Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gaya & Bodhgaya

We reached Bodhygaya by midnight & took up our rooms in a hotel booked by the Bangalore travel agent.But the absence of lift in the hotel irritated us very much  as we were dead tired.We immediately retired for the night as next day,early morning, the men had to perform Tithi in Gaya for their ancestors .

In the morning,I & my hubby ordered tea from the hotel & others had coffee prepared on the heater which they had carried from Chennai.I remarked  to my hubby, that, his family is so fond of milk that they will just sprinkle coffee to pots of milk & expect me to drink it as coffee ! I for one, cannot gulp milk as coffee.So,I opted for hotel tea.Years of bombarding my hubby with information that milk is harmful has finally made him believe that milk is the most  incomplete food.

My family had carried coffee powder,milk powder ,sugar,etc -all the way from Chennai for consumption during travel.This was because my family is highly  suspicious about the cooks preparing vegetarian beverages whilst handling non-vegetarian food .Moreover some of my family   keep speculating about who must have handled the milk,the coffee & the like.Why they  do not think similarly about shares & stocks being handled by people who consume all -even pigs & cows is beyond me.Bluntly put,people who dabble in shares are cannibals ! They are swallowing   whole  humans with bones & skin et al ! On second thoughts,this is so, as the non -vegetarians are unable to reach their levels of  consumption,that of  man eating cannibals  that is !

The ladies & kids  took bath .We then left for Gaya which was a good half an hour away from the hotel.Bodhgaya is the  place wherein Budha got enlightenment.One can observe a lot of statues of Budha in the lawns of the numerous hotels that dot the place.The Japanese government has also poured money in Bodhgaya for sprucing up that place.For the Japanese,this is a place of pilgrimage .This is so for other foreigners as well ,who are influenced by Buddhist ideas.One can see & meet foreigners on the roads & in hotels in Bodhgaya.

The transport vehicles in Bodhgaya are autos & more popular is the Vikram.It is what one can call as an extended auto wherein there is seating arrangement for nearly ten people.We hired two Vikrams & left for Gaya.Men were to take bath in the river .We landed at the Bodhgaya temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.The temple roof is made of wood & the structure of the temple is  of stone.There were many priests doing shradha ceremonies & rituals for hundreds of people all over in the temple.We entered the sanctum sanctorium wherein one can view the footmark of Vishnu .Pind daaan was in progress there.Many were taking snaps.Still others were trying to touch the foot mark & paying their respects.We also paid our respects.

Men came accompanied by the purohita inside the temple.He made them take their places by the side of the gopuram where there was an elevated platform.The rituals of shradha started. Legend has it that shradha performed in Gaya  is a sure shot way of attaining moksha .The story of Gayasura is witness to this .Gayasura was an asura but he was full of virtues ,no vices.He pleaded to Almighty that in spite of his virtues,he was always being born as a rakshasa. Brahma complained to Vishnu that virtues of Gayasura were equating him with the Devas.Vishnu appeased them all.He put his foot on the body of Gayasura.Whoever does pind daan on the foot mark of the Lord which got crytstallised as stone attains moksha.I quipped to my hubby," In this age also,appeasement is being done.A person who is equally strong is made the Deputy Chief Minister so that there is less problem.Now we know who taught us this method of pleasing all." My hubby only smiled as he has no compulsion to laugh.He was not going to accomodate  me by laughing whole heartedly !

The rituals were nearing completion & the time had come when the participants have to give up some things for life at Gaya.Our family had many discussions on all this giving up.The priest enlightened us," Actually,one must give up greed,temptation,anger,jealousy,etal but since this is impossible for humans,one can opt for easier things." One has to give up a sweet,a vegetable & a fruit.In fact,the item must be one which is liked the most, but humans being very cunning,give up for life whatever they have hardly tasted or something they find tasteless or something which they resent for any reason .My hubby asked loudly what I will give up as he opined  that I will not cook that anyway after giving up. He did nor want to give up something which I will disagree upon.I gave up sweet lime ( I find it tedious to de peel & eat it ), parwal ( I rarely eat it ) & basundi ( rasmalai-I hate all milk sweets -wherein milk is in liquid form with cream ).So ,in effect, I hardly gave up anything for life.One family member gave up Mysore pak.For this,my jeth has a solution.He said ,one can add maida to the besan & make Mysore pak.Then it can be consumed by the person who has given Mysore pak in Gaya as the ingredients of Mysore pak have changed.So,there is always a way /s  out  ! The rituals had ended now.

Then we all headed for prasada-lunch to the purohit's home. The food was sumptously declicious.Then we returned to hotel.In the evening,we came back to the temple.The temple had been scrubbed clean for the Tulsi shringar of Vishnu paada ( foot mark ) .We wanted to buy the printout on thin muslin cloth of the footmark & we got it.The Gaya temple is very spic spac.During day time also,it is scrubbed clean with water two to three times as the pind daan makes the sanctum place very sticky.

The evening at the temple was very pleasant as a group was singing bhajans & there was a  gentle breeze .The stone floor was cool & we strolled in the temple.The next morning, we enquired about vehicles plying to Allahabad from Gaya & sensed that the rates were exhorbitant -more so, as we had already rail tickets for the journey.Rotis were baked on the roti maker ( the advertisements which all must have seen on the idiot box ) in the hotel room in Bodhgaya.I was afraid, that the hotel may raise objections but they just looked away.My family ate the hard chapatis & sugar & chutney powder.We also had poha & dahi..Our tummies full,we departed for the station at  Gaya .

At Gaya station,my bahbhi & her hubby took ill-they vomitted.The train was late.So we all just sat on the platform & waited.Cool bottles of soda were purchased to aid digestion.All the family had it as prevention is better than cure.Some apples were also consumed.As we waited,a zip repairer came on the platform.My family got some luggage zips repaired.I got my sandals stiched.So,he made a killing in one hour.Many others also got their bags repaired.

Finally our train arrived & we left Gaya for Allahabad.We had second class compartment tickets as the travel agent had opined that the journey was very short.But nobody was able to rest with their feet stretched.We reached Allahabad by around eleven ,dead tired.

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