The Pack

Friday, 11 April 2014

Road Trips and Much More!

Some years back, I made this trip to the city of Bhopal. I had read about it in my history books and desperately wanted to visit the place. So, I asked my dad if we could go. My dad, a person who loves travelling (rather my whole family, because travelling is what we have been doing all our lives) happily agreed because Madhya Pradesh was the place where he grew up.
We set course from Allahabad in our car. The four of us; my dad, my mom, my younger brother and me. 631 kilometers. In a day. Bam! My daddy coolest!
After the long and tiring journey, when we finally reached the city of lakes, we were so exhausted that we directly went to our rooms in the Army Station Mess. The Army Cantt. is a huge statio, established on a small hill with long roads, beautiful trees, flowers and pretty birds.

The next day, I asked my dad to take us to the zoo. Now, I know that I'm a grown up but you are never too big for a visit to the zoo. A trip around the city and it's lakes, one of Asia's biggest mosques, kings' palaces and then we were back to ground zero, the Army Mess.
I don't know if it is a bad habit or a good one but I can't stay at a place for a long time. After only two hours of touchdown, I wanted to go out again. My dad, being the loving and caring dad that he is, couldn't refuse his daughter's request so he took us out for a drive around the city. We went to a big temple and sat beneath the big tree in the verandah for hours, doing nothing but reflecting back on our lives. And we only went back to ground zero after me and my brother had had a tonne of ice-cream.

The next day was trekking day. We went to a temple on top of a hill. Boy, was it tiring. It took us hours to climb it. But then, a little exercise now and then is necessary. The temple was built inside a cave, a place important in the Ramayana period. The caves were full of beautiful creatures of the night: Bats! AND MONKEYS! Well, to be honest, I'm not really fond of monkeys (scary past experiences which I will elaborate upon in some other story some other time where a huge monkey took away my glasses from my face and I could't see! Mean Monkey). But there are some things which really touch your heart. Like a monkey mom fondling it's baby.

A mother is a mother. No matter from what species.

The linga.

The third day, we visited a huge Shiva temple, Bhojeswara, built in Bhojpur, named after the most celebrated ruler, Raja Bhoja. The temple is incomplete but houses one of the biggest 'lingas' in India. It was followed by a cool trip to Bhimbetaka. The site, an important one from the Mahabharata period, believed to be the shelter of Bhim and his Pandava brothers. The walls etched with primitive drawings tell us a beautiful story about our rich past.

The Bhojeswara Temple

Then came the awesomest day. The trip I was waiting for. The trip to Sanchi.Sanchi is about 40 kilometers away from the city of Bhopal. Set up amidst low hills, the majestic structure, one of the oldest and most important, was sanctioned by the great king Ashoka. All old demolished by invaders  and then revived and rebuilt by the Rajas and Begums of Bhopal. Such Beauty.

The Stupa.

The East Gate.

Bhopal is not only home to the Buddhists or the Hindus. The beautiful city of lakes also has one of Asia's biggest mosques and a huge Muslim population.
The sheer beauty of unity in diversity is visible in each and every simple aspect of this humble yet magnificent city.
We run. We escape. We try to look for peace of mind and love. We try. We try to make ourselves believe that we are running away in search of true beauty. But all we are doing is running behind a mirage of an ideal world. All the while, we close our eyes and run frantically, we are leaving behind what actually is true and beautiful. Beauty is not what you see on the outside. It is within. The peace and calm. The serenity. I have always found solace in the path and not the destination.

An old and worn out building will command better awe than a new one. Beauty does not lie in new things. But it dwells in the old, experienced, torn and worn out things which have witnessed the rise and fall of many kings and queens, all the ebbs and floods of the ocean vast, all the infernos and typhoons of the continent. Things which are eternal and as old as time itself. They are in the wrinkles on your mother's skin, who has seen you grow into a beautiful being. How much she has cared and now that she is old, how she knows everything. She is the ultimate solution of all the life's problems.

A beautiful sunset in the city of lakes. The great ball of fire, taking a bow, hides behind the great Sanchi Stupa.

And we're on to another city. But that story for some other time.


Akriti Dhagga said...

amazing job raghu....flawlessly written !!!! keep it up..!!!

Yashasvi Raghuvanshi said...

Thank you Dhagga!!
Keep inspiring me like this!!
Meri Pyaari Roomie!