It is said that sometimes journey is more important than the destination for a traveler. Biking to bhimashankar will certainly bring the above lines to life. The destination, Bhimashankar temple, I found disappointing. The roads are a biker’s nightmare and the weather was hot. But only a true traveler, not a tourist can live up to it and be happy enough to tell the tale.
The temple is one of the twelve most auspicious temples of lord Shiva, called the ‘Jyotir linga’. On the contrary, the temple is hardly well maintained. There is filth, shit and cunning con-men pundits all around. The ride up to the temple from Pune, Maharashtra, India is a good 110 km journey. The roads bear the pock marks of Indian beaurocracy in all its glory. But this all is well compensated when you open your eyes to the beautiful landscapes, simple people, rich culture and interesting wild life. I started early in day to catch the golden light and it had been very generous to me. The weather remains very pleasant throughout the day, except in the mid noon which reminds you of the harsh Indian summer. I had visited it in the month of November which is winters, here in India but also encountered rains in some of the hilly areas, which of course added to the journey.
No journey is complete if you have only enjoyed the beautiful landscapes, waterscapes and flora. It was interesting to meet the rural people and witness their modest ways of life from afar. For a second I was convinced that life without cell phones, internet, zooming vehicles and sky rocketing architecture shouldn’t be that bad. But then, I am jostled back at the sight of this senior lady fashioned in a typical ‘navari’ sari, platinum hairs, teeth red with decades of tobacco abuse, skin bearing witness to a lifetime of harsh field work happily chatting on her cell phone while swaying past me. I couldn’t help but ask her for a photograph then and there. This incident brings my thoughts to a full circle and I proceed further towards new experiences for the day.
The temples backyard happens to be a lush green forest. It is a sight for the sore eyes especially to the urbanietes like me, for whom, the word jungle has always been prefixed with the word ‘concrete’. I could see some spectacular play of lights falling on the leaves and creating different moods with passing time. I was like a child in a zoo, only this time, I was an intruder in the animal kingdom. For the first time, so many varieties of sights, sounds, smells from nature I had noticed, which I had only read about in books. It surprises me when the bookish words come to life, no matter how small the thing may be. If at all God had to create creatures, then why such a mind boggling..numbing variety of beings…!! WHY..!! I wonder.
Having wrapped up all these bubbles of emotions and sights in his black box, he wipes his coarse face, wakes up his bike, smiles back to the cloud of dirt and heads into the serene sunset on his way home sweet home…