni, (son of Manu) had made this spot his Karma Bhoomi.
A special visit was arranged for P.P. Swamiji to the Rudra Mahalaya, an ancient
Some locals came to meet P.P. Swamiji. We had the delight of hearing P.P. Swamiji converse with them effortlessly in fluent Gujarati. In his Pravachan, P.P. Swamiji made use of four languages- Konkani, Hindi, English and Gujarati.
Sidhpur gave us a taste of real Gujarati food - scrumptious Undiyo, Masala Papad, bhakris and chaas; complete with a mixed fruit ice-cream.
Early next morning, i.e. 29th January 2009, at 4.10 am we left for Nal Sarovar. The discipline of the Yatris was incredible. They started waking up at 2.30 am to be on time for the scheduled departure at 4. 00 am. Barely had we reached Nal Sarovar when the rising Suryadev cast his golden rays on the repository of Saraswati. Walking on the marshy ground, a vast expanse of water with bouts of seaweeds and moss spread like a mat; faraway one could see fisherman rowing boats. More species of birds than you can possibly imagine perched on trees or flew in a beautiful V- formation. Every year, it is estimated over 2 lakh birds migrate from chilly
The Yatris spotted various species of ducks, dartars, red wattled lapwings, the Purple Moore hens, sandpipers, herons, storks and cattle egrets.
At 7.00 am all proceeded to an amphitheatre for Dr. Gandhi’s talk. He emphasized that the knowledge that we imbibe during the Yatra should be passed on to the future generations so that they may be proud of their origin and also help in the revival of River Saraswati.
We started from Nal Sarovar and reached Somnath at 8.00 pm.
Early next morning, i.e. on 28th, at 5.45 am, we waited breathlessly in a serpentine queue at the sprawling
The Yatris were over-awed in the holy presence of the Lord of the Universe. The Maha-Aarti began at 7.00 am and we received a close-up darshan of the Lord as well as Prasadam at the end of the Maha-Aarti.
A unique feature of the temple is a pillar that points towards the South Pole. This is a continuous line of water till the South Pole without any land mass in between.
The Yatris then proceeded to Triveni Sangam, where Rivers Kapila and Hiranya meet River Saraswati to flow into the Sindhu Sagar (
The next destination was Gita Mandir. At the Gita Mandir, we had the darshan of Muralidhar with his bansuri. The 18th Adhyaya of the Bhagwad Geeta has been inscribed on pillars of the temple.
At 4.30 pm, we began the Dharma Sabha preceded by a round of Bhajans. The Yatris were deeply immersed in the Lord as Swamiji performed Shiva Pooja. After the vote of thanks, Vaidik Sambhavana and Kshamayachana, we were blessed to hear Swamiji’s Ashirvachan.
The grand finale was the Sound and Light show at the
On 30th January the Yatris took the route through
The following Yatris from outside Ahmedabad Sabha joined as volunteers:
- Shri Vivekmam Katre –
- Smt. Shyamalpachi and Nageshmam Heble -
- Smt. Vrindapachi and Vivekmam Kallianpur -
- Smt. Priti Panemanglor – Pune
- Smt. Sheelu and Vivek Bijur – Pune
- Smt. Vaishali and Smt. Rupali Heblekar – Pune
- Smt. Bharati and Bhalchandra Karpe – Pune
- Smt. Sabita Harite –
- Smt. Radhika and Dr. Praful Ray – Mumbai
- Smt. Subbhalaxmi and Satish Hattangadi – Mumbai
- Shri Ravi Katre – Mumbai
- Shri Chidanand Kallianpur – Mumbai
- Ms. Vidya Aldangadi – Mumbai
- Ms. Nirmala Rao – Mumbai
- Smt. Meena Baljekar - Mumbai
- Smt. Smita and Shri Anirudh Baljekar – Bangalore
- Smt Vinati and Kedar Udiaver –
- Ms. Alka Lajmi - New Mumbai
- Smt. Asha Awasthi –
- Ms. Shivani Haldipur-Kallianpur - Bangalore
- Ms. Urmillapachi Kutty- Mumbai
- Ms. Ankita Bantwal - Hyderabad
The services of the following doctor-Yatris also rendered a lot of help to the Yatris:
- Dr. Rajendra Kaikini – Ahmedabad
- Dr. Vandita Kallianpur – Mumbai
- Dr. (Mrs.) Minal and Dr. Anand Wagle – Roha
- Dr. Chaitanya Gulwadi - Mumbai
- Dr. Kishore Nadkarni - Killa Pardi
- Dr. Ravindra Bijur - Mumbai
- Dr. Vrinda Trikannad - Mumbai
- Dr. Mohan Mankekar - Mumbai
The host Yatri-volunteers included Satish Kabad, Kalpana and Sanjay Kabad, Hemant Kaikini, Veena Hattangadi, Mohanmam Kabad, Arun Rao, Vivek Hattangadi (Jr.), and Shashimam Stalekar. The work particularly of Arun Raoand Hemant Kaikini, who went into the smallest of the details to make the Yatris comfortable, was appreciated by all Yatris.
Archana Rao - who was in charge of MIS - ensured that there was smooth check-in of Yatris.
Timely help from Siddhanand Padukone and Dinesh Panje is also valued.
The scores of e-mails, letters and telephone calls being received is testimony enough of the successful execution of the meticulous plan made for the Yatra.
Namah Parvate Pate Har, Har Mahadev