An unforgettable journey
It was the beginning of the summer vacation in1982.We had planned a trip to North India 2 months back and had prepared an itinerary.It was a pilgrimage cum sight seeing tour programme. Myself,my wife,our 2 children ,my father,mother and younger sister were in our group.We started by the KK express to New Delhi on the 2nd of April 1982 from Ernakulam.It took 42 hours to reach New Delhi.
New Delhi and Old Delhi (5days )
We joined a group of tourists and arranged a vehicle for visiting the important places in New Delhi and Old Delhi.As I had my sister in Delhi,there was no difficulty for stay there.We visited the RajGhat, Shantivan,Parliament house,Rashtrapathi Bhavan, India gate,Safdarjung Tomb,Qutab Minar,Iron Pillar,RedFort,Lotus temple,PuranaQila,Suraj Kund,Chandni Chowk,Karol Bagh ,Juma Masjid,Humayun’s tomb,Birla Temple,Conaught place,Jantar Mantar,RK Puram etc.
Benares ,Sarnath and Allahabad(5days )
From Delhi we went to Lucknow and from there to Benares ,both by bus.We stayed in a shelter there for 2 days.During the stay there ,we visited the Kasi Viswanath temple,Harischandra Ghat,PanchGangaGhat,DasaswamedhaGhat,ManikarnikaGhat,Mother India Temple,ThripuraBhairaviGhat,ThulsiManasMandir,SriDurgaTemple,KalaBhairavtemple,PanchMukhSiva,
Benares HinduUniversity,Gaikwar Library in BHU compound etc .From there we went by tonga to the neighbouring VyasaKasi and then to Sarnath.Benares is a highly congested place but Sarnath is a very beautiful and well planned town.Sarnath has some worth seeing places like Golden Image (idol )of SriBuddha,archeological museum,Ruins of Sarnath,the Lions capital where we find 4 lifelike lions in the roaring mood.We also have Dhamekh Stupa where SriBuddha is believed to have given his first sermon,Buddha image in the China temple,Mulgandha KudiVihara(believed to contain relics of Buddha’sbody. From Benares we proceeded to Allahabad ThriveniSangamom and had a bath in the Sangamom .From there we returned to Delhi by train.
Fatehpur Sikri,Agra,Mathura,Vrindavan(1 day )
Our next trip was to Agra and Mathura by package tour.After visiting Akber’s tomb, Fatehpur Sikri,AgraFort,TajMahal and Mathura we returned by night to Delhi.
Hardwar,Rishikesh,Kankhal,Dehradoon ,Mussorie( 5 days )
As my father had been to Hardwar and Rishikesh before, he preferred to stay back in Delhi along with my sister and return to Kerala by April end.But my mother accompanied us during our trip to Hardwar .
From Delhi we started for Hardwar by bus . (2 ½ hours) .In Hardwar we visited the MansaDevi temple,MrutyanjayaMahadeva statue,RamaKrishnaAsram,BhimGoda temple,BHEL unit Ranipur, Parmarth Niketan,Gitabhavan Asram,SaptaRishiAsram,Pawandham temple,Har-Ki-Pouri(Brahma Kund ).
Kankhal is only 4 km from Hardwar.We visited SatiGhat,SatiKund,Daksh Mahadev temple,Avdhoot Mandal etc.From there we proceeded to Rishikesh by bus (2 hours).We visited the Sivanandasram,Swargasram,SatyaNarayana Temple,Bharat temple,GitaBhavan,Kailas Nikethan temple,Lakshman Jhula,Thriveni Ghat,Kanua RishiAsram,Neel Kanth Mahadev,Muni Ki Reti, Thirteen Storey temple,HindustanAntibiotics plant at Virbhadra,and BabaKale Kamli Wale Chhettar.
Dehradun is 43 km from Rishikesh and the travel was by train.Indian Forest Research Institute,Indian MilitaryAcademi,Robbers’cave,Sericaturecentre,Sahasradharahotsprings(sulphur),Gurudwara,Tapovan,Dakpather hydro electric project,etc.
From Dehradun we went to Mussoorie by bus (36 km,2 ½ hours )enjoying the delightful mountain scenery.We went up a hill there by ropeway trolly,and visited LuxmiNarayan temple,Clock and TV tower,Gandhi Dwar,Gandhi Chowk,The Camel’sBackRoad,Depot Hill ( the highest point in Mussourie,Mossey water falls,Surkanda Devi temple.Snow covered mountains,LalBahadur Sastry Academy,Campty falls,Moral paintings etc.
From Mussorie we came back to Hardwar and from there to New Delhi.My father,mother and sister left for Kerala by the first week of May.
Jammu and Srinagar ( 7days )
After 2days of rest in Delhi we (4 )started our journey to Jammu and from there to Srinagar.Upto Jammu we travelled by train and from there by J & K state bus.We had a night’s stay near the Benihal (Jawahar) tunnel.In Srinagar we stayed in a houseboat for 1 day and in a lodge the next day.We visited the Sankaracharya temple( on a hilltop),Shalimar Garden,Nishat garden,Kokernag Springs,Chasma Shahi(glass house )HazratBal Shrine,,Nehru Park (floating park ),Mughal garden,HazratBalShrine,Harvan lake etc The sight of shikaras used for selling goods near the house boats is very beautiful.There are many houseboats both in the Jhelum river and the Dal lake.During our return from Srinagar,we visited the Raghunath temple in Jammu.
From Jammu we returned to New Delhi by train.
We spent a few days more in Delhi, visiting places and meeting close relatives.We started for Mumbai by train on 10th May 1982.
After visiting several places in Mumbai and suburbs we started our return jouney via Chennai.Stayed in Chennai for a day and saw the important places.From Chennai we went to Pennadam (near Vriddhachalam) to visit a close relative.From there we went to Vridhachalam,Trichy etc.During our stay there an idea to visit Rameswaram was mooted ,and we dicided to go there.From Trichy we went to Rameswaram by direct train.After bathing in the various Theerthas there (22 ),we visited the famousRamanatha temple ,which is famous for it’s long corridor.
From Rameswaram we went to Madurai where we visited the various temples and palaces,including Thirupparam kundram temple.We visited the famous cave also.Our next journey was from Madurai to Theckadi.We spent a day there for boating and sight seeing .
By May 26th night we boarded from Theckadi to Perumbavoor and reached home on the 27th before sunrise. On opening the gate I found the notice regarding the commencement of poojas in the SriRama Bhajana Madam after it’s renovation.After taking bath, we rushed to that and participated in the sacred ceremony.
This journey that lasted for 56 days covering places of diverse geography and importance instilled in me a strong desire to work vigourously and do the best of I can for the people around me.But I have only partly succeeded in that mission .Many opportunities slipped out of my hands .But I am satisfied with what I could do.I have not wasted the time left with me on any such occasions.I had dreamt of making the BhajanaMadam premises a place similar to the Pavandham temple in Hardwar.But what I could do is to visit the Pavandham temple in Hardwar for a second time in 1992.