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A Pilgrimage to Divine Destinations - Kashi, Gaya, Allahabad, Ayodhya

- Mylapore Trio & Sugathan, Sumukhi Foundation
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We are in an era in which we need to be educated time and again, about our own roots - culture and tradition. Many of us believe that Faith in our religion, devotion to God & service to elders / mankind are the basic values that needs to be imbibed. This would be more appropriate through religious / historic tours.

As a part of the annual pilgrimage to Divine Destinations, this year the Mylapore Trio along with Foundation Secretary Sugathan went on Kashi Yatra for about 12 days in the Month of June 2015. The journey started from Chennai to Varanasi and then to other places.

The Divine Destination was Varanasi - Kashi - the ultimate place. We had a holy bath in the most sacred river Ganges early morning 3 days for hours together, worshiped Lord Vishwanatha 7 times through morning, afternoon, evening and night rendered songs on Lord Shiva, had a dharshan of Goddess Annapurani & Goddess Visalakshi many times. Above all, All four of us were individually blessed to perform 12 types of Abhishegams to Lord Kashi Vishwanath, beginning from Ganga Jal from Silver Gomukh, followed by Milk, Curd, Honey, Ghee, Manjal, Kumkum, Chandan, Vibhoothi, Jigina dust, Vaasanai Dhravyam, Pushpam, Maalai, Naivedhyam, Aarathi. The most privileged thing was that all of us performed all Abhishegams individually and were able to stand near the Linga for about ten minutes without any interruption in the holiest of the holy spot, where hundreds and thousands of people congregate every minute. It was a very divine experience, which is in explicable and unforgettable.
 In the evening we had an awesome experience of being in the Ganges for 3 hours. We embarked on a boat and visited all the Ghats including Harichandra, Manikarnika, etc. We were caught unaware in a sudden sand storm in the middle of the Ganges, nothing was visible, a very dangerous situation, boats were tossed, waves were rough, a nightmare and after a few minutes normalcy returned, our breath too. It was a divine watch to see the Ganga Aarathi during dusk – a lifetime spectacle. The atmosphere was electrifying and the air rented with the slogan “Ganga Maathaaki Jai”.

We also crisscrossed the lanes and by lanes of Kashi and visited many local sites like Benaras Hindu University established by Shri. Madan Mohan Malavia, Kaal Bhairav Temple, Kanchi Shankara Mutt, Kamakoteeswarar and Kamakoteeswari Temple, Naattukkotai Nagarathar Mutt. The most important place was the Kumara Guruparar Mutt. It is said that it was he who retrieved the Kashi Vishwanath Temple from the Muslim rulers through legal arguments in chaste Hindustani, even though he knew only Tamil, which is considered to be a divine miracle. Later he attained Jala Samadhi in Ganga. The Temple later passed many hands and is now with the UP Govt. We had a very strange experience of watching tens of dead bodies burning in Manikarnika and Harichandra Ghats without much ado. Thrilled to know about the most peculiar and strange curses on certain aspects in Kashi. It was indeed a lifetime experience to be in the holiest of the holy place - Kashi.
Next visit was Gaya & Bodhgaya. We worshiped Vishnu Paadam, Phalkuruni River, Akshyavadam at Gaya. Cherished the story of Sita performing Srardham for Dasaratha with five elements as Saakshis and her curse on them for their “Poi Saakshi”. Later we made a visit to the Bodhgaya and were amazed & awestruck to see the Bodhi Tree and the exact spot where Prince Siddhartha attained Nirvana and became Lord Buddha. Young Buddha bikshus were performing religious dogmas in a very silent manner in a serene atmosphere and in a spiritual ambience. We lost ourselves in the chanting of “Buddham Sharanam Gachchami”. We also visited many other Buddhist monasteries built in various styles by different countries like China, Japan, Thailand, Srilanka, Nepal, Tibet etc…

 At Allahabad - had a holy dip in the Triveni Sangamam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna & the mythical Saraswathi and also had dharshan of Sakthi peetam - one of the 51 holy places of the Goddess Parvathi. Thrilled to visit “Ananda Bhavan” the ancestral house of the Nehrus and where Indira Gandhi was born and wedded to Feroz. Every inch of the house has great historical significance. Great leaders including Mahatma Gandhi have visited, stayed and discussed and chiseled our freedom movement from this very building. Every room, nook and corner have been protected with glass panes and well maintained.

We then continued our trip to the historic place of Ayodhya - rendered Ram Bhajans for 5 hours continuously, then had a holy dip at River Sarayu and worshiped Lord Rama at His birth place. Sang Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite song “Raghupathi Ragava Raja Ram” in front of the Deity - A thrilling experience. It was literally a fortress to enter the site including a dozen security checks.

We also visited Sarnath - the place where Lord Buddha gave his First Sermon after attaining enlightenment, in which place the famous Ashoka Pillar (Emblem of the Govt. of India) stands a testimony to it.

On the whole it was an unforgettable and cherishable divine experience for us & which would remain ever green in our memory. We re-discovered many historical facts and also sublime values through this spiritual Kashi Yatra.

Manikarnika Ghat – Leaning Temple on the banks of the Ganga-Kashi

Maha Bodhi Temple at Buddha Gaya

The Historic Bodhi Tree at Buddha Gaya

The Historic “Ananda Bhavan” – the Ancestral House of the Nehru’s at Allahabad

Sarnath - where Lord Buddha gave his First Sermon