We planned a Mathura-Brindavan-Agra trip on 18th Feb. Me, Iyer, Amit Bhai, Sumit and Bansal planned to go to Agra by car. Iyer’s Alto was supposed to take us through the whole journey. We guys got together on Friday Night at Amit Bhai’s place by 12. It was Rahul Gupta’s birthday that night and i was at Kayo’s celebrating the birthday with the others. Iyer was in Dwaraka at Auntyji’s place. He came over by 12 to pick me up and i introduced him to our whole gang. We then headed to Amit Bhai’s place and filed up our tank with all the gas that we needed. We were to get up at 4:30 and leave.
We managed to get up at 5:30 and push off by 6. We headed straight to Mathura… There we went to the main temple where it is said that Lord Krishna visits the idol placed in the temple on and off. And since he’s god, his sight is supposed to be extremely powerful and people are not allowed to look at the idol for more than a few seconds at a stretch ( i wonder though how the priest inside the temple survived the super-strong rays or watever they call it.. 🙂 )
Then we walked down to the ghat where we noticed a group of foreigners getting enlightened by the guide about the ghat and the temple and bout the hindu culture and practices etc. We noticed a couple of boys standing on the deck of one of the boats parked on the shore, they were throwing something into the water and were fishing it out using a thread. I missed seeing what it was that they were throwing for the first few of their attempts. Then on one of the later attempts i observed that they had a horseshoe magnet tied to one end of the thread/thin rope which they were throwing in the water. The magnet attracted all the coins from the river bed on it way to being fetched by the boys. The boys duly collected all the coins that stuck to the magnet and then threw it back into the water.Here were 2 young lads applying what we had studied in physics and we call our country illiterate.
We then moved further down the highway and towards Brindavan/Vrindavan. This was the place where Lord Krishna is supposed to have taken birth. The jail where his mother and father were kept is still preserved. We encountered a huge tank of water which i presume is a modern ghat where all the devotees go to take a dip in one of those festivals to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. There was a huge flight of steps that led down to the water in the tank.
We reached the main temple which is built on top of the jail where Lord Krishna is supposed to have taken birth. I found heavy security in the temple and we were frisked 2-3 times before being permitted into the temple premises. The high security in such a place in off-season time did not make sense to me. We walked down to the raised platform like structure where the temple was built. There were inscriptions of slokas on the walls. We then went down the flight of stairs to the jail room where a few priests were sitting with a tabla, harmonium and a chime and singing bhajans. The room where Krishna was born. It had paintings of Krishna’s life. We walked out of the room after praying to the photos and the idol kept there. I was just looking around when i observed that the Wall of the temple was shared by a Mosque which was to the opposite site. And when i went up to the wall i observed a few people standing in front of the wall and staring at it. On the wall was written “You will see an image of Lord Krishna on this wall if you wish to.” and on the other side of the wall was the side to which muslims in the mosque prayed since they don’t believe in idols.
What an irony that the holiest place for the Hindus shared a wall of their temple with a mosque, in a country, where the two religious groups share an antagonistic relationship with each other. I managed to get as close to the corner of the wall as i could and looked on the side of the mosque only to find CRPF personell patrolling. I observed the mosque to be empty and dint find a single soul in the mosque campus far as my sight went. The observation led me to conclude that the mosque was dysfunctional. I haven’t seen and empty mosque ( not that i’ve been to many, but the ones that i have been weren’t shut in the noons.
The sight pushed me to empathise with the Muslims of the country where they’re are really a minority and are definitely discriminated in sectors small but important. Although, i’m not sure if my conclusion about the mosque being dysfunctional because of the temple is correct, i assume it to be the case and state my views here.
Another thing that i observed just casually was, I saw pigeons sitting on the dome of the mosque. My mind suddenly rushed to all the places related to the Islamic culture i’d seen/visited. I observed that there were pigeons in all such places irrespective of it being a Mosque or a Mausoluem and never did i find pigeons in such abundance in any Hindu place of worship. Pigeons and Doves are considered a symbol of peace all over the world. And still due to few anti-social elements, the whole relisious community is defamed. Sad isn’t it…
We were finished with our temple visit and we moved out of the temple and into the chai shop. He served us a huge glass full of chai. Sounds more like lassi though. Here i’m reminded of the Lassi we had when we were in Brindavan. In one of the by-lanes there was a line of shops selling lassi. We stopped at one and ordered a lassi. The lady prepared it and served it in earthen glasses (kullads). The lassi was delicious beyond what i’ve ever had. Only the chandni chowk ki lassi came anywhere close to what this potion was. Me and Iyer ordered an extra glass while the others couldn’t take anymore. It almost felt like ambrosia for me.
Coming back to the Chai, we finished the chai somehow with biscuits and stuff and moved ahead with our journey to Agra to see the Taj. On our way we stopped at a restaurant to have lunch.
We reached agra and had to toil to find a place to park the vehicle. We finally walked into the park from where the Gate1 of the Taj was apprachable. We found a huge line of about 70-100 people standing to enter the Taj. It was 4:30. 5:30 the Taj is shut to the visitors. If we stood in line and waited for our turn we’d ruin our chances of getting a glance of the Taj. Bansal and Sumit came up with a plan to intrude the line mid-way… Me and Amit bhai were too embarrassed to do that. But Bansal somehow managed to get inside the line about 20 people from the entrance, and we got into the Taj Campus. This was the third time i was visiting the Taj in a year. The grandeur of the monument struck me every time i saw it and so it did today too. Just the sheer beauty and the knowledge of the effort put behind building this magnificient structure brings goosepimples to you. The intricacies taken care of to the last detail. Each stone placed with the utmost care and precision. Its amazing to think how this feat was achieved in those times when there were no machines, technology or the scope of it in place.
We waited through the queue of about a hundred people to get an entry into the Taj. Slowly inching towards the structure and hoping to get an entry before it was too dark. We finally managed to get an entry just in time. A sea of humanity had gathered to see the structure. The engravings and the craftsmanship evident in the structure was just beyond this world.
We went inside and took and round of the grave and came out. The crowd was being forced to pace up things due to the huge volume of the crowd. We couldn’t observe the details of the interiors of the Taj properly, but we’d finally seen it. Amit bhai had seen it. The purpose of the visit was served. 🙂
We decided to move back to Delhi. it was around 5:30. We’d driven all day. Iyer refused to let me get behind the wheels. Ego or desire to drive i was not sure. But he was visibly tired and i wanted him to take a break from driving but he refused. So we kept driving and we reached Badarpur border by 10:15. The traffic was massive. trucks on all sides. We managed to push through the traffic in bout an hour’s time. I had to attend my class the next day in Rohini. I wanted to get to dwaraka that night. I was insistent on it because i knew staying back at Amit Bhai’s over the night was not an option i could consider given that i might just choose to stay back instead of going to the class. Iyer dropped Sumit and Bansal at Amit Bhai’s and we drove to Dwaraka where he dropped me and that was the end of our eventful and beautiful trip. 🙂